World champion Michal Kwiatkowski is just one of a number of signings the British team could be looking to make for 2016
World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski will “likely” sign for Team Sky for 2016, his agent has said.
Sky are also beefing up their climbing squad, possibly including Mikel Landa, currently of Astana, who won two stages and placed third in the Giro d’Italia.
The British super team are negotiating contacts in the days during the Tour de France, where agents are as numerous as the teams at times. Several were at the start in Utrecht, more are arriving for the rest day in Pau on Monday.
“Kwiatkowski is likely signing with Sky,” his agent, Giuseppe Acquadro told Cycling Weekly.
“Of course, the deals are happening now in the Tour, but any official signature can’t happen until August 1 due to the UCI’s rules.”
The 25-year-old Pole won the world championships in Ponferrada, Spain, in 2014 and the Amstel Gold Race this spring. He could lead Sky’s Ardennes Classics team and help in the Grand Tours, which he is doing this week for Etixx-Quick-Step teammates Mark Cavendish and Tony Martin.
“We are a GC team, so we want to make sure we are competitive in the GC,” Sky’s principal, David Brailsford told Cycling Weekly.
“As always, the Cobbled Classics and the Ardennes are important to us, as well, but we already have guys in that area. For us, we are always keen to keep on recruiting to make sure that we are optimally positioned in the GC stakes.”
Spaniard Landa could fit in well especially if Richie Porte is leaving as rumoured. The 25-year-old won a stage in the Tour of the Basque Country and rode to third overall in the Giro with stage wins in Madonna di Campiglio and Aprica this year.
“He can climb with the best in the world, but all grand tour leaders need a time trail,” Brailsford said at the Giro.
If Landa improved further, he could lead the team in Grand Tours. “He wants a team where he can be the leader in the Giro and maybe the Vuelta a España,” his agent, Acquadro said. “And perhaps race the Tour to learn next to the stars.”
Landa is also reportedly negotiating with Movistar and an Italian team.
Brailsford, of course, could not expand on his 2016 moves due to cycling’s rules. However, several young, up-and-coming riders appear to be on Sky’s radar for 2016.
Gianni Mocson, Under-23 Italian champion and second in the Under-23 Tour of Flanders this year, should sign according a report in La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.
Brits Alex Peters and Tao Geoghegan Hart could also make the jump to the professional ranks with Sky.
Current Axeon team manager, Axel Merckx told Cycling Weekly that Geoghegan Hart needs to learn to win in the amateur ranks first. His consistency counts, however, including a 13th overall in the Tour of California behind Peter Sagan this May.
Sky could consider a handful of other Brits as trainees or for contracts, from Owain Doull to Jon Dibben, as well as Scott Davies and Gabriel Cullaigh.
Cullaigh, 19, won a stage in the Peace Race in May.
The Tour de France and rumour mill may be running at full speed, but official statements on contracts will have to wait until at least August 1.
Tour de France stage five highlights