Saturday, February 23, 2013

Samu - Language is no barrier

Much has been made of the way the non-Spaniards have managed to communicate with the natives at Euskaltel after the change in philosophy at Igor González de Galdeano's outfit the past winter.

Tarik Chaoufi allegedly speaks no English or Spanish and needed a translator at the team's first off-season gathering. Reportedly, André Schulze and Steffen Radochla don't speak Spanish either, and the lingua franca with the Slovenians is said to be Italian. What's more, Igor Antón is even known to be taking English lessons.

Ever the diplomat, team captain Samuel Sánchez doesn't see it as a problem at all - to him, changes are more often than not positive.

"I think the integration of the new riders have gone well", he told the team's website yesterday. "The truth is that I see a lot of myself in them when I first joined the team. The team management staked a lot on me when I went from amateur to pro. Therefore I see a lot of my own situation in theirs. When you join a new, big team whose riders you don't know, you feel a bit lost. But now I think all the riders are doing their part in making sure the newcomers fit in.

"The language does not represent a problem", he argues. "It's good for us: we can practice our English, while it should be enriching for them to learn a new language. I'd say all changes for the better are welcome. Evolution is always a good thing".

All the new riders, bar Alexandre Serebryakov, have gotten their bows in the orange jersey already, and 'Samu' himself kick-started his campaign in Murcia earlier today. 2013 represents the 2008 Olympic champion's 14th consecutive year with the team, making him the team's longest-serving rider. He insists staying motivated is not a problem, though.

"I'm just as motivated this year as if it was my first year", he said. "I think that's the secret - no more, no less. When a cyclist passes 30, his mentality changes a bit, but I want to remain at the top of the sport. You need to have the motivation and the will to go out on your bike. Without that motivation, it's impossible (to keep going year after year)."

Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi

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