Franco Pellizotti is set to stay with the Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela team if manager Gianni Savio can convince his pool of sponsors to provide the extra funding needed to cover the Italian rider’s salary.
Cyclingnews understands the deal is near completion with a formal announcement possible in the next few days.
Astana decided to renege on their agreement to sign Pellizotti after hitting problems with the rules of the Mouvement pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC). The team has recently became a full member of the MPCC and has agreed to follow its strict code of conduct, which stops teams from selecting riders for races for a further two years after a serious ban for doping. Pellizotti was suspended for two years in 2010, following a biological passport violation while riding for the Liquigas team, and so could not race for Astana until May 2, 2014.
Pellizotti will be 36 in January and is ready to take a cut in salary and give up the chance of returning to the Tour de France so that he can race from the start of the season. Androni became a member of the MPCC in February this year but that was after Pellizotti was already part of the team.
Savio recently announced he will no longer sign former dopers after having Pellizotti, Davide Rebellin, and Emanuele Sella on his books. However he is willing to find a place for Pellizotti in his 2014 squad because it will be an extension of the Italian's contract, rather than a new signing.
"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.
"I'd heard he had some problems and he called me but I'd spent on my planned budget and completed my roster with Johnny Hoogerland, Kenny Van Hummel and Marco Bandiera. However if I can gather the resources, I'd be happy to have Franco stay on with us for 2014."
Androni Giocattoli has already secured a Wild Card invitation to the Giro d'Italia by winning the Coppa Italia team classification. The team will make its 2014 debut at the Tour de San Luis in January.