Joaquim Rodriguez has several offers for a new contract but has not signed anything yet
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Joaquim Rodriguez has several offers for a new contract but has not signed anything yet

by José Been at 5:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Will wait to CAS decision about Katusha WorldTour licence before deciding

Joaquim RodriguezIn an interview with Spanish website Biciciclismoweb Joaquim Rodríguez indicated he has several offers on the table for a new team but he hasn’t signed any contract yet. The 33-year old Spanish rider will wait until CAS rules a verdict on Katusha’s license but he hasn’t been idly standing by. “The team I am most close to signing with hasn’t been mentioned before. It will be quite a surprise.”

The world number one was left out in the woods after the UCI License Committee refused to give his team Katusha a WorldTour license for 2013. The decision is currently under appeal at CAS and the results will expectedly be released shortly. Meanwhile Katusha was granted a Pro Continental license which enabled the team and Rodríguez to compete in Argentinean Tour de San Luis.

However, with a Pro Continental status the Spanish winner of Il Lombardia has to rely on wildcards to fulfil his ambition to ride Fleche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour de France this year. Katusha didn’t get a wildcard for other ASO-races like Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphiné, which doesn’t bode well for the Tour de France wildcards.

Speculation is rife about where the 33-year old rider will go. In an interview with Spanish website Biciciclismoweb Rodríguez indicated that it probably will be a surprise to many. “I believe that the team I am most close to signing with hasn’t been mentioned by anyone. But if I were to go for the financial aspect of it, I should stay with Katusha. Others offers won’t be comparable. The team needs me now they aren’t in the WorldTour. But I am at an age now that I want to ride good races. This new contract will be a long-term one and probably the last one I sign.”

At Katusha, Rodriguez had the support of her four countrymen Dani Moreno, Xavier Florencio, Alberto Losada and Ángel Vicioso, who he would like to take with him. However, the season has already started and not many teams have room for five more riders. Rodríguez said this is a factor. “Some of the offers I have will allow me to bring a colleague, others won’t.” Of those riders, Dani Moreno indicated to Pedalier Pro’s Laura Meseguer earlier this month that he will stay at Katusha.

Whether Rodríguez will stay with the Russian outfit if they remain a Pro Continental team remains to be seen. “I am a rider who needs to prepare for a race. When I focus on something I can get results. I can't be waiting for the Giro to tell us we won't race it. In May I might as well be told I won’t do Tour de France. I don’t want that pressure. The Tour de France is not an obsession but I would like to do it this year because it is harder than ever and I think I can shine in it.”

However Rodriguez makes clear that he will wait for the CAS verdict before he decides. “Nobody expected this outcome. It was a big surprise to everyone involved. If I’ll stay it’ll be for my teammates and the staff. I don’t think of myself because I will find a place in the WorldTour but my teammates might not. It will be very tough for them if I leave. What if Mr Makarov decides to end the team? I feel very much at home with Katusha, it’s familiar: the bikes, the other equipment. So I’ll wait at least until the CAS verdict before deciding.”


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