Colombia-Coldeportes team secures UCI Pro Continental licence, aiming for Grand Tours
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Colombia-Coldeportes team secures UCI Pro Continental licence, aiming for Grand Tours

by Shane Stokes at 5:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Victor Hugo Peña, Fabio Duarte and Tour de l’Avenir winner Esteban Chávez part of lineup

Fabio DuarteHaving specified participation in Grand Tours as one of its goals for 2012, the new Colombia-Coldeportes team has moved a step closer to that target by receiving a UCI Continental Professional licence for next season.

Confirmation was given by the international governing body UCI today, with the team being included on a list of fifteen squads registered to that level. More may be added in time, but making this initial grade is a big boost for the new team.

The licence will enable the team to take part in high level competition in the year ahead. It will also aim to get UCI wild card status, which in turn will enable the team to lobby for invitations to the major races.

The fact that the team is a Colombian one will generate a lot of interest. During the 1980s Colombian riders had a strong presence in the Tour de France and other races, with Lucho Herrera winning stages and the King of the Mountains classification in the Tour, Vuelta and Giro, as well as two Dauphiné Libéré titles, Fabio Parra finishing second overall in the Vuelta a España, and other riders also shining.

The team blitzed races in the high mountains, making a clear impression on the sport. The Colombian success was a little more muted from the 90s onwards but other riders such as world time trial champion Santiago Botero and Tour de France maillot jaune Victor Hugo Pena ensured that the link between the country and the top level of the sport remained.

More recently, Colombian cycling has been showing very promising signs. Fabio Duarte (pictured) won the world under 23 road race championships in 2008 and is developing well, with his results this season including victory in stage three of the Giro del Trentino and second in both the GP di Lugano and on stage five of the Giro d’Italia.

In recent days he was confirmed as heading to the team. Fifteen others have now also been revealed by the Colombian federation, with the lineup also including that previous Tour yellow jersey wearer Víctor Hugo Peña, Juan Pablo Suárez, Felipe Laverde, Esteban Chávez, Jarlinson Pantano, Juan Pablo Forero, Carlos Julián Quintero, Wilson Marentes, Robinson Chalapud, Darwin Atapuma, Edwin Para, Javier González and Frank Osorio.

The past two winners of the Tour de l’Avenir also come from Colombia; Esteban Chávez is one of those and will be part of the team. The other, Nairo Quintana, will be part of the ProTeam Movistar squad.


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