Trek-Segafredo, the new name of Trek Factory Racing after it signed a deal with the Italian espresso giant, is taking aim at 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali to lead its team in 2017 and beyond. Nibali's contract with team Astana expires in 2016 and Trek says that it is interested in the Sicilian's services.
Nibali joined Astana in 2013 and won the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in its turquoise colours to add to his 2010 Vuelta a España victory. However, he and the Kazakh team run by Alexandre Vinokourov already appeared at a breaking point this summer at the Tour. If Vinokourov fails to renew with Nibali, Trek appears in pole position to sign him.
"For sure, we are interested in him like many other teams because he's a high-level rider, but we know that it's valued highly and so we know it won't be easy," Trek general manager, Luca Guercilena told Cycling Weekly.
"We have all of 2016 ahead of us, so it's going to be something we are going to talk about in the next period. Not now. We are thinking about 2016 first, and to get results with the athletes we already have. For sure, though, we are going to start thinking about the future and having a competitive team for 2017 and 2018."
The team signed a three-year deal – 2016 to 2018 – with Massimo Zanetti's coffee company based in Bologna reported La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. Zanetti already sponsored Francesco Moser's team in the 1980s, Formula One and basketball, and presided over the Bologna FC 1909.
Guercilena's American team will drop 'Factory Racing' and add Zanetti's Segafredo after a hyphen for 2016. La Gazzetta added that his team could be known only as Segafredo starting in 2017, when a new era could begin with Nibali.
Classics and time trial star Fabian Cancellara will retire in 2016, but Trek also counts Bauke Mollema, Ryder Hesjedal, Fränk Schleck and Giacomo Nizzolo in its stable.
To corral Nibali, the sponsors would need to provide between £2.5-2.9m. He currently earns an estimated €4m or £2.9m a year with Astana. And Vinokourov, despite the doping problems and fall out with Nibali at the 2015 Tour, said that he is 99 per cent sure he will keep his star in turquoise beyond 2016.
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At the same time that it welcomed Segafredo, Trek also welcomed a new sponsorship/collaboration deal with the Mapei Sports Centre.
Aldo Sassi began the training and evaluation centre in 1996 to support team Mapei. Guercilena began as a sports director and Cancellara began his professional cycling career with its development team.
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