Xacobeo-Galicia boss Álvaro Pino has admitted he would like his team’s long-term future to be clarified before they line up for the start of the Vuelta a España on the last weekend in August. “As far as we have been made aware, we believe that the team will continue in the international peloton next season. But no one has yet confirmed that with us,” Pino told the Faro de Vigo.
Earlier in the year there were persistent rumours that the team based in Spain’s north-western region of Galicia would fold at the end of this season, but in recent weeks Pino has been given reason for greater optimism. However, he believes it is in the team’s and his riders’ best interests if clarification is given before the start of the Vuelta, which is their main objective of the season.
“The team needs to know as soon as possible where its future lies so that the riders can focus on the Vuelta and not be distracted by thoughts about their future,” said Pino. Formed in 2006 under the Karpin-Galicia name, the squad has been backed by Galicia’s regional government, but a change in that government has led to uncertainty over the team’s future.
Pino revealed that Galicia’s secretary-general for sport, José Ramón Lete, was at the recent Tour of Burgos and witnessed Xacobeo team leader Ezequiel Mosquera’s close-run battle with Euskaltel’s Samuel Sánchez for the overall title. “Lete didn’t tell us anything,” Pino confessed. “We hope that we will be continuing into next season because we deserve to for all kinds of reasons.”
Pino added that “the most important thing now is not knowing what the budget is going to be, but simply knowing that the team is going to stay in the pro peloton. The Xacobeo team is a reference point for many youngsters in Galicia and the work that we are doing in bringing on young talent is very important.”
Looking ahead to the Vuelta, Pino said that team leader Mosquera’s form is looking better than ever. The 34-year-old Spaniard finished just one second down on Sánchez both on GC at Burgos and at the crucial Lagunas de Neila summit finish.
Having placed fifth (2007), fourth (2008) and fifth (2009), Mosquera is once again aiming for the podium finish and stage win that has consistently eluded him. “Ezequiel will go to the Vuelta in perhaps a little better shape than he has done for the last few years,” said Pino. “The team will go into the race with confidence high because our key riders have shown that they are in extremely good form.”