With each passing day, Euskaltel's future looks dimmer. Unsurprisingly, the team's riders are continuously linked with new teams.
As of today, no alleged transfers have been confirmed. Mikel Landa is yet to be unveiled as an Astana rider, and Mikel Nieve, Igor Antón, Samuel Sánchez and the Izagirre brothers are all still employed by Euskaltel.
The most recent rumours deal with three of the team's youngest riders.
Euskaltel's rider of the year so far, a certain Juan José Lobato, is being linked with a switch to Cofidis. The French team is reportedly on the lookout for a sprinter to bolster their ranks, and Lobato would naturally be up for grabs if Euskaltel does cease to exist come 2014. The 24-year-old has another year running on his deal with the team, but would be free to go where he wants should the team fold. Up until today, though, Lobato joining Cofidis seems nothing but a rumour.
One rider who's alleged to actually have signed for another team, is young Peio Bilbao. The gifted climber might not have come up with the results the last couple of years, but his innate ability is known to have attracted glances from quite a few teams. According to CyclingFever, Bilbao has indeed signed for a new team, but the website won't say which team that is. Hence, don't be surprised if it doesn't turn out to be true.
Another gifted rider who's failed to live up to expectations is Romain Sicard. The once-prodigious stage racer has refrained to comment on his future, but the guys over at VeloChrono seems to know he's in demand in his home country. A transfer to FDJ.fr or Sojasun is mooted.
Photo: Iñaki Azanza