By Antonio J. Salmerón
When the Canary Islands government decided not to continue with sponsorship of the Pro-continental Fuerteventura-Canarias, many riders were left scrambling for new jobs. Amongst them was Spaniard Iker Flores, who was a professional with the Eusakltel-Euskadi team from 1999-2006 before switching over to the budding team in 2007.
Now, Flores may be at the end of his professional cycling career. While Flores is not giving up hope that he will find a last-minute contract, his attempts to join a Portuguese team ended without any agreement.
"I leave professional cycling a bit sad," Flores commented in Diario de Navarra. "When the Fuerteventura-Canarias told us that they would not continue, I saw it would be very difficult for me to continue too. I have tried to exploit all the possibilities for continuing, but it was impossible."
Barring a last-minute reprieve, Flores will leave cycling after just eight seasons as a professional rider. While his greatest achievement was the overall win and one stage of the 2000 Tour de l'Avenir, Flores also took the mountains classification of the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2001 and the points classification of the Basque Tour in 2007. In 2004, he took second on a stage of the Tour de France to Filippo Pozzato. At 31 years of age, Flores feels he is leaving cycling with the ability to have gone on racing for several more years.
"I feel very well. I wanted to continue racing. Perhaps I could have achieved some better results, or could have done more, but I leave cycling with the feeling that I did everything I could. I am satisfied with what I have achieved," The rider born in Urdiáin will be father next February. He still does not know what is going to do in the future, but said that he wants to complete his studies. "I want not to spend many days out of home as director or something similar. I must to start a new life."