By Antonio J. Salmerón
Jose Herrada, the winner of a stage in the Tour de l'Avenir and recent recruit to the Professional Continental team Grupo Nicolas Mateos-Murcia, is looking forward to the upcoming season on his new team, and hopes to start with a strong early season.
The young promising climber, born in Cuenca 22 years ago, left the continental Viña Magna-Cropu, where he made his professional debut in 2006, for the team of Ginés Garcia on the strength of that gutsy solo attack on stage six of the Tour de l'Avenir. Herrada was one of the frustrated GC contenders whose hopes were dashed by a large stage three breakaway. "I could not win in the general classification due to a silly escape, which forced me to focus on taking a stage. In addition, I finished second in another one."
Herrada success came despite his racing fewer than 20 days in the entire season, which he called, "something incomprehensible for a continental squad". "To win in the Tour de l'Avenir has been vital to improve my situation," he admitted to Cyclingnews.
In Cuenca, the cold weather is beginning to moving in, and Herrada expressed his desire to come to Murcia to train soon. "Ginés García said to me that all of us will train together as much as possible." Herrada knows that the hilly terrain of his local region is responsible for his ability to obtain goods results in the mountains, but is looking forward to improving in other areas. "I have to improve certain aspects, such as the time trial," Herrada admitted. His younger brother, Jesus, can boast of being the current national junior time trial champion.
Looking forward to 2008, Herrada said that he wants to have a strong beginning of the season. "I usually have allergy problems in April," he explained, and said he hoped to gain good results before then. The 22 year-old rider knows that the Vuelta a Murcia, in March, will be the first major appointment of his new squad. "It is more important to be combative from the beginning in order to gain a 'wild-card' for the Vuelta a España." In this sense, Herrada is optimistic. "We do not have clear leadership, but we are the same people who always are fighting in many races, and that also counts," he concluded.