Italian considers extending contract into 2012
Apparently on the brink of being frozen out by Katusha in recent months, Filippo Pozzato has revealed that the Russian team is now keen to keep him on its roster for next season.
Publicly criticised by team manager Andrei Tchmil during the spring classics and left out of the Katusha line-up for the Giro d’Italia, Pozzato has been strongly linked with a move away from the squad throughout the summer.
Last week, Il Giornale di Vicenza quoted Pozzato as saying that he was set to join his former Mapei Espoirs coach Roberto Damiani at Lampre-ISD next season. Speaking ahead of the Coppa Agostoni on Wednesday, however, Pozzato explained that he has not yet put pen to paper with Lampre.
“I haven’t signed with anybody,” Pozzato told tuttobiciweb.it. “There are still other possibilities. In the end, there will be changes here at Katusha. They would like to keep me too, so it’s not a given that I have to change team.”
Chief among the changes at Katusha is the arrival of Pozzato’s fellow countryman Valerio Piva as sports manager following the demise of HTC-Highroad. As well as speaking to Lampre and Katusha, Pozzato’s is understood to have entertained overtures from Geox-TMC and Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli.
“For now, I’ll weigh things up for a bit. As soon as I know something more concrete I’ll decide where to go. I’m not lacking in offers,” Pozzato said. “I’ve already met twice with Katusha, because there’s this desire on their part to prolong my contract. We’ll see…”
Pozzato has endured more than his share of poor fortune during an ill-starred third season at Katusha. His Paris-Roubaix challenge ended when a puncture to his team car meant that he was left stranded without a replacement bike, and he sustained a broken wrist and collarbone in a crash at the Tour of Belgium in May. Last week, he slipped on the stairs at home and required eight stitches to a head wound and suffered a mild concussion.
Nonetheless, Pozzato is aiming to put that bad luck behind him and earn selection for the world championships in Copenhagen in September. As he is not included in Katusha’s Vuelta a España roster, he will be hoping to impress in the remaining races on the Italian calendar.
“Above all, I hope that nothing more happens to me, and that I succeed in getting on the bike and doing what I’m capable of, without being blocked by various problems,” Pozzato said.
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