America Tour signing
The Catalan coach explains the trascendence by Movistar Team into the American peloton and the guidelines of his role into the new project
“Leading a project with a team of such entity is a really exciting challenge.” The words by José Luis Laguía, a true legend as a rider with a record 5 wins in the Vuelta’s King of the Mountains ranking and 14 pro seasons, give off an unstoppable will to do well in his new role as Movistar Team Continental’s coordinator. “It consists on passing on my experience of so many years, as well as a rider as a coach, and make American cycling a bit more European. I’m delighted about this opportunity,” says Laguía.
The new squad coordinator, who already travelled two times to Colombia last year to know first hand all the matters behind the American squad, has a long reputation in Colombia thanks to his work closely along with Santiago Botero, who asked Laguía to follow him in all important time trials in his career -Laguía was at the team car during the only Worlds ITT won by a South American rider in Zolder, 2002-. Laguía has the base of his leading work at the team clear: “Last year the goal wasn’t getting victories at any cost, but teaching young riders alongside more veteran pros and, above all, getting the block together, something difficult with so many nationalities involved. That goal was accomplished despite the mixture of different cultures, and the atmosphere is phenomenal. For 2012, our wish is to consolidate the project. The first year always generates uncertainty, especially due to logistic issues, the calendar… and once all those aspects are set firm, the intention is taking a step forward and growing with constance.”
One of Laguía’s hopes, the Spaniard working together with Movistar Team’s technical director Libardo Leyton, is exporting European sport’s working methods into South American cycling: “I think that everything improves when you have good rivals, and in that sense, Colobia was always a bit autarkic by competing within themselves into sort of a bubble. I think that, the more forgeigners are invited to their races, the better to make their cycling evolution. Even though it has changed a lot since I came here to compete as a pro, it still has a lot of growing margin. From our side, we’re thinking of making personnel exchanges between the European and American teams to gain efficiency by learning the working methods of each team.”
The Spanish coach, who underlines the role Luis Pasamontes will played into the roster -“In competitions raced with no earpieces, there must be someone who gets the group organized and assumes the leadership, just like Chente did for so many years”-, points to the importance of Movistar Team embarking into the American scene: “The most surprising thing is the reception the team had through all countries where they competed. The affection received in all places, it was shocking. Fans put al their energy on the sport and the people working at the company feel this team as theirs, not just as a mere advertising banner. They see we’re real and normal guys you can approach for anything. Lo más sorprendente es la acogida que ha tenido el equipo en todos los países en los que se ha competido. Ha sido impactante el cariño recibido en todos los sitios. Los aficionados se vuelcan y la gente de la compañía lo siente como algo suyo, no como un mero letrero publicitario. Ven que somos gente de carne y hueso a que poder acercarse. The presence by Movistar is a boost for all American teams to do well and the team has become a reference by their way of riding, but also by the image they’re offering.”