Considering European and American offers for 2014
Three-time NRC overall winner Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy/Kenda) told Cyclingnews this week that he is still undecided about where he will be riding next season.
Mancebo has been racing domestically in the US since signing with RealCyclist.com for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He moved to the 5-hour Energy/Kenda squad when the two teams merged before the start of this season. Mancebo, a former Spanish national champion with multiple top-10 finishes in Grand Tours, took the NRC individual title both years he raced with RealCyclist and added another title this season with 5-hour Energy.
But the 37-year-old is still negotiating with his current team while testing the waters for a return to Europe.
"I haven't signed yet, but it's a great team," Mancebo said of the 5-hour Energy squad. "I have been here three years, and I'm very happy here. It's not easy [to get a contract with a top-level European team]. I try to find a good team there, and I have some offers, but no really good offers. If I want I could ride there, but I think no."
Mancebo has been incredibly successful during his three years on the US domestic circuit with the UCI Continental teams. He won the Redlands Bicycle Classic twice, in 2011 and 2013. He also took the overall crown twice at the Cascade Cycling Classic in 2011 and 2012. Mancebo has also won Sea Otter, the Tour de Beauce, Battenkill and the Joe Martin Stage Race.
In 2013 Mancebo was second at the Vuelta a Castillo Leon and has scored stage wins at the Tour of Utah, the Tour of the Gila and at Beauce. He finished second during stage 1 of the Tour of California and was seventh overall at the inaugural Tour of Alberta earlier this month.
Mancebo said the big North American races motivate him, and he has yet to race in the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. Now, with 41-year-old Chris Horner's recent win at the Vuelta a Espagna, Mancebo said he may consider trying harder for the general classification results.
"After Horner's victory in the Vuelta a Espagna, I am young," he said. "He was the strongest guy in the climbs, and it was a good victory for him. The Vuelta is a different race from the Giro and the Tour because the time trial is not as important, and Horner is a good climber.
"For us it is good," Mancebo joked. "I can stay in cycling like six or seven more years, and after that, well, I don't know."
But for now Mancebo has to worry about next season. He said he should know in one or two weeks where he will be riding next year, although he seemed to be leaning toward his current set up.
"I know the people here," he said. "I know the sponsor, and I know everybody here. I feel really good in the USA races."
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