Robbie McEwen is close to deciding which team he will ride for in 2011, his sixteenth and probably his last season as a professional rider.
The 38 year-old Australian sprinter has told Cyclingnews he is considering an offer from his current team Katusha, but also has offers from two other teams.
One of them could be the new Australian team that is in the process of applying for a ProTour licence for 2011 and is racing as the Australian Fly V team this year.
McEwen refused to confirm who he is negotiating with but revealed that he knows the Australian team owner Chris White, rode with the team's directeur sportif Henk Vogels for several seasons and said would like to act as a mentor to other young sprinters.
He said he would decide his future in the next two weeks.
"I've got an offer from Katusha and I'm talking to two other teams this week. There were four or five teams that were interested in signing me but those are the three that fit best for me," McEwen told Cyclingnews from the presentation of the Paris-Brussels race, one of his goals for the end of the season and a race he has won five times during his illustrious career.
"My name has been linked to the new Aussie team whenever it is mentioned. I've known Chris White for 20 years and know some of the staff and riders they've signed. It'd be great for Australian cycling if we had an Aussie team at the top level. It's about time. We’ve probably got enough good Aussie riders to actually fill two ProTour teams."
"I don’t want to say the names of the teams I'm talking to because I'm not trying to play games with them. I don’t feel under pressure to sign a contract. It's about what is the right team for me from a sporting aspect, for my family and of course financially, because I'm a professional and do this for a living."
"There are several teams looking to sign riders. As well as the Aussie team, there's Geox, and other teams looking for ProTour points so they can secure a place in the top 17 of the UCI world ranking and an automatic invitation to the big races. I've got 105 points and I'm in the top 40 of the rankings."
End of season races
McEwen is still disappointed that he was not selected for the Australian team for the world championships in Melbourne and intends to prove he deserved a place by winning races in the final part of the season.
He will ride two kermesse races this week and then ride the Grote Prijs Jef Scherens in Leuven on Saturday, the Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen (Sept 8), Paris-Brussels (Sept 11) and the GP Fourmies (Sept 12).
He will also ride the Circuit Franco-Belge stage race (Sept 30-Oct 3), target Paris-Tours (Oct 10), and then end his season by riding the Japan Cup on October 24.
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.