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Savio signs young Ecuadorian Cepeda on four-year deal

Gianni Savio at the 2019 Giro d'Italia

Gianni Savio at the 2019 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After profiting from Egan Bernal and Ivan Sosa’s moves to the WorldTour, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec have signed another young South American talent on a four-year contract, landing the Ecuadorian Jefferson Cepeda, who recently won a stage at the Tour de l’Avenir.

Cepeda, whose cousin Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda is a pro with Caja Rural, won the final stage of the Tour de l’Avenir on the summit finish at Le Corbier and finished the race in ninth place overall.

Before linking up with the Ecuador team for the Tour de l’Avenir, the 21-year-old has been competing in Colombia with the Avinal GW El Carmen Viboral team and recently won the Clasica de Marinilla.

Long-standing Androni Giocattoli manager Gianni Savio, who has made a habit of investing in South American talent, travelled to the Tour de l’Avenir and handed Cepeda a contract to sign in Tignes after the conclusion of the race.

“The youth project started three years ago with Egan Bernal, Ivan Sosa, Davide Ballerini, Andrea Vendrame and Fausto Masnada continues, all riders having passed to the World Tour,” Savio said. “Jefferson Cepeda is a strong climber, whom we followed during the year and who proved his worth even now on the Tour of the Avenir.”

Savio has tied Cepeda to a four-year deal, as he did in 2016 with Bernal, who signed for Team Ineos in 2018 and won the Tour de France this year. Savio has made it part of his team’s business operation to spot and sign young riders, and insert financial clauses into their contracts, including a ‘development fee’ for when they move on. His team reportedly earned €350,000 when Bernal moved to Ineos with two years remaining on his contract, and is understood to have received a fee when Ivan Sosa followed suit last year.

Savio signed the Costa Rican Kevin Rivera on a four-year deal in 2017, though the 21-year-old, who won the Sibiu Cycling Tour last month, is still at Androni-Sidermec.

Cepeda is already managed by rider agent Giuseppe Acquadro, who works with a large contingent of the South American riders in the WorldTour, including Bernal, Sosa, Nairo Quintana.

Cepeda’s compatriot Richard Carapaz, who this year became the first Ecuadorian to win a Grand Tour at the Giro d’Italia, is also represented by Acquadro and is set to join Team Ineos in 2020.

Cepeda follows Simon Pellaud (IAM-Excelsior), Simone Ravanelli (Biesse Carrera), and Nicola Venchiarutti (Friuli) in signing for Androni for 2020. The team have lost Andrea Vendrame to AG2R La Mondiale, Mattia Cattaneo to Deceuninck-QuickStep, and Fausto Masnada to CCC Team.