Friday, October 12, 2012

Patxi Vila laments missed Euskaltel opportunity

While the now-retired Patxi Vila probably has quite a few regrets in his 12-year-spanning professional cycling career, what with spending almost two of those years off the bike after testing positive in 2008, the 36-year-old says never having had the chance to represent his home team is one of the biggest. Speaking at length in today's Deia, the Hondarribia-born Paris-Nice stage-winner describes his relationship with Euskaltel as "weird".

"The possibility to ride for Euskaltel was there at various times", he said. "Either I couldn't as I had a contract in place with another team, or vice versa. The relationship (with Euskaltel) was a little weird. It grieves me greatly never having ridden for my local team. It's a thorn that is stuck in me".

While Vila's all-round ability made him a wanted rider by many an Euskaltel fan back in the years, in hindsight it appears not signing him was a good decision. Speaking of that testosterone-positive that marred his profession as well as its image, Juan Manuel Garate's best friend only states the obvious.

"I got through that time (of sanction) with patience. It was a tremendous setback. You'll never know what it's like until you experience it yourself. I got through it with the support of my closest ones and the motivation to return. If you don't have a big motivation to return, it's difficult to bear", he stated.

As for the highs of his career, winning stage three of the 2006 edition of the Paris-Nice ahead of Floyd Landis naturally stands out on a sporting level. On an emotional level, though, the moment pictured above is in a league of its own entirely, he explains.

"I'm a very romantic rider and a lot of the "unseen" moments will stay with me. This year's climb of the Ibardin (on stage four of the Vuelta al País Vasco) was the highlight of my career emotionally (Ibardin being in his home town of Bera, Vila dismounted just before crossing the line and kissed the ground). That moment will stay with me forever".

If you want to read the interview in its entirety, proceed to this page.


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