By Antonio J. Salmerón
Wednesday was an intense day of signing contracts for the Professional Continental Nicolas Mateos-Murcia team. Several new signings were formally made public, including that of Alberto Rodriguez, the brother of Spanish national champion Joaquim Rodriguez. "The change has been very important for me," said Alberto Rodriguez. "This is the start of a very cool, new cycling project, especially for a rider like me. I have been in Continental squads for three years, and I think with the jump to the professional category I will have more opportunities to work, to compete and to demonstrate how much better I can do," he said.
The rider, who was born in Parets del Valles (Barcelona), comes from the continental Viña Magna Cropu. Rodriguez had high praise for his new professional squad. "It's the best squad for me now because I can race throughout the entire season," Rodriguez said. "That is the reason why I have been lacking so far, because I need a continuity in the competition that can allow me to get better results."
Rodriguez is looking forward to the Spanish stage races in 2008. "Vuelta a la Comunidad Valencia and Vuelta a Murcia," he listed. "[These] are very good for me and I can arrive to them ready to work hard and to try to give a surprise, who knows."
Javier Etxarri has renewed his contractual agreement with the Grupo Nicolas Mateos-Murcia for two seasons. His representative, Vaquerizas defined him as "a young rider with a great future." The 21 year-old rider added that, "I am very happy because this squad will have the opportunity to complete the season, but at the same time, I hope to start getting results." A fractured clavicle in the Tour of the Pourvenir with the Spanish national team, prevented him from going to the World Championships in Stuttgart (Germany).
Coming from the Relax-GAM, climbers José Miguel Elías and Julián Sánchez Pimienta are happy with their decisions. "I could not spend more time waiting for a firm proposal from my squad, after much uncertainty. I finally was convinced that I needed to find a new motivation in a new team", Elías expressed today to Cyclingnews.
On the other hand, Pimienta will be accompanied by his brother in the Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia. "I did not have any complaints of my time at Relax. I worked very hard for my leaders, and similarly will do in this new team, but with the possibility of enjoying greater freedom to improve my results", the 27 years-old rider commented today to Cyclingnews.
Both riders are convinced that, "the Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia management are preparing a highly competitive team and praised the spirit of ambition that is being instilled in it for 2008". In this sense, they said in addition that, "we will work very hard in order to win a 'wild-card' invitation to the Vuelta a España".