Lampre-Merida deny interest in Dekker

Italian team want to focus on young talent

Lampre-Merida team manager Giuseppe Sarroni has denied that his team are interested in signing Thomas Dekker for this season. On Thursday, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf quoted Peter Koperdraad, the managing director of Merida Benelux, saying that they may reignite talks with Dekker after his attempt at the Hour Record but Sarroni says the team is going in a different direction.

"We never thought of Thomas Dekker," Saronni told Tuttobiciweb. “Our philosophy is different. Maximum respect for Thomas, who has had the courage to face a challenge such as an Hour Record attempt despite not having a professional team behind him, but the philosophy of the Lampre-Merida is to invest in young talents, add new pieces to the team of the future and to improve promising riders."

Dekker’s career has been in decline over the past two seasons, failing to take a victory since April 2012 when he won a stage at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The Dutchman was a promising young talent when he came onto the scene in 2005 but it was later revealed that he had been using EPO since his early days with the Rabobank team. In 2009 he was handed a two-year ban following retro-active testing of a sample from December 2007. He eventually returned to racing in 2011 with the Garmin development team.

Dekker is currently without a team after failing to secure a new contract when his Garmin team merged with Cannondale over the winter. He is one of three riders to make an attempt on the Hour Record in 2015. Dekker missed Rohan Dennis’ benchmark by just over one lap of the track but his efforts showed that despite some lacklustre seasons of late he could still perform. With funds tight and most rosters full, however, no teams have publicly expressed their interest in signing the 30-year-old.

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