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"We will start in Argentina before moving to Langkawi, South America and all the European races. The Giro d'Italia? We are confident of being able to participate even though we are not yet certain as the result of the Coppa Italia...

Photo: Sirotti






30.10.2014 @ 14:32 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Today Androni-Venezuela presented their team for the 2015 season and confirmed the signing of Oscar Gatto. The team will have a very familiar racing schedule and again hopes to get invited for the Giro d'Italia.


After yesterday's announcement of the decision by the Venezuelan cycling federation to extend its contract with the team, Androni-Venezuela presented their 2015 team at the start of their first team gathering in Cesenatico. Outlining their ambitions for the coming season, the team also confirmed that they have signed Oscar Gatto from Cannondale.


"I am here because I am a cycling fan and I want to support the sport both economically and morally," Pino Buda from sponsor Sidermec said at the opening of the press conference. "Sponsors are disappearing. I had the option to leave but I decided to stay. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to go to races but I know many of our riders. I hope to join them next, at least occasionally. We have sponsored cycling since 1980."




With the future secured, manager Gianni Savio has had the chance to reinforce the roster. The main signing is Gatto who is a former stage winner in the Giro and winner of Dwars door Vlaanderen and has signed a two-year contract with the team.


"We rely much on Ţvetcov  who is a rider born in Belarus that a Romanian nationality and has lived in the United States. And that's where he revealed himself as a great rider so we decided to focus on him. And then we will also have our four riders from Venezuela who will work alongside our young talents during the season. In the contract with the Venezuelan Federation, there is also an agreement to increase the experience of the U23 national team at European races."


Like most other teams, Androni used the gathering to send a clear anti-doping message.


"I was asked to fill delicate role that has too often created the headlinges instead of the sporting events. We would like to inform and train the athletes on doping regulations. We gave the riders the opportunity to rely on legal support: in case of doubt each of them can make use of our support. But our guys know that all medication must be accompanied by a written permission from the team doctor.


Sports director Giovanni Ellena highlighted the teams performances in 2014.


"We had 7 wins in 3 continents and achieved many places of honour. We may have missed a bit of luck but we had a great team spirit. We set a remarkable record: We spent 2240km in breakaways in 2014."


The most notable departure from the team is sprinter Manuel Belletti.


"Our sponsor Sidermec asked me to resign Belletti  but I think it is better for him to restart his career with new stimuli in another team. He is a good guy who has our respect, but we asked for more grit, character and determination from Manuel during the season. If I had listened to Buda and resigned him, he would have been playing a supporting role all season. Our fast riders are Gatto, Benfatto and Appollonio. It was hard for me to make this decision about Belletti. I could give diplomatic answers but these are the facts."


Savio also outlined the team's schedule that will again allow them to race in multiple continents.


"We will start in Argentina before moving to Langkawi, South America and all the European races. The Giro d'Italia? We are confident of being able to participate even though we are not yet certain as the result of the Coppa Italia is now under review," he said, referring to the fact that the winner of the Coppa Italia is usually guaranteed a spot in the Italian grand tour. Winners Neri Sottoli may miss out on selection as Matteo Rabottini contributed signifcantly to their tally before failing a doping test.


At the end of the presentation, captain Franco Pellizotti recalled the highlight of the season: his second place in the Monte Zoncolan stage of the Giro.


"For me it was a very significant stage in the are where my parents live. I knew it could make the season for the team. It was a special race and I consider that second place a good result because I was up against a champion like Rogers who were also excellent in the Tour."



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