PEZ: A new squadra for 2009, Rubens?
Rubens: Yes, my contract with Saunier (now Scott) finishes at the end of 2008; but I was looking for a new team from June. I was in talks with BMC, but after the Ricco affair they didn’t want to talk to Saunier riders – we were ‘tainted.’ I like the fact that my new team – Teltek-H20 – has a good philosophy; both with it’s role, providing the means for drinking water to be supplied to unfortunate people touched by disaster, and because it has a very anti-doping stance. These are two good messages to bring to the world.
PEZ: How’s the roster looking?
Rubens: We do not have a full list yet, but there’s Aurйlien Passeron (France & Scott), two or three young French riders, Patrice Halgand (France & Crйdit Agricole) plus maybe, from Scott, Luciano Pagliarini (Brazil) and Raivis Belohvosciks (Latvia).
[Paolo Bettini was touted to be joining Teltek, before he announced his retirement, but the gossip is still that Davide Rebellin will be main man.]
My contract is initially one year, but I hope to go beyond that.
PEZ: Do you have an agent?
Rubens: No, I negotiate myself, I prefer it this way, I think that there are only one or two agents in the sport who do a good job.
PEZ: What will the bikes be?
Rubens: The team is in talks with a couple of manufacturers, but no decision has been made yet. [Pez has heard a murmur that it may be Colnago.]
PEZ: Your 2009 programme?
Rubens: We have not finalised a programme yet, we’ll be talking about that at the first team meeting at the end of November or start of December. Of course, I would like to ride at least one Grand Tour.
PEZ: High lights of 2008?
Rubens: I was happy with my rides in the Swiss championships where I was second in the time trial and fourth in the road race also the Tour de Suisse and I rode well in the Tour of Germany and Worlds. It was a good season for me – my form was very regular.
PEZ: Low point?
Rubens: The Tour, with Ricco. But even before this he was never good with his team; he was arrogant and his attitude and behaviour were bad.
Will Rita, Rubens’ biggest fan be on the cruise?
PEZ: I’ve heard a rumour that you and some fans are going on a winter sea cruise?
Rubens: It would be a good way to end the year, but we’re not sure if we have enough numbers yet. I think we started to talk about it too late in the year – maybe next year we will do it, but start to organise it earlier.
PEZ: What’s the holiday plan, then?
Rubens: Normally I go to Fortaleza in Brazil, take the bike and ride a 24 hour road race on November 15th. I ride in a team with Pagliarini and two Brazilian amateurs: it’s on a 15 kilometre circuit and we each do two or three laps each then change. After the race I have my vacation in Brazil.
PEZ: I see Mauro Gianetti (Saunier boss) has a new team.
Rubens: Yes, but I wanted a change of ambiance, for many reasons. I am happy that the team will go on, there are some good, strong riders who deserve a contract and deserve to continue – David Canada (Spain), Josep Jufre (Spain), Eros Cappecchi and Emanno Capelli (both Italy), they are all good guys and I’m happy for them.
And we’re happy that Rubens has a new squadra; no doubt we’ll be talking to him in 2009.