Ricardo Mestre's first year at WorldTour level looks increasingly likely to be his last.
The 30-year-old made the move to Euskaltel as part of the team's internationalization in the winter and wasted little time in getting familiar with the rigours of racing at the highest level, what with taking part in top-tier stage-races like the tours of Catalunya, Suisse and Poland - not to mention the mighty Giro d'Italia in May.
The Portuguese might have thrived in getting his shot at the big time, but with the team folding and the majority of the top teams done signing riders for the year, he's nearing a quicker-than-he-wanted-return to the pro peloton in his home land.
"It looks like I'll go back to riding in Portugal", he tells Basque Cycling News. "I've talked to a few teams back home. Returning is not exactly what I would have wanted, but it's what I've got right now".
In the hope of other and more enticing offers coming his way, though, he's putting off signing on the dotted line for a few weeks.
"I'll wait until November", he says. "If nothing else has come up by then, I'll sign. I have to look ahead".
Fellow first-year Euskaltel rider Robert Vrecer hasn't sorted out his future either. Contrary to Mestre, though, it doesn't appear he's got a plan b lined up. In an e-mail over the weekend, the Slovenian only said he's still on the look-out for a ride for next year.
Photo: Iñaki Azanza