2011 Vuelta a España winner Juanjo Cobo resigned to riding with a Continental team in 2014
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Monday, December 02, 2013

2011 Vuelta a España winner Juanjo Cobo resigned to riding with a Continental team in 2014

by VeloNation Press at 7:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Juanjo coboHe won the Vuelta a España two years ago, beating Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins (both Sky), but after two anonymous seasons Juanjo Cobo is still searching for a contract and has resigned himself to racing with a Continental team in 2014.

Cobo took the Vuelta title with the Geox TMC team, but its unexpected folding saw him move across to Movistar. He had the structure and backup there to achieve big things, even if he would be required at times to ride for the likes of Alejandro Valverde and Rui Costa, but failed to reach anything like the same form.

In 2012 he was thirtieth in the Tour de France and a distant 67th in the Vuelta a España; this year, he rode just one Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, where he was 116th. He did achieve some solid results in the early season, neeting 26th in the Tour du Haut Var, 22nd in the Clasica de Almeria and seventeenth in Tirreno Adriatico, but that was the peak rather than the foundation.

Speaking to Biciciclismo, he said that he is training hard but has hit a blank wall thus far as regards the search for a team.

“At the moment [I’ve] nothing,” he told El Diario Montañés. “I’ve been talking to a small team to see if we can save the year and return next season back to the top ranks. My intention is to race and I may have to take a step back to return with the best [in 2015 – ed.].”

He said that he has already received a no from Movistar and Caja Rural. “My future may be in a continental squad and not a UCI Pro Tour team,” he accepts, adding that it may be based abroad.

While he is searching around, he’s also working as if he has a deal. “Physically I’m fine,” he said. “I go out cycling four or five days a week, and now begin to go out every day. I am emotionally calm. I know exactly why I'm in this situation and I accept that. I like racing and I feel good, that's very important. "

While he’s aware that the tough economic situation is part of his plight, he also accepts that a big part of it is his drop in form since the Vuelta win. “Everyone has to be realistic and it's my fault. I have not responded as I should have and I fully understand what happens. I have not been able to return the trust placed in me. I have not taken advantage of opportunities and have missed two key years.”

Former Geox TMC manager Fernández Josean Matxin is now a directeur sportif with the Lampre Merida team. He knows Cobo well, with the latter saying that they work particularly well together. Matxin proposed to his squad that they take on the Spaniard, but it didn’t materialise.

As a result he’s open to offers from smaller teams. He’s now 32 years of age and knows that 2014 will be make or break for him; if he can get a squad and turn things around, he has a chance of returning to a high-level team in 2015. Otherwise, the clock is very much ticking on his career.

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