With confirmation of their UCI WorldTour licence, Italian team Lampre-ISD have bolstered their 2013 squad with the signing of Argentinian Maximiliano Richeze. The 29-year-old, a pro since 2006 when he took a second-place stage win at the Giro d’Italia, has enjoyed a successful 2012 season, claiming 13 victories (and a spin at the London Olympics) including an overall win at the Tour de Hokkaido. Team manager Giuseppe Saronni said, ‘Richeze is very fast and his best quality is the ability in sizing the opportunities during the sprints… Petacchi (Alessandro) and (Roberto) Ferrari are top sprinters, but I think that also Maximiliano will be able to give us satisfactions.’
For his part, the Argentinian commented, ‘What an honour for me to have the chance to be part of Team Lampre! It’s very exciting to become a World Tour cyclist, especially in the team of Mr Saronni, that is always skillful in appreciating the value of the riders. I’ll do my best to pay off the trust the team placed in me’.
The signing is not without its controversy though; prior to the 2008 Giro Richeze tested positive for steroids and, despite initially being cleared by the Argentine Cycling Federation, was banned for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.