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 "I chose a year ago to leave my role with Lampre and start working for both Fabian Cancellara in the classics and Giacomo Nizzolo in the sprint and it has worked well. I didn't see a reason to change again," Hondo says

Photo: Sirotti






28.10.2013 @ 18:53 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The new Trek Factory Racing that will take over the license from the current Radioshack squad, has completed its roster for its maiden season by signing Danilo Hondo, Giacomo Nizzolo and Calvin Watson. While Hondo and Nizzolo will continue their cooperation in the sprints, Watson will get his first taste of WorldTour racing.


Following months of planning, Trek Factory Racing has finalized the recruitment of riders for their maiden season. Today they team has announced their final three signings with veteran Danilo Hondo and youngsters Giacomo Nizzolo and Calwin Watson joining the team.


The team was set up as a successor of the current Radioshack team from which it has acquired its license and will be managed by the current Radioshack manager Luca Guercilena. Unsurprisingly, most of its riders raced for the Luxembourgish team in 2013 and two of their final signings also did so.


29-year-old Hondo was a highly talented sprinter earlier in his career and won two Giro stages in 2001 and finished 2nd in the 2005 Milan-Sanremo. Having returned from a doping suspension, he never reached his former level and has instead developed into one of the best lead-out men in the peloton.


From 2010 to 2012 he worked for Alessandro Petacchi at Lampre before signing with Radioshack where he has used his vast experience to guide youngster Nizzolo in the hectic sprint finishes. He has also played a crucial role for Fabian Cancellara in the cobbled classics and is looking forward to continue in those two roles in 2014.


"For me it was a logical decision to sign on with the new team," he said. "I chose a year ago to leave my role with Lampre and start working for both Fabian Cancellara in the classics and Giacomo Nizzolo in the sprints and it has worked well. I didn't see a reason to change again.


"I had a very good feeling with this team and I'm sure the new team will have a similar ambiance. I'd like to continue to share my experience with the classics core and to the young sprinters in the team. I'm excited about the bigger focus on sprinting and I think it's going to be great!"


Nizzolo is one of the future Italian star sprinters who turned professional with Leopard Trek in 2011. In his first year, he won a stage in the Bayern Rundfahrt and got his chance to ride his first grand tour one year later in the Giro.


His breakthrough came at the 2012 Tour de Wallonie where he won a stage and the overall and took his first WorldTour win a little later on a stage in the Eneco Tour. He took his final win of the season on a stage in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.


Having joined forces with Hondo, he excelled in the 2013 Giro where he almost beat Mark Cavendish in a close sprint in Cherasco. He used his post-Giro condition to win two stages in the Tour of Luxembourg and got close to another win in the Eneco Tour when he finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th on sprint stages. He almost took his first classics win when he was passed by Filippo Pozzato just before the line in the GP Ouest France-Plouay.


Having been slightly disappointed with his 2013 season, he now hopes to improve in 2014 with Trek.


"I'm very happy to stay with this group, as I feel really good here," he said. "I think we are going to improve even more, as we get more and more used to racing with each other.


"Personally I'm hoping for a couple more victories. For different reasons I don't feel as though this year was as good for me as 2012, despite feeling physically stronger and more adapted to the races. I hope that I can have a bit more luck next year, although I'm the first to admit that misadventures like in the Vattenfall Cyclassics [where his sprint was hampered by Marcel Sieberg] are part of sprinting.


"Next year I'd like to be competitive from the start until the end of the season. Luca [Guercilena] and I will work on my program and race calendar as I have come to realize that the spring months, with the cold and the pollen, are not optimal for me."


Watson is a 20-year-old Australian who will turn pro with the American team. This year he got his first taste of WorldTour racing when he was selected for the Australian national team for the Tour Down Under. He finished the Tour de l'Avenir in the final part of the season.


"Right now, my focus is on learning and developing into the rider that I'd like to be," he said. "I'm excited to be part of this new team as there are some amazing riders and directors here with so much knowledge of the sport. I'm just hoping to be able to utilize as much of it as I can."


Trek Factory Racing has signed 28 riders for their maiden season.



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