Just days after concluding his 15th pro season at Paris-Tours, veteran Spanish rider Vicente “Chente” García Acosta will be back next year for one more season in the saddle.
The 37-year-old from Pamplona has finished no less than 25 grand tours, and recently signed a one-year contract extension to keep him in the pack with Caisse d’Epargne in 2010.
“I am going to keep racing because I saw during the Vuelta that I can keep doing the work that the team requires,” García Acosta told the Diario de Navarro. “I will race for one more year and then we’ll see. I’ve already decided to take it year by year. I still enjoy what I am doing, it’s not hard for me to train and I feel comfortable in the team. I am doing what I enjoy most in life, which is racing my bike.”
Injury in a fall at the Tour of Flanders in April cost García Acosta a ticket back to the Tour, but he was able to recover in time to help teammate Alejandro Valverde win his first grand tour at the Vuelta in September.
By finishing, García Acosta has started and completed 25 grand tours, but somewhat surprisingly, he’s never raced a Giro d’Italia since turning pro in 1995.
“I’ve never had the chance to race the Giro, but it’s never too late,” García Acosta said. “I’ve started and finished 12 Tours and 13 Vueltas.”
García Acosta, who’s won stages in both the Tour and Vuelta, is a journeyman gregario and helped steer teammate Valverde to overall Vuelta victory.
“Unfortunately, I had to choose not to ride the Tour this year after 12 consecutive participations. I couldn’t recover in time to race, and everyone knows, you need to be 100 percent at the start of the Tour,” he said. “I am happy with how this Vuelta went. I’ve recovered completely and I am back to full health, with a lot of motivation to keep racing.”
For 2010, he says he’ll only race one grand tour.
“Either the Tour or the Vuelta, wherever the team sends me,” he said. “I saw a lot of riders who did two grand tours and they were tired at the Vuelta. I will race one, and do it well.”