Josean Fernández Matxín, the sport director of Spanish Geox-TMC, has given 2011 Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo the green light to look for another team for next season. Ten days ago, Geox announced that it was pulling its financial support of the squad, which could mean the end of the entire outfit.
On Spanish radio Cadena Cope, Matxín has admitted that he has not yet found a new sponsor and that he has agreed to let Cobo as well as David de la Fuente go if they find new team. "I told them both that they have to look for a solution now instead of waiting. That's what I would do. They have to find something else," he said. "If we, in our quest, can uphold our project then we will let them know immediately. If then they decide to stay - perfect. If they continue with another team, we'd understand."
While the UCI has already said that Geox riders are free to find other teams, the fact that the team's own director advises its star riders to actively look for another contract is not a good sign for the team's continuity. Indeed, Matxín admitted that the search for a new sponsor was difficult at this point in the year.
"Today, the situation is that there are motivated and interested companies to sponsor the project but no-one has yet made a sufficient offer. So there are talks but nothing is concrete yet and no contract is signed," he added.
Denis Menchov is already heavily rumoured to sign at another squad, possibly Katusha, and Cobo may also be interesting to a number of teams - provided they still have the budget to sign a Grand Tour winner.