Friday, February 15, 2013

No Michele Scarponi for First Race in Italy This Season

Laigueglia in the evening

Michele Scarponi won't be part of the team for the Trofeo Laigueglia which is being held tomorrow and will be the first race in Italy for Team Lampre-Merida this season. Riders for the race will be Cimolai, Cunego, Durasek, Favilli, Niemiec, Pietropolli, Pozzato and Ulissi.

Scarponi has been missing from all racing this year (the team has already raced in Africa, Australia, South America and Spain). We noticed that he had vanished (read here). Just recently came word that he was "suspended" by the team without additional explanation.

There have been rumors that  Lampre-Merida was very interested in recruiting Joaquim Rodriguez to replace Scarponi. Rodriguez, on Katusha Team, was caught out by the non-selection of his team as a ProTour team which meant the team would not recieve automatic invitations to the major races. A situation which Rodriguez would desire to be exiting from. However, just today the Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld Team Katusha's appeal of the UCI's decision not to issue the Russian team a WorldTour licence. “According to the CAS decision, the application of Katusha Management SA to be registered as a UCI ProTeam for the season 2013 of the UCI World Tour is granted.”

It's all not settled as the UCI has said, "The UCI will now evaluate the consequences of this ruling and will communicate further in coming days, as soon as such evaluation has taken place."

The problem facing the UCI is that they have already selected the 18 UCI WorldTour teams (18 is the maximum), the UCI now faces a WorldTour with 19 teams.

It appears to me that Lampre-Merida is back to having to make a decision about what to do about their star Michele Scarponi.

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