Rekindling an old flame, Italian Pro Continental team Bardiani-CSF have announced the signings of Simone Andreetta and Alessandro Tonelli, both of Zalf-Euromobil-Fior, for 2015 on two-year neo-pro contracts. The move isn't surprising because of the riders they signed but because these two are the 6th neo-pros that Bardiani-CSF have announced from 2015. Now there are ways for circumventing paying them the neo-pro minimum through personal sponsors and whatnot but that is a lot of new blood to take on for one year.
Prior to these signings, the team has already signed Luca and Simone Sterbini (Pala Fenice), Paolo Simion (Mastromarco) and Luca Chirico (MG.Kvis-Trevigiani). While Bardiani-CSF is continuously one of the youngest Pro Continental teams, it is strange to see them pick up so much talent when they are already stacked with young riders. It means that some riders will probably be moving up and, inevitabily, riders will be getting the ax.
Andreetta has had his best year yet as a U23 by winning the Giro del Belvedere as well as the Bassano Monte Grappa mountain climb for the 2nd year running, a race won by the likes of Fabio Aru, Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni and Gino Bartali. Andreetta recently finished 4th in the GP Poggiana where he and his Zalf teammates were punched in the gut for the 2nd time in a week by Robert Power.
Tonelli is a strong one-day rider who has 3 wins this year on the Italian circuit including the U23/Elite version of the Trofeo Matteotti. He is a constant presence in the top 20 in the U23 Italian one-day races. He also finished 8th in the Peaches and Nectarines overall so he is a solid all-around addition to Bardiani-CSF.
If you look at Bardiani's roster, you will see a bevy of former Zalf-Euromobil-Fior riders including Francisco Manuel Bongiorno, Enrico Battaglin, Nicola Boem, Marco Canola and Sonny Colbrelli. If you look through all of the years the Reverberi family, the czars of the Bardiani-CSF team, have had some team in the pro ranks, Zalf-Euromobil riders have been present. Sella, Baliani, Dall'Antonio, Pozzovivo, Modolo, Brambilla, etc. In more recent years, the connection has dimmed a bit but with 3 more Zalf alumns coming on (Simion was on Zalf for 3 years), the connection is now as bright as Paolo Simion's ginger red hair.