Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  
Teams Home
TT1 teams
2004 Teams Database
Pro Team Tech 2004

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Road Season Preview 2004

January 29, 2004

Illes Balears - Banesto

Illes Balears presentation

The newly created Illes Balears-Banesto team was presented Thursday in Madrid, Spain. The team is the new incarnation of iBanesto.com, sponsored by the Balearic Islands of Spain as a promotional vehicle for the tourism industry on the islands. The team was formally introduced by Jaume Matas, the president of the Illes Balears.

With a number of changes in the team roster from last year, team director Eusebio Unzué declared his ambitions for the coming season.

"The jersey has changed and 40% of the riders are new, but above all, I would say that our ambitions are on the rise," Unzué said. "This year we want to concentrate on the World Cup, and of course shine in the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.

"I don't know if we can win the Tour, but I think we can figure among those fighting for the win," he added.

Unzué will have Francisco Mancebo as a leader for the grand tours, along with Denis Menchov. Mancebo showed his desire to ride for a podium place in the Tour, and counts himself among the growing legion of riders who envision a succession to Lance Armstrong's reign in France. Mancebo noted that he hopes 2004 will be "my year".

"Armstrong won't always be superior," Mancebo said. "Last year we saw that he was a little weaker than before, and this year I think he'll have to work even harder to win the Tour. Of course he still has the motivation of someone who has won the most Tours, but this year will be the most difficult for him."

Unzué echoed the ambitions to perform in the Tour, but made no point of focusing his energies on Armstrong.

"We're going to do everything to win," Unzué explained. "Not to keep Armstrong from becoming the first to win six times... Simply because our ambition is to ride like a team capable of winning the Tour."

Pablo Lastras will head the Illes Balears team for the World Cup classics, along with Ivan Gutierrez and sprinter Isaac Galvez, who left rival Spanish team Kelme to join the iBanesto successor.

Illes Balears-Banesto 2004 roster