Europcar complete 2012 squad
Team Europcar have confirmed the signings of Tunisia's Raf‚a Chtioui and Italy's Matteo Pelucchi for the 2012 season.
Pelucchi, a 22-year-old sprinter, has joined on a one-season deal from Geox-TMC. The young Italian learnt his trade on the track and in 2007 became the national junior Keirin champion before picking up bronze in the junior world championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Earlier this year, the neo-pro recorded Geox's first 2011 win with an excellent victory in the Clasica de Almeria ahead of Movistar's experienced Spanish sprinter Jose Joaquin Rojas.
"He is very young and full of talent. He has a big future ahead of him," said Bernaudeau. "He likes the Flanders classics and we hope we can give him the chances he needs to develop as a rider."
Pelucchi's arrival at Team Europcar is the fifth of the off-season and follows last weekend's signing of Chtioui from the Italian team Acqua e Sapone. Runner-up in the junior road world championships in 2004, the 25-year-old Tunisian is a strong rouleur with much promise.
"He's one for the future and I have been monitoring his progress for a long time," said Bernaudeau. "He made us suffer this season in the Tour of Gabon and he excelled last year on the Four Days of Dunkerque. He fractured his collarbone in 2011 and he comes to us eager to rebuild his career."
Chtioui loves riding in Belgian and is a big fan of Paris-Roubaix, which he completed in 2010. His biggest win came in 2007 when he took the time trial in the Tour de l'Avenir.
Pelucchi and Chtioui join Italy's Davide Malacarne, Germany's BjŲrn Thurau and France's Angelo Tulik in the green shirts of Europcar next season.