Spanish sports director Joxean Fernandez Matxin has said that he found new sponsors for his Spanish ProTour team Scott-American Beef, formerly Saunier Duval. The team has had a troubled season since the positive test and ousting of Riccardo Riccò from the Tour de France, with it main sponsor Saunier Duval bailing out in the middle of the season. Bike manufacturer Scott, who stepped in to get the squad through 2009, will nevertheless also quit the sponsorship at the end of the year.
Matxin announced he was on the verge of signing two new backers. "A European multinational company as well as a second, Mexican sponsor," he told Spanish sports daily Marca. "In a matter of one week at the most, everything will be concluded. There is only the signature missing."
According to Matxin, the new main sponsor initially wanted a co-sponsorship and was in talks with the team during the Tour de France. After this summer's turmoil, the company decided going for a four-year main title sponsorship.
"The team will be more European, as the company has branch offices throughout Europe. We will be obliged to sign riders from many countries," he continued to explain, saying he nevertheless hoped to retain the majority of its current riders within the team.
There might also be a surprise rider ready to join the outfit: Former Mexican rider Raúl Alcalá. The now 44 year-old had two stage wins in the Tour de France in the 1980's and returned to professional racing this year by competing in the Vuelta Chihuahua. "There have been no talks yet, but it's true that some Mexican sponsors interested in joining the project would like to count on Alcalá," said Matxin.
With regards to the squad's anti-doping efforts, the directeur sportif announced "total transparency" and a possible co-operation with the French Anti-Doping Agency to make sure it would have its spot on the next Tour de France. Still, Matxin admitted there was always going to be a risk. "The problem are the people in the background, like [Italian doctor - ed.] Carlo Santuccione in the case of Riccò," he said.
During his hearing in front of the Italian Olympic Committee, the rider had accused Santuccione of providing him with the banned drug CERA. "As long as these people are not sanctioned, the problem of doping will not disappear," Matxin added.