Filippo Pozzato has signed a two-year deal with the Southeast team. The former Milan-San Remo winner had struggled to find a squad for 2016 but in recent months he had been linked with the Pro Continental squad Southeast. After months of speculation, Pozzato finally confirmed the news.
“Yes, I signed for two seasons with Southeast," reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Pozzato has spent the last three seasons at Lampre Merida but had failed to win a single race since 2013. A new squad and new environment, he is hoping, will help kickstart his career once more.
“The last two seasons have gone wrong, but if I thought I could no longer be competitive I would have quietly stepped away and started doing other things. Instead I find myself here, and perhaps motivated like never before.”
Pozzato’s last race for Lampre Merida came at the GP Fourmies, in which he crashed and broke his collarbone. Since 2013, however, Pozzato has struggled for form and results and his relationship with Lampre has suffered as a result.
"I heard that Giuseppe Saronni said I was free to do what I wanted. It made me smile when I read that, but I prefer not to talk about that, at least not now. "
The move to Souteast is somewhat of a step down, given Lampre’s footing in the WorldTour but it will also see Pozzato rekindle his working relationship with Luca Scinto who arguably brought Pozzato back from another barren spell in 2012. The highlight of that season saw Pozzato finish second in the Tour of Flanders, behind rival and long-term friend, Tom Boonen. Had Pozzato ridden a slightly better tactical plan in that race he could have conceivably won the race, howewer he was beaten in a three-man sprint with Alessandro Ballan finishing in third.
“Is returning to the Pro Continental level a step back? I do not think so. The important thing is to participate in races that interest me and in that sense we are very confident. I think the team can grow, a lot.”
Southeast, as a result of wining the Italian Cup, are in-line for an invitation to the Giro d’Italia in 2016, and with Pozzato signed they will also hope to secure invitaions to the one-day Spring Classics.