The Venezuelan Ministry of Sport has signed on as a secondary sponsor with Team Southeast and the rebranded Southeast-Venezuela team will wear a kit designed by new arrival Filippo Pozzato for the 2016 season.
As part of the link up with the Venezuelan Ministry of Sport – previously a sub-sponsor of Gianni Savio’s Androni Giocattoli squad – Southeast has announced that it aims to assemble an under-23 development team based in South America, as well as a women’s team.
“I’ve always liked design,” Pozzato told Gazzetta dello Sport of the new design. “At first I’d thought of something with military colours but camouflage isn’t very fashionable anymore. The laminated grey is an intriguing colour, I hope and think that it’s come out well.”
Pozzato signed a two-year deal with Southeast-Venezuela last month, having previously raced for the team in 2012 when it operated under the Vini Fantini banner. The 34-year-old will be reunited with directeur sportif Luca Scinto, who returns to top-level cycling this year after stepping back from his duties in 2015.
Pozzato will ride on the track at the Six Days of Rotterdam this week before travelling to Argentina next week to ride for an Italian selection at the Tour de San Luis. He will debut for Southeast-Venezuela on his return to Europe.
“I feel at the centre of the project,” said Pozzato. “I thank Riccardo Bigolin [of Selle Italia – ed.] and all those who made the start of this new adventure possible.”
Southeast-Venezuela’s 2016 roster will also include Enrique Sanz, the nephew of Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue as well as Italian sprint talent Jakub Mareczko, who claimed 13 victories in 2015, though he has yet to score a professional win in Europe. The 21-year-old is due to make his Giro d’Italia debut in 2016 – assuming, of course, that Coppa Italia winners Southeast-Venezuela are invited to the race. The Giro wildcards are due to be announced in early January.