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by Shane Stokes
February 24, 2018
Bauhaus wins stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour; Bastinelli wins stage 2 of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana; Kittel: ‘I was just one 1000th of a second too late’; Report: Astana in danger of folding due to financial issues; Viviani believes defence of race lead is unlikely; Brailsford takes up permanent role at Team Sky; Lobato signs for Nippo-Vini Fantini; New 100 mile closed-road event confirmed for UK; Video: Flanders Classics’ theme; Video: 360 degree cameras in the peloton
Having been left without a team after he was sacked by LottoNL-Jumbo in December, Juan Jose Lobato has been successful in finding a squad for 2018. The Nippo-Vini Fantini setup announced on Friday that the Spaniard will race in its colours this season.
Lobato was sacked by LottoNL-Jumbo due to his use of sleeping tablets at its winter training camp. The team has a strict policy whereby all medications must be approved by the doctor. Two other riders were also involved in the use of such medications, although Antwan Tolhoek and Pascal Eenkhoorn were suspended rather than fired.
When he appealed for a contract earlier this month, he acknowledged that at times during 2017 he had to use sleeping tablets to sleep, saying it was ‘the hardest year of his life’ due to a difficult separation and the death of his uncle at work. According to Nippo-Vini Fantini, he received ‘many offers from international teams’ and choose the Italian squad.
“After I received reassurance from his previous team about the rider behaviour during all the 2017, in which even if has been the hardest year of his career, Joan has been very professional during all the season, we decided to offer to him a second chance,” said the team manager Francesco Pelosi. ” We have verified the reason behind the rider’s motivation to be back in competitions, after a very difficult year from a personal point of view, we have decided to accept this challenge has a team, in line with the #OrangeBlue moral and ethic[al] code.
“Our team is based on ethic[al] values and a strong moral, very clear and well defined… We don’t want to exclude a rider if in good faith and we want to give a second chance to [those] who deserve it.”