Talent and Experience for Team Colombia
Pedraza, Castiblanco, Molano and C.M. Ramirez bolster 2015 Escarabajos’ roster
After the announcement of the first two signings for the upcoming season, Cayetano Sarmiento and Alex Cano, Team Colombia keeps on building its near future with four more athletes with different characteristics. For its 2015 team, Claudio Corti picked experienced climber Fernando Pedraza Morales (Soacha, November 27th 1981), all-rounder Jorge Camilo Castiblanco Cubides (Zipaquirà, November 24th 1988), and two young prospects like sprinter Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Paipa, November 4th 1994) and time-trial specialist Carlos Mario Ramirez (Manizales, October 26th 1994).
2015 will mark Walter Pedraza’s comeback in top European cycling after his previous three-year stint from 2006 to 2008, when he raced for Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia and Tinkoff Credit Systems, and after becoming one of the most consistent and reliable climbers in Colombian cycling. A EPM-Une rider for the last four seasons, Pedraza helped Oscar Sevilla on the way to his successes in the last two editions on the Vuelta a Colombia, but also managed to win the Colombian National Road Championship – preceding Miguel Angel Rubiano in the winners’ list – and take 35 successes in 11 elite seasons.
Pedraza’s teammate at EPM-Une, Camilo Castiblanco is a solid all-rounder, proving his prowess on climbs, flat and time trials, Castiblanco was the first overall leader of 2014 Vuelta a Colombia, while grazing several more valuable results in the top South-American races.
“Camilo is a consistent rider, suited for different terrains – Corti explained, – and showed strength and change of pace that should make him a good fit for European cycling, where routes are more varied and require punching skills. About Pedraza, everybody knows his quality from his first European experience, but now he can prove a very reliable force for mountain routes, and is an integral part of our roster’s bolstering, particularly in a stage-race perspective”.
Still under 20, Sebastian Molano and Carlos Mario Ramirez will be among the youngest professional riders at the start of the 2015 season.
Original from the Boyaca region – like Nairo Quintana – and coming from Coldeportes-Claro team, Sebastian Molano revealed his talent on track, where he won two gold medals at the 2014 Panamerican Games in Team Pursuit and Omnium specialties, but also showed strong sprinting skills on the road, taking a stage win and two podiums in mass dashes at the 2014 Vuelta de la Juventud.
Riding for Aguardiente Antioqueño Team, Carlos Ramirez clinched victory at the Under 23 Colombian ITT Championship and claimed the bronze medal in the TT race at the Panamerican Games. Ramirez was selected for the National Team both at the Tour de l’Avenir, where he helped Miguel Angel Lopez to the overall success, and the World Championships in Ponferrada, where he rode both the road race and the time trial.
“Molano and Ramirez are two interesting prospects to work on: we are looking to start a maturation process, to drive their progression while dealing with top-tier cycling. Both have different characteristics from the classic Colombian climber, and that’s also why they could prove very valuable additions to our project once they break the ice with European cycling,” concluded Corti.