The seventh edition of the Campus Selection ‘La Mafia se sienta a la mesa’ of Alberto Contador Foundation concluded this Sunday with a day in which the presence of Juan Pedro Lopez, next Trek-Segafredo rider, was the great attraction for the thirty kids who have come this 2019 to the city of Zaragoza, again its headquarters.
The Sevillian, the first cyclist to reach the WorldTour category after having passed through the Campus, talked to all the attendees about his experiences in the professional squad, as well as his experiences in the Campus, to which he went on two occasions, and his subsequent evolution in the junior and sub23 categories.
“The Foundation is like my second home, for the last five years I have spent more time here than with my family. For me the Campus has always been a very special event. The first year I could not join the team, but I had no hesitation in coming back a year later to fight for my dream, which was to be selected and start the road to one day achieve professionalism,” explained Lopez to an enthralled audience that did not hesitate to ask him the most diverse questions.
During his speech, the Lebrijano of the Kometa Cycling Team also sent a very clear message to his young companions on Sunday pedals: “You have to fight for dreams, you always have to pursue them, but you also have to be aware that you have to work very hard, with humility, with a desire to learn. There are better days, worse days, but you always have to be optimistic and persistent”.
Juan Pedro López, later, shared with all the boys the departure in bicycle towards the virgin of Dorleta, in the vicinities of Jaulín, in which all the assistants participated in the already traditional floral offering to the patron saint of the cyclists. Javier Floristán, CEO of the restaurant group ‘La Mafia se sienta a la mesa’ took part in this start. Without the commitment, dedication and generosity of the Aragonese firm would be impossible to celebrate this initiative. “I would like to send a huge thank you to the friends of ‘La Mafia se sienta a la mesa’, we are very grateful for your support in this initiative. The future of Spanish cycling is in your hands”, proclaims Alberto Contador.
“It has been a very interesting edition, I’m really surprised by the high level of all the boys who have come this year,” says Guillermo Gutierrez, director of the Kometa Cycling Team youth. “Some very nice kids, with outstanding academic records, educated, good treatment and all united by the common passion for cycling. We had some uncertainty after the last edition of the Campus, when the level was spectacular and ended up feeding an unrepeatable team like the one we had this year”.
“It’s a wonderful experience for the kids, but it’s also very gratifying for all of us”, adds the youth physical trainer Jorge Ramos. “It is always very interesting to see how they face the different games we propose, how they face the different group dynamics and above all to see them enjoy and have a good time”.
“The main objective of this Campus is that all attendees have a great time, have fun for three days in an environment of coexistence. The fact that a boy is not selected for our junior team does not mean that he is not suitable for cycling, it is a completely wrong idea. The boys and their families give us their satisfaction and that’s something we’re very happy about”, tells Gutiérrez.
Javier Floristán, CEO of ‘La Mafia se sienta a la mesa’: “We have been organising this campus in Zaragoza for several years now and the greatest satisfaction we have is to see how boys who were with us a few years ago achieve professionalism. Personally, it has been a pleasure to be able to pedal at this Sunday’s start with him, chat for a while and see his enthusiasm with his arrival to a WorldTour team. As he’s moving me, now comes the really difficult thing: to stay and make a niche with high quality people. Every year I like to go out with the boys on this route to Dorleta. On the way back to Zaragoza many kids thanked us for the organization, telling us that they had had a unique experience and that they had enjoyed having dinner in one of our restaurants after the day on Saturday. This unique experience only lacked that the kids could pedal with their idol, but this year could not be”.