A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
2012 San Sebastian champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)
Manager says decision will be made soon
Luis Léon Sánchez will be part of the professional peloton next season, his manager Ángel Buenache told Biciciclosmo.com. "We are relaxed. Luis Léon will ride next year. Now it's time to make up our mind about the offers that are on the table."
Sánchez was linked to both Team Movistar as Spanish Pro Continental team Caja Rural. The latter confirmed to Cyclingnews the two parties were talking. Both teams, however, announced they are full for next season. Buenache didn't want to reveal whether Sánchez was coveted by WorldTour teams, nor the names of the teams that had put in an offer.
"There are several teams interested in signing Luis Léon. Those teams have got confidence in him and that's the most important thing for us. We want a team where he can train and ride in peace without all sorts of speculation and without people wanting to hurt him. We hope to make our decision before the end of the year."
The 30-year-old Spaniard is one of the high-profile riders who are still on the market. After a three-year stay with Rabobank and later Team Belkin, the Dutch team bought Sánchez out of his 2014-2015 contract. The multiple Tour de France stage winner had signed an improved deal after he won a Tour stage and the Clasíca San Sebastian in 2012, months before Rabobank withdrew as a sponsor.
"We had two goals," Buenache said. "Back to racing in 2013 in which we succeeded. The second goal was to get him to another team. As a cyclist he has nothing to prove. It's about vindication and showing the world that the punishment he received is unfair. The best way to do so is on the road, during the races."
Sánchez has been linked to several doping-related cases like Operación Puerto, Operación Galgo and to Dr. Michele Ferrari in the USADA report. "His name is reported in too many cases,” a spokesman of Team Belkin said in October.
"Neither the UCI nor the MPCC have problems with Luis Léon," manager Buenache said. "We won the arbitration case [after Sánchez was sidelined by Belkin in February]. We ended the contract unilaterally." Sánchez was reinstated in the Tour of Belgium and won the fifth stage. "Belkin keeps quoting the confidentiality clause but they don't adhere to it themselves. We will talk and defend ourselves when the time comes. With every step of the way we'll get closer to seeing who was right."
Team Belkin communicated in an earlier statement that the two parties agreed to part ways. "We said we would keep the contents of the arrangements between the team and Luis Léon Sánchez confidential and we still do," a Belkin's spokesman told Cyclingnews today.