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“It's a much smaller team than Vacansoleil-DCM. We started the training camp without the Venezuelan riders so the group was even smaller. It felt very family-like. A nice, new adventure,” he said.

Photo: Vacansoleil-DCM






22.12.2013 @ 12:51 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Current Dutch National Champion Johnny Hoogerland surprised many in the cycling world by signing wth Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela for next season. However, he is looking forward to a new start in his career. The 30 year old has just completed his first training camp with his new teammates. 


“It's a much smaller team than Vacansoleil-DCM. We started the training camp without the Venezuelan riders so the group was even smaller. It felt very family-like. A nice, new adventure,” he said.


After five years with Vacansoleil-DCM, Hoogerland starts his first season in a foreign team but is happy.


"I speak Dutch, French and English so I can manage with the communication. I won't say it's super easy but it's easier than expected. Plus the fact that I usually settle in somewhere quite fast," he told Cyclingnews from his training base in Spain.


Hoogerland turned pro in 2009 when Vacansoleil received a Professional Continental license. The Dutch champion stayed with the team for five years but after its demise was left looking for a new home. Several teams were interested but they kept him waiting. When his former teammate Matteo Carrara brought him into contact with Androni Giocattoli, Hoogerland was happy to join Gianno Savio's team.


"It was a waiting game with the other teams and when Androni came along, I said let's do this. It's a new adventure and the WorldTour is not an absolute must for me. Yes, I won't ride the Tour de France but the Giro is a great race. Their race programme was vital to me, not the quantity but the quality of races they could offer me. " 


"Androni has a great programme in Italy and they already received a wildcard for the Giro [as Coppa Italia winner]. If I stay healthy and everything goes well, I will be in the Giro team. Next to great races in Italy like the Trofeo Laigueglia, the Giro del Trentino, the Settimana Coppi e Bartali. Androni will also ride races in the north like the Seaports Classic and the Brabantse Pijl. It's a mixed programme and I am really looking forward to it."


The Dutch national title is also one of Hoogerland's ambitions. He hopes to keep his red-white-blue jersey.

"The Giro starts later this year so it's less than a month between the finish and the Championship on the 29th of June. In those four weeks there are many options to prepare for nationals." 



"I have done more or less the same races in the past five years. Riding with Androni Giocattoli is completely different. It's a small team with a small budget but they are very professional. The communication between riders and staff is very good. I am looking forward to doing a year with completely different races. I signed for one year but maybe this is something that really suits me. We'll see about that later." 




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