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After two pretty miserable years at Quick Step for all concerned, Spaniard Jos Antonio Pecharroman is hoping to recapture his best form with the Comunitat Valenciana team, for whom he is making his debut at the Majorca Challenge.
One of the most coveted riders in the sport after he won the Tour of Catalonia and the Bicicleta Vasca for the Paternina team in 2003, Pecharroman was snapped up by Quick Step with the intention of boosting their stage race potential. However, little went right for 'Pecha' in his two years with the Belgian team, to the extent where he even considered quitting the sport last year as depression took hold.
"I was on the point of leaving cycling. After 2004, when I broke my wrist, I started last year with lots of motivation, but I couldn't adapt to the team," he told Marca. "I lost confidence in myself and by putting more pressure on myself to get results I suffered a psychological drop and fell into depression. I started to think that cycling wasn't worth it."
His mood was not helped by a dispute over money with his team, which led to him making a complaint to the International Cycling Union. The Spaniard says he is still owed about 20% of his salary by Quick Step, but he does not blame the team at all for his total failure to perform up to expected levels.
"It is the responsibility of the rider to perform well, but when things don't go well it's not just the rider's fault. The team demanded results from me, kept demanding more and more and I became depressed," he explained.
The financial dispute escalated to the point where Quick Step prevented Pecharroman from starting last year's Tour of Catalonia. The rider decided his best option then was to ride when he could and start looking for a Spanish team to take him on at the end of the season. Comunitat Valenciana boss Vicente Belda, who is aiming to get his team into the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia this year, was quick to offer him that chance.
"I still don't know him too well, but he is serious about what he's doing, works hard and has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve," said Belda, who is expecting Pecharroman to reach his best form in April or May.
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