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Miguel Martinez in negotiations with Belgian team

Miguel Martinez is riding as an independent

Miguel Martinez is riding as an independent

Former cross country World Champion Miguel Martinez is in negotiations with a Belgian mountain bike team for the 2010 season. Since January 1, the Frenchman Martinez, 33, has been in talks with the G-Skin Deforche MTB Racing Team.

"For some days, we've been in discussions with Miguel to find a solution acceptable to both parties. Miguel is a great champion," said Simon Gueuning, Team Manager and General Manager of G-Skin. "He showed this at the beginning of his return in 2009."

"When I was contacted by Michel [Bajorek], our mechanic, about Miguel, I first thought it was a joke, but I soon realized he was serious. Then Miguel Martinez contacted us directly," said Gueuning.

In 2009, Martinez intended to return to mountain bike racing full time after several years racing on the road. He signed with the Felt International Mountain Bike Team, but was dismissed from the team just before it folded in early June.

Martinez won the Olympic Games and the World Championships in 2000. According to Gueuning, he is motivated to return to the highest levels of competition and attend the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The G-Skin Deforche MTB Racing Team has already signed Bjorn Brems, and the addition of Martinez could bump the squad up further in the international rankings.

"After three days of debate things seem on track." Gueuning said the team's budget remains consistent but there may be room for Martinez if team management and sponsors determine that his signing will boost sales for the team's sponsors.