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"I have nothing and it is difficult to find something. There are many good riders without a team. The market is really pretty bad. I don't want to hang up the bike because I think I still have something to offer."

Photo: Sirotti

FRANCISCO VENTOSO

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21.10.2014 @ 11:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After four years at Movistar, Francisco Ventoso's career may have come to an end. Despite being one of the most successful Spanish sprinters of his generation, the Spaniard hasn't had his contract renewed and is now desperately looking for a new team.

 

32-year-old Francisco Ventoso is one of the Spanish cyclists without contract for next year. After four seasons in the Movistar Team, the Spaniard was told in September that his contract would not be renewed. "The situation on the market is pretty bad," he tells Biciciclismo in an interview but he keeps the  "illusion of a child" and don't take any hasty descisions regarding his future in the peloton.

 

Ventoso has won two stages of the Giro d'Italia, a stage of the Vuelta a Espana, the National Championships in 2012, the Paris-Brussels classic, six stages of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, two in Andalusia and one in the Tour Down Under. He debuted with Saunier Duval (2004-2007) and then rode for Andalucía (2008) and Carmiooro (2009-2010) before he joined Movistar Team (2011-2014).

 

"I have nothing and it is difficult to find something," he tells Biciciclismo. "There are many good riders without a team. The market is really pretty bad. I don't want to hang up the bike because I think I still have something to offer but the situation is complicated and difficult after I spent the year sacrificing my options to work for Valverde in the classics, Nairo (Quintana) in the Giro and Lobato in the second part of the season.

 

"A lots of teams are reducing the size of their rosters and furtermore, there are mergers, teams that disappear... I am not the only one. There are many riders on the market who can find no spot on a team. There is simply not enough room for us. And it is normal for the team to wait. If I had a team, I would do the same. This is the situation we have to deal with. It's a shame that there are only two teams in Spain [Movistar and Caja Rural] but it's even worse at the lower level. The truth is that things are looking dark so it's normal to be a little worried."

 

Ventoso has been pleased with his four years at Movistar but vents his frustration over their handling of his final time with them.

 

"Due to the way things panned out, this is what I could expect," he said. "What I did not expect is that I was informed at the end of September. I understand their decision but they should have told me a little earlier so that I had a better chance. If I had been told in May, after the Giro, it would have been easier to find a team. After the Worlds, it is much harder."

 

Nonetheless, Ventoso is not ready to throw in the towel.

 

"I'm really looking ahead," he said. "I think I have always done what has been asked of me. In hindsight, I would have done exactly the same. I worked for my teammates and I did it with pleasure as we got better results. My year has been good, I've been where I needed to be and I was even getting further in the Giro than expected, doing more than what was asked of me. The desire and the strength are intact. My dream is that of a small child. As I still enjoy the bike, I want to continue."

 

Earlier in his career, Ventoso was one of the protected riders, winning lots of races in sprints. In recent years, his role has become that of domestique.

 

"Cycling is often thankless and the memory is usually very short. Things are forgotton very quickly but it doesn't surprise me.  I've been through lots of situations and worse circumstances than this and I know what it is. I will continue my search for the remainder of the year because I want to find a team for next year. If I can continue, I will be pleased but if I can't, I also know that it is not the end of the world. There is another life. If I can't find anything I will start to think about other projects I have in the pipeline.

 

"I've taken a few days off and just started in the gym and will slowly continue with the preparation. I set a date, the end of year, and until then I will do things like if I had had a team."

 

Ventoso may be unable to find a team but he has no regrets about the 2014 season.

 

"I think I've done a pretty good year, first with many near-misses where I was very close to winning (2nd in San Luis and Mallorca, 3rd in the GP Nobili and 4th in Almería) and then working as a domestique. In 11 years as a professional, I had never imagined that I would contribute to a win in a grand tour. The truth is that it is very special to have been part of the nine. Furthermore, the team did really well. It's something that makes you feel proud of your work. It is unique and for me it was beautiful and unforgettable. And even though I was only selected three days before the start, I was still competitve throughout the entire. I can understand why they had fixed seven riders and selected the riders with the best form very late. In any case, I'm really grateful for the four years I've had in the team."

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