Joxean Fernandez Matxin officially calls time on Geox-TMC
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Joxean Fernandez Matxin officially calls time on Geox-TMC

by Ben Atkins at 10:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Spanish manager has given up hope of securing a new sponsor for 2012; most big name riders already signed elsewhere

juan jose coboThe search for a new name sponsor for the Geox-TMC team has officially been called off, team manager Joxean Fernandez Matxin has told Spanish sportspaper La Marca. The Spanish team’s parent company Club Deportivo Bike Live has been trying to replace Italian shoemaker Geox since October, after it announced that it no longer wanted to be involved with the team just one year into a reported five-year deal.

Sadly for the team though, the search has been fruitless and, with little more than a week to go until the end of the year, Matxin has given up.

“It was impossible,” he said. “It was just not feasible in the times that we find ourselves in. However, I’m not giving up and I will continue to look for something for the future.”

Geox has never publicly declared the reasons for its decision to drop the team, although missing out on ProTeam status – and the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour – in 2011 saw it miss a number of key events; most notably the Tour de France. There were rumours of Geox wanting to back out at the end of 2010 – before the team even started – because of this, but it stuck around for the first year on the assumption that, as one of the biggest Professional Continental teams it would be assured of invitations.

Even victory in the Vuelta a España from Juanjo Cobo (pictured) has not been enough to make up for missing its place at the top table it seems. The team applied for ProTeam status in 2012, but with no sponsor to provide the necessary bank guarantee it was never going to be successful.

Matxin spoke to VeloNation last week, reaffirming his determination, and emphasising that with other sponsors – including TMC – he only had a slight shortfall, but now appears to have reached the end of the road.

“I won’t stop fighting until the end of December,” he said at the time. “With €1.5 million we can have a professional team. I will fight until I have no options left. I am a fighter and an optimist, even if I know it will be difficult. In cycling nobody ever said it would be easy.”

There were also rumours later in the week that an American team might be about to step in and save the team, but this was downplayed by Matxin and, indeed, proved to be fruitless.

“There’s nothing,” he told VeloNation. “There are conversations with various teams, but there is nothing.”

Unfortunately for Matxin though, even if he had been able to secure a new backer, the vast majority of his riders have managed to find teams elsewhere for next year. Geox-TMC’s biggest names have almost all departed, with Denis Menchov moving across to Katusha, and Carlos Sastre choosing to retire. Of the big names, only Cobo remains to have signed elsewhere, but a deal with Movistar now seems inevitable.

“We knew it was not easy, but I’m the most optimistic man in the World and I’ve tried up until the very last minute. We’ve been around a lot but, with the economic circumstances that we find ourselves in, it has been impossible.”

As well as a number of riders – including David Blanco, David De La Fuente and Giampaolo Chuela – who will now be desperately searching for new teams, the team’s technical and administrative staff will now all be looking for work.

“I’m sorry for all my people, but I know I’ve done everything I could,” said Matxin. “Much more than if I was only searching for myself.”

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