By Antonio J. Salmerón
This Friday – at twelve o'clock – is the deadline set by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for Team Relax to present guarantees and contracts for its 2008 professional staff. If by that time the Spanish team of Aragon has been unable to find a sponsor to provide up to 30 percent of its budget it will have to say adios to the peloton.
"The backlash of doping is to blame for Relax not finding a new sponsor," said the company's General Director Jesús Alegre to Equipo.
Only future star Daniel Moreno has a contract for 2008. If no new sponsor is found, the rest of the riders will be left without work. Riders like Ángel Vicioso, Oscar Sevilla, Francisco Mancebo and Santiago Pérez are being held in limbo.
Mancebo noted, "I am in the unemployment queue." Perhaps for that reason he has decided to open a brewery in Ávila. Vicioso added that "I am thinking of the worst, and I have the idea that I will not race next year." Jorge García agreed with his colleagues, "Cafés Baqué ended in a very similar way, and the team faded."
Team Manager Jesus Suarez Cueva does not see a bright future, "each passing day I see it getting worse."
Relax hopes that an Italian furniture company will cover the 30 percent, or, another option is a rumoured alliance with Green Cycle Associates, the Belgian company behind Unibet.com.