By Hernan Alvarez
After being officially giving the approval to race on November 11, Colombia's Santiago Botero signed in a new contract with team Colombian-based EPM-Orbitel for next season. The deal was closed on Wednesday evening in Medellin, Colombia between the managers of the company, the team director Raul Mesa and the rider.
The 34 year-old will ride the next Colombian Tour, the classic RCN Pilsen, the Colombian National Road Championships, the Vuelta al Valle and the Vuelta a Antioquia with his new team. He will make his debut with his new jersey at Valle tour on March 7.
The 2002 TT World Champion will represent his country in the next World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany next September. This is scheduled to be the only competition Botero will ride outside South America.
Raul Mesa felt very pleased to have such a great rider in his team for 2007. "At nearly the end of my career as team director, I feel very glad. This is a great move made by our company," commented Mesa after the signing. Next season will be the eighth for him as director sportif for this outfit which will compete on the continental level next year. The team director will now train Botero for second time after both, Botero and Mesa, were part of the Telecom-Kelme in 1997.
Santiago Botero was involved in Operación Puerto as one of the names that apparently was inside the famous list of 200 elite sportsmen related to Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor who allegedly made doping practices with those athletes.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto