The manager of Alberto Contador Foundation speaks about the present and future of this cycling project
The project of the Alberto Contador Foundation celebrates this year its fourth season and has established itself as one of the most interesting initiatives to promote cycling in the Spanish and international scene. Fran Contador, manager of the project, makes a very positive assessment of these years and aims new ideas for the future, highlighting the opening of the Foundation teams to riders from all sources, without limiting the U-23 team to Juniors of the squad.
To Fran Contador, the junior team, which was the one who started this journey, “continues in line with previous years, as one of the leaders of the category in Spain. We have obtained good results and we are very happy how the season goes. This category It is dedicated to the training and we work with the aim to pass our riders to U-23 and hopefully this year we can do this with some quality riders that can perform well in the superior category”.
“The U-23 started the year very strong”, continues Contador, “with good results in the Cup of Spain, where several riders had the provisional leadership, and have gone on to win the team classification, which was one of our goals. It is true that in the last races, individually we haven’t had the expected results for various reasons, as it has happened in Tours like Bidasoa, but after a break before facing the end of the season, already in the Valle d’Aosta we made a very worthy performance. We hope that in next races the team continue along this path and end the year with a good taste, because the balance is so far the best of the three seasons of the team”.
The third cycling pillar of Alberto Contador Foundation is the Plaza Eboli School. Fran Contador highlights “the growth it has had since it started, with very few children. Our idea has always been to offer to children the chance to have fun and enjoy the bike, without thinking about competition, but after three years of work is a pleasant surprise to already have more than 30 children and all they are very interested in competition, where they are getting very good results. Congratulations must be given to all monitors of the School for their fantastic work”.
Training of young people is the leitmotif of Alberto Contador Foundation. What has been achieved so far and what remains to be achieved?
Our idea is to continue working along the same lines, always enhancing the education of our youth in the values provided by the sport, in addition to the integral development of each individual. The goal is to train cyclists who have a solid education, starting from the category of schools until they reach professionals. By the time we reach to the U-23, but we hope that we can have soon a professional team of Alberto Contador Foundation.
So far, the Junior Selection Camp has been the gateway to the teams of the Foundation. Already there are location and dates for next one and, if so, it will continue with the same selection criteria?
The Selection Camp is one of the pillars of this project and so will follow. This year we will celebrate it in Zaragoza again, next 23, 24 and 25 September, with a similar format and under the patronage of the restaurant chain ‘La Mafia se sienta a la mesa’. Among the candidates who came this year, will select riders for both athletic performance and personal qualities, and those that we consider that adapt best to the project of Alberto Contador Foundation and his junior team.
Does the Under-23 team, which has already produced the first professional cyclists, will continue to be nurtured only by the Junior team?
The plan is that the Junior team continue to provide their best riders to U23 team, but as in its first season, when we did not have enough own riders, next year we will sign riders from other teams. The reason is that after three seasons, our U-23 team is still very young and will seek a more mature squad with some riders that allow us to go to certain competitions with more guarantees. For 2017 season will look for riders in the Spanish Under-23 peloton to provide guarantees and at the same time fit into the way of working of Alberto Contador Foundation”.
Are you going to strengthen much the team?
There will be some more riders than this year, around 15 riders, which is an appropriate number to provide opportunities for all without overloading their calendar, and will also have another sport director to support the work of Rafael Diaz Justo, since the season is very hard. But they will not end here the changes that will be launched next year.
How is going the project of a professional team, of which much has been said this year?
It is true that much has been said, even to make a team around Alberto that in the end could not be. The Contador Foundation works to give continuity to our riders and that pass by creating a professional team, but we have not set a date for this ambition. One possibility is to start with a continental team, but the date is still open, although we are already working on it. The day that start this team, of course, will be an image and likeness of Junior and U23 Teams, with its guaranteed continuity for several seasons to allow maximum stability of its riders. Hopefully we got it very soon.
(Automatic translation. Forgive inaccuracies).