28 November 2009
Chechu showed his continuing support this weekend for the campaign to defend the Asturian language with an exhibition game of skittles in Pola de Siero. He teamed up with ex-footballer, Secundino Suárez and skittle players, Bernardo and Iván.
30 November 2009
Chechu checks out his summit
The Gijón rider analyses the Cotobello climb which is scheduled for the first time as a stage finish in the Vuelta 2010
Chechu Rubiera is proud that the summit which bears his name has at last been chosen for a Vuelta a España stage.
The Baldornón rider, who still doesn't know if he will take part in this stage in his last year as a professional rider, analysed the route for el Comercio before leaving for the United States, where he'll soon discover his race schedule for 2010 - his 16th and final season on the bike.
According to the veteran Gijón rider, "Cotobello is a climb with a constant 8% gradient. It’s what cyclists call a 'lengthy summit', very hard because of their constant difficulty all along the climb".
Cima Chechu Rubiera is one of those climbs that will make history like L'Angrilu, Los Lagos and the Tourmalet ... "They are a little over 10km long during which a good climber can make the difference. Especially because there is hardly no time to rest, and on the final section with 10 to 15% ramps and even reaching as high as 18%, which means it will be important to maintain a steady rhythm".
Rubiera says, "Certainly, it will be a spectacular stage. The (cyclist) who takes the lead there will have a good chance of winning the Vuelta because it’s scheduled during the third week of the race when the riders are tired. Also, the organisation is most probably planning a route which also takes in La Calladona, el Monumento al Minero via Urbiés, La Falla de los Lobos and el Cordal."
On the other hand, with Paco Giner and Olano who are in charge of tracing the route, Unipublic would like to make the stage go through la Cobertoria towards Quisos and continue by Pola de Lena, before changing direction to Ujo, then clip Escobio to later attack Cotobello. There should also be an interesting itinerary between Cangas and la Cobertoria with Arnicio, Santo Emiliano and Tenebreo.
The Gijón rider is sure that "it will be very interesting for the climbers who will have to use gears between 39 and 21, although in the main part of the climb it can reach 23 or 25, but we'll see what happens during the race."
Contador will give a show
Chechu comments, "It will be a total mountain stage day and riders like Alberto Contador have many opportunities to give a knockout blow to the Vuelta, especially because a champion like him will probably use a 21 gear from the start of the climb and will impose a hell of a rhythm, hard to follow."
He does not like to make comparisons but says that, "Cotobello is a little less hard than L’Angrilu, but its constant gradient makes it as difficult as any of the most mythical summit finish stages known throughout the history of the three grand tours".
Of course, Chechu would like to reach the peak of the summit which bears his name. "It would be a superb way to saygoodbye, in my own land and on the summit called Chechu Rubiera. It’s a dream for any cyclist and even more so for his farewell."
Chechu admits that he does not have a historical past full of triumphs like El Tarangu or Fausto Coppi, who also have a mountain carrying their name, "but I value the affection of all the fans, a fondness which I have always noticed when I passed through Asturias with the Vuelta, and particularly on the four times I climbed L'Angrilu".
For all of this, and without knowing yet if he will take part in his stage, Chechu encourages the fans to gather along the pass "because there is space enough along the road to watch the race and in many sections, there are beautiful viewpoints apart from the show given by the riders climbing the pass".
For Rubiera, Cotobello is very special "because it’s an idea given to me by a group of ciclotourists, which I then passed on to the race organisers after biking up there with Barredo, Santi and Samuel, and because of this, I am very excited that it has been included in the Vuelta a España".
Although there had been doubts because of budgetary problems, Asturias will have two stages of the Vuelta. Los Lagos de Covadonga and Cotobello, the longed-for summit that many fans coveted for several years and which will play a decisive role in winning the 2010 Vuelta a España.
27 November 2009
The incombustible Chechu Rubiera
Next year, the Gijónes will become the Asturian rider with the most cycling seasons to his name
El Comercio reports, Chechu is an incombustible rider. At 36 years old, he looks back and remembers the old times.
From when he was a child in Las Mestas and la Peña Alvarin; from when he was forging his career with the Banesto fans; from when he became a professional with Artiach in 1995; from when he signed with the historic Kelme team; from when he joined Lance Armstrong with US Postal before defending the colours of Discovery Channel and Astana, and from the North American rider’s insistence that he postpone his retirement for one more year and undertake a new project with Radio Shack at his side.
The Baldornón rider does everything in a natural way. With a special mentality that only major sportsmen possess, each time he gets off the bike, he knows that the most important thing is to put his feet back on the ground. Chechu Rubiera has already inscribed his name among the great Asturian cyclists.
Along with the deceased Vicente Lopez Carril, and with 16 seasons already, he is the rider who has done the greatest number of cycling seasons as a professional rider. Next year, he will beat the current record claimed by the rider known popularly as El Candasu.
Within the large list of cyclists with a long career in the Principality, one can name among the best: the deceased Senen Mesa who rode between 1942 and 1954; Marcelino Garcia between 1992 and 2003; Jesus Suarez Cueva between 1977 and 1989, Coque Uria between 1992 and 2000; and Samuel Sanchez who who has been at the top of pro cycling for the last ten years. There is also Antonio Menendez who rode between 1970 and 1979, as well as José Fuente nicknamed El Tarangu, who rode between 1970 and 1978.
"Fifteen years is a lot. When I started, I couldn't imagine that I could reach this number one day. I didn't know that Lopez Carril had done it," says Rubiera, who has always set aside his own ambitions to fight for his boss. "Besides, the normal career of a cyclist lasts on average seven years. I give more credit to Carril, for this reason, who did it during the hard times when the riders didn't have much money or means".
The Gijónes, who is the true image of a team man, remembers that "in the '70s, there was hardly any control on diet – some had a steak for breakfast - nor was there any physical preparation like now".
"Other riders of this period, for example El Tarangu, trained in winter lifting butane cylinders, and did rough training rides of more than 200km because things were that way”.
Rubiera remembers his debut, when he joined a race and "ran into Arenas or Suarez Cueva, which lit up my day because they were my idols in Asturias". Although, when you ask him for the name of a rider who influenced his vocation as a cyclist, he readily responds, "Perico, who curiously rode as a fan in the Gaylo".
However, Chechu is very concerned by the future because "although there are many professionals now, you don't see kids training, only veterans aged 30, 40, and 50, and cyclotourists. This will be noticed in the decade to come. Our generation has been inspired by the "Indurain phenomenon". Contador must be the model for the young generation. We’ll see what happens".
Now, Chechu Rubiera lacks the "spark" which made him win mythical stages in the Giro or help Armstrong win five Tours de France "but I feel good with Lance, because he has something special, and I hope to retire next year and enjoy the sport that has given me everything."
A farewell that nobody likes but which implies that he will remain linked with the cycling world.
Although without pedalling.
23 November 2009
Cotobello, a new summit for the Vuelta
as.com reports, The Asturian peak Cotobello will be a finish line in the 2010 Vuelta a España, which will begin in Seville on 28 August and end in Madrid on 19 September. Cotobello will be climbed in the last week of the race, just after the stage that ends on the other Asturian mountain: Lagos.
Never before included in the history of the Vuelta, the top of Cotobello will be the seventh Asturian peak to host a finish line. Situated in the Council of Aller in southwest Asturias, the climb of Cotobello is 10.1 kilometers long, with an average gradient of 8.4%, and bears the nickname Cima Rubiera, since the city council of Aller approved the title two years ago following a proposal by a group of cyclotourists.
"It’s a very handsome climb," explains Chechu Rubiera. "It’s a consistently uneven slope of around 8% without rest sections, so there’ll be a nice battle for it if the previous route is hard. It’s in a gorgeous place, with fantastic overlooks, and there are areas where fans can view up to three or four kilometers of the slope."
Photograph © as.com. Translation by Rebecca Bell.
15 October 2009
On the French investigation into suspicious items amongst Astana's TdF medical waste, el Comercio reports that Chechu says,
"If the French Anti-Doping Agency has some evidence, they should prove it, although it's sad that this is a campaign in which cycling suffers. They speak of syringes, but whose are they? If a cyclist dopes, it's clear that he will not deliver the proof into the hands of this French association."
14 July 2009
Alonso wants Chechu as director
Over the last couple of days, the Spanish media have reported that Fernando Alonso is keen to create a new cycling team with Alberto Contador as team leader.
Now El Comercio reports that Alonso wants Chechu to be the first director of this team.
Chechu is cautious, saying, "At the moment, it's an idea in the mind of Fernando. All this came up when Astana owed the riders several months money ... Fernando is worried about Alberto's situation, and thinks it would be good to find a sponsor to create a team for Spanish cyclists".
Chechu is a long-time personal friend of fellow Asturian, Fernando Alonso, who is a keen cyclist. He attended the opening stage of this year's Tour in Monaco.
The Spanish banking group, Santander has been floated by the media as a possible sponsor for the new team. They are currently sponsors of F1, and have weathered the banking crisis well.
Update. According to el Comercio, Alsono has been planning this team for a couple of years. The F1 driver is contracted with Ferrari until 2010, just as Contador is to Team Astana. However, the Asturian daily paper says that the arrival of Alexandre Vinokourov to the Kazakh team in August may change Contador's contract.
Photograph © lavozdeaviles.com
Video : Cima Chechu Rubiera
16 April 2009
Chechu Rubiera says that cycling "is a clean sport"
Chechu Rubiera, cyclist with the Astana Cycling Team, emphasised today that "currently there are separate standards for measuring doping," and said that this is "a clean sport" in which "they do more controls than in other types of disciplines."
"We ourselves decided to accept all these controls in an effort to catch cheats, and in a peloton of 400 cyclists, it’s impossible that there are not some case of doping," explained the professional in a press conference prior to an informal symposium talk.
Photograph © EFE
Cyclists Chechu Rubiera and Joan Llaners participated in a round table discussion organized by the Press Club of El Diario de León, where they reviewed his professional career.
The Astana professional is convinced that cycling "is at a good point for reclaiming the confidence that has been lost in the last few years, what’s more, we now have a good crop, a generation of very good cyclists," he said, although he cautioned that the main problem facing the sport is recovering the confidence of the sponsors.
Rubiera, who had also decided to retire, returned to cycling when Armstrong announced his comeback. The seven-time champion of the Tour then made the Asturian an offer to join him once again as gregario, to which Rubiera argued, saying, "I couldn’t tell him no" and count out continuing one more year if the north American requested it.
Olympic medalist Joan Llaneras, who has been world champion more than once in indoor track events, stressed that despite his retirement, Spain "has a great number of cyclists who are doing well," in a sport that lives in the shadow of road racing.
23 February 2009
Chechu hoists his colours in the United States
The Gijón professional cyclist José Luis Rubiera inaugurated BarLata last week in Oakland, a restaurant for tapas and other Spanish specialties
Chechu Rubiera’s American adventure goes far beyond his friendship with Lance Armstrong. The veteran cyclist from Gijón is attracted more than he thinks by the country of the stars and stripes banner.
Indeed, taking advantage of the celebration of the Tour of California, Chechu inaugurated BarLata, a Spanish restaurant in Oakland, where one can find fabáda and Cabrales goat cheese on the menu, a way of recalling his native land.
Chechu was raised between cooking fires in Casa Rubiera in Baldornón, where his mother Lolí is a first class cook. His many trips across the Atlantic to compete have encouraged him to set up a "little business which will motivate me to come often". He's currently enjoying riding the Tour of California along the Pacific coast, where he ranks in the top ten in the general classification, together with the seven-time winner of the Tour and (Levi) Leipheimer.
Rubiera has enjoyed the United States a great deal in recent years. "I met my partner, Daniel Olivella, who is a cycling fan, and because of that, I decided to enter this business. Olivella made a proposal to me last year and I said yes straight away because I like gastronomy and it’s a way to link two cultures".
Chechu is sure that Barlata can live up to its reputation "because Spanish cooking, with its tapas, wine, and various specialities is attractive for the Americans".
The name has not been chosen at random. The "latas", according to Chechu, are "typically Spanish and our menu offers very good ones with sardines and tuna, among many others".
Basketball and cycling
Since signing with the US Postal team, almost a decade ago, Chechu's interest for American customs has grown every year. Now, for example, he has become a great fan of basketball. "Everything is a show here. Thanks to my friendship with Sergio Rodriguez, I get to attend a lot of games involving the NBA in Sacramento, Oakland, and Los Angeles, specially those with the Golden Gates Warriors." Chechu adds, "I recently met Rudy, and this increased even more my interest for this sport".
Chechu’s immersion in the gastronomic business world provides a new stage for the rider who is considered one of the best domestiques in the world. It also coincides with what will be his last year as a professional rider after Armstrong asked him to delay by one year his retirement to accompany him in his startling comeback in cycling.
From now on, the San Francisco and San Lorenzo bays will be united by cycling and gastronomy. Asturias earns its presence in the new Obama era.
15 February 2009
Video interview with Chechu at Tour of California. Go to Bicycling.com
2 February 2009
Rubiera: "No-one has more motivation than Armstrong."
The Gijon rider, who competed alongside the American for his come back in Australia, says that “the Giro will be his preparation for the Tour”
“Nobody can surpass Lance Armstrong in terms of motivation and he is eager to perform in the best way possible in the Giro de Italia which will be his preparation for the Tour de France.”
La Nueva España reports, This is how Chechu Rubiera found his Astana leader during the training that took place in Australia, and the subsequent Tour Down Under race, where the American was very active.
Rubiera, 36 last Tuesday, admits that the Australian race was “hard and demanding because riders arrive there well prepared and not as in the past just in order to train. Furthermore, the presence of Armstrong created more pressure because he wanted to be outstanding, participate in the breakaways and come up to peoples' expectations for his comeback to competition. As it was rather windy, the pressure was multiplied and there were several falls. I also fell. Now you can't enjoy this competition anymore like before. I didn't get there quite sharp enough because of bad weather in Asturias. The level of cycling in Australia was that of a big race.
The important thing is that I am in good shape to help Lance when the Giro of Italia starts.”
Chechu Rubiera will soon leave for California where he will rejoin his team-mates Benjamin Noval and Dani Navarro. Carlos Barredo, with whom he trained yesterday on the La Campa climb in order to evaluate his physical condition for his participation in the American race, will also take part in the Tour of California. Then, Rubiera will compete in the Vueltas a Castilla y Leon and Basque Country, the Tour of Romandie, and the Giro de Italia.
The Baldornón rider, who lives in Muño, was impressed by the atmosphere created in Australia by Armstrong’s come back. "There was a special aura, sometimes it was like in the Tour de France, because of the heat and the amount of people gathered along the road. There were also two city circuits attended by more than 120,000 spectators. The Australian Prime Minister, among other personalities, came one day to the departure point in order to greet Armstrong. I also liked the fact that Lance took time to discretely visit cancer patients in hospitals without letting the press know about it. He managed to incite political personalities to start a foundation to fight the illness which bears his name in Australia”.
Rubiera, who is happy to “return to competition because it’s what I like and I travel a lot, and even better if it’s at Lance’s side, which is an enriching experience”, makes it clear that “Lance is very eager on doing well in the Giro d'Italia, which he never attended before, and which will serve as a preparation for the Tour de France”. The Gijon rider also admits that the Texan still needs “to lose more weight and muscular mass to cope with a multi-stage tour, but sees him very strong and motivated. He must also improve the changes of rhythm because he has not worked on this aspect yet. But he is already very keen on doing training sessions in Italy and France in order to prepare for the Giro and the Tour. On top of some in Tenerife in order to improve his tuning in the mountains.”
The Gijón professional rider had already said earlier, “I see Armstrong finish on the Tour podium”. Now, after the Australian race, he confirms the following “sure that he will finish among the first five. What we still need to know is whether he has the capacity to win again, specially confronted with young riders like Alberto Contador. It’s sure that Lance will do it well because he is very eager and strong".
Armstrong also told Rubiera that “he sold his houses in Nice and Gerona and that one day he would like to come and train in Asturias with Benjamin, Navarro and me. I don’t know when because with his foundation for cancer and his cycling, his schedule is booked up. But it’s nice that it's Lance himself who made that comment to me.”
Road Bike Action
Chechu tells Road Bike Action,
"I had a little racing bike and loved to ride. No one in my family was into cycling at all. But I loved it right away. I had a little jersey and shorts and would ride my bike all over even when I was young. "
Also International Herald Tribune
Leading Asturians have joined a political campaign to prevent the Asturian language dying out.
Don't miss! Chechu also interviews in Italian for Gazzetta dello Sport. There's a feature too, Lance's guardian angel.
Rubiera : "Armstrong is nothing less than a hero"
as.com reports, José Luis "Chechu" Rubiera, one of the two Spanish riders from the Astana roster, who will take part in the Tour Down Under, together with Lance Armstrong, stated to EFE Radio that the American cyclist, who is making his comeback after a three-year retirement, "is nothing less than a hero".
"Lance Armstrong is a great champion. We have a very good relationship, and I also admire him a lot as a cyclist and as a person. For me, he is nothing less than a hero," said the Asturian rider. According to 36 year old Rubiera, Armstrong’s come back will be an asset for the team and his cohabitation with Alberto Contador won’t be an obstacle.
"Historically, there have always been teams which counted several top class riders participating in the Tour de France, such as Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault, or more recently in the Vuelta a España, Leipheimer and Contador. In the end, it’s the team that benefited from it. We can only hope it will be the same for Astana this year. It’s the race that decides who is the strongest, and of course the directeur sportif in his car who determines who is the strongest and takes charge of getting the other riders to work for him".
Rubiera commented in front of the EFE Radio microphones on the physical fitness of the seven-time Tour de France winner, which is even superior to that of his period of triumph.
"I notice it very well. He is better than previously at this time of the year despite his three-year break. We did some intensive training sessions and he is in better shape than previous years at this period. What he misses is the rhythm of competition, and previously he was more relaxed in January. This year, he started training ahead of the others. If one adds this to his super-gifted capacity, he is in a super form. His real objectives are the Giro and the Tour."
The Gijón rider defended his Texan team-mate from critics, saying they are "not constructive and show lack of respect. One may be of the opinion that Lance’s comeback is an error, but one must respect his decision. It seems that there are people who become indignant at a person who is going to give many a lesson on the subject of what sacrifice means and start again to transmit society some moral values : work, effort, dedication. He does it as a challenge for himself, and above all for a noble cause to promote a foundation the purpose of which is to help cancer sufferers fight their illness".
Armstrong’s comeback is "a great satisfaction" for "Chechu" Rubiera who already worked together with the Tour winner for seven consecutive seasons.
"We have not been pedalling side by side for the last three years due to the distance that kept us apart, Lance being in the US, and we have not seen each other much. I find him very relaxed with as much determination as ever. What worries him is the lack of the rhythm of competition which, however much he trains, he can not attain. It will have to come gradually while participating in races. Apart from competition training, he is very conscientiously doing his daily work."
Rubiera, who announced his retirement during the last Vuelta, explained the reasons why he decided to carry on competing one more year.
"I was feeling well physically, last year was satisfactory on the sports level, and the fact that Armstrong was coming back and counted on me at his side in the team appealed to me. Both reasons made me change my mind during last season’s final pedal strokes. I am happy because the atmosphere is still very good and I feel very at ease in this world."
His first race of the seaon will be the Tour Down Under, in Adelaide (Australia).
Then he will participate in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Tour of California. His main objectives will be the Giro and the Vuelta a España.
Praising Fernando Alonso
Friend of Fernando Alonso, twice Formula One champion, Rubiera dreams to see his fellow countryman join Ferrari. "It’s difficult to maintain a relationship when you are biking while he is practically never in Asturias, but we send each other messages and I am grateful to see that such a busy person still dedicates some time to his friends. I wish him the best. I am aware of what’s in the press and all the fans see in Ferrari a prestigious trademark. Seeing Fernando compete in a Ferrari would be very motivating for us all."