The Spanish Cycling Federation has confirmed that Javier Mínguez will continue to run the Spanish national men's squad, which he has been directing since 2013.
The longstanding Spanish director told Cyclingnews that he is not putting a limit on when he will continue and - as yet - he is not contractually bound to the Spanish Fedeation, but that "there's goodwill on both sides, and that what counts the most."
Mínguez, 68, started directing in 1979 with the Moliner-Vereco squad, and was one of Spain's best-known team bosses in the 1980s and 1990s, with his cunning strategies earning him the nickname of 'Rommel'. He took a lengthy break from directing following the demise of the Vitalicio Seguros team at the end of 2000 but returned to begin running the Spanish National squad in 2013.
"We haven't sat down yet to talk through a contract, and we haven't said if it'll be for one year, two or even more, so I don't know the exact conditions. But the key thing is there's goodwill on both sides, it's official that they want me to continue and so do I," Mínguez told Cyclingnews.
"We've already started working on this year's projects. Earlier this week me and the other coaches were in the Federation learning about the new computer system on rider data and so on they've got there. We didn't discuss the contract."
The two biggest objectives of the year for Minguez will be the European Championships and the World Championships. Regarding the latter, Mínguez says that the hillier-than-usual course in Bergen, Norway, this year "should suit the Spanish far better than Qatar," where the country's total haul of medals was a single bronze, in the men's Time Trial, for Jonathan Castroviejo.
"We've got a good chance of doing well with Castro' in Bergen. He's very versatile as a racer, no matter the terrain," Mínguez said. "Of course, we've got to go and see the route for ourselves, for both the Europeans and the Worlds, to get an exact idea of what they're like. I know that the Worlds course hard, but it's not that hard.
"On the plus side, if Castro' could get bronze in Qatar, which wasn't his kind of course, then - depending on how he gets on in the year, and bearing in mind it's a long season - we can be optimistic about his chances there in Norway. Winning is a big word, but it should work out well - better than Qatar, where, apart from in the time trial, we really had very little opportunity to shine."
Mínguez's greatest hits
1980: In his second year as a sports director, Zor-Vereco rider Faustino Ruperez takes the victory of a lifetime with a win in the Vuelta a España.
1986: takes the Vuelta for a second time as a director with another surprise winner Alvaro Pino, who destroys Robert Millar's hopes of a Vuelta victory for a second year, with a strong ride on Sierra Nevada.
1998: Vitalicio Seguros take the top three spots in the Spanish National Road-Race Championships: 1. Angel Casero; 2, Juan Carlos. Dominguez; 3. Oscar Freire.
1999: Little-known Vitalicio Seguros rider Oscar Freire, with just one pro win to his name, outwits the World Championships favourites with a superbly calculated late attack.
2013: Spaniards Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde manage to blow Spain's best chance of a World Championships win in nearly a decade, but still net silver and bronze nonetheless.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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