Movistar team says it could take Vuelta winner Juanjo Cobo on board
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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Movistar team says it could take Vuelta winner Juanjo Cobo on board

by VeloNation Press at 6:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Rider still looking for a contract after Geox TMC debacle

Juan Jose CoboThree months after the rider rejected an offer to move to the team, the Movistar setup may prove to be the ultimate destination for the Vuelta a España winner Juan Jose Cobo.

The Spaniard has been left stranded after his Geox TMC team has been unable to find a replacement sponsor for Geox, which walked away in October. An extended UCI deadline for Pro Continental registration has expired, and the riders are known to be looking elsewhere.

Cobo showed commendable loyalty to his 2011 team, but knows that it is time to move on.

“If Cobo cannot find another team, evidently, we would take him,” general manager Eusebio Unzue told El Pais. “We have already spent the budget, so we would have to ask Telefonica to increase it.”

It is not known if the team would be able to match the 750,000 euros he was offered by Bike Live, the management company behind Geox-TMC. Given the rider’s predicament, it’s conceivable that his asking price has dropped.

Cobo previously competed with the team setup in 2010 (pictured), when it was sponsored by Caisse d’Epargne. He had a completely anonymous season, with 35th in the Brixia Tour and 38th in the Vuelta a la Rioja as close to the podium as he got. He suffered from depression during that year, but bounced back this season with Geox TMC to win the Vuelta.

If the transfer is completed, he will have to share team leadership with riders such as Alejandro Valverde, who is returning after a long suspension.

Meanwhile Bike Live sporting manager Josean Fernández Matxin has said that he will continue battling on to save the team, even though the UCI deadline has elapsed. He and general manger Mauro Gianetti had spoken to the Venezuelan government about a project together, and while that deal wasn’t sealed in time, he has said that it could yet happen.

According to Eldiariomontanes.es, there are also two other companies who could potentially come on board. “I won’t give up, I’ll keep fighting until the end,” he pledged, saying that he believes that for the sake of the riders and staff, that the UCI would still accept the team’s registration if he managed to seal a deal.

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