Belgian Classics specialist wasting no time in search for new team

One of a number of riders facing an uncertain future after it was announced that Cannondale-Drapac could shut down at the end of the 2017 season, Sep Vanmarcke says that he cannot afford to waste any time finding a new team.

While team-mate Rigoberto Uran has said that he will give Slipstream Sports, the company behind the team, two weeks to find a new sponsor before going in search of a new team for the 2018 season, Vanmarke says he does not want to take such a risk.

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“The team has been very honest to release us now, and I hope that it will all be OK,” the Belgian rider told Het Nieuwsblad after the Bretagne Classic – Ouest France on Sunday.

“But I cannot afford to wait. My manager is working on it. I’m really worried. I’ll find a good team, but for the other riders this is a drama. Also for the mechanics and so on.”

Vanmarcke joined Cannondale-Drapac on a two-year deal at the start of the 2017 season, but has endured a disappointing year with crashes and illness hampering his Classics campaign after a promising start with third place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

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Nonetheless, podium positions at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in previous years should help to secure him a good contract with another team for the 2018 season, something that cannot be said for some of his team-mates with less illustrious palmarès.

Jonathan Vaughters, the team’s general manager, is currently searching for $7million to save the team, trying to raise some of the money through crowd-funding, and tweeting on Tuesday evening that “some very very interesting things are happening.”

However, Vanmarcke appears unwilling to take the risk of waiting to see if Cannondale-Drapac can be saved, potentially leaving himself without a team for the 2018 season if the $7million cannot be found, and BMC Racing, Lotto-Soudal, and Quick-Step Floors all appear to be potential destinations.

“Let’s wait for a while, I hope, of course, that the team continues to exist,” Vanmarke continued. “But I do not want to take a risk. We’ll see what’s outside of the bus.”