Vuelta Espana winner Joan Jose Cobo (Geox-TMC) was back in action at the Memorial Pantani race in Italy on Saturday, finishing ninth behind winner Fabio Taborre (Acqua & Sapone), three weeks after winning his home grand tour Madrid.
Cobo has not raced since then, preferring to enjoy some time off to celebrate his surprise Grand Tour success. He celebrated with his friends and family in his home village of La Pesa in the Cantabria region and was even a special guest at a Real Madrid Football match.
“After the Vuelta I put my bike away for a few days to recuperate,” Cobo explained in a statement from the Geox-TMC team. "It wasn’t easy because I really had a lot of commitments: the official celebrations for my victory, the party in my hometown with friends and fans, meetings with sponsors, interviews and lots of other engagements which I had never had to face until now. However all the attention was quite flattering."
"The contact with people and all the media attention helped me to fully understand the importance of my victory, what an awesome result it is for both me and the team. However, the season is not over yet, and now I’m very happy to get back into racing and pedaling in the peloton.”
Cobo raced with Vuelta winning teammates David De la Fuente and Fabio Duarte. He was part of the 15-rider breakaway that formed on the tough Montevecchio climb and then tried his hand in the sprint in Cesenatico.
Cobo is likely to decide his future while in Italy. He is very close to Geox-TMC directeur sportif Joxean Matxin but has reportedly received a huge offer from the Astana team that is desperate to secure his UCI ranking points. Geox-TMC manager Mauro Gianetti hopes to convince Cobo, knowing that the team has always supported Cobo during his highs and lows.