By Monika Prell
The government of the Balearic Islands will ended its sponsorship involvement with Abarca Esport, the management company of Caisse d'Epargne. In a letter they justified this decision by "the demands of the UCI and of the main sponsor [Caisse d'Epargne]" that "complicated the continuation of the conventions that we arranged with the entire company."
Pepote Ballesterm, the the government's General Director of Sport, added two more reasons to justify the decision: doping and television. "The pressure of the UCI and the pressure of the media concerning doping are not helpful to the sport. Nor did TVE [the Spanish television station] broadcast the last races."
According to the Spanish newspaper Marca, the government thanked "all who formed part of this project" since 2004, for having promoted both the sport of the archipelago and the "image of the Balearic Islands". The team, directed by José Miguel Echavarri and Eusebio Unzúe, is the successor of the team Banesto (and iBanesto.com), and has great cyclists in its ranks, like Alejandro Valverde, winner of last year's UCI ProTour classification and second in the 2006 Vuelta a España, Oscar Pereiro, second of last year's Tour de France, French champion Florent Brard, and Russian Vladimir Karpets, who won the white jersey of the Tour de France 2004.