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“After starting my career in the best way at Xacobeo Galicia and spending five years in Portugal, I have the opportunity to continue to grow and get access to better races."

Photo: Sirotti


27.10.2015 @ 12:44 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Delio Fernandez (1986) will begin a new phase of his career when he turns professional with Delko Marseille-Provence KTM after five years in Portuguese cycling. The new contract marks a return to the pro continental level after he spent time at the defunct Xacobeo Galicia.


Fernandez is set to become one of the leaders of Delko Marseille-Provence KTM will be in 2016 and is expected to provide experience after he did the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana with Xacobeo Galicia (2008-2010) and after spending several years in Portugal with Onda (2011-2012) and OFM-Quinta da Lixa equipment / W52-Quinta da Lixa (2013-2015). In his new team, he will join forces with new signings that include Mikel Aristi (Fundación Euskadi-EDP), Leonardo Duque (Team Colombia) and Dani Diaz (Funvic).

“I am very satisfied,” he told Biciciclismo. “After starting my career in the best way at Xacobeo Galicia and spending five years in Portugal, I have the opportunity to continue to grow and get access to better races. I am a consistent rider more than a winner and in that sense I hope to bring my experience, especially in the one-week races.


“In Portugal there is a limited schedule. This year we could at least ride in Spain. We focused almost one hundred percent on the Volta a Portugal as it is what is interesting for the sponsors. The French calendar is bigger and I will be able to race more. And in the pro continental category, we will have access to invitations to WorldTour races. First, we have to win on the road.

“I have not yet had time to sit down and talk about the calendar. It is clear that the team's priority is the French professional calendar. I think these are races in which I can do well. The idea seems to be to start the year strong since February and March are two very important months with many races in Marseille and the surrounding area. The Vuelta? Obviously, it is something very special. For all Spanish riders, it is something you do not forget and if the race goes Galicia, it would be even more special for me. But we must go step by step and try to show ourselves on the road.”


In 2015, Fernandez had several good results, most notably two stage wins and a fourth place in the Volta a Portugal and several top 10s in Spain.


“The opportunities and races are not many so you have to seize them,” he said. “I had the responsibility to go for GC in stage races, except in the Volta a Portugal where Veloso was the main leader. My goal was to show myself, especially in Spain, and I think I did a good job, for example, in the Vuelta a Castilla y León (he was fifth in that race and 14th in the Klasika Primavera, 16th in Rioja, 18th in the Vuelta a Asturias and 20th in the GP Indurain, ed.).”


With his move to France, Fernandez’ long stint in Portugal has come to an end.

“Personally, I am very grateful that they gave me the opportunity to continue my career after Xacobeo folded,” he said. “We were told about the demise very late and they opened ​​a spot for me in the Boavista team and then I spent the last three years at Quinta da Lixa. I and many Spanish riders, mainly Galician, must be grateful to Portuguese cycling as we were denied the opportunity in Spain.

“It is a small family cycling. The teams have fewer riders and responsibilities and less racing. We all know that we always ride against the same riders. It has some similarity to the being an amateur. There are good riders who move up to the WorldTour, led by Rui Costa, Machado, Nelson (Oliveira) ... On the one hand, we should extend the schedule a bit. There are limited races and it is what makes professional cycling in Portugal reduced to a handful of professional riders in each team. It is difficult especially because you have to invest money to not only focus on the Volta a Portugal. I think that's not the way to go.


“I think that both Spain and Portugal have very similar problems for cyclists: lack of teams and the calendar in Spain has been reduced a lot. I think that you should look at the calendar to give more days of competition to continental teams so that they can get a higher level and quality. For example, I can’t understand that an alternative date can’t be found so that Burgos and Portugal do not clash. Spanish continental teams would be well received in Portugal and if Burgos was not an HC race, the Portuguese teams could also go there and perform at a high level.”


Fernandez is a Galician and is still enjoying the time he spent at the local Xacobeo Galicia team.

“They were golden years for Galician cycling,” he said. “Beyond the results, the young people got motivation from working for a leader in cycling. As it was my case: I went through the Galician professional cycling team; otherwise, I do not know if I would have made it. Now the difficulties to turn professional in Spain are evident. There are people who dream and work to build a team with Galician roots. It is clear that Galicia is a land of cyclists and that a project to provide motivation for youngsters is needed.


“I feel sorry for U23 riders who can’t find a way because there a very few professionals in Spain. Unless you are a real phenomenon, it is very difficult. I think there are many riders who do not excel in the amateur ranks and then turn out to be good professionals. You need to give more opportunities. If this situation is not solved in Spain which is now a world power, I don’t know what will happen when the trio Contador, Valverde and Rodriguez retire. I'm sure there will be good riders but not at that level.”



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