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Óscar Sevilla, Francisco Mancebo secure deals for 2021

Spanish veterans with links to Operación Puerto secure deals with continental teams for next season.

First, it was Davide Rebellin — who will turn 50 next year — signing a deal for 2021,  Now it’s time for two more veteran riders from another era to secure a spot in the peloton for next season.

Óscar Sevilla and Francisco Mancebo, both 44, have signed contracts to race in 2021. Sevilla will race with Colombian continental Team Medellín for a fifth season. Mancebo will race another season with continental team Matrix Powertag.

Both were highly touted all-rounders when they turned pro in the late 1990s, with Sevilla riding for Kelme and T-Mobile, while Mancebo raced with Banesto and AG2R-La Mondiale. Both were linked to the Operación Puerto blood doping scandal in 2006, and never rejoined the top tier of the international peloton.

The Spanish pair both landed on the ill-fated Rock Racing team in 2009, making contacts that helped them extend their respective careers on second- and third-tier teams across the Americas and Asia.

Francisco Mancebo will be racing for the continental squad Matrix Powertag in 2021. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Mancebo emerged as a promising grand tour rider, finishing fourth overall in the 2005 Tour de France, before the Puerto scandal entangled his career. Sevilla, too, showed grand tour promise, riding to second in the 2001 Vuelta a España.

Following Puerto — neither were officially sanctioned despite evidence linking them to ringleader Eufemiano Fuentes — Sevilla carved out a niche in Colombian cycling, and has remained competitive in Latin American races, including being declared the winner of the 2018 Vuelta a San Juan after the original winner was disqualified for doping. Mancebo went on to win stages at the Tour of Alberto and the Tour of Utah.