When Ivan Santaromitasigned for Orica-GreenEdge towards the end of the 2013 season, there were some question marks over how he would fit in as the first Italian to join the predominantly Australian team.
Two years on, what has been an unhappy coalition is coming to an end and it seems the 31-year-old can’t wait to put this chapter in his career behind him.
Speaking to Cyclingnews in Burkovina ahead of the queen stage of the Tour de Pologne, where his GC ambitions had gone out of the window on the previous day in the hills, Santaromita explained his situation now that he is seeking a new team for 2016.
“My contract is finished and I don’t want to stay with the team. Both parties are happy to close the contract. I want to change – I’m looking for a good team where I can find new motivation because here I lost my way and I lost my motivation.”
When asked why exactly things had gone off track, he said jokingly: “I’ll tell you after I sign for a new team, ” suggesting there may be a degree of underlying acrimony that the Italian is not yet ready to expand fully upon.
Among Santaromita's grievances are the way the Grand Tours have panned out for him, along with the team’s lack of focus on the general classifications in those three-week races. He did not finish the two he entered last year, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España, and will end this season not having started any. In addition, the fears over the cultural acclimatisation process have been borne out and it is apparent that he simply did not fit in with the rest of the set-up.
“I think we have two mentalities that are opposite with Italian and Australian – that’s just how it is,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.
“Also because I didn’t do the Giro, the Tour and now I don’t do the Vuelta. I’m a Grand Tour rider so this wasn’t good for me. For me it has been hard to show myself because I come here [to Poland] with 30 races this year. I haven’t raced a lot and this is also a problem for me.”
Santaromita is currently negotiating with two other teams and is hankering for a return to the glory days when he guided Vincenzo Nibali to a Vuelta a España victory in 2010 and helped Cadel Evans to his Tour de France title the following year.
“Now I have contact with two teams and we will see what happens,” he said. "In the past I always worked for a great champion, like Nibali when we won the Vuelta, or with Cadel Evans when we won the Tour. I think there is a big rider who will want someone who can work for him – I’m ready.”