It was on Tuesday reported that Astana are keen on taking on either one or both of Mikel Nieve and Igor Antón. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, they're also keen on Euskaltel's third standout climber: Mikel Landa.
"I like Mikel Nieve, but we're not in a position to throw money around", team head Giuseppe Martinelle is quoted as saying to the Italian sports daily according to BiciCiclismo. "Mikel Landa I like even more. He'd make a great duo along with (Fabio) Aru", he added, referring to the great Italian hope.
Ion Izagirre, possibly the best shot Basque cycling has at returning to its once prosperous state in the nineties and early 2000s, is also reported to be courted by pretty much the whole WorldTour peloton.
The precocious rider claims that he's not entertaining offers, though.
"I don't like all these rumours - it's a world of speculation", he tells Berria. "I have a contract with this team for next year, and we won't do anything before the team says something official. I know that people and various media are saying I've already signed with another team, but that's not the case.
"I hear I'm going to Movistar, Garmin, BMC and such like. I don't know where people get all this from, and, honestly, I'm tired of it. I haven't been in contact with anyone, and I've got a contract for next year.
"I won't have trouble finding a team, but that's a selfish way to look at it. Not everyone on the team is in the same situation, and the outlook for the team staff is dismal. If the team shuts down, a lot of people will be out of a job".
While Ion says he's far from reaching a deal with any new team, the same is not said to be the case with his brother Gorka.
According to the always well-informed El Correo, situated in the heart of 'Euskaltel-land' in Bilbao, Gorka has already penned a two-year deal with Movistar. This has yet to be confirmed by any of the parties, but if it turns out to be true he'll be the first rider to leave the team this year.
Photo: Iñaki Azanza