Samuel Sanchez says he’ll retire unless he finds a team within two weeks
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Samuel Sanchez says he’ll retire unless he finds a team within two weeks

by VeloNation Press at 12:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Former Olympic champion rules out taking a year off and then competing again

Samuel SanchezStill searching for a team after the collapse of the Euskaltel Euskadi project, the 2008 Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez has said that he is on the verge of retirement and will quit the sport if he doesn’t find a team soon.

The Spanish rider has been on several teams’ wish lists, including Team Colombia, but there is no sign of an agreement. While he has been training and is in shape, he said that he is running out of patience and will soon hang up his wheels unless he gets an offer.

“I will not drag it out over time. If I cannot find a place in ten or fifteen days, I will say a final goodbye [to cycling]. I hope not to have to announce that and to [instead] continue racing,” he said, according to AS. “I think these ten or fifteen days are crucial. If I am to get something, it must be now. In February, the races begin in Europe. It would be virtually impossible [to wait longer].”

Sanchez was originally due to compete this year with the Euskaltel Euskadi squad, but it folded when its sponsorship was not renewed. Takeover talks with Formula One driver Fernando Alonso were not successful.

Teams such as Colombia said that they were potentially interested in Sanchez, but he said that he wanted to sort out the situation with Euskaltel Euskadi before committing to anything.

This was interpreted by many as meaning the securing of a settlement to compensate him for the stoppage of the team when he had a contract in place.

In December it appeared that Sanchez may have found a place on a WorldTour team when El Pais reported that he had agreed a deal with a squad of that level. The same paper later said that the team concerned was Tinkoff Saxo, but that the new owner, Oleg Tinkov, had blocked the move.

However the team’s general manager Stefano Feltrin subsequently denied this was the case, telling VeloNation that Bjarne Riis was solely responsible for deciding who raced with the team, and that there had been no agreement to give him a contract.

“As far as I know we never made an offer to him, no formal undertaking or commitment,” he said. “It is true that the team and he had some conversations, but it is a long shot from that to say the team rescinded a contract.”

Sanchez attended the launch of the Vuelta a España on January 11th and said then that things were tough, but that he hadn’t lost hope.

“I'm without a team and the situation is difficult because the teams and budgets have closed,” he said. “But I'm trying to find a project that motivates me, and hope to finish up in an interesting team.”

Eighteen days have passed since then and it appears that there has been no progress. He will turn 36 on February 5th and feels things have reached a crucial point.

“I continued my training, I always had a little hope and I didn’t want to lose it,” he said. However although Fernando Alonso is thought interested in having him as part of the team he will set up for the 2015 season, Sanchez appears to rule out any thoughts of taking a year out. “If I have no team this season, I will hang up the bike,” he said.

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