Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to make final decision on backing former Geox TMC team
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to make final decision on backing former Geox TMC team

by VeloNation Press at 7:36 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Country’s leader will decide if bid to save squad will get green light

Juan Jose CoboAfter recent talks in Venezuela to try to save the team, the Bike Live management company behind the squad known as Geox TMC in 2011 is relying on a final decision by the country’s top official as to whether or not the new project will go ahead.

The proposal is to set up a team somewhat along the lines of other national squads, albeit beginning initially with a smaller percentage of riders from the country, and then working upwards over time. According to Mauro Gianetti, President Hugo Chavez is the person who will give the final yay or nay, with the decision due soon.

Gianetti spoke about the subject to Biciciclismo, saying that he has ‘good feelings’ about the trip he and Josean Fernández Matxin had in Venezuela between Wednesday and Saturday. Now it’s a question of waiting and hoping that a deal which could save a team threatened by the withdrawal of its title sponsor will go ahead.

“The feelings are good because we met with the minister of sports,” he said, describing the plan to try to secure tourist board sponsorship as “not just a team but a project for an entire country.”

“Initially, the idea is to integrate six to eight road riders and gradually grow in size, improving their development and creating a group of a high standard. There is a good group, such as [national road race champion Miguel Armando] Ubeto or [Vuelta Independencia Nacional winner Tomas Aurelio] Gil, and others like [Giro d’Italia stage winner José] Rujano or [Tour de Langkawi champion Jonathan] Monsalve who already have a team. Logically it would not be an obligation to anyone but a dream.” Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo, David de la Fuente and others have already said that they are likely to stay on board if the right deal can be found to save the team. The Venezuelan riders would race alongside those if an agreement is secured with the South American country, backing Cobo in his key events while also learning from him and others.

The team’s future became uncertain on October 20th when Geox confirmed it was walking away from the management company Bike Live. Gianetti now hopes that the team can be saved and while he said that there are some other possibilities that might come off, it appears that the Venezuelan backing is the one that he is chasing hardest.

“President Chavez has to take the final decision. It is a good move but we must see whether the president has the same vision,” he said. “Now we are waiting for the project to be explained well to him, then he’ll make a decision. It is difficult to know if it will end well or not.”

He added that he hopes the UCI will be patient in relation to the efforts, saying that many jobs could be saved if the project comes off successfully.


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