Cobo set to help Caisse d'Epargne win another Paris-Nice
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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Cobo set to help Caisse d'Epargne win another Paris-Nice

by Steve Jones at 8:36 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice
 

Earlier today Caisse d'Epargne rider Juanjo Cobo set off by plane from Madrid to France with his teammates for a big appointment at Paris-Nice. Cobo is new to the Spanish team this year after riding with Fuji-Servetto last season. His highlights last year include a stage win in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, where he beat Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and his new team leader Alejandro Valverde, who finished in fourth on the day.  He also won a stage in the Vuelta a España, knocking Valverde into second place on that occasion, with Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) finishing third.

The man from Cantabria finished off 2009 strongly with high places in the Giro di Lombardia and Japan Cup. His performances got the attention of Valverde and team manager Eusebio Unzué, and they brought the 29 year old on board to strengthen their Grand Tour team.

Cobo admitted he doesn't have a lot of racing days in the run-up to this weekend's Paris-Nice start, but he said he's not worried, and still expects to put in some solid work for team co-leaders Valverde, and last year's victor, Luis León Sánchez.

“After the Mediterranean Tour, I have only raced in the Clasica of Almeria which means I've gone several days without competing,” he said. “Nevertheless I have trained very well and have done some solid work so I am satisfied with my current condition. My condition hasn't reached one-hundred percent yet, but I am feeling very good.

“We will start in Paris-Nice with two leaders, Alejandro Valverde and Luis León Sánchez. I will do my best to help them whenever they need it, particularly in the key stages.”

With Caisse d'Epargne's sponsorship ending this year the team will need to find a replacement to continue in 2011.  Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso was named in the Gazzetta dello Sport as someone who could possibly team up with Caisse d'Epargne manager Unzué to create a Spanish super team. Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador's name has also been thrown in the mix. Despite the possibility of everything falling into place, Cobo knows it's important to impress any potential sponsors.

“Paris-Nice is a race that is part of the world calendar which means it's very important for our team and our sponsor. The level [of competition] is expected to be very high one even if it is still only the beginning of the season," explained Cobo.

The Spaniard tips his rumored future teammate as one of the team's key rivals for the French race: "After what he showed on the Portuguese roads during the Tour of Algarve, Alberto Contador will for sure be one of our most dangerous rivals but he won’t be the only one.”

He's looking to perform well for his leaders this week for an opportunity to take his own chances toward the end of the month. “I hope to be able to achieve what my team needs from me and go out of the French race in good condition," he added, "[So] I can be part of the team which will participate in the Criterium International at the end of March. It is a race where I would like to have the opportunity to try something [for myself] before working again to help team leader Alejandro Valverde in the Tour of the Basque Country.”

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