Gutierrez and Rojas continue with Team Movistar
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gutierrez and Rojas continue with Team Movistar

by Jered Gruber at 4:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Two Spanish powerhouses sign on for two more years.

Team Movistar is beginning to take shape heading into 2011. Two top Spanish riders have confirmed their signing with Eusebio Unzue's new Telefonica sponsored team for next season: Jose Ivan Gutierrez and Jose Joaquin Rojas.

Gutierrez has been a longtime stalwart on Unzue's team - he has spent his entire career (11 years) save for his first two, with Unzue and racked up considerable success in the near decade spent under his tutelage.

The 1999 U23 World Time Trial champion was a question mark in principle, but it never seemed too likely that he'd leave.

"I am delighted to continue two more years, which will now make it nine consecutive seasons with all the positive consequences that entails."

The four-time Spanish time trial champion, and two-time road champion (including 2010) is happy to remain with the team based in Navarre and happier still that the team has severed its ties with France (Caisse d'Epargne) and become an entirely Spanish team for 2011. Even with the loss of Alejandro Valverde to suspension, Gutierrez reckons the Movistar team is and will continue to be one of the best in the world.

"Now with Telefonica, we are a one hundred percent Spanish team…We expect great results, because I believe that we are one of the most powerful teams in the world."

On the quicker side of the coin… While Gutierrez could never be confused with slow, you'll never see him throwing elbows with the world's best in a bunch sprint, whereas you will be seeing that from young sprinting talent, Jose Joaquin Rojas.

"I had good deals, both sporting and economic, from other ProTour teams, but in the end, after talking to Eusebio, I decided to go with him. I have spent four years in this team, and I feel very comfortable. There is a very good atmosphere here, and the Movistar project excites me."

The Murcian has finished in the top ten over 30 times in 2010 including many podium appearances, but a win has eluded the sprinter so far this year. That's not too troubling for the fast man though - he's still only 25. It took the likes of Petacchi and McEwen years to hit their sprinting prime, and a 4th overall finish in this year's points classification at the Tour de France certainly bodes well for the future.

The real question remains though: where will Luis Leon Sanchez go for 2011? Will he remain in the friendly, familiar team of Movistar, or will he move on to Rabobank? With the signings of the core group of talents on Movistar starting to roll in, it would seem more and more likely that Sanchez will be doing the same.

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