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"Androni has a great programme in Italy and they already received a wildcard for the Giro. If I stay healthy and everything goes well, I will be in the Giro team."

Photo: Sirotti




23.12.2013 @ 09:11 Posted by Patrick Lorien

New team, new ambitions?


Johnny Hoogerland was one of many riders to be affected by the loss of Vacansoleil as sponsor, and the subsequent closure of the Vacansoleil-DCM team. He was left unemployed, but fortunately soon found a new team. Perhaps to the surprise of many he joined with Italian Contenental team Androni Giocattoli, but Hoogerland reveals to Cyclingnews that he is content with the change.


"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 to Cyclingnews.


"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."


Androni Giocattol has been around since 1996, as Selle Italia, and has since won numerous victories, amongst others in the Giro d’Italia. Hoogerland acknowledges that it was not easy to find a new team, and that he was happy when Androni Ciocatolli came along with their offer. He also reveals that he might have to settle with not riding the Tour de France, but admits that the Italian Grand Tour is not a bad substitute.


"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. 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."


Hoogerland became infamous after his barbed wire crash in the 2011 Tour de France, and has since become known for his daring attacks. While his 2013 season was marred by a training accident in Spain, and subsequent injuries, he still managed to win the Dutch national championship later in the season.


Now he is just looking forward to ride again, and to give his best for his new team.


"If you train hard all winter, you'd expect to be good when the season starts. And there are points to be gained in every race. I want to be good all year but the Giro will be the race to peak for. And with racing it's not about a whole bunch of race days. I love training and can prepare for big races just as well by training. Maybe I'll do some altitude training in April or maybe we can go to the Tour of Turkey. That would be great too," he told Cyclingnews.


"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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