Arkéa-Samsic deny rumours of merger with Katusha-Alpecin

Rumours of a merger have been dashed by the French team's general manager

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Arkéa-Samsic has denied rumours that a merger with Katusha-Alpecin could be on the horizon.

Swiss-based team Katusha have faced an uncertain future as it emerged during the Tour de France that key sponsors Alpecin and Canyon would be taking their cash elsewhere.

Katusha-Alpecin bosses told riders they could look for new contracts during the Tour, but general manager José Azervedo denied that the team was folding.

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According to a recent report, Katusha was rumoured to be in talks with French Professional Continental outfit Arkéa-Samsic, which has been ardently pursuing a promotion to the WorldTour.

But Arkéa team boss Emmanuel Hubert has categorically denied the rumours.

Hubert told French newspaper Le Telegram: "Like other teams considering WorldTour, we were surveyed by the Katusha team. But we did not respond to this proposal. It's out of the question for the Arkéa-Samsic team to make an alliance with Katusha.

Katusha-Alpecin owner Igor Makarov was rumoured to have been been in talks with five or six parties to discuss potential mergers, according to the report, with Arkéa and Israel Cycling Academy two names mentioned.

Arkéa has been active on the transfer market this season, with Nairo Quintana and Winner Anacona rumoured to be moving across from Movistar as well as volatile French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni from Cofidis.

Headline sponsor Katusha is a cycling apparel brand while Arkéa is a French banking group.

The UCI’s announcement that up to 20 teams can race at WorldTour level, an increase from the current 18, has seen a surge of activity from Professional Continental outfits looking to step up.

Arkéa, Vital Concept, Cofidis, Total-Direct Energie and Israel Cycling Academy have all expressed interest in promotion.

Former British champion recently signed to Arkéa-Samsic from Madison-Genesis to bolster the lead-out train of legendary sprinter André Greipel.

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Swift, 23, made the mid-season switch earlier this year, making his debut at the Four Days of Dunkirk in May alongside Greipel.

The team’s general manager Emmanuel Hubert said: “We discussed it with André Greipel. He is a rider with great potential, goes very fast in the sprint and he knows how to rub [fight for position].”

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