Italian champion Franco Pellizotti will not wear the colors of Kazakh WorldTour team Astana next season after all. This was announced by the team's general manager, reigning Olympic champion Alexander Vinokurov. The Italian was originally presented on August 1st as one of the most notable new drivers who not only support team captain Vincenzo Nibali in 2014, but also their own successes for the Gold Blues should drive in.
"It's a shame, but it is with a heavy heart that we have decided not to sign Franco Pellizotti next year."
The rules of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) are given as the reason for the non-conclusion of the contract. Astana had pointed out that teams that are members of the movement may not hire drivers whose doping ban was less than two years ago. This is the case with Pellizotti. MPCC President Roger Legeay takes a clear stance on the matter: “The thing is clear. He [pellizotti] was suspended from May 3, 2010 to May 3, 2012. This means that he will not be eligible to start for an MPCC team until May 3rd, 2014.”
This would mean that Pellizotti would have to compete in the Giro d'Italia, for example, without great race preparation. There should therefore be a question mark behind its shape. Originally, a lot looked like Astana still wanted to set up the contract. Today, however, came the surprising reversal.
"It is a pity", according to Vinokurov, "but with a heavy heart we have decided not to sign Franco Pellizotti next year - for various reasons."
It is currently unclear for which team the Italian will start in 2014. To make his situation even more difficult, the market situation is anything but easy. His manager Alex Carrera was also involved in a serious car accident a few days ago.
“Pelizotti is in his prime. Personally, we therefore accept his motivations regarding our negotiations. We wish him all the best for the future”, continues Vinokurov. It is unclear whether Astana will fill the vacant position in the team with another driver - in any case, there are still enough top-class drivers available.