Domenico Pozzovivo saves career with Israel-Premier Tech
For the second year in a row, Domenico Pozzovivo has managed to salvage his career late on, signing for Israel-Premier Tech two months into the 2023 season.
The Italian, who turned 40 in November, found himself without a team when his contract with Intermarché-Circus-Wanty - who only picked him up in mid-February last year - expired at the end of 2022.
He refused to call time on his career, continuing to train privately and holding out hope for a late deal, one which has now materialised in the form of another season at WorldTour level.
“It is a great achievement to join a team that is happy to repay these hard and difficult months of training without a team but at the same time, it is a starting point to build up to a very good season. Starting a little bit later than usual but with the same motivation," Pozzovivo said.
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“I want to thank the IPT management for believing in me, and especially Valentino Sciotti from [sponsor] Fantini who pushed me to joined the team and convinced the management of my qualities."
Pozzovivo turned professional all the way back in 2005 and will now embark on his 19th season. He has finished top-10 at the Giro d'Italia on seven occasions, the most recent coming last year, which convinced Israel-Premier Tech of his abilities even at 40 years of age.
With 29 riders already on board, the team had one spot available under the UCI restrictions, and they've handed it to Pozzovivo on a one-year deal.
“I am pleased to welcome Domenico to our team. Despite his advanced age, he has proven that he has a lot left in the tank," said team owner Sylvan Adams.
Despite suggestions the team were trying to complete the paperwork in time for this week's Tirreno-Adriatico, Pozzovivo will make his debut at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali later this month, before making the Giro d'Italia and the autumn Italian Classics the big targets of his season.
Indeed, despite his last-minute addition to the squad, Pozzovivo already appears to be Israel-Premier Tech's team leader for the Italian Grand Tour.
“Looking ahead to our Grand Tour and stage race ambitions this year, we believe Domenico Pozzovivo can strengthen our GC prospects, particularly at the Giro d’Italia," said general manager Kjell Carlström.
He is a proven fighter and a rider who can achieve solid GC results whilst racing independently. He is the ultimate professional and it is a pleasure to have him join IPT."
Pozzovivo, who also placed third at Giro dell'Emilia last year, added: "For sure, the Giro d’Italia is one of the main goals of the season and for me, to be in top-10 is the goal. I think it is a very important result, also considering my age, and also what has happened in my career in terms of accidents and recovering.
"But, the Giro is not the only goal for the season. I think I can be present in the GC in some of the important one-week races during the season and also, be in good condition for the last classics in Italy, especially Il Lombardia which is a race that suits me a lot."