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Worlds and merge

Worlds and merger.

How exciting were the World Championships? We have to admit that the UK delivered a top performance, allowing Mark Cavendish to take his first World Championship on the road. It was also interesting to see that despite wearing different jerseys all year long some national teams had the ability to work together. I must say that lots of the credit should go to the national coaches who made it happen.

In the women’s race, Clara Hughes delivered an outstanding performance, forcing the sprinters’ teams to dig very deep to deny Canada a World Championship medal. But it only serves as an appetizer before next year’s summer Olympics, where Clara will be a huge contender for a medal.  I have said it before and will say it again, she is one of the most talented athletes and one of the few who can claim medals in both the summer and the winter Olympics. I will be one of her biggest fans next year and all the way through London 2012.

The U23 championships, where a few of my U23 riders were competing, was not an overly exciting success for us. Knowing that the course was pretty flat I was not expecting big things in the road race, but I was hoping for a decent performance from our TT specialists Carter Jones and Lawson Craddock. Lawson had an off day and is only going to come out stronger having that extra experience in his luggage for the future years. Carter did not have ideal preparation but stayed positive after the race, knowing that it was hard to perform at his best without doing enough stage racing.

Now there has been a lot of talk about the Leopard-RadioShack merger and the consequences for the Trek-Livestrong team. Trek has reassured us on the continuity of the program and we will be absolutely independent of the new merged team, RadioShack Nissan Trek. This independence should allow us to enter prestigious races in the United States. We want to work closely with the UCI to make sure of it. I maintain that our development program is one of the strongest and most successful. It will continue delivering the best pro-level athletes to any professional team. We want to make sure that our riders can look back and recognize how important our program was to their development and their careers.

To ensure this type of quality program, I have decided to take the number of riders down from 14 to 12 on the 2012 roster. I will also be welcoming for the first time two Belgians to the squad while maintaining the core group I have been working with over the last two years.

There are still three big races to keep an eye on before the end of the season.  Mark Cavendish will want to show off his new jersey at Paris-Tours, the new Tour of Beijing gets under way in China and Philippe Gilbert will try to make it three straight at the Tour of Lombardy.

Talk to you guys later,