A symbol of the team's values
Admired Spanish domestique -21 years within Eusebio Unzué's teams- to be part of the Movistar Team's staff in 2017
He never stopped being part of the Movistar Team's soul. Almost two years after the serious accident which put an end to his racing career in the 2015 Volta a Catalunya, Pablo Lastras (Madrid, ESP; 1976) will be back to the team he's always belonged to, as an important part of the Spanist outfit's staff. One of the symbols of the Abarca Sports organisation, Lastras will be sharing sporting challenges with his beloved family in 2017.
Lastras's palmarès includes 13 pro victories, with stage success in all three Grand Tours as well as wins at big races like the Tour de Suisse, the Vueltas a Burgos, Andalucía or the Eneco Tour. Nevertheless, the best attribute of 'Penkas' (called these way because of his long legs since a young child – 'penkas' is a Madrid area-synonym for 'legs') has always been his invaluable teamwork and refined sense of strategy. Those values have been, and will remain, key to a group that will find in Lastras a big boost of experience useful for both old team-mates and youngsters he'll try to keep on nurturing.
"I've already spent two months without any pain," explains a happy Lastras. "The surgeon that operated me told me that my recovery would be really slow, 20-24 months before all injuries healed, and in the end, it was 19. It might have been because of the efforts I took to stay healthy but also due to the people that surrounded me throughout the process – either way, I'm so happy that everything I went through is almost gone. As the recovery process ended, Eusebio called me here. I decided to come, listen to what they'd tell me, put my ideas into order and take this choice. I want to do things here that really excite me, and return everything that cycling gave me during my whole life. I've spent 21 years at this team that I really love, and it's a challenge to fulfil that role.”
“I've always felt closer to younger people than those riders of my age. Because it's not about the age, rather than the attitude. And in these 19 months of recovery, staying away from cycling yet remaining a loyal fan of everything that happened in the races and especially the team, I kept in mind that I had to stay away from the spotlight. Learning, observing, staying curious, realizing what I had drone wrong and improving wherever possible. I've got to keep offering everything that I have in store, to repay the team for their support.”
“The biggest recognition for me is the applause you receive from those close to you, not medals or trophies,” sums up Lastras after the warm reception from his team-mates, from the very first minute, as he joined the meeting in the Castillo de Gorráiz. “It's been a rough period, yet a very beautiful one. I'm ready to take on this challenge.”