VIII Campus de Selección
Del 9 al 11 de octubre
With the talk given by the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team rider Alejandro Ropero, a new edition of the Contador Foundation’s Selection Campus concluded this Sunday, the eighth since it was first launched. A special edition, above all because its usual development has been conditioned by the health context derived from the COVID-19, making it impossible to hold it as planned at the Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort (Valencia). Instead, the 2020 Campus was held telematically. A real challenge from the organisational point of view to be able to continue developing the activities, group dynamics and meetings with the candidates in a way that is as close as possible to the face-to-face ideal.
Since Friday afternoon, almost thirty youngsters, second-year cadets and first-year youngsters from different parts of Spain and also from abroad, have had the opportunity to share their love of this sport, learn more about how the Foundation works and also face a series of challenges, in addition to a personal interview, with a view to assessing their inclusion in the junior team in 2021. Participants from Andalusia, the Valencian Community, Extremadura, Castile and Leon, Castile-La Mancha, Galicia, the Basque Country, Cantabria, Aragon, the Community of Madrid, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, as well as representatives from Hungary and Australia. The traditional Sunday bike tour has been the most affected, as it was impossible, and has been converted into an hour and a half tour in each geographical area of the participants during this Sunday morning.
“In addition to various projects linked in one way or another to cycling, the Foundation also supports a number of sports structures. But the Campus is very special; it is one of the great moments in the Foundation’s annual calendar of activities, insofar as the entire course of this project, in its entirety, depends to a large extent on these days,” contextualised Félix García Casas, the Foundation’s sports manager. “It is a shame that we were not able to do the format following the usual format, but the circumstances are what they are. In any case, it is a moment to get to know each other, to get to know each other, to get to know each other. It is a weekend of coexistence of people who are passionate about this sport”.
A large number of the candidates had been encouraged to take part in the Campus by the advice of friends who, without necessarily having been selected at the end for the junior team, had taken part in a previous edition. Social networks, such is the spirit of these times, have also been an important source of dissemination for their knowledge. In this 2020, curiously enough, several participants have also highlighted the presence of Juan Pedro López commenting on one of the stages of the 2020 Tour de France in Teledeporte, where the Seville Trek-Segafredo man spoke about his experience in a Foundation that he also reached after participating in two editions of the Campus.
It is customary for guests to be the ones with the greatest concerns, and Ropero from Granada was no exception. The winner of a stage in the last edition of the Giro U23 highlighted to all the participants in this edition the importance of not leaving aside their studies, he spoke to them about these years of sports career and stressed the fundamentals of not being obsessed with wanting to jump very fast and the benefits of an optimistic attitude. Ropero, in fact, remembered how he participated in the Selection Campus in two editions after not managing to enter the junior team at the first one.
“I found the campus to be an incredible experience. In the end it is a place where you share a lot of time with people you have competed with up to that point or you will end up competing with in the future. Even if they are rivals on the road, the days of this experience are always there and they will always be friends. For me the experience on campus was very valuable,” the Andalusian recalled. “I learned a lot from my experience as a stagiaire in the Vuelta a Burgos. It was really good for me to face my third year in the U23 category”.
“There is no need to be in a hurry. It is true that today you see a lot of very young runners taking the leap even to professionalism. And it is possible that this could undermine the confidence of many other riders. You have to look to the future, be calm, enjoy each training stage… Personally I have great memories of my time as a youngster. All of us got along well, we spent a lot of time together, we travelled… I saw it more as a game than as a path to a professional day. By this I mean that you don’t have to be overwhelmed by these things. You have to learn and enjoy, you have to live the experience”, he adds.
On the subject of studies, Ropero was emphatic: “At home I’ve always been told that the bicycle is fine, but that studies come first. And I sincerely believe that this is true. I have combined cycling and studying up to university. Now I’m more focused on cycling, it’s true, but later on I plan to take it up again. It’s not easy to be a cyclist, being a professional in this sport is very difficult. You have to train. When asked what he would highlight about his years at the Foundation, Ropero was clear: “The treatment. More than a team, or several teams, because in the end I’ve been here for five years, it’s a big family”.
From the Contador Foundation we want to thank the support of Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort, the restaurant chain La Mafia and the sports firm Gobik for the launch of a new edition that has finally had to be reinvented. And to all the participants, for their contagious enthusiasm. In a few days the riders selected for the 2021 campus will be known. “To enter or not to enter the junior team does not mean that you are a better or worse runner. It is an idea that should be highlighted. It is just a decision that is made by a group of people based on certain criteria and they are liable to make mistakes. The important thing is to fight and keep fighting for a dream, wherever it may be. Cycling is a very demanding sport, very hard, but it also offers great experiences and great joys,” concludes Felix García Casas.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)