Italian rider to be captain of the team
Franco Pellizotti stays with Androni Giocatolli-Venezuela, team manager has Gianni Savio confirmed. The former Italian champion and multiple Giro d'Italia stage winner stays with the Italian team until the end of 2014. "Pellizotti stays with us and will be captain of the team together with Johnny Hoogerland."
"It's not a new contract," Gianni Savio stressed. "Franco signed this contract just before the National Championshps. We added a clause that if he could sign a better deal with another team, but only if it was a WorldTour team, he could leave."
In August Team Astana announced it had signed Franco Pellizotti but earlier this month they parted ways. "It's with some sadness and a heavy heart that we will not be racing with Franco Pellizotti next year," Astana's general manager Alexandr Vinokurov said on the team's website.
Under MPCC [Movement for Credible Cycling] regulations Pellizotti would not be eligible to ride for the Kazach team before the 2nd of May 2014. “We’ve decided to respect the MPCC rules and so Franco will only start racing on May 2,” Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli told Cyclingnews after the announcement of signing the rider. But in December negotiations ended and the announced signed contract was left on the table.
Androni is also a member of the MPCC but because Pellizotti's contract is not a new contract, according to the team's statement, the rule that the Italian is not eligible to ride until after two years after his ban [for irregularities in his biopassport] expires, does not apply. The team was not a member of the MPCC at the time the contract with Pellizotti was signed.
Savio recently announced he will no longer sign former dopers after having Pellizotti, Davide Rebellin, and Emanuele Sella on his books. For Pellizotti he was willing to make an exception to his earlier statement. "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," Savio confirmed to Cyclingnews.
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