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Lete, from López Viejo to the Xacobeo cycling team

Lete appointed

AS journalist Juan Mora recently commented that the Minister of Sport is used on too many occasions as a peacemaker to quell warring factions in the world of Spanish sport. As new Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy assembles his new government the chosen one is José Ramón Lete. An enthusiastic type and former basketball player and at a perfect age to carry out the function. A few contradictions may linger about his past but his appointment is another clear example of how Rajoy does his own thing and this is also true in the world of sport.

José Ramón Lete Lasa
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José Ramón Lete LasaCabalarEFE

Murky past

He spent some time formerly working in Madrid, when Alberto López Viejo, was in charge of sport in local Madrid government. He was the director general of sport, a position created specifically for him. The lingering memory from that period is a dark cloud of mystery that lingered with López Viejo's departure and that still persists to this very day. Lete carried on after that episode and some years later was named as Director of sport for the region of Galicia and his crowning glory was an excellent Vuelta Ciclista a España which ended in Santiago de Compostela.

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Xacobeo cyclying

He oversaw a professional cycling team, Xacobeo Galicia, whose reputation was tainted in a doping scandal. One of the doctors who blew the whiste was fired. The team eventuality folded due to a lack of funding but there was never a deep investigation or inquiry into the whole sorry episode. With the poor name Spain has in this murky subject of doping it's unfortunate that the new Minister for Sport has a past mixed up in this type of activity. However when it comes to building small empires in the world of politics, the fever of corruption and the infection of doping get pushed to one side. Lete was never accused directly but managed to escape and brushed the whole affair under the carpet.