Óscar Pereiro: “Enric Mas is not Alberto Contador and when we understand him we will value him”

MADRID, Aug. 11 (.) –

The winner of the 2006 Tour de France Óscar Pereiro, on the moment that Spanish cycling is going through, assured that “it is a mistake to focus everything on Enric Mas” because “he is not Alberto Contador”, and added that the Mallorcan will be valued more when he understand that they cannot be compared.

“I think it’s a mistake to focus everything on Enric Mas. Enric isn’t Alberto Contador, he’s Enric. When we understand that Enric is Enric, we’ll value him as he is and I think he’ll free himself and start performing at a higher level than he is doing now himself”, declared Pereiro in an interview with Europa Press.

The Galician argued that this comparison makes no sense because “Alberto (Contador) had a way of competing that was very different from him, an aggressive runner, he was the best in the world at the time”, while “Enric is a runner who has some very good conditions to compete in big races, a runner who is a born long-distance runner, but does not have the character of Alberto”.

For Pereiro, in Spain it is not valued “that the first one who wants to perform at the highest level is the athlete”, and that sometimes this does not happen. “If you don’t perform, or things don’t work out for you, it’s because either you’re not well, you haven’t prepared yourself well, or the preparation hasn’t suited you well,” he added.

“In the end it is that we Spaniards were used to: Tour, there is going to be a Spaniard who is going to be there in front. And then in this country we are used to the minimum to liquidate people, I have seen it with Nadal, who It was already over four, five or six years ago, with Fernando Alonso, with Enric Más, I’ve seen it with so many people. Now we have to keep our feet on the ground,” said the former cyclist.

Pereiro went back to the beginning of the 21st century, when Spanish cycling dominated the world scene and won the grand tours. “It is a time when we achieved very cool things. That three Spaniards win the Tour in four years is that it is milk, it seems incredible to me”, he pointed out.

The former winner of the 2006 Tour recalled that “it seemed that there was a void since Miguel Induráin, although it is true that Beloki appeared, at times Olano himself trying”, but that, since his victory in the French round “until 2012 or 2013, it was crazy.” “With Carlos (Sastre), Alberto (Accountant), Purito (Rodríguez) on the podium, Samuel Sánchez. Was that normal? Well, it’s just that normal was not that, nor is normal what we have now, nor is that so normal “, he added.

Now, after a Tour de France in which only four Spaniards finished, Óscar Pereiro asks for patience when desperately looking for cyclists who can win a Grand Tour. “We are making the same mistake, we are already looking for a replacement. Fortunately, I think we are at a time where Mikel Landa and Enric Mas, among others, have to somehow give us results,” he said.

For the future, the Galician believes that “there is an interesting generation”. “Juanpe López is 24 years old, he is a very young boy, and then I know that this is going to end in Ayuso and Carlos Rodríguez, who are two runners who, I repeat, have potential, they have been doing very cool things, they aim very high, and if we let them fly free, they will probably be the candidates to fill the void that we feel in this Tour, but we do not demand it from them anymore, “he explained.

However, please be patient. “The fact that we see Pogacar win the Tour de France at the age of 21 does not mean that anyone else has to win it, let them mature and from the age of 23, 24 or 25 that everyone comes out a bit, we will see where he is again “, he sentenced.


This edition of La Vuelta will be the last for Alejandro Valverde, who retires in 2022 and who came to share a team with the Galician. “I think Alejandro has been with him since 2002 or 2001. I’ve been with him for 15 years as a colleague, I knew that his career was going to be very long, the deadline was not,” he declared.

“I was sure that he was going to be a runner who was going to be on the bike for many years because first he has a talent, one of those that are born, they touch him with a wand and say ‘boy, dedicate yourself to the bicycle, you are going to be the hell’, and then because he likes this sport so much, so much, that he has such a good time competing and is so competitive that it’s the milk”, said Pereiro.

The one who was a professional cyclist until 2010 believes that “if COVID-19 did not exist, Alejandro would not be competing today”. “Alejandro, I think he has extended his career for two more years to say goodbye as he deserves, with the public in the ditches, approaching him, taking photos, receiving love. We are going to miss him a lot, for his way of running, his way of being, what he brings, it will make me very sad, the truth,” he concluded.

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