An early Christmas present for Sojasun’s Marino, after likely Cannondale join-up
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Friday, December 06, 2013

An early Christmas present for Sojasun’s Marino, after likely Cannondale join-up

by Kyle Moore at 12:28 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
One worker of every kind reportedly moving from Sojasun to Cannondale

CannondaleOn vacation with his family and perhaps contemplating the phase of his life after professional cycling, Jean-Marc Marino (Sojasun) got an unexpected call from former Sojasun manager Stéphane Heulot, telling him to get back in the saddle.

It was reported earlier in the week that Sojasun would likely be teaming up with Cannondale as a backing sponsor of the WorldTour team, and while the ink isn’t yet on the paper, further details are coming out regarding the merger.

French website La Depeche.fr reports that one former Sojasun team employee of each type will join Cannondale. Though his contract isn’t signed yet, Marino was named as the new Cannondale rider, and has begun his training in Spain accordingly. Heulot would be the likely choice to join Roberto Amadio at Cannondale, but La Depeche.fr questions whether it could be director sportif Lylian Lebreton.

Along with the rider and director, the pending Cannondale-Sojasun merger will also send a former Sojasun mechanic, a soigner, and a public relations person to Cannondale.

Marino just turned 30 years old, a professional since 2005. He rode for three full years with Crédit Agricole, before signing with the Sojasun organization in 2009, when it went pro continental for the first time, as Besson Chaussures-Sojasun.

He finished the Tour de France each of the past two seasons, riding mainly as a domestique on the flatlands. This year, he took 17th on stage 16 into Gap, benefitting as last man caught from the large early breakaway, along with AG2R-La Mondiale’s Blel Kadri.

“I was on vacation with my beautiful family in Tanzania and I wasn’t thinking about it much at all,” Marino said of his pro contract situation, his current team having folded. “I saw that Stéphane Heulot was trying to reach me. But I had no idea what he was going to say.

“Stéphane told me to get back to work. I did, but I prefer to not believe it fully yet, because I haven’t signed anything.”

When word of the mini-merger came out on Tuesday, a contract was expected to be signed at the end of the week. La Depeche says this should still be the case.

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