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Caja Rural in advanced negotiations with Luis Leon Sanchez

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Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco) steps on stage for the podium ceremony

Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco) steps on stage for the podium ceremony
(Image credit: El Pedal de Frodo)
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Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco) en route to a silver medal in the 2013 Spanish TT championship

Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco) en route to a silver medal in the 2013 Spanish TT championship
(Image credit: El Pedal de Frodo)
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2012 San Sebastian champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)

2012 San Sebastian champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Caja Rural-RGA sports director Jaime Gutierrez has confirmed that negotiations to sign Luis León Sánchez are "at an advanced stage" but that as yet - "unless something's happened this morning that I haven't heard about" - the Spanish rider has not inked a definitive deal with Spain's only Pro Continental squad.

"We are talking, that's for sure," Gutierrez told Cyclingnews. "If he came to the team, he's a great rider and he'd suit our squad down to the ground, it'd be a huge step forward."

"But as yet, it's not 100 percent confirmed."

Sánchez, 29, was released from his contract with Belkin earlier this year despite taking two stage wins, in the Tour of Belgium and the Tour de L'Ain and finishing second overall in both events.

Sánchez had steadfastly denied alleged links with controversial doctor Michele Ferrari but according to a Belkin spokesman in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, "His name had been mentioned in too many cases." After being sidelined by Belkin for much of the first half of 2013 before returning to racing in May, Sanchez also claimed a silver and bronze in the national championship time trial and road race, but then did not take part in the Tour de France and abandoned the Vuelta a Espana.

A possible return to Movistar for 2014 was rumoured, but the former Clásica San Sebastian and multiple Tour de France stage winner is now close - although it is not yet certain - to becoming a lead name in Caja Rural-RGA.