Several teams have already expressed an interest in taking on Samuel Sánchez for the 2014 season, but none have come forward with an offer as intriguing as that put forward by Australian continental team Cellarbrations RT.
Suine admits that restrictions on his team's finances mean that he cannot offer Sánchez a salary, but he outlines an attractive package of other incentives. "We would certainly be able to provide you with free race entry and transportation, free team kit, as many energy bars and vitamins as you could ever need, and coaching by ex-Saxo and Sky directeur sportif, Mr Scott Sunderland, who also coached CRT in 2013," says Suine. A Sydney restaurant has also offered to provide "tapas-themed dishes" to accommodate the Spaniard.
Suine points out that his team can provide Sánchez "with a season spent living the superb Australian lifestyle based in one of the world's most beautiful cities, Sydney." He adds that the Spaniard would need to find his own accommodation, but there is the chance of bedding down on an inflatable mattress in team direction Russell Menzies' house. "He is yet to confirm whether he has raised it with his wife, however as you are a supremely fit and undoubtedly good looking Latin man, we think she will approve," says Suine.
A mixture of under-19, masters and elite riders, CRT participated in Australia’s National Road Series this past season and is looking to raise its profile next year. "We have some great new riders coming on board which we'll be announcing soon, but there’s still one elite spot left," says Suine. "Given all the media surrounding the demise of Movistar and Euskaltel-Euskadi at the end of the recent season, and so many fine riders who remain uncontracted for 2014 as a result, we thought why not ask the question? The worst he can say is 'no'."
Suine further reveals: "As things stand right now, he hasn't said yes – or no. Sure it's a long shot. But if you never ask, you never find out. We're already hopeful of a great season in 2014. But if Samuel comes on board, well, the sky becomes the limit. Just imagine what he could do in some of the bigger stage races."
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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