By Gregor Brown
Tuesday in Bilbao, Iban Mayo was publicly presented in his new Saunier Duval-Prodir colours. The Basque rider made a big change at the end of 2006 when he departed Euskaltel-Euskadi, where he had ridden for the past seven years, to join Mauro Gianetti's Spain-based team.
Mayo's long-time friend and Saunier team director, Joxean Matxin, was happy to welcome the team's new member. "To see Mayo with the maglia rosa or maillot jaune on his back? This is not unfounded, seeing how he is considered one of the best talents in the international field," the Basque director told tuttobiciweb.com.
The 29 year-old Mayo, when asked about his main objectives for 2007, indicated he'd like to focus on two of the biggest tours. "The Giro d'Italia and Tour de France," Mayo stated. "Above all the Giro attracts me, seeing is how it will be a first time for me in the corsa rosa; it is the only grand tour I am missing. ... I will race in support of Gilberto Simoni."
Mayo said that in the Spanish-Swiss team he will have less pressure than he did as leader of the Basque squad, and working alongside riders like Simoni, David Millar and Koldo Gil will offer him more freedom. "I am very relaxed this winter; I was able to train well and without pressure," he continued. "Also, the team has made me feel liberated; at the Giro I will race without pressure, with only the objective to learn from Simoni and help him win the overall."