By Antonio J. Salmerón
Santiago Botero will join the ranks of American National Racing Calendar squad Rock & Republic Racing in 2008, the Colombian's coach Raúl Mesa has told press.
The news means the Colombian National Time Trial Champion will leave the UNE Orbitel team, where he raced this season having spent the previous year at the now defunct Phonak squad. The team is hoping to be invited to contest the Tour of California and the Tour of Georgia next season after persuading Botero, who originally wanted to race in his homeland, to ride with the North American squad.
"The Colombian races lost an extraordinary rider, but the Colombian cycling will continue getting better outside here with Santiago Botero," Mesa commented on the subject.
The Vuelta a Colombia winner will join countrymen Victor Hugo Peña and César Grajales. The 35 year-old rider plans to finish his professional career in the Beijing Olympic Games for 2008.