Footon-Servetto: In with the young
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Footon-Servetto: In with the young

by VeloNation Press at 3:36 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Press Release

The newly named Footon-Servetto ProTour team has announced its first signings for the 2010 season. The team has confirmed David Vitoria (Rock Racing), Michele Merlo and Marco Corti (Barloworld), David Gutiérrez Palacios (Camargo elite2), Rafael Valls (Burgos Monumental) and Miguel Ángel Rubiano (Centri della Calzatura-Partizan).

Vitoria, 25, is from Switzerland and made his professional debut back in 2006 with the Phonak team. He went on to ride for BMC in 2007. He couldn't find a team in 2008, but had a great season with his return to the pro ranks this year, winning two stages in the Ruta de México.

Italian Michele Merlo, 22, is an up and coming sprinter who won a stage in the Tour of Britain this year, his first season as a pro. His compatriot and teammate on Barloworld, Marco Corti, also saw his pro debut this season. Footon-Servetto will look to further develop the 23-year old in 2010.

Spaniard David Gutiérrez at 26 is the oldest of the new recruits. He, Rafael Valls (22), and David Gutiérrez Palacios (22), who is the brother of Caisse d`Epargne's Iván Gutiérrez Palacios, are all emerging talents from Spain that can expect a big learning curve as newcomers to the ProTour.

Columbian Miguel Ángel Rubiano is the most promising rider of the new signings. The 25-year-old rode extremely well in the Italian semiclassics, with a 3rd place at the Trofeo Melinda, a 4th at the Giro di Reggio Calabria, and 5th place in the Coppa Sabatini, the G.P and the Carnago and the Coppa Agostoni. His consistent placings were made up against seasoned veterans like Giovanni Visconti (ISD-Neri), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo), and Ivan Basso (Liquigas).

It's obvious Footon-Servetto is planning for the long-term, and bringing in young riders might help clear their tarnished image from the doping scandals of the past. 2009 saw the team left off the start list for Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France despite their ProTour status.

While the new signings will help with the team's image, it could find problems keeping their ProTour status if the results are lacking. French teams Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis were both bumped down to Pro-Continental teams after a tough year in the win column, and have both said they intend to come back strong for next season to earn back their licenses.


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