Coming from l'Equipe, Giant-Alpecin is about to get a big injection of money into their coffers from a now unknown source but it was announced that Australian U23 RR Champion Chris Hamilton will be joining the team for 2017. Joining Dutchman Lennard Hofstede, Hamilton will be the 2nd neo-pro for the team that announced they would be re-starting a continental team focused on German talent. The Netherlands and Australia are not in Germany, for those keeping score at home.
Hamilton is certainly a talent but going straight to the World Tour from his Avanti team is going to be quite a challenge. He rode well in Tour Down Under but he was on some sizzling summer form while others were just getting into their groove. He has ridden well in Asia but the competition level there can be a bit spotty. I know this sounds like a dark cloud but going from riding the Tour of Taiwan to riding the Volta a Catalunya is like going into Technicolor. Best of luck to Hamilton on his new ride.
Transitioning elsewhere, Trek-Segafredo have announced a "development network" that will grow from its connection with EFC-Etixx and stated that they are looking into having a connection with Viris-Maserati and Ausonia Pescantina for 2017. This could be interesting as Colpack and Zalf-Euromobil-Fior are "officially" locked up with Lampre and Bardiani-CSF so getting access to some Italian talent that isn't on the two super teams is a smart move. Jakub Mareczko came from Viris only a couple years ago and he has been dominating B/C level sprints.
Trek-Segafredo also announced they have been doing some rider testing and have announced riders that will be joining them for a training camp in the Alps, where stagiaires will be chosen from. They said that while not all of the tested riders joined their camp of riders, they will continue to keep tabs on them.
The 10 riders chosen include Piet Allegaert, Christophe Noppe, Jordi Warlop (all EFC-Etixx), Aleksandr Riabushenko (Palazzago), Martin Bouzas (Super Froiz), Jose Manuel Diaz Gallego (Bicicletas Rodriguez), Oliveira Troia (Colpack), Michael Bresciani (Zalf-Euromobil-Fior), Davide Botta (VC Mendrisio) & Jacopo Mosca (Viris Maserati).
A decent group here but not filled with world beaters. Allegaert and Troia are potential classics stars in the making. Bouzas is a first year U23 but won the Spanish U23 TT after winning the junior title last year. Riabushenko is a climbing talent but his results have not been stellar or what I thought a World Tour team would look for. Noppe is a good sprinter while Gallego was 4th overall in the Copa de Espana after winning the Memorial Valenciaga in very impressive fashion over four Lizarte riders.
A good example of what the stagiaire program should be. Riders that are not assured World Tour contracts but need to get experience at the highest level to see how they will adapt.