Sánchez: Astana must pay

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Some riders who raced for the Spanish Astana squad are facing a tough situation. For example, the promising young Eladio Sánchez and Carlos Abellán are still looking for a team for 2007. They are suffering fallout from Operación Puerto. "No team is interested in me. I am now racing in cyclo-cross, but I do not know what I am going to do after that," Sánchez said to the daily newspaper El Diario Montañés.

When Astana was dissolved definitively in December and the UCI transferred its ProTour license to Active Bay, riders still under contract were not getting paid.

"Active Bay does not have money, because Astana has still not paid Active Bay. For that reason, we [the riders] cannot receive [our money owed] so far. Manolo Saiz promised me that as soon as he can get some money from Astana, he will compensate us for the debts owed," Sánchez explained.

Saiz's Active Bay reached a sponsorship agreement with Astana when Operación Puerto was underway. Its sponsorship contract was slated to last until 2008, and according to Sánchez, "Astana has not fulfilled its part to Active Bay and its riders."

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