Caisse d’Epargne might be withdrawing from pro team sponsorship but the French savings bank has not had its last word. Team manager Eusebio Unzue wanted to sign Ricardo Ricco, on release from Flaminia, but the sponsor blocked the deal. “Unzue wanted me but not the French sponsor” explains Ricco in the Gazzetta dello Sport, “really, I don’t understand why.”
It should be obvious why the bank doesn’t want Ricco on the team. They’ve suffered enough reputational damage with the Alejandro Valverde fiasco, the last thing the departing sponsor needs is more controversy.
A shame too for the future of the new Spanish squad under the name of Movistar. Here was a chance for Unzue to win some PR credit by drawing a line, to put the silly and embarrassing defence of Valverde behind them and align themselves with the future of cycling, rather than recruiting pessimistic reminders of the past.