It’s been a month and a half since the long-awaited Movistar Team project started racing on Australian and Argentinean soil. Fifty days after the début, it’s time for the first overview of the beginning of this adventure with the team’s main figure. After celebrating his 55th birthday last Saturday, Eusebio Unzué faces the first races of the old historical calendar with the same willingness of a debuting manager.
Five stageraces covered -if we count the Challenge de Mallorca as a real tour-, two one-day races and four victories on the team’s account. Is this beginning better or worse than expected?
I don’t know whether it’s better or worse, but I can say clearly I’m really satisfied with our season start. It wasn’t easy, because, apart from opening a brandnew project, there was a huge load of changes in the roster and that takes some time to adapt sometimes. But it was quite the opposite: the new lads went adapted to perfection and some of them, such as Tondo and Ventoso, even took some victories. More than individuals, I’m satisfied with the overall attitude by the eam and the group atmosphere you can feel into the squad.
Were you afraid that the adaptation could take longer than expected, so the first victories would arrive a bit late into the season?
We knew that having Ventoso and Rojas in good condition would grant us some chances in any race, because they’re capable doing so. At the end, winning is difficult, but they showed us they have the skill to fight for any kind of triumph. But not just them. The arrival by such a name as Tondo, who brings a good mood to all team members and the other riders we always had inside, like Chente, Lastras and others, is making this good atmosphere build properly; the good performances by Pasamontes or David López, the attitude by the young riders, such as Iriarte, Sanz or Herrada, who have left good signs of progression… The important thing, more than the four victories, is that we always had winning chances on the other races.
The first historic races of the calendar -Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-San Remo- are coming up just now. What can Movistar Team’s fams expect about the squad in those races?
It’s obvious that those are going to be more demanding, but I have full confidence we’re going to keep this way of doing things. I have no doubt that both Rojas and Ventoso will keep performing like they’ve done and that they can bring us some more good results, and the moment is coming for the riders who have not been on the spotlight until the moment and have to shine now. Riders like Soler, Tondo, Intxausti, Arroyo, David López, Kiryienka… are looking good and I think they’ll start showing it on these races.
Despite having spent little time from the début, can the support as well from the supporters as from sponsors be valued right now?
We’re still getting closer to each other with Movistar, as I like to state. From our side, it’s really comfortable to count on such a big sponsor backing the project, with the implication all its departments are providing. And I think they’re satisfied too, specially after witnessing the media focus the team presentation and those first victories have got, because sometimes you need to touch something to see how it really feels and means to have such a big team. And regarding the fans, what can I say? We feel entirely supported by them. We wanted to have a different concept of a team, opening its core the public through social networks, and I think we are on the good path. I think both them received is in a phenomenal way.
Apart from the World Tour squad, one of the main attractions from Movistar Team is its continental squad. Which news can you give us in advance from it?
To tell the truth, the building of the team is getting a bit longer than expected due to logistics work, because we’re finding more difficulties than we through. The time of the début will depend on the time schedules for the arrival of all the materials –vehicles, bikes, clothes…-, but we hope to start by the end of the month. In any case, this is not really worrying because the American calendar is longer than Europe’s, and we won’t be lacking competition days. The important thing is the enthusiasm I found around the team during my trips to Colombia. This is something that surprised us and makes us feel specially happy about this project. I think we brought together a strong block, as the UCI shows by having given us the title as best American squad, and I’m convinced Movistar Team will give big joy to all Latin American supporters there.