Longtime American-based sprinter Ivan Dominguez will graduate to the ranks of the ProTour with the Fuji-Servetto team, Cyclingnews learned on Tuesday. In November Dominguez said he was signing with Rock Racing for the 2009 season, but was not listed on the team's roster which was made final by USA Cycling. The Cuban confirmed today he had signed with the team of Mauro Gianetti, formerly known as Saunier-Duval Scott.
"You have no idea, I can't wait. it's crazy, after years of trying these guys show up!" Dominguez told Cyclingnews about racing in the ProTour next year. He said the opportunity came up three weeks ago, in part because of his relationship with Fuji. Dominguez has raced on Fuji bikes for the past two years as part of the Toyota-United team.
"They are very professional, they contacted me and Karen (Bliss) from Fuji three weeks ago," he said. "Right away they said they were interested in me because we were under contract with them for the past two years. But they said they didn't want to take any riders away from a team. And I was like, 'come on man, it's the ProTour, call me!' We talked a few times per week and then we signed it. They were not joking around."
Dominguez said he has not broken any contract with Rock Racing as he never signed a contract.
"We were dealing with Rock for four months but I never signed anything," he added. "I guess they had to make the announcement that I was with them but I was still trying to make it happen. So I called them and said I had this opportunity instead."
He acknowledged that racing on Rock was looking to be contentious, with the recent announcement that part of the team will be amateur for next year. "I hope the best for those guys, but if something happens there will be a lot of guys unhappy."
Shawn Farrell, USA Cycling's technical director, said that he only found out about the change on Tuesday. "That was all news to me as of yesterday so we are in the beginning process of removing him from the team [Rock Racing]," he said.
"I had paperwork for Rock Racing, so until I get back to my office I won't be able to figure it out. I doubt it would be an issue," he said regarding the possible switch to the ProTour Fuji-Servetto team, but also that it is an issue for the UCI at that level. "All the other teams were handled by the UCI a long time ago."
The team announced it has now signed 21 riders, "with some newcomers expected to join yet". It also confirmed that Colombia's Fabio Duarte will finally not be part of the team.
The Fuji-Servetto roster (as of Tuesday): Alberto Benítez, Iker Camaño, David Cañada, Eros Capecchi, Ermanno Capelli, Juanjo Cobo, David de la Fuente, Jesús Del Nero, Iván Domínguez, Arkaitz Durán, Alberto Fernández de la Puebla, Ángel Litu Gómez, Héctor González, Beñat Intxausti, Josep Jufré, Javier Megías, Daniele Nardello, Ricardo Serrano, Andrea Tonti, Davide Vigano and William Walker.