Caja Rural remains diplomatic despite Vuelta snub
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Caja Rural remains diplomatic despite Vuelta snub

by Kyle Moore at 5:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Developing Spanish team continues to look forward

Vuelta 2011Caja Rural, the Spanish pro continental team in its second year of existence, will be forced to watch the Vuelta a España on television, but team management refuses to be bitter one week from the start.

Some Vuelta organizers were questioned when they decided to select Dutch team Skil-Shimano instead of the second tier Spanish outfit. But, similar to a team like current powerhouse Garmin-Cervelo, Caja Rural directors are emphasizing slow and steady growth.

“We’re a young team,” director Xavier Artetxe told Marca. “It is my first year as well. We have had a very good season considering what is at our disposal. We are humble in terms of budget but we really want to continue growing slowly.”

The Spanish team’s best results have come from 27-year-old Javier Moreno. The Spaniard picked up both of Caja Rural’s wins this season when he took out stage three and the overall title at the Vuelta a Asturias. The team got some visible television time at the Clasica San Sebastian and then went to the Vuelta a Burgos, where Jose Herrada was best placed for the team in 36th position overall. Team leader and veteran Iñigo Cuesta was 44th in that race, likely to be his last professionally. The 42-year-old announced his retirement earlier this month.

Remove Cuesta from the mix and Caja Rural certainly looks like a young team on paper. On its roster, the team features eight riders under the age of 25, and twelve more under the age of 30. Artetxe felt the results the young riders have earned this year, and the enthusiasm they have exhibited, could have earned them a spot in the Spanish Grand Tour.

“We were one of the options. On one hand, we had the enthusiasm and the desire to race,” he said. “We had done a good job to earn our place in the standings, but in the end there were only four wildcard invitations and a new points ranking system. [Not being invited] was a setback, but it is understandable.”

Asked whether the snub would affect the attitude within the team, Artetxe didn’t believe that it would.

“I don’t think [our attitude] should be affected,” he concluded. “Next year, we should go. Consistency is something that is very important at Caja Rural, which is a sponsor that has been around amateur racing for many years. We want to stay professional. We are thinking about next season.”

Artetxe hopes that the professional attitude mixed with a noticeable love for the sport could lead to good things in the future. But as for the present, and a trip to the Vuelta, he can’t help but wonder what might have been.

“It’s a shame because the kids deserve it, and so does the sponsor. But that’s the way things are.”


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