Report: Samuel Sanchez’s expected move to Tinkoff Saxo blocked by new team owner
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Report: Samuel Sanchez’s expected move to Tinkoff Saxo blocked by new team owner

by Shane Stokes at 11:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Oleg Tinkov said to have gone back on verbal agreement

Samuel SanchezHaving been previously linked to an expected move to the Tinkoff Saxo team in 2014, Samuel Sanchez’s frustrating past few months appear to be continuing after a reported veto to his signing by Oleg Tinkoff.

El Pais reported earlier this month that Sanchez had signed with a WorldTour team and the identity of that squad would be confirmed in the new year.

Due to a calculation of the available spaces on teams, the fact that there was one free berth on Tinkoff Saxo plus the rider’s friendship with team leader Alberto Contador, it was predicted by some that the former Olympic champion would become part of Tinkoff Saxo next season.

However the same Spanish newspaper reports today that while Sanchez had a verbal agreement with the team, its new owner Tinkov has decided that the deal will not go ahead. El Pais quotes Sanchez as admitting that ‘the story is complicated’ in relation to his hunt for a contract.

Three reasons are given; the purchase of the squad by Tinkov, the relative lack of Russian riders in the lineup [currently there are just three for 2014, namely Evgeni Petrov and the incoming duo of Ivan Rovny and Nikolai Trussov], plus the Clenbuterol positive of Michael Rogers.

While Tinkov has publically said that he believes Rogers is innocent and that it is a case of food contamination rather than doping, El Pais states that he has become nervous of older riders and would prefer to invest in a younger competitor.

“Now I can only be patient and wait,” Sanchez says. “The last thing I want to do is to retire and stop racing because I had no other choice.”

Although he is 36 years of age and his 2013 season was a little quieter than those preceding it, the Spanish rider insists that he has more to give. He was originally due to continue competing with the Euskaltel Euskadi team, but it folded when its sponsors decided to leave the sport.

Formula One driver Fernando Alonso knows Sanchez well and was involved in talks to take over the ownership of the team. However those negotiations failed and the team stopped at the end of the season.

Sanchez has been approached by several teams. Team Colombia told VeloNation last month that it was interested in him, but that nothing could be advanced until his current situation with Euskaltel Euskadi was resolved.

That was understood to refer to talks about a settlement of wages; that has since been done, but with his WorldTour deal looking like it has fallen through, he may be on the market once again.

El Pais suggests that is future could be linked to Dubai, a country which will have the Sky Dive Dubai team in the peloton next year. Sanchez has previously played down the chances of this happening, not least because it will only be a Continental squad in 2014.

The next few weeks will determine if he will backtrack on this, if he will move to Colombia, if another squad will take him on or if Tinkoff will rethink the situation. What’s clear amid much uncertainty is that Sanchez is having a far more complicated Christmas than he had expected.


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