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2012 Il Lombardia champion Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
"We’ve got various offers" - rider's agent says
Joaquim Rodríguez's agent has told Cyclingnews that the Spanish star has various offers on the table should Katusha fail to receive a WorldTour licence, but that Rodríguez is not making any decisions on a possible move until CAS's verdict comes through.
Speculation over Rodríguez future intensified on Wednesday after La Gazzetta dello Sport ran a story claiming the Spaniard was “very close” to an agreement with the Dutch WorldTour team Argos-Shimano. However the Dutch team denied the story, telling Cyclingnews "I can tell you that we are not talking to Joaquim Rodriquez and that the rumours are not true."
In December Katusha was refused a WorldTour licence by the UCI and the Russian team has appealed that decision to CAS. Rodríguez, who finished the season atop the UCI’s rider rankings has previously said he would leave the team if it does not receive the licence.
"Nothing is decided, we’ve got various options on the table,” Rodríguez manager Angel Edo told Cyclingnews on Wednesday morning.
"However, out of respect to Katusha and the contract we have with them, we’re waiting to see what happens with the CAS decision, which should come through on January 10th or 11th, before making any moves."
"Joaquim is ranked the number one rider in the world, and interest in him is high. But Katusha could continue in the WorldTour. Once we know what’s happening for sure, then we’ll make a move.”
Rodriguez's interest in racing the Tour de France this year - which would not be guaranteed for the Katusha rider should they fail to be re-admitted to the World Tour - is crucial to whether he leaves or not. Rodriguez had earlier said that he is determined to "fight for the win" in the Tour this year, and that the 2013 course "may be extraordinary for me."
All Edo would confirm for now was that if CAS verdict was not favourable to Katusha, then rather than gamble everything on a wildcard invitation for his chances of racing in the Tour de France, Rodríguez would move on. "You can’t build a season around riding the Tour then find out it’s not happening," Edo said.