After the confirmation of eleven important elements from 2013 roster, Team Colombia announced the first four new signings that will bolster the Escarabajos for 2014. General Manager Claudio Corti chose a rider with a solid European experience like Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez, and three intriguing prospects set for their debut in the Old Continent: Jonathan Paredes, Darwin Pantoja and the young Edward Diaz.
Professional since 2006, when he moved to Italy racing for Panaria-Navigare, Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Bogotà, 03.10.1984) has 7 professional wins under his belt, but he got arguably the biggest joy in his career at 2012 Giro d’Italia, taking the stage with finish in Porto Sant’Elpidio. A very consistent climbing rouleur, Rubiano represented Colombia in the last two editions of the road World Championships, and boasts 13 top-10 placements in the current season, including second at GP Industria e Commercio di Prato, third at Settimana Coppi e Bartali and fourth at Memorial Pantani.
24-year-old from Duitama (Boyaca), birth place of Oliverio Rincon, Jonathan Paredes (04.04.1989) will be looking to follow Team Colombia Sports Director’s steps as a rider in Europe, after winning the road Panamerican Championships in 2013 on a demanding circuit in Zacatecas, Mexico. Winner of a stage and the overall classification at the Vuelta a Combita (Colombia) with his Supergios-Blanco Valle-Redetrans team, Paredes is now raring to face the challenge of European mountains.
Darwin Ferney Pantoja Tobar (25.11.1990) comes from Tuquerres (Nariño) with the dream of conquering the European peaks like another Darwin from his village did in a Team Colombia jersey. Just like Atapuma, Pantoja is a pure climber, trained at the altitude of Colombia’s southern region, and revealed his talent by winning the Vuelta de Porvenir as a cadet (2007) and two stages at the Vuelta de la Juventud (2011 and 2013). In 2013, his first season as elite, he won two stages at the Clasica Internacional de Tulcan (Ecuador) as a Movistar Team America rider.
At only 19, Edward Fabian Diaz Cardenas (19.08.1994) will be among the youngest professional riders at the start of the upcoming season. Originary of Boyaca region, like Nairo Quintana and Mauricio Soler, Diaz surprised everyone by winning the 3rd stage of 2013 Vuelta de la Juventud, beating more experienced and valued riders. “El niño” Diaz is the real gamble for Claudio Corti, who saw the potential in him to become a new big reality of Colombian cycling.
“With Edward, we are looking to structure a path of progress and improvement in a European cycling environment – Team Colombia’s General Manager explained – to get him to learn and acquire in-depth knowledge of big-stage cycling by tackling it right away. It won’t be easy at the beginning – we all know that – but we are confident he has got what it’s needed to make a healthy and step-by-step rise to the top. All in all, this is the core of our project, that’s what we work for.”
Once again leading a team with a very low average age, Corti stressed the contribution of more experienced riders: “In this season, Leonardo Duque’s presence has been key for our younger riders: there are things you can’t just learn from trainers or coaches, and model and advice from experienced and credible professionals provide a huge contribution to a rider’s development. We believe that adding a couple more experienced riders, whatever the nationality, would be a great deal for our riders’ growth, and would also contribute to a movement on the rise like the Colombian one.”
Photo: Miguel Angel Rubiano and Fabio Duarte at 2012 Coppa Sabatini – they will team up in 2014