One in five Italian riders still looking for a team

One in five Italian riders has still to find a team for 2011 as a reduction in the number of Italian teams has left lesser-known riders scrambling for places in the peloton.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, who has scrutinised the numbers, 49 out of 226 Italian riders are still without a team, with the new season just days away. That is 21.6 per cent of the total.

While Danilo Di Luca has found a place at Katusha after completing his ban for blood doping, riders of the calibre of Angelo Furlan, Alberto Loddo and Andrea Tonti are still looking for a ride. Furlan finished a close second to Oscar Freire at last year’s Paris-Tours, while Tonti was part of the Italian team for the world championships in Australia.

Loddo has won 25 races during his nine-year career and beat Alessandro Petacchi in a sprint at the Giro di Sardegna last year while riding for Androni Giocattoli. He has revealed the costs of being a professional outweighed his salary.

“In 2010 I earned 1,600 Euro a month but considering all the costs, I ended up losing money,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It’s a pity because I beat Petacchi and think I deserved a contract. I had an agreement with Team Type 1 and everything seemed sorted out but I haven’t heard anything since then, not even from my agent. I’m not expecting any surprises and will soon have to start looking for job.”

Tonti is hopeful of finding a team in the next few days while Furlan has given himself a further 15 days before accepting his career is over.

“It’s all about a few centimetres,” Furlan said. “Freire just edged me out in the sprint, otherwise I’d have a team by now. Fortunately everyone knows what I’m like and I’m still training hard. I’ve given myself 15 days to find a team, otherwise I’ll throw in the towel and think about the future. I might have a chance of working for the Italian Federation as a contact between the off road and road sectors.”

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