Igor Anton has said that he has been approached by Team Colombia for the 2014 season. The Basque rider is one of many Euskaltel-Euskadi riders left without a team for next year after the squad disbanded at the end of this season.
"I'm not expecting much more," Anton said in an interview with Radio Popular, and confirmed that he was considering the offer. "Yes, I would like it, it's a team that’s growing and has a good calendar. I would rate it very highly."
Anton was heavily linked with a move to Omega Pharma-QuickStep when news of Euskaltel-Euskadi's demise first broke at the end of the summer but the 30-year-old was prepared to stay with the team when it briefly appeared that Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso was going to step in and save it.
The Alonso rescue plans did not come to pass, however – he instead aims to launch a brand new team in 2015 – and Anton's agent was reported to have resumed talks with Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere in October, but the signings of Jan Bakelants and Thomas De Gendt filled the final two berths on the Omega Pharma-QuickStep roster for 2014.
Biciciclismo reports that there was still the faint possibility of a spot for Anton if Kevin De Weert had been ruled out for 2014 by the injuries he sustained in a crash at the Vuelta a España. However, De Weert, who sustained a fractured tibia, a ruptured patellar tendon, a fractured collarbone and a cervical fracture at the Vuelta, began his rehabilitation work in earnest during the week.
Anton thus appears to be edging closer to a deal with Team Colombia, who would be hopeful of a wildcard berth at the Vuelta a España should he sign with the team. He has twice finished in the top 10 at the Vuelta, and claimed four stage wins, including a stirring victory in Bilbao in 2011, when the race returned to the Basque Country for the first time in 33 years. That same season, Anton also took stage victory at the Giro d’Italia atop Monte Zoncolan.
Anton is one of seven riders who still hold contracts for 2014 with the Euskaltel team's holding company BCPT (Basque Cycling Pro Team). During the week, they were sent an initial notice of redundancy, which reportedly informed them that the remainder of their salaries will not be paid out in full. Deia reports that the matter will go to arbitration is the riders and affected support staff cannot reach an agreement with BCPT within the next two weeks.