By Bjorn Haake in Burgos
After signing Swede Gustav Erik Larsson, Caisse d'Epargne General Manager Eusebio Unzúe revealed that he had been hoping to sign the Olympic time trial silver medallist for some time. Larsson rode with Bjarne' Riis' CSC team this season after being a part of the now defunct Unibet.com team the previous year.
"He's a rider who I had already set my eyes on in the last two or three years. I liked the way he is riding," said Unzúe. "We tried to sign him last year for the current season, then finally this year we reached an agreement in June." Larsson signed a two-year contract with the Spanish squad.
Unzúe thought the loss for CSC would be minor, but not because of a lack of performance of Larsson. "They have several good riders with his characteristics." The Danish team has a number of strong time trialists including Olympic gold medallist Fabian Cancellara. Unzúe thinks Larsson may be more than just a good rider against the clock. "He can win a stage race of six or seven days. He is a great time trialler and I think he can also be there in the Tour for Alejandro [Valverde]. Even in the medium mountains he can be there. I think he is a very interesting rider in several aspects."
Armstrong dominated the day
The big news of the day was of course the Lance Armstrong announcement. Unzúe weighed in his opinion to Cyclingnews. "It was definitely a surprise for me. Why he wants to return after four years [in 2009 it will be four years since his retirement in 2005 - ed.] He will have to explain that..."
Unzúe seemed still a bit surprised about the announcement. "I don't think it will be bad for the sport. As for his return, I don't really know... He is quite a personality and a bit of a notoriety." The question if Armstrong can win the Tour de France again was answered without hesitation by Unzúe. "No. I don't think he can. It will be very difficult after being away four years from the activity of a professional cyclist. It's clear that he can do great things, but to win the Tour? Of course, he is the man of the records... Maybe that will be another one - the eighth Tour at age 37!"