Tecos Trek has been thrown a lifeline by the Mexican Cycling Federation (FMC), who has announced that they will take steps to ensure the future of the team. The FMC has also renewed the possibility that foreign riders, including Michael Rasmussen, could take Mexican citizenship and race for the nation.
Tecos revealed on Monday that they would withdraw from cycling after a 54 year period within the sport. The team cited a sponsorship shortfall and a lack of support from the FMC for their departure. However, Mexican newspaper Ocho Columnas reported on Wednesday that the FMC will now step in to aid the rescue of the country's only professional team.
"Tecos has a significant infrastructure, skills and the necessary contacts abroad to ensure riders can compete at high level; factors that are crucial [to the future of Mexican cycling]," FMC President Edgardo Hernandez told Ocho Columnas.
Of major concern to the FMC is the role the key role the team would play in securing Mexican representation at the 2012 London Olympics. Nations' qualification is based up on results in the year preceding each Olympiad. Mexico only qualified one rider for each of the men's and women's road races in Beijing, and the demise of Tecos would have a significant impact on Mexico's hopes of increasing their representation in London.
As part of an effort to increase Olympic representation, Hernandez said the FMC would continue to explore the opportunity for foreign riders to gain Mexican citizenship and compete for the country. Dane Michael Rasmussen, whose wife is Mexican and returned to competition with Tecos last month, has already indicated his interest in naturalisation in the Central American nation. Hernandez said he would discuss the topic of Rasmussen's potential emigration with the president of Mexico's National Commission of Physical Culture and Sport (CONADE).
"In the case of Rasmussen, we lost touch after he raced the Tour of Chihuahua, but CONADE's President Bernardo de la Garza said he had chatted with him and had made some progress, though I do not know what progress has been made at this stage," said Hernandez.
Columbian Gregorio Ladino, who has race with Tecos since 2006 and this year claimed the title of Pan American road race champion, is also reported to be considering a switch to Mexican citizenship.
As part of its efforts to aid the rescue of Tecos, Hernandez said the FMC will support the efforts of the team's president, Juan Manuel Navarro, to attract new sponsors. Hernandez said he will also approach CONADE, in the hope of securing financial support from the commission.
"We're working out what can be done to save the team and want to work with [Juan Manuel] Navarro to talk to people who can help to become sponsors," said Hernandez. "It's a problem that Tecos don't have the support when needed and that the team might disappear.
"I will meet with Bernardo de la Garza to see if CONDADE can sponsor the team."
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