Is Denis Menchov going to be the Alberto Contador stand-in?
The frothy Spanish press is always good for a wild rumor or two and the latest is the possible departure of Menchov.
El Diario Vasco speculates that Menchov’s current squad, still disappointed with being turned down for ProTeam status, is willing to unload the Russian and his two million euro salary. Sales of footwear are good but no Tour means tightening the budget belt. So maybe it’s out with the Spaniard and in with the Russian.
It sounds like an intriguing and exciting prospect for everyone but Richie Porte. The Australian has been quoted in recent weeks about stepping up and taking taking the role of Saxo’s great white GC hope. Stay calm Richie, this hasn’t happened yet.
Personally, we’d like to see Menchov ride for Saxo Bank. It’s always been our feeling that the Giro and Vuelta winner generally accomplished those wins with minimal team support. Even in its depleted, post-Leopard state, we think Saxo would do a better job of supporting Menchov than Geox. The first support being to actually get him an invite to the Tour de France.
The arrival of Menchov would be a huge stroke of luck for Saxo’s Bjarne Riis. It would also be applauded throughout Denmark. According to one recent story, Riis is now seen as a very sympathetic figure in the home country. People tend to feel he was the victim in the Schleckodus that ripped his team apart.
Stay tuned for the next El Dario Vasco report because you never know with these rumors. Maybe Di Luca changes his mind about riding for free and beats Menchov to Denmark.