Team Colombia confirms initial contact with Samuel Sanchez, but rider needs to resolve existing contract first
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Friday, November 15, 2013

Team Colombia confirms initial contact with Samuel Sanchez, but rider needs to resolve existing contract first

by Shane Stokes at 7:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
South American team and Wanty Groupe Gobert in running to sign former Olympic champion

Team ColombiaAfter denials yesterday from American Pro Continental teams UnitedHealthcare and Novo Nordisk that they had been in talks with Samuel Sanchez about possibly joining next season, a different squad from the continent has confirmed that the rider is of interest.

Team Colombia has told VeloNation that it has had initial talks with the 2008 Olympic road race champion, but spokesman David Evangelista has emphasised that it is too soon to talk about a contract.

He said that Sanchez needs to sort out connections to his previous team before he is in a position to commit to another squad in 2014.

“Team Colombia has an interest in following the evolution of Samuel Sanchez’ situation, even though I can’t say any actual negotiation is in place at the moment,” Evangelista told VeloNation today.

“The team has made the due diligence and talked to the rider, but he’s currently bound to Euskaltel-Euskadi, and no steps can be made until he clarifies the situation with his former team.

“We must see how things pan out. We definitely respect Samuel Sanchez and his value as a rider and team player and Team Colombia will be out to follow the evolution.”

He added that the team is currently in talks with at least one Colombian rider. Seventeen are contracted thus far for 2014; Evangelista states that there will be between eighteen and twenty in total when the season begins.

Mention of possible American interest was revealed yesterday when Wanty Groupe Gobert manager Hilaire Van der Schueren told Sporza that his squad plus another were both trying to sign Sanchez.

“We had contact yesterday. He will have to choose between us and an American pro continental team,” he stated.

VeloNation contacted the two north American-registered squads of that level, but both denied any moves to sign Sanchez. UnitedHealthcare said that its roster was full for 2014 and that neither Sanchez nor Chris Horner – another rider who had been rumoured to have been in talks - would be part of the team.

Novo Nordisk confirmed that it would sign four new riders, but that its all-diabetic policy would remain in place. This ruled Sanchez out.

Team Colombia was the only other American-registered Pro Continental squad and it confirmed today that it had been in contact with the rider.

Sanchez was left stranded this year when the Euskaltel Euskadi team folded. It lost its sponsors and talks with the Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, who is a friend of Sanchez’s, were unsuccessful. As a result his aim of taking over the team licence and taking on many of its riders didn’t come to pass.

Sanchez had an ongoing contract with his previous team and, as Evangelista stated, he is trying to sort out that situation. The rider spoke to Ciclismo Internacional and said that it is foremost on his mind right now. “If I’m honest I couldn’t have imagined this situation at any point. The only negotiation I have is with Euskaltel, and with nobody else.

“I intend to continue racing. I hope to find something, even if it’s late.”

He said that as he has a legal contract in place until 2015, that his lawyers and the Euskaltel Euskadi team structure need to work out the situation before he can talk to others. “I have not had the opportunity to ask or not ask for much money, but my palmares is there. It took me fourteen years of my life and I will not thrown it aboard overnight.”

Reading between the lines, it appears that he is likely seeking compensation for the breaking of his contract by the team.

Once that is resolved, he will be able to assess the situation and to decide if Team Colombia, Wanty Groupe Gobert or another squad is his best choice for 2014. It’s late in the season, teams are all but full, yet it appears that he still has options.


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