Former Tour of Britain winner Mauricio Ardila signs for Colombia-Coldeportes team
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Former Tour of Britain winner Mauricio Ardila signs for Colombia-Coldeportes team

by Shane Stokes at 5:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Rider said to be racing for Continental rather than Pro Continental branch of team

Mauricio ArdilaThe new Colombia-Coldeportes team has further strengthened its ties with sport in the South American country by signing Mauricio Ardila, a 32 year old Colombian rider who has competed for Rabobank and the Geox TMC team in recent seasons.

The climber is best known for winning the 2004Tour of Britain, taking the national tour while being a member of the Chocolade Jacques team. He had turned pro two years earlier with the small Marlux setup and then, the season after his British triumph, switched to the Davitamon-Lotto team.

That year was arguably his most successful, with his results including victory on stage 5 of the Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt, third on stages of the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España and Deutschland Tour, and a fine eighth overall in the Vuelta a España.

Since then, racing with the Rabobank team and then Geox TMC this year, things have been quieter, but 15th in the 2010 Giro and tenth in this year’s Klasika Primavera and GP Llodio were solid results.

However it appears that Ardila will race with the Colombian-based wing of the team in 2012, which will race at Continental level, rather than the squad which has been handed a UCI Pro Continental licence. The 2012 lineup of the latter will feature former world under 23 champion Fabio Duarte, 2003 Tour yellow jersey wearer Víctor Hugo Peña and Tour de l’Avenir winner Esteban Chávez.

The Pro Continental team is aiming to secure wildcard invitations in the Grand Tours next season; a Tour de France invite may be a season or two away, but the prospect of Colombian climbers in the race will be an exciting one for anyone who watched the Café de Colombia team dynamite the climbs in the 1980s.

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