A couple of weeks ago I wrote that Mauro Gianetti had at least two concrete offers on the table to save the former Team GEOX. One of these was the deal with President Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan government while the other was with ‘regular’ international company. At the time it seemed like it was only a matter of time before a new sponsor deal would be signed but now the optimism is gone. I just got off the phone with Mauro Gianetti.
“The situation isn’t easy. Right now we are still waiting for a decision from the Venezuelan government. It’s a big, long term project and of course you can’t just rush to a decision, I understand that. I’m in touch with them every day though, but I don’t think it will be possible to continue on the level we would like to next year. Maybe we can make a deal for 2012 to carry on with a smaller budget, but I don’t know. To be honest it’s very complicated right now”, Gianetti explains.
Last Friday the UCI gave Gianetti & Matxin another week to find a new sponsor, but according to Gianetti that’s not enough time.
“Ever since GEOX announced the end of their sponsorship, I have been doing everything I could to secure a new deal. But now we just have to face the reality of modern cycling. It’s extremely difficult to find a new sponsor and if you look around there are really no new sponsors among the big teams. Not even Highroad managed to find a new sponsor. Due to the low economy it’s just not possible right now and we have to face that. Maybe we can sign a deal in one or two months, because I’m really talking with a lot of companies. The opportunity is there but the time isn’t”.
Denis Menchov has already been rumored to Katusha for several months and according to Mauro Gianetti that would indeed be the best solution. “I hope he sign the deal soon. Denis is a good rider and a good person and I think that Katusha should have the best Russian rider on their team”.
Also Juanjo Cobo, who has been faithful to Gianetti & Matxin in this difficult time, is now ‘free to leave’. “He has been approached by some teams. I can’t say which ones, but of course he is not going to stay now, I mean he is the winner of the Vuelta”, Gianetti says. According to my information Cobo will most likely continue on one of the World Tour licensed teams next year.
So unfortunately it really seems like the former GEOX team won’t continue next year and if they do, only on a level much lower than before. Such a shame for cycling!