Thursday, September 20, 2012

"The phone call lasted a minute"

One of the team's more trusted domestiques in the mountains over the last few years, 32-year-old Iván Velasco, was together with fellow climber Amets Txurruka told there would be no place for him on the "new Euskaltel" next year. While Amets Txurruka has decided to keep away from the newspapers by declining to comment on the situation thus far, Velasco hasn't been as reticent to pick up the phone. And, if what he says is to be believed, there's no reason he shouldn't vent his anger either.

"I got a call from Igor González de Galdeano on Monday, and he said I wouldn't get to prolong my stay with the team because the new project need points to stay in the WorldTour. And as I don't have any, I won't be needed. The conversation lasted one minute", he revealed in today's Gara.

The normally soft-spoken rider admitted he "was caught by surprise", as he was told prior to the commencement of the Vuelta a España (where he would finish a career-best 26th overall) that "he should stay calm, and that everyone would work for Antón to score points".

"They didn't guarantee I'd stay on, I didn't take it for granted, but I was relaxed. And then they tell me this now, when most teams have finalized their rosters."

Velasco went on to lament the UCI's already much-maligned points system, by many regarded as a detrimental one to the helpers of the peloton.

"In this team we had instilled a certain way of doing things, that we all would work for one leader, but I don't know if it should remain that way. The one who's told to work (for his leader) would say that if he works and scores no points, he'd be on the street next year. I gave all I could give. Many times you have to put your personal aspirations to one side and pull the peloton, get in the breaks, get bottles, to be strong in the mountains alongside your leader... and then you get this. It was surprising."

Discussing the change in philosophy that is set to change the team, he was rather more pragmatic though.

"The team has changed hands. Miguel (Madariaga) did things differently, a new person to lead the team comes in, he's decided to take this road, and you've got to respect that. I'm not one to judge. The supporters will have their say".

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