HTC-Columbia 2010 presented: a new name for even more success
After HTC, manufacturer of mobile phones, joining Columbia as a co-sponsor of the team at the start of the 2009 Tour de France, this year the Taiwanese brand becomes the main sponsor of the American team. The team managed by High Road Sports thus changes its name to become HTC-Columbia in 2010 ... awaiting a complete take-over under the name Team HTC?
A short summary of 2009: from Columbia Highroad to Columbia HTC
The team started the 2009 season with this name before being renamed again at the start of the 2009 Tour de France. Indeed, on 29 June 2009 HTC announced a 3 year partnership with the team which started at the start of the Tour de France. Right from the start of the Tour the team thus adopted the name Team Columbia-HTC. That's how we could see Mark Cavendish showing off his new sponsor by making a telephone sign of his right hand while pointing with his left hand to the logo of his new sponsor. A small sign which was highly appreciated by that sponsor which used a photo of it for a marketing campaign around the HTC Hero phone which was launched just after the Tour de France under the title "A hero is born" (see image on the right).
In 2009 the team was - just like in 2008 - the team which won the biggest number of races: no less than 132 victories for 22 riders. The guys from the American team took 86 victories of which 17 stages of a Grand Tour, Milan-San Remo, Ghent-Wevelgem, Paris-Bourges, 6 stages in the Tour of Switzerland, 7 national championships, the green jersey of the Vuelta a España 2009, the Eneco Tour and stages in other Tours.
But we shouldn't forget the women team of Columbia-HTC which took no less than 46 victories including stages in the Tour de l'Aude, the Giro d'Italia, the Holland Ladies Tour and the final victory in the Route de France.
Team HTC-Columbia in 2010
In 2010, HTC becomes the main sponsor and the name of the team thus changes to become Team HTC-Columbia.
In this team there are quite a lot riders who were already part of the team last year but 8 riders have left the team and 11 new riders joined it.
Concerning the riders who left, the creation of Team Sky had an important impact on HTC-Columbia with no less than 5 riders leaving for the British team: Michael Barry, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Greg Henderson (who won the Cancer Council Helpline Classic), Thomas Lövkvist and Morris Possoni. 2 riders left for BMC Racing Team: Marcus Burghardt and George Hincapie while Kim Kirchen continues his career with Team Katusha.
The new riders in the team are:
Lars Bak (16 January 1980)
This 30 year old Danish rider won the Tour de l'Avenir in 2005. After having been Danish road champion in 2005 he became Danish champion time trial in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2009 he also won a stage of the Eneco Tour.
Since 2006 Bak was part of the Saxo Bank team.
His new directeur sportif at HTC-Columbia, Brian Holm, describes him come a real team mate who works for others when he thinks they have better chances to win.
Jan Ghyselinck (24 February 1988)
This young Belgian rider (21 years old) starts his professional career at HTC-Columbia in 2010 and joins the team from Beveren 2000.
He's known for his qualities in time trials and classics and his goals for 2010 are to help the team and to try to get a good result in the cobbled classics. In the longer term Ghyselinck would like to win the Tour of Flanders and a stage in the Tour de France.
In 2009 his main wins were the Tour of Flanders Espoirs and the time trial of the Triptique Monts et Chateaux. He was the Belgian champion time trial juniors/espoirs in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008.
Matthew Goss (9 May 1983)
This young Australian rider (23 years old) joins HTC-Columbia from Saxo Bank where he became a professional rider in 2007.
His main playfields are the classics and sprints.
Matt Goss obtained his best results in 2009 when he took the 3rd place in Ghent-Wevelgem, won stages in the Tour de Wallonie and Paris-Brussels.
Patrick Gretsch (7 April 1987)
At almost 23 years old, the German rider is also a neo-pro. He comes from the Thüringer Energie Team.
His specialties are the time trial and stage races and despite the fact that he becomes a professional rider only in 2010 his list of honours is quite interesting already, including:
- 5 times German champion
- World Champion time trial juniors
- stage winner and final winner of the Thuringer Tour
Rasmus Guldhammer (9 March 1989)
At only 20 years old, this young Danish rider is quite promising. He's even part of The 50 riders who will make 2010 in Vélo Magazine. In this article we read: HTC-Columbia didn't miss out on this young talent and Saxo Bank regrets it.
The Danish rider describes himself as a pure climber, after having discovered his qualities as a climber during his holidays with his parents in Italy. His results in 2009 however make him more look like a classics specialist: the neo-pro won Liège-Bastogne-Liège Espoirs, finished 2nd at the Tour of Flanders Espoirs (which was won by his current team mate Jan Ghyselinck), but also Danish road champion Espoirs and Danish champion team time trial.
His team mate with HTC-Columbia, Tejay van Garderen explained that with the amateurs we're all used to see Rasmus' back wheel in the climbs.
Leigh Howard (18 October 1989)
This australian rider is also a 20-year old neo-pro. He started cycling at 10 years old and he currently combines track and road.
In 2009 he became World Champion omnium, he took the silver medal Madison and team chase but he also won the Tour of Slovaquie, the Astico Brenta, 3 stages in the Tour of Japan and a stage in the Thüringen Rundfahrt.
In 2010 he continues his double career with the goal to become World Champion track but also to win stages in the Grand Tours and to get good results in the classics.
Hayden Roulston (10 January 1981)
Coming from Cervélo TestTeam, this rider from New Zealand also combines a road career with a track career. This combination allows him to practice different types of sport just like he did when he was young: I practised all sports when I was young. I liked rugby and football but my first love was the BMX.
Pro since 2003, his main victories are those of the Powernet Tour of Southland (3 times; it's the biggest stage race of New Zealand), the Tour of Wellington in 2006 and 2007, the Tour de Vineyards in 2009, but also silver and bronze medals on track at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.
In 2010 his goal is simple: win as many races as possible.
Aleksejs Saramotins (8 April 1982)
At 27 years Aleksejs becomes a pro rider at HTC-Columbia after having been with Team Designa Køkken for one year. He started cycling at 13 years old after having practised swimming, running and ballet!
In 2009 he won the Grand Prix de la Ville de Lillers, a stage in the Ronde de l'Oise, the Druivenkoers Overijse and the Münsterland Giro. In 2008 he finished 2nd at the Tour du Finistère behind David Le Lay and he won the Grand Prix Tartu. In 2010 he would like to win in the classics and win stages in one or more Grand Tours.
Tejay van Garderen (12 August 1988)
Van Garderen is a 21 year old American rider who becomes pro with HTC-Columbia after two years in the Rabobank Continental Team.
With this team, in 2009 he won the Tour du Haut Anjou and the Circuito Montañés and a stage in Olympia's Tour (and the team time trial) while in 2008 he already won a stage in the Flèche du Sud (where he also took the jersey of the ranking by points and finished as best young rider) and a stage in the Tour de l'Avenir for example.
Martin Velits (21 February 1985)
The Velits brothers have always been in the same teams and, after 2 years in the Milram team, this will again be the case in 2010 with HTC-Columbia.
Martin is the current Slovakian road champion.
Peter Velits (21 February 1985)
In 2009 Peter won the Grosser Preis des Kantons Aargau and he participated in the Tour de France in 2008 where he finished 58th, but his name especially became famous (or should I say his first name?) when he won the World Championship Espoirs in 2007.
HTC-Columbia is proud to be the youngest team of the ProTour with 21 young talents under 26. The team represents 16 nationalities of whom 10 national champions from 8 countries: Australia, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Italy and Slovakia. The team also has 6 former or current World Champions.
The season started well for the HTC-Columbia team with André Greipel's victory in 3 stages and his final victory in the 2010 Tour Down Under. Greipel is one of the sprinters of the team, together with rocket man Mark Cavendish. Together they crossed the finish line first no less than 43 times in 2009: 23 for the British rider from the Isle of Man and 20 for the German rider.
Cavendish' goal is the green jersey in the 2010 Tour de France, after having missed it for a few points only because he was degraded at the finish of the Colmar > Besançon stage because he hindered Thor Hushovd. He will also defend his title in Milan-San Remo and would like to win the Tour of Flanders. However, will he be as strong as in 2009 after Edvald Boasson Hagen, Thomas Lövkvist, Michael Barry and Greg Henderson left for Team Sky and especially George Hincapie - of whom Cavendish said in Vélo Magazine It's simple, I've won all races I've raced with him this season - who left for BMC Racing Team, to join the World Champion, Cadel Evans.
The other riders who stayed are the Swiss Michael Albasini (20 December 1980), the Belgians Gert Dockx (4 July 1988) and Maxime Monfort (14 January 1983), the Austrian Bernhard Eisel (17 February 1981), the German riders Bert Grabsch (19 June 1975), Tony Martin (23 April 1985) and Marcel Sieberg (30 April 1982), the Australian riders Adam Hansen (11 May 1981), Mark Renshaw (22 October 1982) and Michael Rogers (20 December 1979), the American Craig Lewis (10 January 1985), the Italian Marco Pinotti (25 February 1976), the Czech Frantiek Raboň (26 September 1983), the Spanish rider Vicente Reynès (30 July 1981) and the White-Russian Kanstantsin Siutsou (9 August 1982).
For 2010, Rolf Aldag, the team manager, said: Since 2 years now, HTC-Columbia has been the team with the biggest number of victories. And when I think of the future I'm wondering how we can continue this beautiful history. We stay together and work together as a team and I think we can do the same again in 2010.
A video of the 2010 HTC-Columbia team
In this video the HTC-Columbia team presents itself, with Mark Cavendish who explains the team spirit which reigns with HTC-Columbia followed by several riders of different nationalities who present themselves before showing off some of the most beautiful pictures of the 2009 Tour de France, the Giro and some of the other races where the team got some good results in 2009.