Monday, October 22, 2012

It's not Rutkiewicz, it's Chaoufi!
















Euskaltel's ninth and final foreign rider in 2013 will be Moroccan Tarik Chaoufi, not Marek Rutkiewicz as was anticipated. The 26-year-old national champion is the UCI's number one ranked African cyclist this year.

Chaoufi's signing was unveiled today alongside the confirmation of Greek Ioannis Tamouridis. Hailing from Azor, Chaoufi has taken a total of six wins this year, among them a stage at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo and a bunch of domestic races. With this signing, Euskaltel are done shopping this year and will count on 29 riders in 2013.

While many say, perhaps rightly so, that these nine foreigners are signed only to keep Euskaltel at cycling's top table and not for their athletic ability, General Manager Igor González de Galdeano insists on the opposite.

"The objective with signing these foreigners is based on a strategic commitment to make Euskaltel Euskadi stronger and more complete", he said at a press conference. "They're riders with UCI points, but they complement the other riders on the team and meet the urgent needs we've observed lately. The signings will bring quality to some of our weaknesses: classics and sprint finishes. The classics are getting more important on the world calendar - and they're races we haven't been able to get good results in. As such, we're missing out on a lot of big races and a lot of points. This is what we want to change in 2013".

Galdeano, who hasn't spoke publicly in quite a while as he focussed on getting the team set for the new season, is now likely to face a whole bunch of critical questions by journalists enraged at his decision to part with the team's unique philosophy. He argues, though, that the difference won't be all that great compared to this season, as next year's roster will include 20 Basques compared to 23 this year.

"Reality has forced us to sign riders who complement and strengthen the current roster in certain sections. Still, we've got 20 Basques against the 23 this year. We have more Basque cyclists in the team than in all other WorldTour teams combined. And we'd like to increase the number of Basques in the future. But if that is to happen, we need a team that wins more. And, in this regard, the new riders will come in handy. They're ambitious, they've got a winning mentality, and I want the local riders to learn this from them. These signings will make us more competitive and give us experience in disciplines and races we're not all that good at. Cycling continues to evolve, and we must aspire to stay at the elite level".

Photo: www.gabonreview.com

8 comments:

Stephen said...

Can't really argue with some of the logic, I just hope that these new guys actually deliver.

Nick said...

I'm excited to see the National champions kits!!

We have Moroccan road

Greek and Slovenian TT

Any others

Gordon said...

Yeah it will be interesting to see the national champions kits - i'm not sure if the colours will complement orange very well!

I'm pleased it's Chaoufi and not Rutkiewicz after his dodgy past and it's nice to see more African riders in the peloton.

The idea that they have signed top quality riders for the classics like Roubaix or Flanders is ludicrous though.

leberkas92 said...

i hope next year they sign a Iranian or an guy from Eritrea...

dont understand the new politic from Galdoneano just because of this silly points-system

Magnus said...

Three national champs is definitely a first, should be interesting! But the Greek-orange combo will probably be horrible...

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