Italian team Centri della Calzatura has revealed that Denmark’s Michael Rasmussen will ride for them in 2010 as they plan to step up to Professional Continental status and try and secure a place in major races.
Centri della Calzatura is a chain of three shoe shops based in Tuscany and this year sponsored a small Continental team but with little success. Rasmussen raced for the first time in a criterium in July after completing a two-year ban from competition and recently competed in the Vuelta a Chihuahua in Mexico, where he won the opening prologue.
At the end of the race he announced he had found a team for 2010 and hinted he would ride one of the three major Tours. However, the Centri della Calzatura team has yet to secure an invitation to any major race.
“We’ve got faith in him and he’s got faith in us,” team manager Floriano Torresi said of his decision to sign Rasmussen in a press release issued by the team on Friday afternoon.
“We really believe we can help him relaunch his career. He’ll be important to help us achieve a place in the ‘professional’ sector.”
There was no mention in the press release of Rasmussen’s murky past. Nothing on how he was kicked off the 2008 Tour de France by the Rabobank team while in the yellow jersey after lying about his whereabouts in June. Or about the accusations that he asked a friend to carry banned blood booster Hemopure in a shoebox in 2002.
Torresi did confirm that the team has completed the application process for a Professional Continental licence in 2010, revealing that the team will be registered in Italy.