Contador announces his foundation and Specialized will back a junior racing team
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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Contador announces his foundation and Specialized will back a junior racing team

by VeloNation Press at 12:01 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Under 23 and women’s team may be added in 2014

Alberto ContadorVuelta a España winner Alberto Contador has announced that his foundation will back a junior cycling team, with the aim of developing young Spanish talent in the sport.

The project will debut next season and will be also backed by his current bike sponsor Specialized, which will supply machines to the group of riders. Former Spanish national team selector José Luis Santos will direct the team, using his experience from that post plus his years as a professional to help up to fifteen young riders develop.

“We are thrilled with this project because we are working for the future of our sport, which is something we love,” said Contador. “We want to support young cyclists in what is a particularly difficult time in which many teams and many races are disappearing.”

Having the view to help nurture riders as they age and progress towards possible pro careers, the setup is expected to expand over time and encompass more riders.

Encouragingly, there are indications that riders of both genders could be looked after.

“This should be something long lasting, a long term project to ensure the formation of the guys until they can reach the top flight,” explained Contador’s brother and agent Fran Contador. “The first season will begin with the junior team, but we extend it to the next with a under 23 team and probably other for women, thus completing the cycle prior to jumping to professionalism.”

The budget for the team will be drawn from the Alberto Contador Foundation as well as Specialized’s backing. Several other suppliers from Contador’s Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank team are also expected to support the project, as will a number of new partners.

A total of thirteen riders have been confirmed thus far, with up to two more slots available. Those who are already on board are Oscar Linares, Pablo Noriega, Juanjo Pazos, Francisco Perez and Sergio Fernandez (all Cantabria), Cristian Torres (Albacete), Enric Mas (Baleares), Álvaro Cuadros (Andalusia), Miguel Angel Ballesteros (Murcia), Miguel Angel Alcaide (Castilla La Mancha), Diego Pablo Sevilla and Victor Aguado (both Madrid) and Fernando Barceló (Aragon).

De Santos says he sees the project as a very exciting one, not least because of those involved. “Being close to Alberto and Fran Contador is a great opportunity and I did not hesitate when they offered me the chance,” he said. “Going back to work with the cycling grassroots is very nice and I think we can bring many things to the formation of the riders.”

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