Luis Leon Sanchez linked to possible move to Movistar team
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Luis Leon Sanchez linked to possible move to Movistar team

by VeloNation Press at 6:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Spanish squad said to be changing bike suppliers from Pinarello to Canyon

Luis Leon SanchezReleased by his Belkin Pro Cycling team and reportedly given a payoff due to the early cessation of his contract, Luis Leon Sanchez has been linked to a possible move to the Movistar team.

According to El Perodico journalist Sergi López-Egea, the rider was signed at the world championships in Florence and an announcement is imminent. Yesterday El Pais also suggested the rider would head there in 2014, joining other big Spanish names such as Alejandro Valverde.

However general manager Eusebio Unzué has played down the notion that the Sanchez deal is already signed, telling Biciciclismo that there has been contact but nothing has been finalized. He has said that the team has 24 confirmed riders at this point, and will draw the line at 25 or 26 in total.

The 29 year old Sanchez is a past winner of four stages in the Tour de France, and a multiple national time trial champion. He won the Clásica San Sebastian in 2010 and 2012, and also took the Tour Down Under in 2005 and Paris-Nice in 2009.

His results also include tenth place finishes in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España.

Sanchez has however been implicated in the Operacion Puerto and Operacion Galgo investigations, although he denies involvement.

He was sidelined earlier this year by the Belkin team, then known as Blanco Pro Cycling, but it was forced to allow him to return after he lodged a complaint with the UCI.

On May 8th the team confirmed that he would again be selected for races. “Blanco Pro Cycling accepts the arbitral demand made by the rider recognising the obligation to enter him in official competitions. Because of this, the rider will return in the Tour of Belgium on May 22nd,” it said in a statement then.

Sanchez won stage five in Belgium, then went on to take second in the Spanish national time trial championships and third in the road race. In August he won a stage and placed second overall in the Tour de l’Ain.

According to De Telegraaf, a severance package for the rider may have been negotiated as early as May of this year.

El Pais has also stated that the team will end its long relationship with Pinarello and switch instead to using the bicycles of the German manufacturer Canyon, which currently supplies the Katusha team.

It says the reason for the change is the increased amount of money offered by Canyon.

Pinarello has been with the team and its predecessors for over three decades, winning Tours de France with Miguel Indurain and Pedro Delgado, as well as the Vuelta a España and many other races.

Yesterday Movistar’s parent company Telefónica committed to three more years as the title sponsor of the WorldTour team, thus securing its future at a time of considerable economic uncertainty for Spain.

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