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Igor Anton in his last Vuelta a Espana in Euskaltel-Euskadi colours.
Basque climber admits he’s nervous despite some interest from WorldTour squads
Although most of Euskaltel-Euskadi’s highest profile riders have now secured deals for next season, climbing ace Igor Antón is still negotiating with a number of WorldTour teams and admits he is getting very nervous about his prospects. Speaking on Basque television, the 30-year-old Antón said: “As things stand I’ve got nothing, or at least nothing concrete.”
Following the Tour de France, Antón appeared close to signing a deal with Omega Pharma-QuickStep, but he held off when F1 star Fernando Alonso announced his interest in taking over the Euskaltel set-up. Antón was mooted as one of the cornerstones of that project, which subsequently failed to come to fruition when negotiations broke down between Euskaltel and Alonso.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before. Both time and the decisions that have been taken have gone against me. The more time goes by, the more nervous you become,” said Antón.
He pointed out that the sudden flood of quality riders onto the market has enabled teams to pick and choose talent. “The teams keep a place or two spare to take advantage and some are now picking up good riders at very reduced rates,” he said. In his case, the option with Omega Pharma-QuickStep has been complicated by their recent signings of Jan Bakelants and Thomas De Gendt.
Antón insisted other teams at WorldTour level are interested in his services, but admitted that 2014 could be “a year of transition” for him.
Antón’s agent Giuseppe Acquadro has since told Biciciclismo that he will meet with Lefevere in Malaga on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of the Basque joining Omega Pharma-QuickStep next season.