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Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) in time trial mode
Belgian Pro Continental team keen to sign Sanchez as team leader
The Belgian Wanty-Groupe Gobert team has confirmed the names of 16 riders signed for its 2014 roster, hinting that is interested in signing Samuel Sanchez in the hope of securing a wild card invitation to one of the three Grand Tours on the WorldTour calendar.
The team –that was known as Accent Jobs-Wanty in 2013, said it will sign four other riders to complete its 20-rider roster.
With the demise of so many teams in the peloton, Professional Continental teams have a better chance than ever to secure one of four wild card invitations up for grabs in the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. Wanty-Groupe Gobert is also aiming to finish the 2014 ranked amongst the best eight teams in the Professional Continental rankings.
“It’s a logical part of our progression,” general manager Jean-François Bourlart said in a press release from the team, discussing the team’s hopes for a wild card place in a Grand Tour.
“The UCI is working on new rules in view of the 2015 season and our sponsors’ objective is clearly to finish in the top eight teams of division two.”
“The contacts we’re having with riders who are still available (such as Samuel Sanchez) point in that direction.”
Senior directeur sportif Hilaire Van Der Schueren is working hard to fill the remaining four slots in the team. Sanchez is still without a contract after the demise of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team and budget cuts at other WorldTour teams. He has shown interest in joining Wanty-Groupe Gobert but only not at any price.
Riders currently signed to Wanty-Groupe Gobert for 2014 include: Jempy Drucker, Grégory Habeaux, James Vanlandschoot, Thomas Degand, Jérôme Gilbert, Tim De Troyer, Roy Jans, Kevin Van Melsen, Björn Leukemans, Mirko Selvaggi, Frederik Veuchelen, Wesley Kreder, Frederique Robert, Jerome Baugnies, Laurens De Vreese and Michel Kreder.
The team will hold its first get together in mid-November.