Sunday, December 04, 2011

"Euskaltel were not interested in me"

After his best season yet in 2011, Caja Rural's Egoitz García was touted by some as a potential Euskaltel recruit this winter. Instead, the 25-year-old ended up at Cofidis. Allegedly Euskaltel were not even remotely interested - weird considering he's one of the few Basques out there with all-important UCI points to his name.

"My dream has always been to ride for Euskaltel, but I called them up and they said they weren't interested", the Atxondo-native told Gara. "I then called up Eric Boyer, the Cofidis manager. We didn't talk for long, as I don't really understand French, but I did understand the most important aspect: they wanted me to sign a two-year deal. I didn't have to think it over, there wasn't much to think about really, so I said yes."

The Basque newspaper then quoted former Caja Rural DS Iñaki Juanikorena saying he didn't understand why Euskaltel, with a blatant need for UCI points, didn't pick him up. García was at a loss to explain why.

"I've got 50 points, which in the WorldTour will have to be divided in three... As of yet, I haven't been given the opportunity to ride with my local team despite riding strongly in this year's Vuelta al País Vasco. I hoped Euskaltel would come calling, but they didn't, and I don't really understand why."

García somewhat came of age this year, taking second (only to André Greipel) in a stage of the Tour of Turkey, placing seventh overall in the same race, grabbing fifth in a Tour de Limousin-stage and finishing fifth and sixth at stages in País Vasco. Next year he hopes to make his Grand Tour bow. The Tour is likely to be stretching it in his first year with Cofidis, but a Vuelta appearance would do him just fine.

"Riding the Tour de France would be a dream come true, but the Vuelta is more realistic for me in 2012", he admitted. "I'll do everything in my power to be at my best, and if that takes me to France in July all the better, but I'd be more than pleased with the Vuelta. Most of all I want to get a three-week race under my belt."

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