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Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Spaniard hints he could join Contador at Saxo Bank
Samuel Sanchez is trying to focus on his training and final build-up for the Vuelta a Espana, rather than the doubts about his future with the troubled Euskaltel-Euskadi team, but has hinted he'd be happy to team up with Alberto Contador, perhaps as a key support role at the Saxo Bank team in 2014.
The 35 year-old from Oviedo reportedly has a two-year contract with the Basque team but knows he could be forced to look for a new team if Euskaltel fails to find the funding to continue.
"You have to try and not think about it, otherwise you get distracted but sometimes you can't help thinking about the future and the uncertainty of it all," he told the Biciciclismo website.
"But I can't do anything, I have to focus on my training, to get ready and try to do well at the Vuelta. I have to try and leave the problems at my door or at the hotel when I go riding.
"I'm looking for a team but we all know it’s a difficult moment and a delicate moment for the sport. There are fewer teams and less places for riders and staff. It's also the end of the season and so it's difficult to get sorted out."
Several of Sanchez's Euskaltel teammates have been linked to other major teams and could play supporting roles in the mountains. Sanchez made it clear he would be happy to ride for Contador.
"Why not?" he said.
"With Alberto I have very good relationship, with him I lived unforgettable events in my career and who does not like to be with one of the greatest cyclists of all time."
Focusing on the Vuelta
Sanchez opted to ride the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta this year instead of the Tour de France. He was second overall in the 2009 Vuelta and third in 2007. He will lead the Euskaltel-Euskadi team but is unsure if he can challenge Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao (Team Sky), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) for overall victory.
He is currently riding the Vuelta a Burgos race after a long spell at altitude at Sierra Nevada.
"I spent almost a month in Granada, training quietly, working hard and trying to stay away from the problems of the team. There's not much time between Burgos and the Vuelta, so I'll spend some time at home recovering and then get ready," he said.
"I always start a race with the goal of winning but I'm conscious of the fact that there are riders who can be better than me."
"This has been a different season for me and I don’t know how my body will respond while riding a second Grand Tour. It's eight years since I've done it. Purito (Rodriguez), Nibali and Valverde are perhaps a bit better than me but it’s the race that de ides things and so we’ll see what happens."