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Selle Italia signs Venezuelans

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Venezuelan Carlos Ochoa has signed with the Professional Continental team Selle Italia-Venezuela. The 26 year-old was one of four Venezuelans recruited to the team as part of an agreement between manager Gianni Savio and the Venezuelan cycling federation (FVC), according to EFE.

Artemio Leonett, the Sports Minister of Venezuela, and Savio agreed to the signing of four local riders to the Selle Italia Diquigiovanni squad with the aim of advancing their development in Europe in preparation for the Beijing Olympic Games and the UCI World Championships in Varese in 2008.

Savio said that this arrangement will give to Venezuela more power in international cycling. "Today is an important day, a giant step has been made for the development of cycling in Venezuela. I am convinced that working with discipline, enthusiasm and determination we can achieve great results in the future", he predicted.

The continental professional team Diquigiovanni Selle Italia-Venezuela will led in 2008 by the Italian climber Gilberto Simoni, the two-time Giro d'Italia winner, and Ricardo Ochoa and Carlos Ochoa.

The recruitment of the other two Venezuelan riders for this squad will be implemented before the end of October.

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A swimmer in her younger days, Laura made the change to cycling later in life, but was immediately swept up by a huge passion for the sport. Riding for fitness quickly gave way to the competitive urge, and a decade of racing later she can look back on a number of high profile races and say with confidence, "I started". While her racing days are over for the most part, she continues to dabble in cyclo-cross and competing against fellow pathletes on the greenways of Raleigh, North Carolina.