Argos-Shimano deny they are on verge of signing Joaquim Rodriguez
Last Updated: 03/01/13 9:56am
Joaquim Rodriguez: Willing to leave Katusha in order to guarantee participation in Tour de France
Argos-Shimano have denied speculation that they are on the verge of signing world No 1-ranked rider Joaquim Rodriguez.
The 33-year-old is considering a move away from Katusha after the Russian team were unexpectedly denied a UCI WorldTour licence for the 2013 season last month.
Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Wednesday that Rodriguez was "very close" to joining Argos-Shimano, but the licensed Dutch outfit have insisted that no talks have taken place.
It is understood the Spaniard does have a number of offers on the table, but he won't be making a final decision on his future until the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules on an appeal made by Katusha against their licence snub, which is expected on January 10 or 11.
Should that appeal fail, they will drop out of professional cycling's top tier and be left needing invitations to take part in major races such as the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.
That would be disastrous for Rodriguez, who finished on the podium in both the Giro and Vuelta a Espana last season and has already stated his aim of challenging for overall victory at this year's Tour.
He is believed to favour a move away over gambling on the team receiving an invite, even it means riding for a weaker squad.
Rodriguez has highlighted the Tour as a priority for his 2013 season courtesy of a mountainous route that perfectly suits his explosive climbing style.