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
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.
Balears-Banesto 2004 roster