Lampre-ISD could be landing spot for Franco Pellizotti
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lampre-ISD could be landing spot for Franco Pellizotti

by Kyle Moore at 7:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Liquigas-Cannondale, Acqua & Sapone, Farnese Vini-Selle Italia also in the running

Franco PellizottiFranco Pellizotti is set to make his return to professional racing in early March, and it now appears that the Italian climber will settle on one of four possible Italian teams.

Pellizotti’s agent, Alex Carera, indicated today that Lampre-ISD would be the favoured destination for his client, but also said that Italian teams Liquigas-Cannondale, Acqua & Sapone, and Farnese Vini-Selle Italia were still in contention to land the 34-year-old.

Pellizotti last rode for Liquigas-Doimo in 2010 before becoming one of the Bilogical Passport’s biggest snares to date. When the Court of Arbitration for Sport officially handed Pellizotti a two-year ban last March, after upholding an appeal by the UCI, he lost all results from May 17, 2009, including his second place overall in the Giro d’Italia that year, as well as a stage win and polka dot jersey in the 2010 Tour de France.

With his ban set to end on May 5, ironically the same day as the beginning of this year’s Giro, Pellizotti insisted that he just wants to race again.

“The first WorldTour team that is willing to take me, I will sign with them [without hesitation],” Pellizotti vowed according to Ciclonews.com.

Reported to be in good shape, the Italian is ready to get started.

“Normally at this stage of the season I have settled in and learned my competitive program. At 34, and after this long break, it is hard to imagine something different,” he added.

According to Carera, it is the interest that Lampre-ISD manager Giuseppe Saronni has shown that makes the Italian squad of Michele Scarponi a possible frontrunner.

“There is only Lampre-ISD,” Carera stated. “Saronni took care to know what psychological and physical conditions Franco is in, and when the ban expires.”

Given the status of each Italian team being considered – Lampre-ISD and Liquigas-Cannondale have established leaders while Acqua & Sapone and Farnese Vini-Selle Italia do not – Carera said that this could play a role in the direction Pellizotti goes.

“It is clear that in these [latter] two teams Franco would have a major role, but at the Giro with Lampre, Scarponi aims for success, while Franco might be the leader at the Vuelta a España.

“But it is premature to talk about such things even though we are close to the end [of Pellizotti’s ban]. In early March, Franco will have in hand the contract that he deserves.”

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