Second Edition News for December 21, 1996

More Miguel Indurain Gossip

Vicente Iza, masseur and personal friend of Miguel Indurain, confessed yesterday to this newspaper that after a shared meal last Saturday with Indurain he had told him that he was going to continue one more season. "Miguel wanted to be completely certain that his muscles were fine. That there were no reasons for his performance at the Tour and Vuelta to be repeated. After the test that he has gone through with his doctor, Sabino Padilla, now he knows that he's fine, as good as good as during his best times from a physical standpoint and the fact that he's resumed training on his bike give away the fact that he's not planning to retire.

The silence continues - The most that Indurain has said lately about his career has been: "things are becoming clearer, but I don't know yet if I will continue, or where I will do it. When I have something to say, I will hold a press conference". ONCE, stated that they were not keeping secrets to respect the Navarran's contract with Banesto until the 31st of this month. The general secretary, Jose Antonio Montero, said that "Miguel has given so much that he deserves everybody's respect". What is known is that ONCE has negotiated a decrease in the contract of certain riders, which could lead to speculation that they might use the money to sign Indurain. On the other hand, the yellow team could also negotiate with Spanish Television (Television Espanola) a series of agreements where they would pay for races retransmitted by them where Indurain would ride. All of this could help pay for his hiring.

And while ONCE considers Miguel, Banesto has declared that they are certain that they have lost their rider. "What I want is for Miguel not make any mistakes. I'm very sad because I realize that he's leaving us.

Everytime I call him, I'm met by his answering machine and it is a clear sign that we are not in his objectives". In this way, Jose Miguel Echavarri, Banesto's manager spoke during the party at Marca's (Sports Newspaper) award ceremony. Meanwhile, Luis Lazaro, Marketing Director for Banesto, didn't have a problem stating that Miguel would end up coming back to Banesto and also said that the relations between the champion and the bank have not deteriorated at all.

Two other candidates, Kelme and Polti - Kelme made Indurain a written offer that Jose Quiles considered as "very serious" and will keep waiting for an answer. Kelme is willing to give Indurain complete leberty to choose his schedule. "If he wants to ride the Tour, La Vuelta, both or neither, it would be fine by us", admitted Alvaro Pino, sport director for Kelme, who confessed to be "very hopeful" with the possibility of working together with him. Kelme has one major thing against them, they are the team which is least used to backing a leader like Indurain at the Tour, which without a doubt will be the main objective. In terms of Polti's offer, it seems like the least possible offer. As a matter of fact, Miguel hasn't even considered leaving for Italy.

Echavarri keeps his distance - Banesto's manager, Jose Miguel Echavarri, obedient to the rumors about his distancing from Indurain, stayed away from Indurain during the Cycling Celebration of the newspaper Marca. Each one on different sides of the auditorium, the manager didn't hesitate to warmly say hello to his new team captain, Abraham Olano.

And if you haven't had enough already.....

Miguel Indurain has admitted that he's advancing on his final decision on what he will be doing next season. "I have made a small step forward. I'm starting to figure out things. I have advanced in my decision", manifested the Navarran rider at the Marca Sprint award ceremony on Wednesday night. It is also true that at no time has he said anything about his future.

Juan Fernandez will become the National selector if Grande wins - Juan Fernandez, Mapei's director up to this season, will be the National Selector if Pepe Grande wins the elections for the presidency of the Spanish Federation. Juan Fernandez is without a team for next year after Mapei decided to separate from their "Spanish" structure.

Miguel Indurain has decided to accept all the sport challenges that Manuel Saiz, sport director for ONCE, has proposed him for his cycling campaign of 1997. Among other objectives he would be expected to ride La Vuelta, something which was the catalytic is breaking up the relations between Indurain and Banesto.

If in terms of of athletic goals there are almost no differences between the rider and ONCE, the financial matter is very different. It looks like the Navarran champion would make less money next year with ONCE than he would if he would have remained with Banesto. Saiz dreams about being Indurain's director next year and he's the greatest salesman to ONCE's management. Saiz admitted last Wednesday his many conversations with the cyclist and mentioned that Indurain already had an offer from ONCE, that's where the differences come up. ONCE has only agreed to give Indurain half of what he wants. For the rest of the amount that Indurain is asking, the team would look for external financing through an outside sponsor.

Saiz has had to convince ONCE management to go on with the signing of Indurain, since Jose Maria Arroyo, president of the institution was doubtful about authorizing a multi-million dollar operation for an athlete with extraordinary palmares, but on his way to 33 years of age. Anyway the idea is not to mess with ONCE's budget for next year and take care of Indurain's contract with an extraordinary contribution by the ONCE Foundation. Arroyo declared yesterday in Madrid that "if Indurain accepts the condition of philosophy, method of working and financial offer there could be a match, something that we would really like".

Saiz, admitted that he's had more than five conversations with Indurain and mentioned that, inlike Echavarri, he can always find Indurain when he looks for him. Pablo Anton, ONCE's manager also expressed his opinion that the Indurain matter will have a happy ending and in his opinion feels that it wouldn't be ggod for the image of the cyclist if he retired after spending so much time to make a decision.

Italian News

Davide Rebellin, Mauro Gianetti and Maximilian Sciandri will not be riding for '97 on the bikes produced by Alain Prost and Laurent Fignon. La PROFICA, the company that carries the initial of Prost, Fignon and Cadieux has broken relations with the team Francaise des Jeux. Marc Madiot's new team will ride Gitane bicycles.

From the Marca Sprint Awards

Olano said: "I would ride with Indurain if he was up to my fitness level".

Indurain: had no comments and made no visual contact with anybody.

Manolo Saiz (ONCE's Sport Director): Kept looking over to Indurain.

Echavarri (Banesto's Sport Director): He was asked why he wasn't speaking to Indurain. He answered that it was only because they didn't sit on the same table.