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And right here’s the place I attempt to discover thrilling issues to speak about relating to unexciting groups! Properly, groups that haven’t been all that thrilling of late anyway. Perhaps 2023 will probably be a bit extra memorable for Trek-Segafredo, the marginally Italian, even much less American, squad that traces its timeline again to the Leopard days simply over a decade in the past. That was a star-studded period for the group they usually received monuments and grand excursions alike, and as not too long ago as 2021 that they had Jasper Stuyven’s MSR win to have fun and spent the earlier yr (2020, blerg) defending the rainbow jersey. However 2022 was an authorized dud. And they’re a couple of years out from having the likes of Porte and Nibali giving them a reputable contender in a grand tour. The group has gotten fairly younger recently, and they will have to see some outcomes earlier than too lengthy.

Anyway… stick round for the package opinions!

77th Tour of Spain 2022 - Stage 21

Photograph by Tim de Waele/Getty Photos

1. Mad About Mads?

When do you resolve to name a man a celebrity? That’s a query for Mads Pedersen, who took over the Vuelta a España factors chase by simply bulldozing the competitors, and appeared primed for extra, solely to finish his season earlier than chasing a world title the place he would have been a favourite. If that feels like a criticism, it had been a really lengthy season — he completed the Tour de France too — and a visit to Australia wouldn’t have been nothing. All for a shot at a jersey he’d spent a yr in already… I’m positive it was the correct resolution for him or he wouldn’t have made it.

Other than a world title in 2019, Pedersen has wins in Gent-Wevelgem, Tour and Vuelta phases, KBK, a close to miss in Flanders, and excessive quantity manufacturing for a not-so-pure sprinter, 27 victories to his skilled title. So is he a celebrity? I’m going with no, not but, however this can be a massive yr for the Dane. He’s firmly in his prime (27) so it’s not like now or by no means, however he has beforehand proven that he’s a possible power within the Cobbled Classics and coming off a powerful efficiency final yr, it looks as if this could possibly be a golden alternative for him to burnish his resume in an enormous manner.

2. Will any of the children develop up?

In a variety of sports activities, having a brilliant younger roster tends to generate extra smoke than hearth. Dreaming on the potential of the following nice younger rider is a trademark of the game now greater than ever, however that’s our downside. Trek’s job is to really exit and win. And younger rosters have a observe document of not panning out instantly. Till they’re one thing extra, these youngsters are lottery tickets.

Trek have a LOT of lottery tickets, and if we’ve got realized something about lotteries, it’s that when you purchase sufficient tickets you’re positive to win! That’s excellent news for Trek!

82nd Skoda Tour Luxembourg 2022 - Stage 5

Skjelmose Jensen
Photograph by Bas Czerwinski/Getty Photos

Mattias Skjelmose Jensen is an effective guess to attain factors in stage races, because of his time trialling, and he flashed some punchy goodness that might flip into classics outcomes fairly quickly whereas he builds towards grand tour stuff. Antonio Tiberi and Filippo Baroncini have some one-day expertise. Quinn Simmons is America’s hottest cobbles expertise, and is speaking up his motivations for the approaching season, his fourth, although his twenty second birthday is a couple of months off. Natnael Tesfatsion comes aboard this yr so as to add one other climber. Even Thibau Nys is right here, able to see if his expertise interprets massive time on the street.

That’s an inventory of names and notes about how gifted they’re. Each winter we make these lists after which wait to see if the precise people referenced right here can rework their younger careers. I do like Trek taking a number of possibilities right here, a number of of them may effectively lead them into their subsequent iteration. However there aren’t any ensures.

106th Gran Piemonte 2022

Natnael Tesfatsion
Photograph by Tim de Waele/Getty Photos

3. Is all of it simply stage wins on the grand excursions? Like, without end?

Contemplating the group was based to offer the Schleck brothers a Riis-free pathway to glory, Trek’s lack of grand tour GC avenues is fairly conspicuous. I don’t blame them for parting methods with Vincenzo Nibali or Richie Porte once they did — Trek don’t have the sort of funds the place they will pay for previous efficiency. However that leaves them with Bauke Mollema and Giulio Ciccone someplace within the neighborhood of the highest 25 on GC. In different phrases, nowhere.

Skjelmose Jensen in all probability represents their greatest hope at turning issues round. Tesfatsion could be extra of a pure climber than an actual GC risk, relying on whether or not his ITT can develop. I don’t know if there’s anybody else who matches that invoice, however between these two possibly they get one thing going this yr? If not, effectively, Pedersen within the maillot vert isn’t the worst factor.

118th Paris-Roubaix 2021 - Men’s Eilte

Hardman Stuyven
Photograph by Tim de Waele/Getty Photos

4. Which Jasper Stuyven can we count on?

Good query. I’m making an attempt to decipher some correlation between his high scoring years and one or different program or peak. He’s topped 1000 factors 5 occasions since 2017, coming off a pair down years, and with comparatively quiet campaigns in 2020 and 2022. He’s run fairly comparable applications yearly, together with going to the Tour, which hasn’t prevented him from having actually robust fall campaigns. So which years inform us what to imagine? When he begins robust or finishes massive?

The reply is usually that he simply is who he’s, and that’s a man extra probably than to not crack the 1000-point barrier once more. Since actually setting in at Trek his solely actual down years had been in 2020, which was clearly a multitude, and 2022, when he bought sick round Milano-Sanremo, a foul time for a cobbles man to need to cease what he’s doing and get better. Stuyven turns 32 in April, and there’s been sufficient reporting about how shut he and Pedersen are as teammates. Add in Toms Skuujins, Simmons, and Edward Theuns, and you’ve got a stable cobbles squad. I don’t suppose it’s loopy to imagine in these guys, if their preparation goes effectively. Sure, the Van Aert-van der Poel stranglehold will probably be there, as will Pogacar, however a powerful group nonetheless has a job to play, and after the 2 massive stars, this could be the following strongest group. There isn’t a Fast Step juggernaut for the time being to concern. Step up, lads.

5. Equipment Rating Time!

OK, we’ve got 12 years of entries and a normal theme that (post-Leopard) entails crimson, white and black. Over that point they’ve rearranged the colours nearly each doable manner, however the outcomes don’t ever really feel all that completely different.

2023: Is {that a} design factor???

23rd Santos Tour Down Under 2023 - Schwalbe Classic Men’s Elite

2023
Photograph by Tim de Waele/Getty Photos

Their latest entry is definitely their first to make use of one thing moreover giant stable sq. fields of colour. It’s like they’ve found the idea of aptitude. Simply now!

2022: White sufficient for ya?

82nd Skoda Tour Luxembourg 2022 - Stage 5

2022 Trek
Photograph by Bas Czerwinski/Getty Photos

Like I mentioned, they’ve tried all of the combos. This was the yr they gave up on emphasizing crimson and black.

2021: Black Sleeves

76th Tour of Spain 2021 - Stage 21

2021 Trek
Photograph by Stuart Franklin/Getty Photos

Is that this their “traditional” look? I sort of consider it that manner. Maybe as a result of it was their greatest classics marketing campaign, the place Jasper received the Omloop and Mads Gent-Wevelgem.

2019: Not fairly all crimson

4th Tour de La Provence 2019 - Stage 2

Photograph by Luc Claessen/Getty Photos

In all probability their most hanging effort earlier than this yr. Later in 2019 they went to their first almost-all-white, which is principally the identical as 2022.

2018: What crimson is that anyway?

Cycling: 101st Tour of Italy 2018 / Stage 13

2018
Photograph by Tim de Waele/Getty Photos

It’s a tad … shiny.

2017: Crimson shoulders, vertical stripes

53rd Tour of Turkey 2017 - Stage 6

2017 Trek
Photograph by Artur Widak/NurPhoto by way of Getty Photos

The Cancellara years featured some vertical striping. I suppose that was an early try at aptitude? This wasn’t my least favourite.

2016: White shoulders, vertical stripes

CYCLING-BEL-FLANDERS

2016 Trek
Photograph credit score ought to learn DAVID STOCKMAN/AFP by way of Getty Photos

This was my least favourite.

2014: Trek Black-tory Racing

USA Pro Challenge - Stage 7

2014 Shut Up Legs Version
Photograph by Doug Pensinger/Getty Photos

Appears like each group has gone all black sooner or later, no? Fast Step and INEOS for positive, Garmin (pre-EF) too. Israel Premier Tech, not but, however they’ve gotten progressively darker, so possibly that’s subsequent yr. Within the desert although??

2011 Wayback Time… with Leopards!

The Leopard Trek Team celebrates on the

Leopard Trek, 2011
Photograph credit score ought to learn JOSE JORDAN/AFP by way of Getty Photos

I think a variety of you guys can have a sentimental attachment right here. I don’t — it’s only a powder blue stripe, however hey, this can be a democracy.

Talking of which…

Ballot

When did Trek-Segafredo put out their greatest package?

  • 0%

    2023: Patterns!

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    2022: White Time

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    2021: Black sleeve look

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    2019: Crimson and Black

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    2018: Vibrant crimson

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    2017: Crimson over Black

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    2016: White over Black

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    2014: Trek Black-tory Racing

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    2011: Layopard Days

    (0 votes)



0 votes complete

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