By Monika Prell
After several hours of negotiations, Samuel Sánchez and his Euskaltel-Euskadi team have reached a common accord. Sánchez will continue to ride for the Basque team until 2010, it was announced on Wednesday, just one day before the official team presentation. The rider explained that the differences between himself and management had centred around monetary issues, but he had agreed to stay on the team for "sporting and personal reasons".
"This is the team of my life and I want to be serious, I never saw myself in another jersey," he said at a press conference prior to the team's training camp. "For me it's an immense joy that I will continue here. I feel valued, I feel the confidence and the respect of [directeurs sportif] Miguel [Madariaga] and Igor [González de Galdeano], and for me those are basic things."
Madariaga and González de Galdeano were also present at the press conference, with Madariaga saying that Sánchez is one of the figureheads of "a cycling project that is unique at the international level".
"That 'Samu' stays with us until 2010 is very important, because he is one of the world's best riders," stated Madariaga. "We both made an effort, but when you really want an agreement, you can reach it. The engagement of both sides gave the extension of his contract until 2010."