The new Geox team that that is set to emerge from the Footon-Servetto set-up has announced four more signings to follow those of Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov. Colombian Mauricio Ardila and Russia’s Dimitriy Kozontchuk have been brought in from Rabobank. Also joining are David Blanco, who is currently with Portuguese team Palmeiras, and Flaminia’s Daniele Colli.
Ardila has spent the past five seasons with Rabobank, where he has gained a reputation as a strong support rider in the mountains. Now 31, the Colombian finished 15th at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year and is sure to be used to back up Menchov and Sastre in key events next season.
Kozontchuk, 26, has spent all of his six-year pro career with Rabobank, firstly with their continental feeder team and for the last four seasons in their ProTour set-up. Like Ardila, the Russian is currently riding the Vuelta a España in support of Menchov.
Former Comunitat Valenciana rider Blanco gets another chance at the top level after spending the past four seasons racing for teams in Portugal. Winner of the Tour of Portugal in four of the past five seasons, the 35-year-old Spaniard is another dependable stage race performer.
Former Liquigas rider Colli, 28, is a dependable domestique who has a decent turn of pace in a sprint.
Geox team boss Mauro Gianetti has said that since he announced news of the new backing from Geox, he has been inundated with the details of interested riders. Speaking at the Vuelta, Gianetti described the new set-up as a long-term project of “at least five years”.
“It’s a totally new team that is being put together from scratch with a new structure but with all the support staff from Footon, which I am particularly satisfied with and relieved by,” Gianetti told the Biciciclismo website.
Talking about his new backer, Gianetti explained: “It’s a company that’s only 15 years old and already it has become the second biggest shoe company in the world. It has got a long-term and progressive plan, and the signings we’ve made reflect that, comprising both young talents and proven veterans.”
Gianetti added that the team will be registered in Spain and is likely to have some Spanish sub-sponsors.
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).