Geox and UnitedHealthcare talked on possible merger

Mauro Gianetti is still with the team despite rumours that he had been forced out

Mauro Gianetti is still with the team despite rumours that he had been forced out (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Mauro Gianetti approached the UnitedHealthcare team with a number of proposals for 2012 in a bid to salvage part of his Geox-TMC squad.

UnitedHealthcare's Mike Tamayo confirmed to Cyclingnews that Gianetti, who failed to find a  title sponsor or register a team for 2012, approached him in November.

“We were approached by Gianetti. There were several different options and several scenarios were discussed, but we like to keep such conversations confidential,” Tamayo told Cyclingnews.

Gianetti's biggest play may have involved Juan Jose Cobo, who signed a contract extension with the team just before they collapsed. As the reigning Vuelta champion, Cobo would have made UnitedHealthcare’s chances of riding the Vuelta almost guaranteed. The Professional Continental team has not ridden a three-week stage race to date. It's widely understood that Cobo will sign for Movistar in 2012.

Tamayo would not confirm whether Gianetti offered just Cobo or a number of his Geox riders in a merger deal, but he hinted at Gianetti’s main proposal.

“There are a lot of things that are tempting in the sport, especially when you hear of so many team mergers. It creates possible opportunities. Everything has to be considered and sometimes it’s a matter of the right timing and all lining up right.”

UnitedHealthcare's future was secured in November when their title sponsor signed on for a further 3 years.

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.