Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tamouridis keen to prolong Euskaltel stay

Prior to this year, only the keenest of cycling aficionados would have known much about Ioannis Tamouridis.

Fast forward eight months, and 'Tamu' - as he's become affectionately known - has become an impressively popular rider at Euskaltel and a rider the knowledgeable and dedicated fans in Euskadi have taken to their hearts.

Yet times are hardly good for the Greek - just as times aren't good for any of the riders whose contracts expire this season. While the news of Fernando Alonso wanting to buy the team and fund it into the foreseeable future was met with almost universal appraise at home and abroad, it changed little for the riders who were on the look-out for a ride in 2014.

The Spanish Formula 1 star has confirmed all 14 riders under contract will feature on his new set-up, but as of yet - and we're already in late September - there's been no word on what's to happen with the riders on one-year deals.

Some are likely to be handed a new deal, the majority seems likely to be let go. As expert directeur sportif Gorka Gerrikagoitia put it so succinctly in Madrid on Sunday: "No one knows anything about what the future holds".

Neither does Tamouridis.

"Except for the 14 riders under contract next year, no one knows if they'll be part of the new team or now", the reigning Greek national road race and time trial champion tells Basque Cycling News. "For sure I want to stay here. This team is like a family, and I would like to stay on.

"The news of Alonso coming on board is good not only to us on the team, but to the sport in general. It would be sad to see a country like Spain only left with one single WorldTour team. No one knows what they'll be doing next year, but I'd be very happy to get the opportunity to stay on for a second year".

Some of Euskaltel's foreign recruits (read: Tarik Chaoufi and Alexandre Serebryakov) struggled to adapt to the level of racing, the new surroundings and their new team-mates, but 'Tamu' - who still calls Thessaloniki in his native country home - has adapted to the rigours of the WorldTour with apparent ease.

Talking about his first year at the top level of the sport, it's clear he's enjoyed himself.

"My first year's been great. It's been a pleasure and a great experience", he says. "The team accepted me from day one and made me feel comfortable. That's one of the reasons I'd like to be around here next year as well.

"Obviously the first year in the WorldTour is difficult for a 'rookie'. The level is of a whole different level to what I was used to, and at the start I have to say I was a bit scared! Despite the fact that I didn't grab any top results, I aimed to be active at most races and to follow the team's instructions. I think I did  that well".

Tamouridis' exploits on the bike this year has caught the attention of the mass media in his home country. If Alonso indeed is to come on at the team's new owner, he predicts the interest in his home country will soar.

"A guy like Alonso can certainly improve the team and raise the team's profile", he says. "As I've already noticed here in Greece, Alonso taking over will get even more people interested in the sport".

Photo: Twitter


Josh Buehner said...

Tamu is awesome! Love that guy. Pretty impressive Giro performance he had.

Given that he has 1/3 of Euskaltel's wins for the year, wouldn't it be prudent to keep him for the points? At this late in the transfer season it's not like Equipo Alonso is going to be able to sign a bunch of quality guys. I don't see this team being a whole lot different next season.

Plus, having him around for time-trialing purposes is what this team DESPERATELY needs.

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Nafarroa said...

Hope this lad is kept on. Good performance over a difficult season....

Stephen said...

He seems such a likable guy too, the kind of team mate that others rely upon. Hope he gets a ride next year, I really think he deserves to.

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