|Betancur in yellow in the last PN|
Carlos Betancur is one of my favourite riders and it has been great to see him so strong in the last Paris-Nice, where he won with a wonderful attack uphill, grabbing the leader jersey from a very unlucky Geraint Thomas. After that he disapeared and rumors said he was going to end his contract with AG2R. It wasn't true but the French team's Team Manager explains here his concern about the Colombian rider, very talented but not exactly committed.
Read it all here:
1. A good talk: "I learned via the press during the Tour de France that he was going to leave the team so I called his agent and he asked if there was a possibility of that happening. I said I was ready to discuss things but I've never had those discussions with him. Betancur is under contract with us until 2016. I had a good talk with Carlos during the Vuelta and it seems as though he has taken on board what we said. It seems that he has good intentions and I hope that he'll follow through on those good intentions over the winter because we want to have the best Carlos Betancur again. We know the boy has such incredible talent, it's crazy."
2. Not the behaviour of a top-level athlete: "It was very hard to get him to come back to France, and when he did come back he was a long, long way off his best shape. There was a period from April to June or July where effectively he didn't have the behaviour of a top-level athlete. He was ill but we never really found out what kind of illness he had. That spell of four months wasn't a positive one. We've spoken about all of that and we're starting over – him and us – with new intentions. He has enormous potential and we want to make the most of it – for him most of all, and for us as a team too. He needs to organise his life and behave like a champion athlete. He does have bit of a recurring weight problem that he needs to take care of, and we're there to help him and advise him with that. But then again, it's ultimately up to him to decide on the direction he wants to give his career."
3. Homesick? Betancur is going to become a dad: "We've noticed that when Colombian riders come to Europe it can be difficult for them, especially when they come to Europe for long periods of time.It's not like with the Australians. When the Australians come, they come for eight months at a time in Europe and they're ready to go to war. We've suggested to Carlos that he brings his family to Europe and organises his life here, because world cycling at the highest level is primarily in Europe. He came to Europe very young, at 19 years of age, and he went to Italy, where he found a welcoming entourage, which we can understand. Does he have to keep living in Italy? Why not live in France instead? In any case, we're here to help him organise himself in Europe."
Well, a pro cyclist life is a hard life, for him and for his/her family. Carlos Betancur, like others, have to decide his priority. In my opinion that's a good thing, if you don't feel the contrast, the painful awarness of the relative incompatibility of a full family life with a serious top athlete life... well, you are only half a man/woman. Then you mast decide but it's good to know that there is a decision here.