Transfer News: Mara Abbott signs for Safi-Pasta Zara
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Transfer News: Mara Abbott signs for Safi-Pasta Zara

by Ben Atkins at 9:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
US champion moves to Italian team for 2011

Mara AbbottUS champion Mara Abbott will ride for Lithuanian-registered Italian team Safi-Pasta Zara for 2011, a statement issued by the team states. The 24-year-old currently competes for Peanut Butter & Co-TWENTY12 in the United States, but has enjoyed considerable success in Europe this season with the US National Team.

“Mara has exploded this year at the Giro d’Italia, dominating in the mountain stages, but we were observing her for some time,” said team representative Maurizio Fabretto. “Today, she is one of the strongest athletes in the world and still has room for improvement, since she is only 24 years old.”

This year Abbott has performed in both domestic races for her team, and International races for the United States. In April and May she won the Tour of the Gila, after winning stage 1 and holding the lead to the end, and then finished second to a dominant Emma Pooley (Cervélo TestTeam) in the Tour de l’Aude in southern France.

In June the Boulder, Colorado resident re-took the US national championship, before returning to Europe to ride the Giro; she dominated both mountain stages, to Livigno and to the Passo dello Stelvio, to win the 10-day race by more than two minutes over Judith Arndt (HTC-Columbia) and World Champion Tatiana Guderzo (Valdarno).

On her return to the US, Abbott carried her Giro-winning form to win the Cascade Classic.

Abbott previously rode for the then Columbia-HTC team in 2008 and 2009, where her results included a victory in the queen stage of the Giro della Toscana in 2008, and second place overall in the 2009 Giro d’Italia.

According to Fabretto, Abbott may not be the only American name to join the team for next year, as it would make both sporting and commercial sense.

“In the US there is a generation of winning women and it’s no secret that others may join Abbott,“ he explained. “Some of our sponsors are keen on this because they have important commercial interests in the United States, a country in which women’s cycling is well followed, so they can become an interesting tool for image and promotion for companies that support us.

“Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan in 2011 will be looking to win everywhere,” he added, “from classics to stage races; the campaign of acquisitions has just begun. We have some female athletes in our sights, in addition to rising Italian Eleonora Patuzzo [a 20-year-old, who has been with the team since 2008], who is developing well.”

Safi-Pasta Zara has been in existence since 1996, although it has had a number of different names over the years; it has been rumoured recently that the team will become Team Geox next year, as the new sponsor to current ProTour team Footon-Servetto may step in.


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