Team Colombia says it ‘has everything in place’ to compete for Giro d’Italia wildcard berth
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Team Colombia says it ‘has everything in place’ to compete for Giro d’Italia wildcard berth

by Shane Stokes at 5:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Squad says it will be very competitive in 2014, with or without Samuel Sanchez on board

Team ColombiaListed yesterday by RCS Sport as one of the teams that had applied for a wildcard for next year’s Giro d’Italia, Team Colombia has detailed the reasons why it believes that it should be considered for what would be the second consecutive invite to the race.

The team has said that it believes it will be at a higher level this season and thus ready to build on what it achieved in 2013. In addition to that, it said that having a continent behind it is also of value to its candidature.

“As regards the Giro wild card bid, we feel like we made a good debut, and we are definitely interested and motivated to be back in 2014,” spokesman David Evangelista told VeloNation today.

“We filled our team with some exciting new talents, but we can also count on a number of riders who rode the Giro in 2013, and would be able to build over this experience.”

The team notched up two high finishes last year; Fabio Duarte was second on stage twenty to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, while Jarlinson Pantano Gomez was third on stage nine to Firenze.

Separately to its Giro campaign, the team also notched up wins with Leonardo Duque in the GP Bruno Beghelli and on stage one of the Tour de l’Ain, and with Darwin Atapuma on stage six of the Tour de Pologne.

Evangelista said that the team has very strong support back home and also enjoys the interest of supporters from further afield. “We have got an entire country behind us, and a big number of fans in South America and all around the world, hoping to see their team compete again at the highest level in one of the most prestigious and demanding events in cycling. We will do our very best not to disappoint them,” he promised.

“Of course, we know a number of teams share our same interest, but we think RCS Sport appreciated what we brought to the race (on and off the road) last time out, and we feel we got everything in place to compete for another wildcard and a spot at the start in Belfast.”

The other teams named by RCS Sport yesterday are the Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, Caja Rural-RGA, IAM Cycling, MTN-Qhubeka, Team NetApp-Endura, Team Novo Nordisk and UnitedHealtcare Pro Cycling Team squads.

However RCS Sport told VeloNation today that the list wasn’t definitive, and that other squads still had time to apply.

As is the case with the other teams, Colombia’s candidature will be judged in part on the riders and their potential to animate the race. The squad is still finalising its lineup. In recent weeks the team has been linked to former Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez, who is trying to sort out his career after Euskaltel Euskadi folded.

Team Colombia confirmed to VeloNation recently that there had been contact between them, but said that until Sanchez finalised his dealings with his former team [thought to be about the payment of the contract he should have had next season – ed.], that nothing could be finalised.

Evangelista echoed that today. “We have nothing new to report at the moment. We are at the window, but we have a very good group of riders we got great confidence in, and who have showed to be progressing quickly and consistently over time.

“We can’t say with which team Samuel Sanchez will race next year, but we can state our team will be ready and competitive for 2014.”

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