Geox-TMC directeur sportif Josean Fernández Matxin has admitted that his squad is beset by a power struggle between primary sponsor Geox and team manager Mauro Gianetti.
“I believe there’s no smoke without fire,” Matxin told Palco Deportivo of the rumours that continue to circulate about the team. “I don’t know if all the details are correct, but there is clearly an internal power struggle that is causing some shots to be fired. However, it’s a passionate and ambitious project, and we have to look ahead.”
Last week it was reported that both Geox and TMC were considering pulling out of the sport if they were unable to take control of the team from Gianetti. In recent weeks, Geox owner Mario Moretti Polegato has introduced former Mapei manager Alvaro Crespi as a consultant.
Geox-TMC’s woes began in earnest in November, when the squad was overlooked for a ProTeam licence for the 2011 season. The team invested heavily in the signings of Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre but failed to acquire sufficient rider points to place it in the upper reaches of the UCI’s ranking of applicants.
“Certainly, missing out on the ProTour licence has represented a problem, and among other things, I still don’t understand the reasons behind the UCI’s choice,” Matxin admitted.
In spite of the fact that Geox-TMC is now reliant on wildcard invitations to gain entry to the major races, Maxtin is insistent that the team will be present and competitive at all of the Grand Tours.
“Our idea remains that of riding the three Grand Tours and trying to win them,” he said. “I’m convinced that for the stage races there are few teams that are as solid and competitive as ours.”