The Pro Continental Colombia squad is set to get the Giro d'Italia underway, naming its nine-man selection for the Grand Tour which begins on May 9 in Belfast. After running into difficulties securing the team's visas for the stages in Ireland, team manager Claudio Corti is confident the issues will be solved.
"After some weeks of worry and tension, we are finally receiving the first UK Visas, and we hope the issue will be completely solved in time to leave to Belfast," Corti said.
The team was forced to withdraw from the Tour of Turkey last week because the riders' passports were being held by the British embassy in Rome during processing of the visa applications.
Fabio Duarte will lead the squad in its second attempt at the race. The Colombian finished just off the podium at the Giro del Trentino.
He will be joined by Giro veterans Miguel Angel Rubiano, the Colombian national champion, Jarlinson Pantano, Robinson Chalapud, and sprinters Leonardo Duque and Edwin Avila.
Jeffry Romero and Rodolfo Torres will make their Giro debut. Torres was cleared to ride after injuring his wrist in Liège - Bastogne - Liège. Finally, Carlos Julian Quintero, who was forced out of the 2013 Giro because of tendinitis, will have another shot at completing the race this year.
"Compared to last year, we have one more year and a Giro of experience, and that will make some real difference," the team's General Manager Claudio Corti said. "Even in the setup, the riders clearly were much more aware of what is in store for them, and that's why I believe we will get to the Giro in a much better condition than last year, with every chance to improve the good showing of last year.
"Our main goal will be taking the stage win we got just close to last year, possibly even more than one," Corti said. "In order to do that, we will race on the attack, particularly in the toughest mountain stages – that's what everybody expects from an all-Colombian team, after all. We will focus on one day and one stage at the time, and if that approach will bring one of our riders up in the standings, we won't definitely back down. Our main priority though will be making an impact on this race, no matter what."
Colombia for the Giro d'Italia: Edwin Avila, Robinson Chalapud, Fabio Duarte, Leonardo Duque, Jarlinson Pantano, Carlos Julian Quintero, Jeffry Romero, Miguel Angel Rubiano, Rodolfo Torres