Rodriguez says he is almost certain to extend with Katusha team
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rodriguez says he is almost certain to extend with Katusha team

by VeloNation Press at 10:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
WorldTour winner ready to commit until the end of 2014

Joaquim RodriguezHaving threatened to leave the team over a month ago over a dispute over his salary, saying that he’d be out the door as soon as his current contract expired at the end of next season, it looks almost certain that Joaquim Rodriguez will now extend for at least one more year past that point.

The WorldTour winner’s dissatisfaction was linked to unfruitful negotiations with the team. At the start of October his agent Angel Edo he said that he wasn’t sure if the blame lay with then-general manager Hans Michael Holczer or Igor Marakov, the president of the Itera Group which owns the team.

However Holczer was subsequently sacked and his position was taken up by former pro Vyacheslav Ekimov; since then, relations between the Catalan and the team seem on a better path.

Speaking at a press conference held by one of his sponsors in the sports shop Wala Barcelona, Rodriguez said that negotiations were ‘quite positive,’ and that ‘one might almost say yes’ to the deal being done.

“We have signed for 2013 and, with the change of manger, I guess that everything will go better,” he said, according to Marca. “We are negotiating to continue also in 2014 and I think and believe that there will no problem, because the negotiations are quite positive.”

His personal contract is not the only issue, but once that is resolved, the other conditions seem right. Rodriguez said that having the right backup around him is also a consideration, but that the people concerned are already in place until the end of the period that he would remain on for.

“Without my companions it is clear that I would not be in the team,” he said, appearing to refer to his personal domestiques. “The group that I want has signed until 2014, so I don’t think it is any problem.”

It seems that an announcement of the deal is imminent. “[The contract] is just missing a signature. Its not signed yet, but you can almost say yes.”

Rodriguez had a superb 2012 season, netting the WorldTour title for the second time, and also winning Flèche Wallonne plus the Giro di Lombardia. In addition to that, he took second overall in the Giro d’Italia and third in the Vuelta a España, netting a total of five stage wins between the two events.

His WorldTour points were also boosted by second overall plus two stages in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and a stage in Tirreno - Adriatico.

He was Katusha’s best performer, and has an increasingly important role going forward in light of Oscar Freire’s retirement and Denis Menchov’s waning power as a Grand Tour contender.

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