It is said that a good manager knows both when and how to motivate his riders, which made Alvaro Pino’s scathing criticism of Ezequiel Mosquera following the finish of the Vuelta’s Cotobello stage hard to understand.
While Xacobeo team leader Mosquera said that he had had “a terrible day” and complained that “not just my legs but every part of my body hurts” as he gained just a handful of seconds on Vincenzo Nibali at the Cotobello finish, Pino’s analysis was caustic. Although Pino acknowledged that it had been an extremely tough day, probably the toughest Mosquera had ever experienced as a pro, he questioned Mosquera’s desire to push himself right to his very limits.
“He said that his whole body was hurting, but that’s what you need to do to win the Vuelta a España,” said Pino. “He said he was feeling dead, but I know that Nibali was more dead than him. I told him to attack but he didn’t.” That was only part of Pino’s post-stage rant in which he also criticised Mosquera’s tactic of leading Joaquin Rodríguez towards the line, where the Katusha rider reclaimed the race leader’s red jersey.
But, a couple of days on from that apparent setback to Mosquera’s Vuelta chances, Pino has revealed that his biting comments were nothing more than an attempt to motivate his leader to push himself to the max in the Peñafiel time trial. In addition, added Pino, Mosquera’s superb performance against the clock demonstrated that his tactic had worked to perfection.
“I want Ezequiel to be calling me an asshole, because you have to provoke him,” Pino told El Correo. “If you provoke in private, he doesn’t react, which is why I did it in public. I want him to be telling me: ‘There’s no director who is more of an asshole than you are!’ That’s what I’m looking for. I’m doing it for his own and the team’s good.”
Pino added: “It takes a lot to push Ezequiel towards victory. In fact he reminds me of me because of that. I used to get provoked by Javier Mínguez and I used to react to that,” said the 1986 Vuelta winner, who believes that Mosquera’s attitude has now changed. The Xacobeo leader won’t, says Pino, repeat his mistakes on the Cotobello in Saturday’s decisive finish at the Bola del Mundo. “He knows that this is his moment.”
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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