Roberto Damiani and Omega Pharma-Lotto have formally parted company, leaving the Italian free to take up a full-time role with Lampre-ISD in time for the Giro d’Italia. It is understood that Damiani will be appointed as team manager.
“In common agreement, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Roberto Damiani have decided to end the contract which bound them until 31 December 2011,” read a statement from the team on Thursday.
Damiani attempted to resign his position as directeur sportif at Omega Pharma-Lotto in order to join Lampre-ISD during the winter but was unable to break his contract with the Belgian team. Instead, Damiani continued in the Omega Pharma-Lotto team car, while also serving in a consultancy role at the Mapei Centre, where he worked with some of Lampre’s young riders.
Following further revelations linking the Lampre team to the Mantova-based anti-doping investigation in recent weeks, Damiani had been heavily linked with the manager’s role at the team. Gazzetta dello Sport recently reported that current manager Giuseppe Saronni was willing to step aside after he was named in the investigation.
Damiani leaves Omega Pharma-Lotto after four years with Marc Sergeant’s team, and he departs on a high note following Philippe Gilbert’s Ardennes hat-trick.
“I have been very happy at Omega Pharma-Lotto in these years,” Damiani told Tuttobiciweb.it. “I found ideal working conditions, and I had a very important experience, which certainly enriched me.”
Damiani will now be charged with the task of rejuvenating the image of a Lampre team, whose reputation has received a significant blow by the investigation into its relationship with pharmacist Guido Nigrelli.
“Now I have decided to accept this new challenge in order to try and do something for Italian cycling, and because I am convinced that there is the possibility of setting up a new and fascinating project," Damiani said.
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