Chtioui to Acqua e Sapone, Gallopin Cofidis-bound

Promising young pair gets bite at the big time

Italian Pro Continental team Acqua e Sapone has signed Tunisian rider Rafaa Chtioui next season whilst talented young Frenchman Tony Gallopin will ride for Cofidis for the next two seasons.

L'Equipe reports that the silver medalist at the junior world championships in 2004 has penned a one-year deal, having ridden for the Continental Doha Team during 2008 and 2009.

Much was expected of the 23-year-old who rose to prominence by finishing second to Czech star Roman Kreuziger at the world titles five years ago in Verona; physical similarities and a powerful riding style meant comparisons were made to Spanish legend Miguel Indurain, although nothing appeared to come of the hype and he has ridden in relative obscurity for the past few seasons.

An opportunity with the team that boasts the likes of 2000 Giro d'Italia winner Stefano Garzelli and experiened sprinter Luca Paolini could be the stepping stone to bigger things for the affable Tunisian.

This is in contrast to Gallopin, nephew of Astana directeur sportif Alain and a rider tipped for prominence from a young age. Still only 21 years old, he has spent the last two seasons riding for French Continental team Auber 93.

The move to another French outfit, Cofidis, is a logical move for the man who won the U23 Paris-Tours last year and took third in the road race at the junior world championships in 2006.

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