Fabio Duarte has become the first of Geox’s big-name riders to find a berth on a new team in the wake of the Italian shoemaker’s unexpected decision to quit the sport at the end of this season. The 25-year-old Colombian is moving to the new Coldeportes-Colombia squad that will be managed by experienced Italian director Claudio Corti.
Winner of the world under-23 road title in 2008, Duarte had received interest from a number of teams after a season during which he won a stage of the Tour of Trentino and finished second on a stage of the Giro d’Italia. After being laid up for two months following a crash at the Giro, Duarte returned to action late in the season and was a member of the Geox-TMC team that helped Juan José Cobo take the overall title at the Vuelta a España and win the team prize at the same race.
“Duarte’s arrival represents an important step for us and I am happy to see how the rider has taken on board what we are trying to do and shown his belief in this project despite some significant offers from other teams,” said Corti. The Italian team manager added that the team will be releasing more details on its line-up in the next few days.
Backed by the Colombian Institute of Sport, the Coldeportes team will feature established and also emerging Colombian riders, with punchy all-rounder Duarte as one of its leaders. The team has applied for a Professional Continental licence and will be looking to compete at top events in Europe as well as in North and Latin America. The set-up also looks likely to feature a Continental “feeder” team.
Corti’s management team includes former ONCE pro and Tour de France stage winner Oliverio Rincón, who will act as director at European races, while former Kelme stalwart Hernán Buenahora and Colombia es Pasión director Oliverio Cárdenas will fulfil management duties in the Americas.