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"Today we have no chance because his [Sanchez'] wage demands are not within our reach. It would use half of our budget. The same thing happened to use with Horner. We realized that it was impossible for us to sign him," manage...

Photo: Sirotti






10.11.2013 @ 20:59 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Caja Rural manager Juanma Hernandez has responded to rumours that Luis Leon Sanchez is close to signing a contract with the Spanish professional continental team, denying that an agreement has been reached. According to Hernandez, Sanchez needs to reduce his wage demands and says that the same is the case for Vuelta a Espana champion Chris Horner.


Earlier this week, reported that Luis Leon Sanchez was very close to signing a contract with the Caja Rural team. The Spaniard has been left without a team for 2014 after Belkin decided to buy him out of his contract, with a spokesman referring to the links to several doping investigations as the main reason.


Those rumours were temporarily put on hold when it emerged that the anti-doping organization A Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) had effectively blacklisted Sanchez, using their strong links to race organizers and many members to prevent the Spaniard from rejoining the peloton. Earlier today, MPCC president Roger Legeay did, however, deny the reports, claiming that Sanchez was free to sign with any team.


Nonetheless, that is unlikely to open the doors to Caja Rural for Sanchez. Asked about the transfer, the team's manager Juanma Hernandez has denied that an agreement has been reached, using Sanchez' wage demands as the explanation for the fruitless negotiations. At the same time, he claims to have been in contact with Vuelta a Espana champion champion Chris Horner who is, however, also too expensive for the Spanish team.


"As it has been the case with Horner and other unemployed riders, they called me with an offer but at the moment, there is nothing," he told Marca. "Today we have no chance because his wage demands our not within our reach. It would use half of our budget. The same thing happened to use with Horner. We realized that it was impossible for us to sign him."


Hernandez' statements correspond well to earlier comments from Horner who has told Velonews that the problem is not to find a new team but to find a team that would pay him like a grand tour winner. However, Hernandez doesn't close the door for Sanchez and Horner.


"If they call us in a few days and offer us to ride for 70 or 80 percent of what they had originally demanded, we could start to talk but for now, our roster is closed with 18 riders (19 riders if Ivan Velasco recovers from his injuries, ed.)," Hernandez said.


The manager also confirms that the team is still considering to add Pablo Urtasun to the roster, with the Spanish sprinter having been left without a team after the demise of Euskaltel.



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