Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo is ready to start looking for a new team for 2012 as time looks set to run out for Mauro Gianetti and Josean Maxtin in their bid to find a replacement sponsor for the Geox-TMC squad.
While the final list of UCI Professional Continental squads will not be formally revealed until December 12, the final deadline for applicants to present their full dossiers to auditors Ernst & Young is this Friday, December 2.
Geox announced its withdrawal from the sport in late October, and subsequent negotiations with a Venezuelan tourism initiative called "Venezuela País de Sueño" (Venezuela, country of dreams) have not led to a sponsorship deal for next season. Although Mauro Gianetti last week claimed that he was also in talks with a "big international company", Maxtin admitted on Friday that the team remains without a sponsor.
“I can’t lie and the truth is that we don’t have anything,” Maxtin told AS.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Cobo was already pessimistic about the chances of the team continuing to exist next season.
“They [the UCI – ed.] gave us an extension from November 20 until Friday, but there don’t seem to be any signs of life,” Cobo told El Diario Montañés. “With the rest of the team, I’m waiting to hear something today or tomorrow, from Venezuela or other sponsors, but it seems that things are still complicated.”
Cobo admitted that his agent has been in contact with other teams, and the Spaniard will begin talks if it becomes apparent that his current squad will not continue. “I hope to keep riding and if tomorrow the team doesn’t get going, then I will have to look at the other options.”
Denis Menchov is believed to be set to sign for Katusha if Geox's demise is confirmed, but the remainder of the 2011 roster will face a very difficult task to find berths elsewhere at this late date.