"In Spain there are three 'aces': Freire, Valverde and Mayo," said Saunier Duval-Prodir DS Joxean Matxin yesterday during the official team announcement of Iban Mayo's signing.
The 29 year-old Basque turned professional in 2000 with Euskaltel-Euskadi and spent every year since then with his home team. Over the years Mayo has accumulated wins in races such as the Tour de France and Dauphiné Libéré. 2005 was a dry season but 2006 saw Mayo come back with a blast in the Dauphiné and Vuelta a Burgos, leading way for greater media exposure and contacts with his old friend, Matxin.
"... Oscar Freire, Alejandro Valverde and Iban Mayo. And they are three 'aces' for several reasons: for what they have accomplished the qualities they possess and for their media significance," said Matxin according to todociclismo.com.
Matxin went on to explain Mayo's possible objectives for the coming 2007 season. The Basque DS figures Mayo can achieve his best results, like in the Tour de France, without being "obsessed."
"There are other races and Mayo has the potential to win them," said Matxin of the feisty Basque climber who won the Tour stage finishing on Alpe d'Huez in 2003. "He cannot go to the Tour obsessed, but taking it day by day and fight for obtainable objectives. He will have marked objectives, but without being obsessed."