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Mara Abbott to Safi-Pasta Zara

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Great news this week that Mara Abbott, the winner of this year's Giro Donne, has signed for the Italian Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan squad, soon to become the women's team of Geox, so looks likely to be riding more often in Europe in 2011. And with that comes some other interesting news, far beyond the fashion implications of how the US National jersey will be combined with the flesh-brown that-bloke's-not-wearing-any-strides of Footon.

For just as HTC-Columbia have been doing this year and the newly merged Colavita-Forno D’Asolo promise to do next year, Safi seem to have the intention of running a dual campaign in both the US and Europe, and have their eyes on a few more US riders. They'll probably need them if they don't want to blow half the team budget on transatlantic airfares, and while HTC-Columbia sort of managed to do it with a roster of just 11 riders this year, I hope that they don't go the route of sending just one or two stars to a race. 

Safi also announced that they have their eye on a top level Italian rider to pair up with Eleonora Patuzzo. Presumably that means a climber, so in rider X, Abbott, Patuzzo and (presumabaly) Olga Zabelinskaya, we could see a serious challenge come this year to the ridiculously dominant Cervelo women climbing team (Did you ever hear anyone talk of go-faster argylle? Thought not).