Movistar wants to shine as a team, targets Latin America as well
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Movistar wants to shine as a team, targets Latin America as well

by Bjorn Haake at 3:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Telefónica is quite interested in Colombian business

david arroyoThe manager of the Movistar team, Eusebio Unzúe, is eyeing the ProTour competitions with his Caisse d'Epargne successor, Movistar. In addition, a professional continental team based in Colombia races the Latin American calendar. Movistar wants to continue the successful years of the Reynolds, Banesto, Illes Balears and Caisse d'Epargne teams.

The main sponsor is telephone company Telefónica, and they don't make it a secret that they want to expand their business in Latin America, according to an article in Marca. Unzúe already traveled to Colombia after the Vuelta a España, to watch the Clásico RCN. He also met with Libardo Leyton, a directeur sportif very well in tune with the Colombian scene. "He is very experienced, who knows the epoch of Café de Colombia and of Postobon", Unzúe told Marca. "The infrastructure will be Colombian and the headquarter is in Bogotá. Also, many of the 15 to 16 riders will be Colombian, with some from other Latin American countries where Telefónica and Movistar have an interest."

The line-up is not yet announced. "Some of the riders are still under contract wit other teams," Unzúe said. The only details that have emerged are the mix of young and old in the team and a race calendar that will have the team travel to Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay, in addition to Colombia. "We believe that by giving it a European air and exchanging directors, staff and riders, it will transfer into cycling in these countries."

The Tour de San Luis in Argentina, for example, will be raced by the ProTour outfit. This race is held before the Continental team will be fully established, which Unzúe reckons to be the case in February.

Even the ProTour team hasn't set up completely yet. "The jersey isn't decided yet, although the main color will the blue from Telefónica."

Currently 24 riders are part of the ProTour team, with a possibility of another add-on. The team is the focus for Unzúe. "We don't have a big star, but a squad with a lot of quality, which allows us to field a good team on any given race.

"Riders like Arroyo, Rubén Plaza, Rojas, Bruseghin, Tondo, Pardilla, Ventoso and among others Samoilau, allows us to be well represented in all the Tours."

With the team being as it is, the objectives are fine tuned for 2011. "We don't think about the overall [in the Tour de France] and even less about the podium, although Rubén Plaza had a good result this year - 12th - given it was his first time. We will also see where Xavier Tondo can end up." The main goal will be the Vuelta a España.

If all goes well, Movistar is in for the long haul. "We cannot make mistakes," Unzúe emphasized. "We will try to do the best we can in the first year, but the main objective is to set up the structure. Then, in 2012, we can think about strengthening the team by adding another rider." Valverde could be an option, once his suspension runs out.

The Movistar 2011 team:

Andrey Amador, David Arroyo, Marzio Bruseghin, Imanol Erviti, Chente García, Iván Gutiérrez, Vasili Kiryienka, Pablo Lastras, David López, Ángel Madrazo, Luis Pasamontes, Fran Pérez, Rubén Plaza, José Joaquín Rojas y Mauricio Soler, Beñat Intxausti, Sergio Pardilla, Xavier Tondo, Fran Ventoso, Ignatas Konovalovas, Branislau Samoilau, Jesús Herrada, Javier Iriarte and Enrique Sanz.

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