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Sánchez' future at Euskaltel uncertain

Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) wins stage 13 of the 2006 Vuelta a España

Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) wins stage 13 of the 2006 Vuelta a España (Image credit: AFP)

By Monika Prell

Euskaltel-Euskadi and Samuel Sánchez: two names that seem to belong together, as the Asturian has been the most successful rider of the Basque team for a few seasons already. But now the partnership seems to be endangered. Sánchez' contract ends at the end of 2008, and until now, the two parties have not agreed on the conditions for an extension. Euskaltel already made an offer to Sánchez during the first meeting of the team, but has asked for a salary increase, as reports Deia.

Team manager Miguel Madariaga has not been able to answer this request yet because of a lack of funds. But Madariaga will meet with team sponsors in the next few days and explain to them that one of the figureheads of the squad may leave in 2009 - Sánchez already has a lot of offers from other ProTour teams. Madariaga hopes to be able to retain the rider within his squad and will give him an answer on January 10, when the team will hold its official team presentation in Irún (Gipuzkoa).

The Asturian has expressed his desire to continue in this team, but he cannot reduce his demand as it is still lower than the offers he received from the other teams.

Now, both parties have to wait. Sánchez, who will get married on December 28, meanwhile underwent medical surgery to remove small fibromae from his right hip which were the result of a crash in the last Vuelta a España. He also had removed a little blastoma from the saddle area that caused him pain for some time already.

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