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Gallery: Team Colombia prepare for season debut

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It's time to ride

It's time to ride (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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After you go up, you have to go down

After you go up, you have to go down (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Team Colombia climb through the trees and snow

Team Colombia climb through the trees and snow (Image credit: Kirsten Robbins in Rochester, New York)
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Team Colombia train in the Dolomites

Team Colombia train in the Dolomites (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Time for some fun in the snow

Time for some fun in the snow (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Johan Esteban Chaves

Johan Esteban Chaves (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Atapuma, Duarte and Chaves; the three Escarabajos

Atapuma, Duarte and Chaves; the three Escarabajos (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Team Colombia is using Wilier bikes in 2013

Team Colombia is using Wilier bikes in 2013 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Smile!

Smile! (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Riding near Lake Garda

Riding near Lake Garda (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabio Duarte (Team Colombia)

Fabio Duarte (Team Colombia) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Jeffry Johan Romero shows off his bike skills

Jeffry Johan Romero shows off his bike skills (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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DS Valerio Tebaldi gives the riders directions

DS Valerio Tebaldi gives the riders directions (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Esteban Chaves goes hard

Esteban Chaves goes hard (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Colombia riders check out the Mori-Polsa climb

The Colombia riders check out the Mori-Polsa climb (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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For some of the riders its the first time they'd seen mountains covered in snow

For some of the riders its the first time they'd seen mountains covered in snow (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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This is the steepest climb even the Colombians have ever tackled

This is the steepest climb even the Colombians have ever tackled (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Johan Esteban Chaves on the climbing wall

Johan Esteban Chaves on the climbing wall (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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This kind of climbing is easy

This kind of climbing is easy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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One step at a time

One step at a time (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The 2013 Escarabajos

The 2013 Escarabajos (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The only way is up

The only way is up (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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On the climbing wall

On the climbing wall (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Claudio Corti and his staff

Claudio Corti and his staff (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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These guys are natural climbers

These guys are natural climbers (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Johan Chaves discovers a different kind of climbing

Johan Chaves discovers a different kind of climbing (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Team Colombia can't wait for the Giro del Trentino and the big mountain stages of the Giro d'Italia

Team Colombia can't wait for the Giro del Trentino and the big mountain stages of the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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They're almost at the top

They're almost at the top (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Atapuma, Duarte and Chaves tackle the climb

Atapuma, Duarte and Chaves tackle the climb (Image credit: Kirsten Robbins in Rochester, New York)

Team Colombia has been preparing for its 2013 season debut at the Tour Mediterranèen on February 6, with a training camp in the Italian Dolomites.

The team of talented Colombian climbers gathered in Arco last week, a few days after the young Colombian riders in the squad arrived in Italy. For some of the riders the cold and even snowy conditions were a shock to the system but with a wild card invitation to the Giro d'Italia already secured and with hopes of riding the Ardennes Classics, the have plenty of races to aim for.

Last year the 'Escarabajos' (the Beatles) won six races, including the mountain stage of the Giro del Trentino with Darwin Atapuma and the Coppa Sabatini with Fabio Duarte. Both riders have stayed with the team for 2013 and Italian team manager Claudio Corti has signed Leonardo Duque from Cofidis and brought in six more talented young Colombians.

The riders showed off the new jersey and the new Wilier Triestina bikes at the get together and studied the Sega di Ala climb that will be climbed on the final day of this year's Giro del Trentino and the Mori-Polsa climb that will host the mountain time trial in this year's Giro d’Italia. The team also hopes to secure an invitation to the Tour of Poland WorldTour race in the summer, which starts in the Dolomites.

“The Dolomites is a perfect place to train for us because there are plenty of hard climbs and we found the course of both these two races very demanding and challenging." Atapuma said.

 “The Polsa climb is quite constant and so in some ways pretty similar to the ones we have in Colombia. I immediately felt good on it."

Colombia General manager Claudio Corti has an 18-rider roster for 2013, allowing the Italian-based squad to race a double programme. Another squad of riders will ride the Volta ao Algarve, with others following an European programme of races that includes the GP Lugano, the Trofeo Laigueglia, the GP di Camaiore, the Giro del Lazio. In late March the team will also target the Coppi & Bartali race and the Criterium International.