11 WorldTour riders still yet to confirm a contract for 2022

Some riders have yet to put pen to paper for the 2022 season and have almost run out of races to impress

Alejandro Valverde, Lisa Brennauer, Mark Cavendish and Giacomo Nizzolo are just four riders without a contract for 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are only one of two races where WorldTour riders are likely to take part in the 2021 season, meaning riders without a contract are running out of time to impress so that they can have a team for the 2022 season.

Some riders may be, after a great season, looking for one or two zeros to be added to their contracts with the same team, whereas others may be looking to go elsewhere.

All the riders below could have signed a contract already but are yet to announce it., But officially here are some of the biggest names without a contract for the 2022 season out of the hundreds without one.

Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)

Mark Cavendish

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What an incredible year and a huge turnaround in form it has been for the 'Manx Missile', Mark Cavendish.

The sprinter reached 10 wins in the 2021 season with the last coming at the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro where he out-sprinted Alexis Renard (Israel Start-Up Nation) from a very small group.

Cavendish has been very clear he would like to stay with Deceuninck - Quick-Step in 2022 but the team boss, Patrick Lefevere, has been unsure as Fabio Jakobsen has come back from his horror crash in flying form and may be a safer bet for the Tour de France.

All this despite Cavendish taking four stage wins at the Tour in 2021 and levelling Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins. Albeit, without the likes of Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and current team-mate, Sam Bennett in the race.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team)

Alejandro Valverde

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Alejandro Valverde will be going into his 21st year as a professional rider if he gets the expected contract extension at Movistar.

The 41-year-old has had yet another good season, but his top form was halted by a nasty crash at the Vuelta a España where he was flying high in the general classification along with his two team-mates, Enric Mas and Miguel Ángel López.

Out of the 20 races he took part in over the 2021 season, Valverde managed at least one top 10 in all but six of them, taking three wins along the way.

It is very much expected that Valverde will indeed extend his contract for yet another year with the Spanish team as he continues his illustious career.

Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team)

Lisa Brennauer

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The German champion, Lisa Brennauer, is one of the best riders on the women's scene who has had yet another superb season with multiple top results including three wins.

Brennauer, who rides for Ceretizit-WNT, is about to finish her 11th season as a pro, but the 31-year-old is looking for a contract at the moment.

She has yet to put pen to paper on a deal with her current team or another, although there is still plenty of time until the deadline on December 31.

Brennauer has achieved some brilliant results this season with wins in the World Championships mixed relay and both the road race and the time trial at the National Championships. Plus, fourth at the first-ever women's Paris-Roubaix, as well as top 10s in the road race and time trial at the Worlds and the Olympics.

Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers)

Geraint Thomas riding stage 17 of the Tour de France 2021

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It has not been the best of years for Geraint Thomas as the Welshman could not find any luck despite showing he had some strong form heading into the Tour de France.

Thomas, who was due to co-lead at the Tour with Richard Carapaz, crashed on stage three, meaning that he decided to work for the Ecuadorian and the rest of the Ineos Grenadiers team instead.

This has happened before with Thomas having to abandon the Giro d'Italia after crashing in 2020 with his team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart, who was due to help him, going on to win the general classification.

Thomas did not finish three of his last four races and has recently undergone shoulder surgery in the UK. But he did manage three overall podiums in a row at the Volta a Catalunya, Tour de Romandie (which he won) and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Aside from Romandie overall, the only win he took was at the Critérium du Dauphiné where he surprised the bunch in a late break to take the stage.

It is not clear whether or not Thomas will be staying with Ineos for a 12th season or if he will be moving on, as rumours continue to circulate that he will be looking elsewhere.

Marta Bastianelli (Alé-BTC-Ljubljana)

Marta Bastianelli (Alé-BTC Ljubljana) takes the win at the opening stage of the 2021 AJ Bell Women's Tour in Banbury

(Image credit: SWPix)

Marta Bastianelli, much like the rest of her Alé-BTC-Ljubljana team is without a contract for the 2022 season, aside from Marlen Reusser who is joining SD Worx in 2022. This is likely because of the takeover of the team by the men's WorldTour team, UAE Team Emirates.

However, one would imagine that the former world champion would be one of the first riders that the new-look team will be wanting on their books heading into the 2022 season. 

Bastianelli, who is now 34-years-old, has still managed some excellent results in 2021 including a stage win at the Women's Tour as well as three other wins and several top 10s along the way.

Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-NextHash)

Giacomo Nizzolo wins stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia 2021

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For Giacomo Nizzolo and the rest of his Qhubeka-NextHash team-mates the future remains unclear, with the 2021 season ending by being told they should look for a new team for 2022 by team management.

Nizzolo kept faith with the South African team managing to find sponsors in the end last year in the same situation, but now as the team have missed the deadline for the initial submission for the UCI WorldTour licences in 2022, it is looking less likely this time.

The former European champion, Nizzolo hasn't been as prolific as in 2020 with just the two wins, but one of those was his first win at the Giro d'Italia.

There are a number of teams that will be, no doubt, interested in signing Nizzolo, but where he will end up for the 2022 season is as yet unknown.

Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM)

Alena Amialiusik riding the GP Plouay 2021

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One of the best domestiques around in the women's peloton, Alena Amialiusik
is a fantastic rider who has been incredibly consistent throughout her nine years as a professional, with the last six years at Canyon-SRAM.

It is not clear whether the Belarussian will be continuing with the team but they would be losing a fine rider, not just to help the likes of Kasia Niewiadoma. but also a possible outsider for race wins herself.

Amialiusik has managed a total of 23 wins in her career with one coming this season at the Tour of Belgium where she finished fifth overall. She managed numerous top 10s and top 15s all the way through the season showing that she is so much more than just a support rider.

Elia Viviani (Cofidis)

Elia Viviani at the 2021 Giro d'Italia

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It has been yet another tough season at Cofidis for Elia Viviani, but the wins have finally started to come again after over a year without one.

Seven wins came this season on the road for the Italian sprinter, although, two of those wins weren't actually for Cofidis but for the Italian national team at the Adriatica Ionica.

Viviani has been rumoured to be joining several teams including Ineos Grenadiers, Astana, EOLO-Kometa, Deceuninck - Quick-Step and even staying at Cofidis despite it being said he will be leaving.

Elizabeth Banks (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team)

Lizzy Banks

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Elizabeth Banks has had a tough season at Ceratizit-WNT after a very successful couple of seasons with the now-defunct Paule Ka team.

She only raced twice this season, once at the Strade Bianche where she came 48th and the other being Omloop Het Nieuwsblad where she finished 32nd.

Most of Banks' top results came in 2020, earning her the contract at Ceratizit-WNT after she took her second Giro Donne stage in as many years as well as top 10s in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and a second place in the GP Plouay behind Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo).

The Giro Donne stage wins are her only victories up till now but the 30-year-old Brit has been improving year on year. 

Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers)

Ben Swift

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Once again, another rider who has had another strong season is Ben Swift. However, he is yet to ink a new contract with the British registered team that surely will want to keep their national champion on the line-up.

Swift has managed a few good rides, a couple of podiums, a few top 10s, and some just outside of that, but only one win as he retained his national title in Lincoln on Sunday, October 17.

His 15 wins have come on all kinds of terrain and scenarios, including bunch sprints, small group kicks to the line, as well as solo efforts.

The Tour of Britain, Tour Down Under, Tour of Poland, Tour of the Basque Country, and more show the variation he brings. 

Swift also showed he can climb with some of the best in the world as he finished 18th at the 2020 Giro d'Italia while supporting Tao Geoghegan Hart to overall victory.

Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck - Quick-Step)

Fausto Masnada at the 2021 Il Lombardia

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Somewhat surprisingly, yet another rider who looks to be flourishing at Deceuninck - Quick-Step in Fausto Masnada, does not have a contract extension yet.

The 27-year-old Italian has completed just one full season with the Belgian team after joining from the then called CCC Team in the middle of 2020.

In 2021 though, Masnada has been impressively strong with his last result of the season a brilliant second place at the Monument Classic, Il Lombardia, behind Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).

He also narrowly missed out on the Italian road race title behind Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious). On top of that, Masnada finished third overall in the Tour de Romandie after a powerful time trial on the final day saw him catapult up the standings.

If Deceuninck - Quick-Step haven't tied him down yet, someone else almost certainly has.