Philadelphia, PA - Fuji-sponsored professional cycling team GEOX-TMC held its official 2011 team presentation at the Gran Teatro Geox Theatre in Padova, Italy on Saturday, February 12.
Thirteen of the team's 23 riders were on hand for the presentation, including Matthias Brandle, Giampaolo Cheula, Juan Jose Cobo, Daniele Colli, David De la Fuente, Fabio Duarte, Arkaitz Duran, Fabio Felline, Noe Gianetti, Rafael Walls, Marcel Wyss, and of course, 2009 Giro d'Italia winner Denis Menchov and 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre.
After a moving video presentation detailing Sastre and Menchov's greatest victories, the riders rode their Fuji Altamira road bikes through a sea of smoke on to the stage for an official introduction to the media.
GEOX Chairman Mario Moretti Polegato served as the master of ceremonies with help from top sponsors TMC's Commercial Director Alessandro Scaglione and Fuji's Armin van Hoogstraten, general manager of Advanced Sports International-Europe.
At the presentation, GEOX's Polegato shared why the company decided to sponsor a professional cycling team in 2011.
"We have chosen to enter cycling not just for pure sponsorship but also to test our unique, patented technologies in the extreme discipline of cycling," he explained, referencing GEOX's "Respira" shoe and apparel breathable, waterproof technology.
Geox, headquartered in Montebelluna, Italy, is one of the top footwear brands in the world and produces more than 20 million pairs of shoes annually.
The team's remaining 10 riders - Tomas Alberio, Mauricio Ardila, David Blanco, Marco Corti, Xavier Florencio, David Gutierrez, Dimitriy Kozontchuk, Marco Kump, Matteo Pelucchi and Daniele Ratto - were introduced via video, as they were racing in the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman.
Key executives from team co-sponsors Diadora, Servetto, Footon, Carrera, and Cantabria Infinita were in attendance, along with GEOX-TMC General Manager Mauro Gianetti, Sport Director Joxean Fernandez Matxin and team directors Stefano Zanini and Angoitia Sabino.
Looking at his team assembled on stage, Gianetti spoke of how pleased he is with the GEOX-TMC line-up.
"The average age of our team's riders is 26," explained Gianetti. "Menchov and Sastre are great team captains and particularly great role models for our young riders."
"We have some great young talents on the team: Slovenian rider Marco Kump - winner of the 2010 U23 Tour of Flanders, Russian rider Dimitri Kozontchuk - winner of the U23 Roubaix in 2005, 2008 U23 World Champion Colombian Fabio Duarte, and dynamic Spanish riders, Rafael Valls and Fabio Felline, who claimed many victories in 2010," he said.
Pat Cunnane, president of Advanced Sports International - the parent company of Fuji bicycles, is equally excited about the GEOX-TMC roster, especially given the team's results in just their first week of racing.
"The presentation officially kicked off GEOX-TMC's 2011 season, but the team already announced its arrival to the cycling world in a big way last week in Mallorca," said Cunnane.
GEOX-TMC claimed two consecutive 1st place team finishes in the 3rd and 4th stages of the Mallorca Challenge, Arkatiz Duran finished 2nd in the Trofeo Inca, Juan Jose Cobo came in 3rd in the Trofeo Deià, and Fabio Duarte prevailed in the 4th stage mountain classification.
"This is the third year for Fuji in the pro ranks, and it's our best team yet. We expect great things from GEOX-TMC," said Cunnane.