Following the demise of the Italian-based Team Colombia, at least one rider seems to have secured a place with another Professional Continental team, with Leonardo Duque set to ride for the Delko-Marseille Provence KTM according to Spanish website Biciclismo.
The team was known as Vélo-Club La Pomme-Marseille for many years and helped develop numerous riders. It became a Continental team in 2011 and has applied for Professional Continental status for 2016 after the arrival of title sponsor Delko.
35-year-old Duque has strong links with France and appears to be the only rider from Team Colombia to find a place in the European peloton for 2016. Other riders are trying to find places in Colombia and South America.
He rode for Cofidis for seven years between 2006 and 2012 and has ridden 13 Grand Tour during his ten-year career. While most Colombian rider excel in the mountains, Duque is a good sprinter. He won a stage at the Vuelta a Espana in 2007 and was a surprise fourth in the fourth in the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen in 2012 behind Tom Boonen, Oscar Freire and Bernhard Eisel. This season he took several placings at the Tour de Luxembourg, the Route du Sud, the Coppa Sabatini and the end of season GP Bruno Beghelli. He also finished the Vuelta a Espana.
The Delko-Marseille Provence KTM team is set to join Cofidis, Direct Energie and Fortuneo Vital in the ranks of French Professional Continental teams in 2016 and could fight for a wild card invitation to the Tour de France and other WorldTour race such as Paris-Nice. The Marseille-based team has also hired Thierry Hupond (from Giant-Alpecin), Yannick Martinez (Europcar) Julien El Fares, Remy Di Gregorio, Benjamin Giraud –who won a stage at the Tour of Hainan this week, and Daniel Diaz –the two time winner of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.
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