With €10 million annual budget, Team Geox is aiming for biggest races in the world
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Monday, August 30, 2010

With €10 million annual budget, Team Geox is aiming for biggest races in the world

by Conal Andrews at 8:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Gianetti says team is shopping for Classics riders

Mauro GianettiFooton-Servetto team manager Maurio Gianetti has given more details about the new Team Geox squad he will oversee, saying that the team will target the biggest races in the sport and is looking for Classics riders to complement the Grand Tour ambitions it will pursue with Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre.

“It is a long term project for five or six years, with a high-level team that will have a budget around ten million euros per season and will feature 28 riders,” he told the Diario Vasco publication.

Gianetti has had tough times since two of his former employees, Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli, tested positive during the 2008 Tour de France. He has retained his ProTour licence but had a far smaller budget and fielded a young – and inexperienced – team in this year’s Tour.

However with Geox coming on board, things have changed. The Italian footwear company has a turnover of one billion euros per year, and has made a long term commitment to give a strong budget to the team.

Given that it has no cycling connection, it seems a peculiar match. Not so, says Gianetti. “It [cycling] is a sport that gives brand image, which allows a company to be known worldwide. Also, whether or not people are cycling enthusiasts, they wear slippers or shoes. They have decided to change its advertising strategy and invest in a sport that guarantees visibility.”

One way to do that is to sign big name riders, who should achieve strong results. He feels that backing Menchov, who was third in this year’s Tour, and has won two Vueltas and one Giro, and 2008 Tour winner Sastre are near-guarantees to fight for major victories.

“It's obvious,” he said, when asked why he picked the duo. “Between the two of them, they have accumulated ten podiums in the three largest races in the last ten years. But more importantly, they are two riders with a good image. They quickly understood the project and did not hesitate to sign.”

The team has signed 13 riders, amongst them the aforementioned team leaders plus the Spaniards Rafael Valls and Arkaitz Duran, and has a verbal agreement with an additional seven or so.

That leaves eight slots free, and he’d like to pick up another big name if possible. However that’s not certain. “We are looking at it, but it is not easy,” he said. “There are not many free and the other teams are also in the search. We are looking for Classic riders and if we get them, we will get them a small, specialist group for those races.”

Giantetti also confirmed several more details. The team is almost certainly to be based in Cantabria, Spain, Stefano Zanini, Daniele Nardello, Josean Matxin and Sabino Angoitia will be sporting directors, and he considers his relationship with ASO to now be good, despite the problems of 2008. He wants to be in the Tour de France and doesn’t seem to anticipate problems. “My relationship with ASO is good. We had specific circumstances [in the past] in which each defended their positions, but now we have regular meetings with them.”


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