Photo Gallery: Colombia Coldeportes team trains in Italy, starts racing in 11 days
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Photo Gallery: Colombia Coldeportes team trains in Italy, starts racing in 11 days

by Shane Stokes at 8:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
New Pro Continental team builds form and makes racing plans

Victor Huga PenaThe path towards having a Colombian team back in the Tour de France continues in Bergamo in Italy, where the Colombia Coldeportes team is currently preparing for its first season in the peloton.

The riders of the Pro Continental team flew to Italy on Saturday and since then have been working on the immigration procedures that they need to finalise in order to be able to be based in Europe for 2012. Fortunately they have also been able to train and have headed out as a group around the area of Bergamo, where they will be based during the year.

The first competition will be the GP Costa degli Etruschi on February 4th. A team spokesman told VeloNation that the lineup is yet to be decided. “After the riders arrived in Italy just a couple days ago, the technical staff is taking time to determine their feelings and condition before finalizing the race lineup: nevertheless, it will be announced in a few days.”

He added that the next events would be the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria, between February 9-12th, and Trofeo Laigueglia on February 18.

Before then, the riders will begin a training camp based at the in Torbole sul Garda, on the shores of Lake Garda. It will begin on January 27th. They will be staying in the Aktivhotel Santalucia, which has long-running sporting links, and from which the group will increase its sharpness prior to beginning an important campaign.

The team is aiming to emulate the Café de Colombia squad, which animated the Tour de France and other races in the 80s. It features sixteen riders, including former Tour de France yellow jersey wearer Victor Hugo Peña (pictured), 2008 under 23 world road race champion Fabio Duarte, 2011 Tour de l’Avenir victor Esteban Chávez and others.

Colombia ColdeportesIt was recently confirmed as getting invites to Giro organiser RCS Sport's prestigious Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and Il Lombardia events.

General manager Claudio Corti told VeloNation in December that the team was determined to chase a slot in the biggest races in the sport.

“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 said VeloNation. “We think our project and team philosophy could help us on the way to the cycling world’s greatest races: 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.”

While it didn’t get a Giro d’Italia invite, he said earlier this month that the team believed that it was possible to get a wildcard to either the Tour de France or the Vuelta a España.

A gallery of the team training is available; click the images below to access that section.





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