Samuel Sánchez has confirmed that he does not yet have a deal in place for next season. Despite recent reports linking the Spaniard to UnitedHealthcare and the new Wanty team in Belgium, the Euskaltel rider has told Biciciclismo.com, “I’ve got no offers, I’ve had no conversations with any team.”
The 2008 Olympic road race champion remains the most high-profile name in the peloton still without a berth for next season. Describing himself as “sad and disappointed”, Sánchez says he believes that he has the legs and motivation to compete at the top level until at least the end of 2015, which is when his current contract with Euskaltel runs out. The Basque team has already announced it will fold at the year’s end.
He explained his situation as it now stands. “I am an Euskaltel rider for the next two seasons, until they tell me otherwise. I’ve got no offers, I’ve had no conversations with any team. I would like to keep racing, but that’s not the reality,” said Sánchez.
“I want to keep racing, the contract I signed with Euskaltel through to 2015 demonstrates that. I will be a professional up to that point, unless they rescind my contract at the end of the year or my future has not been resolved in any other way. If that turns out to be case, I will no longer be a professional.”
Sánchez expressed his disappointment with the way the closure of the Euskaltel has been handled. “I’ve found myself in a situation that neither I nor anybody else on the team imagined at the start of the year when a well-backed four-year project was laid out. I’m in a situation that I wouldn’t have chosen to be in, finding myself unable to keep racing in the professional peloton over the next few years as the result of bad management or a decision that we don’t really understand. It’s a shame because this was more than a team, it was a family, at least it was for me as I’ve been part of it for 14 years.”
He added: “Euskaltel should have let us know earlier that the team’s future was in the balance… Then we would have had the chance to decide whether to look for a new team and would have a lot more room for manoeuvre, which wasn’t the case at the end of September.”
He explained how his position had also by compromised by Fernando Alonso’s failed bid to take over the Euskaltel team at the tail-end of this summer. “When it was announced that Fernando was going to buy the team everyone believed the team had been saved. At the same time, other teams filled their rosters and then there was no room left for us. Lots of people have said to me that if they had known before… I am one of the cyclists who is going to end up unemployed because of the lack of work, just like many other colleagues and the rest of this country.”
Sánchez said he will not yet think about the possibility of Alonso’s team, which is due for launch in 2015. “That’s a long way off. First we have to get through the rest of 2013 and then all of 2014… I prefer to focus on now and 2014 and not consider things further down the road.”