By Monika Prell
Koldo Gil's hunt for a team to ride with in 2009 is continuing after Euskaltel-Euskadi told the rider it wasn't able to accommodate him next season. Gil approached Euskaltel-Euskadi after the outfit took on his former Liberty Seguros team-mate Pablo Urtasun.
"I talked to Igor González e Galdeano [Euskaltel-Euskadi technical secretary] to see if I could join the team; I know that it is difficult because they have already finished planning the 2009 squad," Gil said earlier this week. "Igor said that he will have a look, but that it is complicated. If this doesn't work, I will find myself in a precarious situation."
The rider has since announced on Onda Cero Deportiva de Vizcaya that he is now in that precarious situation. "Galdeano confirmed that there is no possibility for me to race in the team," he said. "This is a pity and a frustration for me.
"I already have been without a team at various times; I won't quit," he added. "I still have time to find a team."
Portugal was once the last refuge for Spanish riders who couldn't find a team in their home country, with riders like Francisco Mancebo, Rubén Plaza and Gil taking up this option on previous occasions. But now Benfica and LA Aluminios MSS will cease operation while other teams will reduce their squad's numbers, reducing the number of positions available for the abandoned Spaniards.
Gil confirmed that the situation in Portugal has impacted his prospects. "From the four good [Portuguese] teams, two will disappear and Liberty will have less money. Until now the Portuguese cycling stayed constant, there were no ups and downs, but this year has been difficult," the Navarran rider told Gara, referring to the doping case of LA Aluminios MSS.
A big obstacle in Gil's hunt for employment comes from his name's connection to Operación Puerto. "We talked to various teams of different countries, but it's correct that the shadow of the Operación Puerto still lingers," said Gil. "I am not an indispensable rider, but a competitive one and in recent years I have performed well, even if I didn't participate in many races."