Movistar, the decline of the giant

Six years ago, Movistar had chained four consecutive seasons as the first world team, number one in the UCI ranking, pride of the telephone brand that developed marketing strategies based on that tribal force. Before, in 2008 and previous years, the effervescence of Alejandro Valverde lifted the Caisse d’Epargne (the previous denomination) to the podium of the classification. And much further back, in the Pleistocene, the planetary hegemony of Miguel Induráin turned Banesto into a legend, three years the best squad in the world. Since the pandemic hit the world, Movistar has foundered. round the descent. In this agonizing 2022 he lives on the wire. Pending each rival, the points they get, and embarked on an unknown strategy with the aim of adding and adding to not go down. Former riders of the Spanish team, Perico Delgado, Óscar Pereiro and ‘Purito’ Rodríguez analyze the situation. José Miguel Echávarri, alma mater of the current Movistar, a wise man seasoned in life, used to say in the dark age of doping cases, “who resists, wins.” Eusebio Unzué, his partner for decades until Echávarri got tired of bicycles, owns a company, Abarca Sports, which manages the budget that Telefónica provides for its cycling sponsorship. Unzué is worried. “I don’t even want to imagine that we go down,” he said in an interview with ABC. «I think it was bad luck, Enric Mas had accumulated points in the Basque Country, Tirreno, Dauphine, and he lost them due to falls or accidents. I think it is a temporary problem, “says Perico Delgado to ABC. Related News standard No return to Spain Emotion and tears in the victory of Jesús Herrada José Carlos Carabias standard No return to Spain Sheikhs in cycling: the millionaire team of Pogacar and Marc Soler José Carlos Carabias Óscar Pereiro, who shines on his service record the 2006 Tour with this team, has another opinion: «It has been a combination of circumstances. The most obvious is that its budget is much, much lower than its competitors Jumbo, UAE, Ineos. Now they are the big ones. What I see in Banesto, I mean in Movistar, is that they have good riders, but not the strength as a group that they had before. The leading cyclists have much more powerful salaries than in our time, they have multiplied by two or three, and so it is difficult to make a team with figures. «Little by little teams were disappearing, nobody says anything about that. We have no base, quarry. Teams are still lacking and Movistar is paying for that: many young promises have not had a squad to grow and train,” says ‘Purito’. Movistar management is forced to change its sports strategy this year. The best riders, Valverde, Aramburu, Cortina, look for points in unknown tests (Limousin, Ruta Occitania and others) to avoid disaster. Enric Mas and Alejandro Valverde run the Vuelta without the best possible team. They do it with the available gregarious who have not attended the minor tests. A victory adds one hundred points in the Vuelta, only Mas or Valverde seem in a position to achieve it. With the Mallorcan, the team hopes to collect enough points on the podium in Madrid so that the crowds cease. «A long-standing problem with Movistar is that they move for the big laps and cycling has changed with the issue of points. The points are in classics or other races. Necessity has stimulated them. They are running better, in secondary races. It enriches them. They have to turn the page on Valverde and lean on other runners, “says Perico Delgado. Purito thinks: «It has a lot to do with the fact that Movistar made a great structural change two years ago, by becoming more international, with other brokers. That transit did not go well. He lost Landa, Nairo, there was talk of recovering Carapaz and he did not return. And it shows now.” «When they had budgets similar to the others, Echávarri and Unzué assembled very strong teams. It is not a matter of not having an eye when it comes to signing. It’s not that. The problem is that they are limited at the budget level. They can’t compete. From 2012 or 2013 to today, teams have tripled budgets. If Movistar has 15 or 17 million, the other 35 or 40. If you have Enric and Valverde as higher salaries, the rest must have much lower salaries. The level is another, of course, “says Pereiro. “There have always been strong teams, but everything changes, there are budgets much higher than five years ago, Movistar has not been able to follow that wheel”, closes Perico



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