Sunday 17 February 2008 at 23h27

Two days before the start of the Tour of California the American Team High Road was officially presented on Friday night (2 PM local time). Phil Liggett, who presents cycling races on TV for Versus* and ITV, took up the role of the local Daniel Mangeas in Palo Alto in California (the place where the Tour of California starts). Team High Road is the team which was born in 2008 from the former T-Mobile team.

When T-Mobile announced it would no longer sponsor the German team, team manager Bob Stapleton decided to continue anyway, even without a main sponsor (at least temporarily). The team has now become American and is called Team High Road. In Germany the team is still connected to Neuer Strassen Sport, but it's now officially based in San Luis Obispo in California (between Los Angeles and San Francisco) in the United States under the name High Road Sports.

High Road Sports presented not only its ProTour team but also a women's team. The most important news facts concerned the new team jersey (which has now become white instead of black) and promisses on motivated riders who want to work hard and with fair-play (read: without doping) as their main guideline.

Before the official presentation, all riders of the team - 42 for the men and women's team - have come together in Pismo Beach near San Luis Obispo for a training camp.

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The new riders

In addition to many of the former T-Mobile team riders, Team High Road has recruited no less than 11 new riders:
- George Hincapie who chose this team when the Discovery Channel team disappeared last year
- Bradley Wiggins who left Cofidis for High Road; at High Road he is the rider for time trials ...
- the Spaniard Vicente Reynès (26) who came to High Road from the Spanish team Caisse d'Epargne
- Edvald Boasson Hagen, a young Norvegian rider (20) who became a professional rider in 2006 in the Norvegian Maxbo-Bianchi team
- John Devine, an American rider (22) who joined George Hincapie at Team High Road from Discovery Channel
- Craig Lewis, another American rider (22) coming from the Slipstream team
- Thomas Lövkvist, the Swedish rider (23) who left Française des Jeux
- Tony Martin, a young German rider (22)
- Morris Possoni, an Italian (23) who was at Lampre-Fondital last year
- Marcel Sieberg, a German (25) who left the other German team, Gerolsteiner for High Road
- Kanstantsin Siutsou, the Belorussian (25) who was at Barloworld last year

The riders who stayed from T-Mobile

The new white Team High Road jersey18 riders stayed loyal to their manager Bob Stapleton because since T-Mobile stopped its sponsoring they kept their faith in him. This year they won't be in the very distinctive pink jersey but in the new white Team High Road jersey:
- Michael Barry (Canada, 18/12/1975)
- Marcus Burghardt (Germany, 30/06/1983) who will be the most important leader of the team
- Mark Cavendish (UK, 21/05/1985)
- Gerald Ciolek (Germany, 19/09/1986)
- Scott Davis (Australia, 22/04/1979)
- Bernhard Eisel (Austria, 17/02/1981)
- Linus Gerdemann (Germany, 16/09/182) who won the 7th stage in the Tour de France 2007
- Bert Grabsch (Germany, 19/06/1975)
- André Greipel (Germany, 16/07/1982) who won almost everything in the Tour Down Under this year
- Roger Hammond (UK, 30/01/1974)
- Adam Hansen (Australia, 11/05/1981)
- Greg Henderson (New-Zealand, 09/10/1976)
- Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg, 03/07/1978)
- Andreas Klier (Germany, 15/01/1976)
- Servais Knaven (Netherlands, 06/03/1971)
- Marco Pinotti (Italia, 25/02/1976)
- František Raboň (Czech Republic, 26/09/1983)
- Michael Rogers (Australia, 20/12/1979)

The team has a total of 29 riders, 10 of which are aged under 25!

The fight against doping

With these young riders Bob Stapleton heavily invests in the future of cycling. To make sure this future exists, the fight against doping is very important for the team: an ethical code and an internal programme of doping checks must assure a doping free future for cyclism!

Furthermore, the team collaborates with the Right To Play organisation. This organisation uses sports and play to improve health, build life skills, and foster peace for children and communities affected by war, poverty, disease.

The other partners

Even though the team doesn't have a main sponsor which name is being used for the team, they have no less than 16 technical partners:
- Giant for the bikes
- MOA for the cycling clothes
- Uvex for the helmets
- Oakley for the sunglasses
- SRM for the cardiometers
- Schwalbe for the tubes
- Shimano for different bike parts and the wheels
- Powerbar for nutrition products
- Skins for compression garments
- First Endurance for food supplements
- Park Tool for the tools for the bikes
- Selle Italia for the saddles
- Elite (bidons)
- Polar (cardiometers)
- Training Peaks (training software)
- Morgan Bleu

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Team High Road finally does participate in the Giro!!

While the team was missing in the list of invited teams for the Giro d'Italia 2008 when it was announced on the 1st of February, the team now announced they finally have been invited!
Just before the team presentation, the team announced that RCS, the Giro d'Italia organisor, finally added Team High Road to the list of invited teams for the Giro. The American team of course accepted the invitation.

After the team's announcement, Angelo Zomegnan, Sports director at RCS explained that on February 1st, the analysas of Team High Road was not finalised yet and that the team thus didn't receive an invitation. Now the team's details have been fully analysed Team High Road finally did receive one.
However, Angelo Zomegnan stressed that the team has been invited under certain conditions, just like the 21 other teams. He indeed says to reserve the right to withdraw any of the invitations up until the day the Giro d'Italia starts (on May 10th) if a team "no longer deserves" to be invited.

Team High Road's invitation is not only valid for the Giro d'Italia but for all races RCS organises: Monte Paschi Eroica, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, Giro d'Italia, Giro del Lazio, Giro del Piemonte and the Giro di Lombardia

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* Versus was originally called OLN and has been renamed in Versus at the end of September 2006 (see here for a picture of an OLN TV interview during the Tour de France 2006)

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Team presentation 2008 | Cycling general (except Tour de France) | Giro d Italia

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