Denis Menchov’s agent Raimondo Scimone has told Cyclingnews that the Russian stage race rider will not walk away from the Geox-TMC team even though the squad failed to secure an invitation to this year’s Tour de France.
Menchov has been linked to Saxo Bank-SunGard after Alberto Contador was given a one-year ban by the Spanish Cycling Federation last week. Cyclingnews understands that Katusha, Astana and Movistar have also investigated the possibility of signing Menchov and indicated that a substantial salary was available. However the Russian is happy to stay with Geox-TMC after moving on from Rabobank during thr winter.
“Denis is happy where he is for now. He’s gotten over not being able to ride the Tour de France and is focusing on the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta Espana. He will be targeting overall victory in both races,” Scimone said.
Scimone revealed that Menchov has a get out clause in his standard UCI contract and could leave Geox-TMC. But this is because the team failed to secure ProTeam status, not for the lack of a Tour de France invitation.
Giro invitation vital for team’s future
It seems the only way Menchov would part ways with Geox-TMC is if the team fails to secure an invitation to the Giro d’Italia. A second grand tour snub could spark the demise of the whole team, with Geox rethinking its involvement in cycling.
Giro d’Italia organisers RCS Sport did not invite Geox-TMC to the Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico, but the team has a place amongst the 25 teams invited to Milan-San Remo. Giro d’Italia organiser Angelo Zomegnan will announce the 22 teams selected for the race on March 7, exactly two months before the start in Turin on May 7.
The 18 ProTeams are already assured places and Zomegnan has indicated that Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli and Androni Giocattoli will be invited. That leaves just two places up for grabs, with Geox-TMC facing serious competition from Acqua & Sapone, Colnago-CSF Inox and possibly the Colnago-sponsored Team Type 1.