Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  
Teams Home
TT1 teams
2004 Teams Database
Pro Team Tech 2004

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Road Season Preview 2004

January 24, 2004

Saunier Duval - Prodir

Saunier Duval-Prodir seeks success for first season

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Tim Johnson's ready
Photo ©: T. Johnson

El Grande Hotel Puente Viesgo in Spain's northwestern Cantabria region was the site of the Saunier Duval-Prodir 2004 team presentation Friday. Team manager Mauro Gianetti has teamed up with the Iglesias family, father Félix and son Roberto of Saunier Duval Spain, long-time sponsors of the sport, to put together the Iberian Peninsula's eighth pro squad for 2004. Saunier Duval makes state of the art home heating systems, while Prodir makes high quality Swiss pens used for promotional purposes. Saunier Duval-Prodir will start 2004 in Division I and the team has put together an interesting team roster with a 3.5 million euro budget.

General manager Gianetti, who split from the Vini Caldirola team last year has taken two of the best sports directors in cycling with him to head up his technical staff. Joxean Fernández Matxin, at 33 the youngest d.s. in the peloton, and Vittorio Algeri (joined by his brother Pietro and nephew Matteo Algeri) will guide the 20 man formation this season, but no particular rider will rule the roost.

"Since we are primarily a Spanish team, the Vuelta is important for us and we'll have Joaquin Rodriguez as our leader there," said the likeable Matxin, who was formerly a well regarded d.s. with Mapei's TT3 team. "Plus we want to win at least 10 races this season."

Formerly of ONCE-Eroski, the promising 24 year old Rodriguez had two important wins last season with stages of Paris-Nice and the Vuelta a España, where he was 26th. Other key riders for the Saunier squad are experienced Swiss powerhouse Fabian Jeker, Spaniards Juan-Carlos Dominguez and David Canada, and interesting Colombia climber Javier "Chepin" Gonzalez who comes across from 05 Orbitel. The team has also reached an agreement with ex-Kelme rider Constantino Zaballa after extended negotiations.

The Italian contingent at Saunier Duval-Prodir consists of sprinters Massimo Strazzer and Alberto Loddo, miniscule pocket climber Leonardo Piepoli, as well as talented neo-pro Manuele Mori.

Swiss-italian wonderboy Rubens Bertogliati will be seeking some confirmation in 2004, while the lone American (and Cyclingnews diarist), 26 year old Tim Johnson from Middleton, Massachusetts, looks to his debut in the European peloton with excitement after several years at Saturn.

With Gianetti and his crack technical staff and an ambitious, talented young team, look for Saunier Duval-Prodir to perform well right away in 2004.

Saunier Duval-Prodir 2004 roster