New nickname for the man formerly known as El Bisonte — Cobo the Hobo.
Juan Jose Cobo is now wandering around without a team and wondering where his next pay check will come from.
Not that Cobo is feeling too lonely — his teammate David de la Fuente is also searching for a ride.
“I told them both that they have to look for a solution now instead of waiting. That’s what I would do. They have to find something else,” said Josean Fernández Matxín, the directer sportif of Geox.
“If we, in our quest, can uphold our project then we will let them know immediately. If then they decide to stay – perfect. If they continue with another team, we’d understand.”
Cobo suffered through periods of depression and self doubt a few seasons ago. In winning the Vuelta, he appeared to have put all that far behind him. But with the Flaming Footwear sponsor pulling the plug at the last minute, his team looks to be all but dead. That would depress anyone — especially when you’ve just signed a new contract based on your breakthrough win.
Cobo the Hobo will have to find a team that still has money left in the bank and there aren’t many. Another Geox-Refuge Denis Menchov is rumored to be in discussions with Katusha, the Global Russian Cycling SHindig. (Then again, maybe he’ll retire and open a sports medicine clinic in the Canary Islands with his good buddy Dr. Michele Ferrari.)
Matxín is still taking the brave talk about finding a savior sponsor but everyone knows his chances are close to zero at this point. What sponsor wants to step in with the building already on fire and the people fleeing out the door?
“Today, the situation is that there are motivated and interested companies to sponsor the project but no-one has yet made a sufficient offer. So there are talks but nothing is concrete yet and no contract is signed,” said Matxín.
Cobo the Hobo would seem a perfect fit for Saxo Bank but head man Bjarne Riis is still pleading poverty. On the other hand, his star Alberto Contador is also pleading for another climber to help him win the Tour de France. Riis did cut three riders last week so he can scrounge up some euros.
At this point, Cobo the Hobo may be prepared to sign a cheap one year deal in return for some job security. Right now his thumb is out and he’s looking for a ride.