My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Sánchez still hunting for team

Category: Cycling

Samuel SanchezSamuel Sánchez has raced with the soon-to-be-defunct Euskaltel-Euskadi team for his entire career. He had a contract with them until 2015, but the contact has now been formally declared null and void. But he still does not know where he will be racing next year.

“A new contract would be the ideal Christmas present,” Sánchez told Cyclingnews, “but for now there’s nothing.”

The year has been rather chaotic. Some times, there has been good news, but just seconds later, the news were bad.

“In a sense I’ve hit on a perfect storm: the sponsorship crisis in Spain, Euskaltel ending and then things not working out for a new team. It’s been a real emotional rollercoaster of a year,” Sánchez said.

This year, he took the squad’s biggest victory of 2013 at the the toughest mountain stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné. He finished second in the uphill time trial of the Giro d’Italia at Polsa, where he was beaten by Vincenzo Nibali. Sánchez also secured eighth place overall in the Vuelta a España, and twelfth in the Giro. He has taken some good results, but now he must also find a team.

“I no longer have anything to do with Euskaltel-Euskadi, we reached an agreement to end the contract and now I have to move on, and look for a team if there’s one free and, hopefully, with a calendar that would suit me.”

“It’s pretty odd to be riding with no sponsor on your jersey or on your bike for the first time ever, and also not to know where you’ll be racing the following year,” he said.
“But the situation is what it is and you have to adapt to that. I’m training so that at least if a team decides that I should sign for them, I’m in good shape. I was in Dubai for a week, training there, and since Friday I’ve been back here in Spain.”

Sánchez has decided that he is no willing to dropping down a level and racing as an amateur for a year, and then return to professional cycling later. It's not possible to do so at an age of 36, he says.

“The only ‘reality’ at the moment is that I don’t have a team for 2014. Nothing is signed and I’m still looking. I would love to be able to say I’ve signed with Saxo or Omega or Orica or Astana or any team, but that’s not the case. It’s as bad as it sounds.

“The last thing I want to do is retire like this, stop racing because I’ve got no choice, and as a result of circumstances that had nothing to do with me.”

He says that signing for Tinkoff-Saxo would “be great. Alberto [Contador] is the best bike rider of the last decade and anybody would like to race alongside him. Not only that, but he was with me when I won in Beijing, and that’s special. We get on well, too.”

Sánchez wants to win Grand Tour and the World Championships road race before he retires.

“I know it’ll be hard, but hey, dreaming is free.

“Seriously, though, my big dream right now is to go on racing. Let’s hope the Three Kings bring me a nice present.”
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