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Juan Jose Cobo and Alejandro Valverde flank Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue.
Vuelta winner looking to make impact at Tour de France
Left without a team following the disbandment of Geox-TMC, Juan José Cobo has said that the opportunity to sign for Movistar was too good to pass up. The Vuelta a España winner endured a difficult winter as he searched for a squad for 2012, but eventually put pen to paper two days shy of the New Year.
“At a certain point I couldn’t wait any longer,” Cobo told Marca. “I could have looked for something better economically, but at my age I was more concerned with the sporting side of things. I’m only thinking about having a great calendar and a great team.”
Cobo was presented as a Movistar rider alongside the controversial Alejandro Valverde in Madrid on Wednesday, and this season will mark his second spell at Eusebio Unzue’s outfit. Cobo spent 2010 with the squad when it was sponsored by Caisse d’Epargne, although that sojourn was blighted by his battle with depression.
“I hope to ride like I did in the last two months of last season,” Cobo said. “Winning the Vuelta didn’t so much change my life as change my mentality. Thanks to that, I’m now super motivated and that’s what I needed.”
Eusebio Unzue confirmed that Cobo will be on hand to defend his red jersey when the Vuelta gets underway in Pamplona on August 18, and hinted that he will ride the Tour de France beforehand. However, he was reluctant to rule out the possibility that Cobo might instead lead the squad at the Giro d’Italia.
“The arrival of Cobo is forcing us to modify the plans of other riders, but Juan José’s presence at the Giro can’t be excluded yet,” Unzue told Gazzetta dello Sport.
Cobo himself is hopeful that he will get the nod to spearhead Movistar’s Tour de France challenge alongside the controversial Alejandro Valverde, who is returning from suspension for his implication in Operacion Puerto.
“It’s my big objective,” Cobo said, according to AS. “The road will tell me what I can aspire to, but I’ll fight to do as well as I can. It could even be the podium. I’ve found the confidence and motivation that was missing.”