Colombia-Coldeportes team to push for Grand Tour participation in first season
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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Colombia-Coldeportes team to push for Grand Tour participation in first season

by Shane Stokes at 12:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Ardennes Classics also on wish-list

Fabio DuarteThe new Colombia-Coldeportes team has confirmed that it will lobby all three Grand Tour organisers in its first season, seeking to secure wildcard participation in at least one of those.

The lineup of the all-Colombian team was confirmed earlier today, and it will feature riders such as 2008 under 23 world road race champion Fabio Duarte (right) and former US Postal Service rider Victor Hugo Peña, who wore the yellow jersey in the 2003 Tour.

According to general manager Claudio Corti, who previously brought the Barloworld team to the Tour de France, the team will race hard early on and aim to attract an invite to the sport’s top events.

“As a Professional Continental Team, our aim is to get an invitation for the biggest races in cycling, and we hope to get a chance to ride a Grand Tour in our first season,” he told VeloNation today. “We think our project and team philosophy could help us on the way to the cycling world’s greatest stages: after many years, an all-Colombian team is back in the professional peloton with a very solid project, supported by the Colombian government, and relevant ambitions.

“Of course, it is still early to know whether we will ride the Giro or the Tour de France in our very first season: we are working hard to have a good start of the season, and we hope to make an impression with our racing style and team organization."

A spokesman subsequently clarified to VeloNation that the omission of a mention of the Vuelta a España didn’t mean that the Spanish race wasn’t on the team’s wish-list. “The Giro and the Tour were listed just as an example of the races the Team could be interested in taking part to, but not as an actual ‘shortlist,’ he explained.

“Colombia-Coldeportes' calendar for 2012 is still to be shaped, and the team is not ruling out any chance - including the Vuelta itself.”

He added that the Spring Classics are also a big target, most specifically the Ardennes races, and that a clearer picture would be gained in time.

As a Pro Continental team, the squad must rely on invites rather than the guaranteed participation given to ProTeam squads.

The team is hoping to return Colombian cycling to the glory days of the 1980s, when riders such as Lucho Herrera and Fabio Parra took stages and battled for the overall honours in the big three week Tours.

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