Caruso to make Katusha debut in Liège-Bastogne-Liège
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Caruso to make Katusha debut in Liège-Bastogne-Liège

by Conal Andrews at 6:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Following an early-season transfer from his previous team, the Italian rider Giampaolo Caruso will tomorrow make his debut for the Katusha squad when he lines out in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The 29 year old from Avola had been with the Ceramica Flaminia team since April 2008, but was given the green light to transfer to Katusha when Ceramica was not invited to the Giro d’Italia. That was widely interpreted as being a reaction to the presence of Riccardo Ricco on the team, something that the race director Angelo Zomegnan appeared to himself confirm.

Caruso is expected to be one of the strongest riders on the squad, thanks in part to his climbing ability. He is looking forward to lining out with his new team, and was thankful to those who enabled a very rare mid-season transfer to take place.

“I’m happy to debut in Katusha’s jersey at Liège-Bastogne-Liège,” he said. “My program will continue with Giro d’Italia, and for an Italian it’s a fantastic thing. I want to thank Anderi Tchmil for the confidence that put in me, and Roberto Marrone and Francesco Bravini of Ceramiche Flaminia Team that gave me a possibility to change team”.

Caruso is a former world championship under 23 silver medallist and European champion who turned pro in 2002 with the ONCE team. He remained within the fold for over four years, in which time it changed into the Liberty Seguros squad.

He finished 19th and 12th in the 2005 and 2006 Giri d’Italia, but was then implicated in Operación Puerto. He signed for Lampre in 2007 but was unable to race for most of the season, being handed a two year ban by the Italian federation. This was eventually overturned by CAS, and he returned to racing with Ceramica Flaminia in late April 2008.

Since then, he took top ten placings in a number of Italian events such as the Giro dell’Emilia (5th), Giro del Trentino (7th), Coppa Placci (8th) and the Settimana Ciclista Internazionale Coppi-Bartali (10th), as well as third in the 2009 Route du Sud in France.

His best achievement has however been two stages plus the overall classification in last year’s Brixia Tour, which likely played in his favour when changing to Katusha.

Providing he can return to his best form, he is clearly someone to watch out for in the Giro. Ditto for tomorrow, where he will pool his strength with the other riders of the Katusha team in a bid for one of the squad to pull off a surprise win.


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