The city of Zaragoza hosted this weekend a new edition, the sixth, of the Campus Selection Fundación Alberto Contador sponsored by Restaurantes La Mafia se sienta a la mesa, a leading company in the restaurant sector that is involved with this initiative fundamentally for the fifth consecutive year. A sixth edition attended by about thirty young people from all over Spain, and even from abroad, who aspire to join the junior team of the Foundation for the next season. More than seventy applications for participation had been received during the period in which the registration period was open.

During these three days, the aspirants were able to learn about the values and methodologies followed within the Foundation, its work policy and its training objectives. This is not an initiative that seeks the best sports curriculum, and in fact the bicycle is not the main protagonist of these days, but rather it try to select the rider who can best fit by virtue of their sporting value and especially personal. “At the Campus what we are looking for is to get to know the kids better and to see how they relate to their classmates and to us. When boys play, they are themselves, they forget about lessons learned or topics. That is why group dynamics are very important throughout this process, because they are yet another tool that allows us to get to know their character and personality better, how they integrate, how they collaborate…”, explains Félix García Casas, sports manager of the Foundation’s teams and present in the last four editions of the Campus.

The studies are a very important aspect within the promoters of the project, which is why this edition has left a special good taste in the mouth of the Foundation. In addition to the high level of sport, it was also a pleasant surprise to find a remarkable academic level. “A very high percentage of the attendees of this edition already came a remarkable track record, but in addition to that sports curriculum came many boys with average grades higher than 7 or 8 in ESO. The academic area is very important for this project, it is not a project where there are cyclists who do not study because the studies are fundamental for us,” says Garcia Casas.

“This edition of the Campus has been great and I sincerely believe that we have a very complicated task ahead of us. It is going to be very difficult to choose, because we have had a great level both sporting and human,” says Guillermo Gutiérrez, director of the junior structure.

If Saturday focused on games, interviews, questionnaires, group dynamics and other activities, Sunday was the time for the bike ride. A route that had been preceded by a talk given by Diego Pablo Sevilla, rider of the continental Polartec-Kometa. The Spaniard, who took part in the first edition of the Campus, told a very attentive audience about his experience in this initiative, his growth in the quarry and his arrival to professional cycling.  “Those who are lucky enough to enter, let them take advantage of it. They are going to live incredible experiences. Let them take it seriously because it could be the beginning of their way to be cyclists. It’s a beautiful initiative,” he says.

Subsequently, a 32-kilometre journey from Zaragoza to the town of Jaulín, where a traditional floral offering to the Virgin of Dorleta presiding over a climb close to the village took place; an ascent in which, for the second year, a small individual time trial was carried out with a mileage of less than three kilometres in which the thirty participants participated separated by half-minute intervals.

“We noticed a lot of interest. The results of the junior team undoubtedly help to make the work known, as well as two sporting realities such as the U23 team and the continental structure. A number of factors make this project more attractive. From my point of view, in a very short time we are going to find a U23 team made up entirely of riders who have passed through the Selection Campus and the junior team”, concludes García Casas. An intense work begins now within the sports structure of the Foundation to deal with the selection of the future new riders of the junior team, payroll that will be announced in the coming weeks.

(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)

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