Hoogerland secures contract with Androni Gioccatoli – Venezuela for next season
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Friday, October 25, 2013

Hoogerland secures contract with Androni Gioccatoli – Venezuela for next season

by VeloNation Press at 7:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Dutch champion finds new squad after Vacansoleil DCM team folds

Johnny Hoogerland Gianni savioAfter several nervous months not knowing where he would race next year, Johnny Hoogerland has confirmed that he will compete with the Androni Gioccatoli – Venezuela team in 2014. The Dutch champion signed a contract yesterday with team owner Gianni Savio, sealing his place in the team and thus in the peloton next season.

“I was so frustrated sometimes,” Hoogerland told AD.nl, speaking about the uncertainty. “My patience ran out, also due to media reports that I was asking for too much money. I don’t need a big amount, I just want to keep cycling.”

Hoogerland and the other riders on the Vacansoleil DCM team were threatened with unemployment when it became clear that the team’s sponsors would not continue beyond the end of this season. The team’s owners tried to secure other backing but were ultimately unable to do so, causing the squad to wind down.

Dutch champion Hoogerland spoke to several teams, including Astana, Lampre-Merida and Cannondale, although negotiations with the latter were complicated by the team’s negotiations with Oleg Tinkov, which fell apart before an agreement could be reached.

Finally, Hoogerland worked on an arrangement with Savio. “I knew it was going to be okay once I had spoken to him,” he said. “He wants to have me in the role of road captain and the racing of Androni suits me: always aggressive. Savio has made no hocus pocus offers and no weird promises : he just told how things were. I like that. Furthermore, I like Italian races.”

The 30 year old rider is known for being one of the most aggressive competitors in the bunch. He is a past mountains jersey winner in the Tours of Poland and Britain and also wore the polka dot jersey for several stages in the 2011 Tour de France.

He was involved in a big crash in the latter event, with a badly-driven media car causing him to be thrown into a barbed wire fence. While he continued in the race, he was not able to ride at the same level as before.

Savio said that the spirit he showed then was part of the reason he was of interest to the team.

“We chose Hoogerland not just for the prestige of having the Dutch champion, but especially after finding that his personality is entirely in keeping with the spirit of our team,” he stated. “We race always on the attack - the record obtained at the recent Tour of Italy is a sign of that, as we have travelled 1,680 kilometres in the breaks - and Hoogerland is a born attacker.

“We have obtained results, always interpreting the races with 'grit' and determination, and Hoogerland has demonstrated a truly exceptional spirit of sacrifice when, two years ago, he managed to complete the Tour de France in dire physical condition.

“Every sportsman will recall the dramatic scene when Hoogerland – wearing the jersey of the King of the Mountain - was hit by a car and was thrown against the barbed wire by the roadside. Without that accident, he might have finished the Tour with the leader's jersey of the climbers, but even without the podium on the Champs Elysees, he was welcomed in Paris as a victor for his bravery.”

The team is set to ride the Giro d’Italia next year and also many other big events. Hoogerland will structure his season around being in the best shape possible for that Grand Tour.

“All the races I’ll take part are important, from Coppi e Bartali to the Tour of Italy,” he said. “My main goal is to do my best.”

Hoogerland is a past winner of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and has top six finishes in the Tour of the Mediterranean, the Tour of Britain and Il Lombardia. He was also twelfth overall in the 2009 Vuelta a España.


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