Saturday, October 06, 2012

Euskaltel fail to entice Freire

According to numerous reports in the media today, Igor González de Galdeano failed in an audacious attempt to sign retiring legend Óscar Freire a few months back.

BiciCiclismo reports the incoming Euskaltel General Manager contacted the Katusha sprinter, who announced his definite retirement after the Valkenburg Worlds, some two months ago, offering the Cantabrian a rider-cum-manager role at the "new Euskaltel" next year. Allegedly, Galdeano's idea was to have the triple world champion riding on until the Vuelta al País Vasco, before then becoming a manager at the team. Specifically, he'd be tasked with advising the team's sprinters, in a role similar to the one Erik Zabel has at Freire's current team, Katusha.

An un-named WorldTour rival is also said to have offered Freire a team management role, but the 36-year-old turned down both. According to trustworthy website Cyclingnews, 'Oscarito' told Galdeano that his decision to hang up his bike at the end of the season was (for once) firm.

Signing Freire at such an advanced age would likely have been seen, and perhaps likely so, as a move solely to acquire UCI points and not really to bolster the team in sporting terms. For once communicating to the media, Galdeano refuted these claims.

"(...) Galdeano denies that a signing of Freire would be "just to fetch points and not to ride", as reported by a section of the media", a statement from Galdeano, who's decided to do no interviews before the team's roster for 2013 is set in stone, said. Further, the statement reads that he contacted Freire in July, but that the rider communicated his decision to leave cycling at the end of the year.

"A cyclist formed in his three amateur years in teams of Bizcaya - Ripolin (95-96) and Banaka (97) - with three world championship jerseys, stage wins at the Tour and the Vuelta and numerous prestigious classics, would be a great signing with international impact", he claims. "A cyclist loved and admired by the supporters, the team management was of the impression that he could add value to the image of Basque cycling and in addition be important for the future - as an adviser to the riders and, above all, to the young ones who might have the same characteristics as he did".

The statement ends with Galdeano saying he "maintains a great relationship with Óscar Freire", and that he wishes him well for the future.

Photo: Cyclingnews


Franck said...

I found this news also:

arnout said...

Is Euskaltel getting desperate? They haven't signed anyone yet, apart from some young talents.

Magnus said...

Nice link Franck, didn't know that. Thanks!


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