Monday, September 24, 2012

Txurruka: "I'm not a martyr"

The news of Amets Txurruka being deemed surplus to requirements at Euskaltel has been met by anger and dismay by a considerable part of the Euskaltel following. Fans have voiced their disenchantment and even current riders have vented their frustration at the way things are being done at the team's headquarters in Derio. For the whole of last week, the man at the centre of the polémica kept to himself, declining to give any interviews. In today's Deia he decided to speak his mind - and the amiable 30-year-old put a brave face on.

"I cannot criticize them for not renewing my contract", he stated matter-of-factly. "Ultimately, it's Igor González de Galdeano's call to make. He's creating this new project, and it's his right to decide I'm not going to be a part of it. What I oppose to, though, is the way this has been handled. On one hand, they're saying the "new Euskaltel" will be a continuation of the current team, but on the other hand, today, in September and in the closing stages of the season, no one, or few, know what that means. They're not being transparent. Velasco and I are out. That's irrevocable and something I accept. But there's a lot of people who don't know anything about their futures. I'm talking about the human aspect of it all."

On the topic of why he'd kept quiet for so long, the native of Etxebarria said the timing just wasn't right last week.

"To start with, Igor's decision left me in a mess. I didn't expect it. I was speechless. Then when I started to process the whole thing, the hard blow of Víctor Cabedo's death hit us. It wasn't the time to talk about this nor anything else. But now days have passed, and people have been talking a lot about what happened and generated much controversy. That made me think a lot about what to say and what I think of this whole thing.

"I don't think (releasing me) is fair. At the Tour they told all of us who were there that the team was continuing and that they were counting on all of us. They said they would try to maintain the team's philosophy and that, if we wanted, we could stay on. Then we got to the start of the Vuelta in Pamplona, and the message was the same: they would try to maintain the philosophy, we shouldn't worry about anything and we should concentrate on team work, helping out Igor Antón, as always, so that he could obtain the points we needed to stay in the WorldTour. And they said we would talk again after the race. One week after finishing the race they called me up to inform me I was out. Igor said the reason was that I didn't have any UCI points and that he needed people who did to stay in the elite category, as was the company's wish. He also said he felt I hadn't progressed as I should have, and that the Amets of 2007 hadn't followed an upward trajectory. Therefore he felt that a change of scenary would be good for me".

Txurruka admits he hasn't come close to fulfilling his potential, lamenting the toll his injuries took on his career.

"I've had difficult seasons with all my injuries, and I've always given it my all to recover and be of use to the team. I spent many hours on the rollers to stay fit; my house has been drenched in sweat and I've been cleaning the floors each days. I've cried a lot. I've always fought to be available to the team. But if that's not sufficient for them, then good on them to not keep my on the team".

He says there's no personal issue with incoming General Manager Galdeano, but says the direction the team is taking might not be for the better.

"I felt valued, but now I'm sad. I was part of a team that was something special. Part of my sadness is seeing that that's now over. The atmosphere suffered under the burden of trying to get UCI points, and also because of the team's new direction. It won't be the same. It's always been like a national team, but that era seems to have come to an end. But I do not want to become a martyr or some kind of symbol. I'm not the main actor in this story. Me staying on or not has nothing to do with the team's philosophy. They didn't renew my contract the same way they didn't renew many else's contracts in the past. And never has anything happened. The team went on like they should now go on without me. It's just that now it seems it won't go on the same way. I'll continue to cheer for my friends I now leave behind, but the team will be something different. It won't be anything special anymore".

Do you fear not finding a new team?

"I sure hope that won't be the case", he concluded.


Kristof said...

It still makes me angry. Well TDF 2003 was a moment never to forget but I'll always remember TDF 2007. Txurru, Verdugo and R.Perez all days in the attack in the mountains. Those guys symbolysed the 'new Euskaltel', and surely Txurru. Remember the great win Vuelta 2010 Nieve? Surely would not have been happened without the great domestique work of Txurru. Txurru (and Verdugo) have given so much to the team. And now this... I start to wonder what's happening with that budget of 9 millions next year? Samu has a great contract, as he deserves, but we all know him as a correct man so I don't think he is overpaid comparing to his value. And Nieve and the Izagirres yes these are good ones with a decent contract, but nothing exceptionnal. And Anton I don't know, but looking to his past results he can't ask so much... Besides that there are bunch of riders who rather should pay themselves instead of getting paid (Oroz, Cazaux, Astarloza...) So where's all the money spent to? Are they planning to buy a big name (Rodriguez)? No one seems to know. To me there's only one man responsable for this mess, IGdG. Surely we know now where the disputes in the past were all about, Galdeano had other plans with Eus comparing to the Fundacion. But the man makes a mistake. A team as Euskaltel lives by the favour of his supporters, all the Basques and non Basque fans who wait in summertime on the mountains to see their heroes. Heroes the likes of Txurru. They won't be there to see Russians, Slovakians or doped has beens as Barredo. Could there be a bit influence from the important riders in the team (Samu) to keep the vision right, or is it all too late now? I'm a fanatic fan for almost 12 years, but heading this direction it could be the end of my Euskaltel love, it's that bad.

Colin said...

I definitely think this is a wrong move for the team letting hard working riders go the team will suffer

underthemint said...

Txurruka has no UCI points. Certainly.
But without him, how many points will the team loss?


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