Pe¤a awaiting Discovery

Victor Hugo Pe¤a was hoping for better than 15th in the Olympic TT, but his main aim now is to secur

Victor Hugo Pe¤a was hoping for better than 15th in the Olympic TT, but his main aim now is to secur
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Victor Hugo Pe¤a took a long cold drink, removed his aero helmet and leaned over his handlebars. A respectable 15th in the Olympic time trial was a sound performance, but perhaps not quite the result required by a rider whose future with his current sponsor, US Postal, seems uncertain. Despite being left out of Postal's 2004 Tour line-up, Pe¤a denied that he had already made plans to leave the American team. "I'm not sure yet. I have a contract until the end of this year, so I have to get good results in the Olympics, the Vuelta and also the Worlds. Normally, I think it's no problem to stay, but a cycling career is short, and if I can find another opportunity with better options, we'll see. Postal is a dream team," Pe¤a told procycling. "I would like to stay there but you never know." Pe¤a does not attempt to hide his frustration at his omission from Postal's 2004 Tour line-up. "I think that's usual that if you prepare all year for one race like the Tour, but you have to respect the decisions that are taken, especially if they are from Johan Bruyneel. He's the boss, so I received the decision like a professional, but of course I felt pissed - and sad. Especially after having the yellow jersey in 2003.. "Johan told me, 'You're not in good shape' - just like that. He said, 'It's not your year and your results haven't been that good.' I accepted it because he's the director. But 15 days earlier, I had been fourth in the Tour of Belgium. I think that for 20 days before the Tour I was good enough " The rejection clearly stung the Colombian. "Colombia is a big cycling nation," said Pe¤a, "and everybody was waiting for me to ride the Tour. So now I want to ride the Tour de France next year. It's the biggest race for cyclists, and for Colombians too. Riding the Tour de France is a cycling graduation." But he added, "I need to speak to Bruyneel before I make a decision. I am 30 years old now, and I think I have maybe three more years when I can be at the level you need in the Tour. If he says to me, 'Yes, you will ride the Tour,' then I can start to prepare for it, but I don't want him to say 'We'll see - maybe - that depends.'" Pe¤a said that as yet he has not spoken to any other sponsors. "But I think I have friends in other teams. I don't think it will be a problem and that's good to know. I have to have a decision this month, at least before the Tour of Spain, that's for sure. I don't want to wait until the end of the year."
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