One of the leading names on the Xacobeo-Galicia team has said that the doping cases involving the Spanish Pro Continental team’s leaders has tainted the reputations of the other riders on the squad to the extent that few of them have had new contract offers. Although linked with Vacansoleil, 2009 Vuelta a España stage winner Gustavo César Veloso says that he is considering taking a year out of racing having had no concrete offers of a contract since it was announced the Xacobeo will fold at the end of the season.
Veloso blames both negative coverage of the doping cases involving Xacobeo leaders Ezequiel Mosquera and David García and the lateness of the announcement on the Galician team’s future (or lack of it) for his predicament. “It’s not so much the coverage those two riders have received in the press as the fact that ultimately that coverage has tarnished all of the riders on the team that has upset me,” Veloso told El Pedal de Frodo's website.
“If they had just spoken about Ezequiel and David it would not matter so much, but the problem is that the talk has all been about Xacobeo and that’s had a wider impact. David García has tested positive and there is an investigation into Ezequiel, but as things stand no one has yet been sanctioned. There are positive cases in lots of other teams, and they are more serious cases as well, but those cases don’t have the same repercussions. I think it’s because we’re a small team, and if this had happened in a bigger team it wouldn’t have taken on the same importance.”
However, Xacobeo’s very delayed and surprise announcement that the team would not continue into 2011 has, according to Veloso, proved more problematic for him and several of his team-mates. “I haven’t turned down any offers [from other teams] as such. What happened was that knowing my team was going to continue and that Ezequiel and perhaps David García as well were going to leave, I was in no rush to leave. I would have preferred to have stayed here,” explained the 2008 Tour of Catalonia winner.
“The truth is that the announcement about the team ending has burned all of our hopes because both before and during the Vuelta they were saying that if we produced a good performance there the team would almost certainly continue. In the end, things looked very hopeful, although it looked like the budget would be reduced. But at the last minute everything changed.”
Veloso revealed that he and some of his team-mates are considering setting up a team of their own, but the 30-year-old Spaniard insists he is not ready yet to throw in the towel on his pro career. “If I don’t find a team I will keep training next year and I will try to get back into this circus the year after. It seems unfair to me to have to quit the sport when I’m in my prime after 10 years of racing, a good career and having had no problem at all with any of my teams, nor with the UCI, nor with anyone else. I don’t think it’s right that riders like my team-mates and myself have to pay for the hypocrisy in all of this,” Veloso stated.
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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).