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"I've gone back to my pool of sponsors and asked them if they're willing to make an extra effort to sign Franco. I'm still waiting for some replies but I expect to know in a few days time," manager Gianni Savio tells C...

Photo: Sirotti




11.12.2013 @ 13:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Franco Pellizotti may continue in Androni-Venezuela colours after it has been announced that he won't be joining Astana in 2014. Androni manager Gianni Savio has asked his sponsors to provide the additional funding that would allow the Italian to stay on the team.


It came as a surprise to many when Astana issued a statement to inform that Franco Pellizotti will not ride for the team in 2014 as had originally been expected. On August 1, the team had announced the signing of the former Italian champion but apparently the contract was never signed and the parties agreed to not start a cooperation.


Many have started to discuss what the future now holds for Pellizotti who turns 36 in January. At this time of the year, most teams have finalized their rosters and the market is already loaded with unemployed riders following the demise of five professional teams.


One of Pellizotti's concerns has been Astana's membership of the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC). The rules of the organization state that a team cannot sign a rider until at least two years after his return from a doping suspension. Pellizotti served a two-year ban for a biological passport case and would be unable to rider for Astana before May 2 - 2 years after the expiration date of his suspension.


At his current age, Pellizotti was keen to start his season right from the beginning and not miss another few months of competition. It is understood that this has been one of the reasons for Pellizotti's decision not to join Astana as previously expected.


However, most teams are now members of the MPCC and so the number of options for Pellizotti are limited. According to Cyclingnews, the former Italian champion is likely to continue to ride for Androni-Venezuela, the team for which he has been riding since he made his comeback in May 2012.


The team's manager Gianni Savio has already finalized his roster but has asked his sponsors to provide additional funding that would allow him to keep his captain. Androni is a member of the MPCC but as Pellizotti is already on the roster, he can ride for the team already from the beginning of the season.


"I've gone back to my pool of sponsors and asked them if they're willing to make an extra effort to sign Franco," Savio told Cyclingnews. "I'm still waiting for some replies but I expect to know in a few days time.


"I'd heard he had some problems and he called me but I'd spent on my planned budget and completed my roster with Johnny Hoogerland, Kenny Van Hummel and Marco Bandiera. However if I can gather the resources, I'd be happy to have Franco stay on with us for 2014."


In the past, Savio has often signed several riders who have returned from doping bans but recently claimed that he had changed his recruitment policy. In an attempt to become a WorldTour team backed by the Venezuelan government, he will instead focus on the development of young talents. As Pellizotti is already part of the team, he is, however, ready to make an exception.


If Pellizotti continues in Androni colours, he will be unable to return to the Tour de France where he would have ridden in support of Vincenzo Nibali. Instead, he is likely to have a leadership role in the Giro d'Italia to which Androni has already received an invitation and where he finished 11th in 2013.



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