The team contract negotiation season continues with Daryl Impey re-signing with Orica-GreenEdge today, but many pros are still without contracts ahead of 2014.
Impey, the first South African and first from his continent to wear the Tour de France’s yellow jersey this summer, confirmed with Orica for three more years. The Australian team sent out a press release this morning but Impey and team management told Cycling Weekly at the Tour that the deal through 2016 had been made.
The team signed him signed when it started in 2012 to help Simon Gerrans in the Ardennes Classics but discovered he was good in many other fields, including lead-outs. “I wanted to be a good team player and help, and along the way I discovered I had qualities I never thought I had. This team has brought it out,” Impey explained in July.
“I think we’re going to see him improve a lot more over the next three years,” sports director, Matt White said in a press release. “We’ve seen him win some great races over the last two years, but we know he’s capable of even bigger wins. We’re certainly going to give him more opportunity to show that over the next thee years.”
The team confirmed three weeks ago that Jhoan Esteban Chaves will join from team Colombia on a two-year deal. One week later, it said Aussie Caleb Ewan signed to become a stagier in 2014 and a pro for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Team Astana announced on Thursday it signed 2011 Giro d’Italia winner, Michele Scarponi from Lampre-Merida. He joins for the 2014 season and leaves only two big names – Chris Horner and Samuel Sánchez – still without contracts.
Horner became the oldest Grand Tour winner at 41 years old when he won the Vuelta a España in September. RadioShack-Leopard did not offer him a new contract and he has been unable to find another team willing to meet his demands.
Samuel Sánchez, 2008 Olympic Champion, is left out in the cold with team Euskaltel ending. He, along with Kevin Seeldraeyers from team Astana, was last rumoured to be joining Belgian second division team, Wanty.
Euskaltel, Vacansoleil and crisis
With Euskaltel and Vacansoleil closing shop several riders are scrambling for contracts. Former Under 23 World Champion, Romain Sicard left for Europcar and JJ Lobato for Movistar. Colombian Dayer Quintana also joins Movistar and his brother Nairo, who placed second overall at the Tour this year.
Vacansoleil’s Marco Marcato will ride for Cannondale along with Oscar Gatto from team Vini Fantini-Selle Italia. Johnny Hoogerland leaves Vacansoleil for Italian second team, Androni. Other Vacansoleil riders settled for third division teams, including Willem Wauters, Rob Ruijgh and Maurits Lammertink.
Saxo Bank stays in the game but loses co-sponsor Tinkoff Bank. General Manager Bjarne Riis cut sports directors Dan Frost and Tristan Hoffman according to Danish news agency Ritzau because of its crisis situation.
Anders Lund, Benjamin Noval, Bruno Pires, Jonathan Cantwell, Mads Christensen and Jonas Jörgensen also announced that they were not kept. Cantwell, Christensen and Jörgensen join third division teams. Lund and Noval are retiring.
Lund told Danish website Feltet.dk, “It is a difficult year for the teams and riders and this season, I have not been able to prove my worth and suddenly, my contract was not extended.”
“I’m frustrated and disappointed,” Bert Grabsch told Germany’s Radsport News about his inability to find a contract. Omega Pharma-QuickStep did not renew the 2008 time trial World Champion and he announced his retirement last week at 38 years old.
Team Sky announced last week Norwegian Gabriel Rasch will become a sports director after 2014’s classics campaign.
Adam Blythe leaves BMC Racing to join Sean Yates NFTO team while Ben Hermans joins BMC from team RadioShack-Leopard. Alexis Vuillermoz makes the jump from Sojasun to the big leagues, joining France’s AG2R-La Mondiale.