By Antonio J. Salmerón
Newly re-formed Professional Continental Team Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia, headed by Ginés García, will select its members this week for the 2008 season. Sergio Escobar, leader of the Continental level team during the last two seasons, is still waiting for news with a certain amount of despair, while other riders are confirmed.
"I know that there is some interest, and I hope that an agreement will be finally reached," the former pursuit World Champion explained to Cyclingnews. "I have a unique opportunity to attract media for the team in Beijing, where I hope to win a medal. Really, I have been very happy in this squad, and although there is a change in management, I hope they value my achievements."
Escobar, who won the a bronze medal at the last track World Championships in Palma de Mallorca, stated that in his 2008 programme he will continue his focus towards the Olympics. "I have to give some priority to the World Cup, the national championships and the Olympic Games in Beijing."
Julián Sánchez, who started his career with Fassa Bortolo in 2004 and raced with Relax-GAM in 2007, has made a verbal agreement with the Nicolás Mateos for 2008 according to sources consulted by El Faro de Murcia. The Spanish newspaper noted two neo-pros to join: U23 Team Würth's Ruben Reig and Sergio Dominguez (U23 Time Trial national champion). José Herrada Lopez and Rafael Rodriguez, from Continental Team Viña Magna-Cropu, are also slated to arrive. However, it is not known if young promising Murcian local Javier Chacon will join.
Andalusian Manuel Vázquez confirmed his move – as anticipated by Cyclingnews – in a press note. "The proposal of the Grupo Nicolas Mateos-Murcia exceeds the conditions that I had," he stated. "The team, formed by Ginés García, will be very competitive, and I think we can expect to race in the Vuelta a España."