The Katusha team is going through some significant changes as it heads into 2017 but its familiar red kit will remain a constant in the peloton.

Recently Katusha changed its UCI license locale from Russia to Switzerland and added Alpecin as a sponsor along with a greater internationalisation of its rider roster and waved off long time general manager Viacheslav Ekimov, who is replaced by José Azevedo.

“Things have come together faster than I expected especially with all of the new people,"  Azevedo said. "We have 40 per cent new people in the team for the riders and we also have changes on the staffing side. It can take time for the new people to integrate into the system and understand how things work.

"But right away after our first small camp in Italy last October, I went home and felt very positive about what I had seen. In only four days I saw people developing a good connection.  

"Now in Calpe (Spain) we have had another week to work together and I’d say everyone feels part of the group now.  This is very important to me. The atmosphere and mentality in the group is good.”

Current world time trial champion Tony Martin will work to take the yellow jersey on the opening day of the 2017 Le Tour. With the prologue taking place in his native Germany, Martin will focus on earning the first maillot jaune. He will also concentrate on Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix as well as a fifth world title. Ilnur Zakarin will skip the Tour in 2017 and instead fight for general classification results in both the Giro d’Italia and la Vuelta a España. Top sprinter Alexander Kristoff resumes his determination to bolster his wins in the big spring classics, racing all of them up to Paris-Roubaix. Kristoff will look for a repeat victory in Milano-Sanremo (2014) and Ronde van Vlaanderen (2015) as well as wins in E3 Harelbeke and Gent Wevelgem to round out his palmares. 

The Katusha-Alpecin team will field 26 riders from 14 countries. Austria, Belgium, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.

Maxim Belkov (RUS), Jenthe Biermans (BEL), Sven Erik Bystrøm (NOR), José Gonçalves (POR), Marco Haller (AUT), Reto Hollenstein (SUI), Robert Kišerlovski (CRO), Pavel Kochetkov (RUS), Alexander Kristoff (NOR), Viacheslav Kuznetsov (RUS), Maurits Lammertink (HOL), Alberto Losada (ESP), Tiago Machado (POR), Matvey Mamykin (RUS), Tony Martin (GER), Marco Mathis (GER), Michael Mørkøv (DEN), Baptiste Planckaert (BEL), Nils Politt (GER), Jhonatan Restrepo (COL), Simon Špilak (SLO), Rein Taaramäe (EST), Ángel Vicioso (ESP), Mads Würtz Schmidt (DEN), Rick Zabel (GER), Ilnur Zakarin (RUS).

Monday 5 Dec 2016

From the Vuelta a España:

"The CADF (Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) has informed the Vuelta organisation that all the anti-doping tests that were carried out during and prior to the competition, more than 400 in total, came back negative. The 2016 Vuelta controls started on Thursday 18 August, and ended on Sunday the 11 September 2016. We are pleased to inform that there were no positive results."

So that's all good then.