By Antonio J. Salmerón
Thursday, Saunier Duval-Prodir will be presented in Estepona (Málaga). Director Sportif Joxean Matxin boasted of his star draftee, Iban Mayo, formerly with Euskaltel-Euskadi, "He is superb rider; he is always in the news, if he goes well or if he does badly." Matxin said to EFE, adding that, "Mayo should be a great contribution for Saunier Duval-Prodir, in all senses."
At the same time, Matxin showed his confidence in José Angel Gomez Marchante, "who has taken a jump in quality this [last] year; I believe that he will start to assume more responsibility."
The Basque director hopes to confront the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España with the talents of Italian Gilberto Simoni, Scot David Millar, and Spaniards Iban Mayo and Gomez Marchante. The leadership distribution in the grand tours is clear for Matxin, "In the Giro, Simoni and Mayo will be our leaders; in the Tour, the most important one due to its media repercussions, Mayo will be our leader, mainly helped by Gomez Marchante, Koldo Gil and David Millar."
The Saunier Duval-Prodir will count on "a balanced and powerful team, with riders able to succeed in any type of race on the 2007 international calendar." The balance, Matxin emphasized, will be thanks to new other new signings Iker Camaño (ex-Euskaltel), Jesús Del Nero (ex-3 Molinos Resort), Raivis Belohvosciks (ex-Universal Caffè-CB Immobiliare) and Remmert Wielinga (ex-Quick-Step).
A returning young and promising rider is David de la Fuente, who had great success in the 2006 Tour. "He will have freedom to seek opportunities. People know little of him, but he is a high quality rider; one of the best one in the Saunier Duval-Prodir," Matxin proudly noted.