Immediately following his election as president of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), Jose Luis Lopez Cerron made the first major announcement of his presidency by naming the addition of a very special sponsor.
“I am pleased to be announcing the partnership with the Basque-based Kalitatea Foundation, the organization behind the “Eusko label” project highlighting food products grown and cultivated in the Basque region. This relationship will help solidify the development of Basque, Spanish, and Catalan riders of all stripes,” stated Lopez Cerron.
The promotional program would involve Basque beef, in particular.
“We are happy to provide assistance to the Basque beef industry, which has suffered some minor inconveniences because of the clenbuterol debacle in relation to my close personal friend, Alberto Contador. We are looking forward to a Basque beef commercial series for the European market featuring our top three finishers at the Vuelta Espana,” stated Lopez Cerron.
The campaign “Bask in Basque Beef” will feature footage from farms throughout the the region with clips showing Contador, along with Alejandro Valverde and Purito Rodriguez, dining on high-quality steaks from the northern region of Spain. The campaign is produced with the cooperation of the RFEC, which is underwriting the campaign in exchange for sponsorship money promoting key races in the region.
When asked if this campaign was “payback” to the beef producers whose reputations were damaged following the Contador debacle where Lopez Cerron delivered beef that the Contador insisted was tainted with clenbuterol, Lopez Cerron was aghast at the inference.
“No way, says Jose. Never, never, never. Kalitatea came to us with the suggestion for partnership, and they also suggested the beef industry would be logical for inclusion, as professional cyclists are consumers of vast quantities of protein and so are their fans. This is in no way some sort of apology to the beef industry for what they were put through during the Contador business,” stated Lopez Perron.
Cycling pundits weren’t convinced this was strictly a coincidence.
“Look, firstly, Jose is elected to the presidency after being the meat driver for Contador. What’s next? Motoman taking over French anti-doping efforts? Now, the RFEC has announced a partnership deal with an industry they took aim at in order to defend one of their hallowed cyclists? Seems there’s some tainted beef in this particular story. Rank, tainted beef,” commented an anonymous Telegraph reporter who may have been Brendan Gallagher.
The campaign is rumored to be rolling out into the European Union in March. More details on the race sponsorship will be revealed in January, according to Spanish cycling officials.