Do those shorts go well)
America's best team. Take that, Garmin!
Rumour had it that one very fast, fashion-conscious and prominent member of the team was not best pleased with the eyeball-assaulting Columbia kit of 2010. But they've lost the comedy abs for 2011, and it's going to be extremely difficult for us to be anything like objective about them when their new kit is such a beacon of sartorial awesomeness.
HTC are increasingly built around Mark Cavendish, especially as they've lost Andre Greipel and his 20 wins a year, plus Michael Rogers has signed for Sky. But there's something about HTC that brings out the best in all their riders — Rogers was always touted as a GC hope in the Grand Tours, but it was actually Marco Pinotti and Peter Velits who got the team their top 10s at the Giro and Vuelta.
Cav's contract runs out at the end of the year, which is going to cause team owner Bob Stapleton some sleepless nights, and the speculation linking him with a move to Team Sky starts.. three, two one...now.
WHERE THEY'LL SHINE
We see nobody who will match Mark Cavendish at his best—it may look like Farrar, Petacchi and company occasionally have his measure, but they're only ever close to him when he's not sprinting full-bore.
The only races HTC won't start as automatic favourites for are the Classics, although Matt Goss brought home Plouay last year, and Cavendish has won Milan-San Remo. But stage races are where they really shine—Tony Martin has won Eneco and come close to winning the Tour of Switzerland, and we'll soon know whether there's a Grand Tour GC in him Tejay Van Garderen came third in the Dauphine last year, and Peter Velits third in the Vuelta.
25 and under: 14
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