Friday, January 04, 2013

Hernández - I've got a family to support

Despite having taken 15 wins already this year and being arguably Spain's top cyclo-cross rider, Aitor Hernández is far from happy. The 30-year-old is finding it hard to make a living of riding his bike despite his numerous successes, and warns he might have to do something completely different next year.

"I have no sponsor that makes it possible to live off this next year", he told El Diario Vasco. "I'm just about able to cover the costs this season. Orbea provides me with equipment, and that's important, but I'm 30, I've got a one-and-a-half-year-old son and a family to feed. I can't continue like this for another year".

Despite dominating the domestic scene, the former Euskaltel rider has yet to ride internationally this season - in stark contrast to his countrymen Murgoitio, Lastra, Larrinaga, Suárez et al. It's not for the lack of wanting, though, saying the money to do it simply isn't there.

"Of course I would like to ride some World Cup races, more than anything to see how far I can go and whether I can crack the top 15. You're left wondering exactly how well you would be able to do, what kind of rhythm you'd be able to sustain. I'd really like to give it a try."

To keep paying the bills, the Ermua-born former Tour de France rider reveals he's keeping himself busy in the afternoons.

"I do massage consultations, and if someone calls me and wants me to give a massage at 11 in the morning, I adapt my training. I also have to take care of my son. I can't spend all day training and then relax in the afternoon. I've got other obligations", he said, adding he's also taken a chiropractor course and is responsible for some fellow riders' training and preparation programs.

The recently-crowned champion of Euskadi and the Supreprestigio series doesn't plan on doing any World Cups for the remainder of the season due to a lack of sponsors and therefore money, but harbours hope of attracting backers for the 2013-2014 season.

"Looking ahead to next year, I hope some of the companies that declined to back me this year might change their mind based on the results I've obtained this season and that I therefore have a clearer idea (of what I can count on) in May. That way I won't have a lot of uncertainties coming into August and September", he told the Spanish Cycling Federation's website. "Obviously I want to keep riding - but without having to pay for it".

Photo: Iñaki Azanza

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