By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team manager José Miguel Echavarri has explained in the pages of the sport daily AS his malaise with the possible drafting of his star rider, Alejandro Valverde, by T-Mobile. The interview was published at the same time that ABC published their details of a supposed relationship between Valverde and Eufemiano Fuentes.
Echavarri explained his opinion. "Cycling lives a compulsive moment, in which it seems that everything is possible. It is no longer strange to me that those who wish the rules are met now infringe them," noted the Spaniard on the practices of T-Mobile.
"We admit that the T-Mobile has great economic capacity, but it does not correspond with its results, and in this sense, T-Mobile needs a leader. But the ethical code is not only for Operación Puerto; the UCI has a regulation that does not allow us [ProTour teams] to try to reach a contractual agreement with those riders who have still contract in force," he continued, in clear reference to Valverde.
Echavarri confirmed that Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears Director Sportif Eusebio Unzúe had travelled to Murcia to try to negotiate with Valverde, but he also sent a strong alert. "Valverde says that he prefers to remain with us, but they offered him a great increase of pay, leaving him to want more. If he wants to go then we could not prevent this, but he would have to also assume all the responsibilities, as well as T-Mobile."