Bahrain-Victorious today announced the mid-season signing of former junior world time trial champion Antonio Tiberi, just over a month after the 21-year-old “parted ways” with Trek-Segafredo following a three-month suspension for shooting and killing a cat belonging to Federico Pedini Amati, the former head of state and current Minister of Tourism for San Marino.
In a statement which only vaguely refers to Tiberi’s past “mistakes” and his interrupted 2023 season, Bahrain-Victorious – fresh from a successful Giro d’Italia courtesy of stage winners Jonathan Milan and Santiago Buitrago – confirmed that the promising Italian has signed with the team until the end of 2025.
Earlier this year, we reported that Tiberi, who won the junior time trial event at the World Championships in Harrogate in 2019, had appeared in court and been fined €4,000 for shooting and killing the pet of a political figure in San Marino with an air rifle.
The pet had been adopted by Pedini Amati, the politician who served as Captain Regent, one of the landlocked country’s joint heads of state that are elected every six months, between 1 April 2008 and October 2008, and who is now a minister.
At the time, Trek-Segafredo called Tiberi's actions “reprehensible” and announced he would be suspended without pay for a minimum of 20 days, with his suspended salary donated to an animal protection organisation.
At the end of April, the US-based team confirmed that Tiberi’s contract had been “terminated”, as the “rider’s actions during his suspension did not meet our criteria for a return to competition”, leaving him free to join another squad.
🤗 Welcome, Antonio Tiberi!
— Team Bahrain Victorious (@BHRVictorious) June 1, 2023
Announcing the signing this afternoon, Bahrain-Victorious’ team principal Milan Erzen said that the controversial young rider could “thrive” in an environment dedicated to “inspiring the next generation”.
“Antonio joining the team is a really positive move, both for us and for him. He is a super-talented kid who we believe will thrive in this environment, where we want to ride not only to win, but also to inspire the next generation,” Erzen said.
“He is clearly a talented rider, and can achieve great things in the sport, but just as important for us is his personal growth and education.
“Antonio has made some mistakes, but he realises that, and our focus on discipline, character building, and guidance will help him on a path to long-term success both on and off the bike.”
Tiberi himself added: “I’m delighted to start a new chapter in my career with Team Bahrain Victorious from both a performance aspect and a human perspective.
“Looking from the outside, it has always seemed like a well-organized and solid team, so I didn’t hesitate when I received the offer. I already know some Italian staff members and riders, and everybody in the group has welcomed me warmly. With the help of this team, I will demonstrate that I learnt from the mistake made in the past.
“I started my 2023 season well, but after an enforced stop, maybe I will suffer a bit in picking up the pace. I want to come back racing so badly, so I’m training at altitude to prepare for my return on Swiss roads next week. It’s a great challenge, and I want to repay the confidence of the people who gave me this opportunity in the best possible way.
“It will be a path that will help me be a better cyclist and a better man.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.