With the professional cycling transfer window opening on Saturday, a host of cycling stars could be announcing a new team for 2016
Do not expect any mega-deals, like Peter Sagan’s three-year contract worth €4m (£2.81m) per year with Tinkoff-Saxo. Last winter, with IAM Cycling joining the WorldTour and MTN-Qhubeka expanding, the transfer market appeared to be booming.
Looking to 2016, however, it is less frantic – some might say the market is sedated. Some teams are even trying to free up their budgets, rather than make big money commitments.
Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov said in May that he wanted to cut Sagan’s salary. Yesterday, he proposed that the UCI introduce salary caps.
Etixx-QuickStep boss, Patrick Lefevere complained earlier this spring that he would not be able to hold on to all of his stars. Besides Cavendish and Kwiatkowski, several other contracts are expiring at the end of 2015, including Tom Boonen and Rigoberto Urán.
Polish world champion, Kwiatkowski will “likely” sign with Sky, according to his agent. However, one source high up in Sky said that it would not happen. If he did join, he could earn €2m or £1.41m a year and would lead the team in the Ardennes Classics and some week-long stage races. A confirmation from Sky could come in the next 24 hours.
Cavendish joined Etixx after annulling his contract with Sky at the end of 2012. He has not won as much in the Tour de France as he used to – crashing out in 2014 and winning one stage this year – which could be used in negotiations by Lefevere. Although linked to BMC Racing and MTN-Qhubeka, Cavendish is now expected to stay with Etixx.
Colombian Rigoberto Urán, who led Etixx to third in the 2014 Giro d’Italia, will be leaving. Team Cannondale-Garmin could announce his arrival tomorrow. The American squad could also bid farewell to several cyclists with expiring contracts. Dan Martin is expected to join Etixx and Dutchman Tom-Jelte Slagter could sign for home team LottoNL-Jumbo.
The American team could see a shakeup with few wins so far this season. It is uncertain if long-time members Ryder Hesjedal and Tom Danielson will stay. Many of the cyclists it acquired from the merger with Cannondale last season are also out of contract.
Australian Richie Porte is leaving Sky after helping the team win the Tour de France three times. A press release from BMC Racing as early as tomorrow could confirm his 2016 team. BMC could also sign Australian Simon Clarke, who has spent the last four years with Orica-GreenEdge.
The American team said that its stage race leader Tejay van Garderen has a contract for 2016 and will stay, though some suggested a transfer to Trek Factory Racing could happen.
In addition to Kwiatkowski, Sky could also hire Pole Michal Golas from Etixx-QuickStep. The team is expected to bring onboard Spaniards Mikel Landa from team Astana and Beñat Intxausti from Movistar. Landa won the Madonna di Campiglio and Aprica stages and placed third overall at the Giro d’Italia this May. Without Porte, Sky could have him as its leader for the 2016 Giro.
The future of Filippo Pozzato, now with Lampre-Merida, and Sylvain Chavanel, IAM Cycling, remains uncertain.
Former Italian champion Giovanni Visconti could switch from Movistar to Astana. Frenchman Alexis Vuillermoz, winner of the Tour’s Mur de Bretagne stage, is rumoured to leave Ag2r La Mondiale for Tinkoff-Saxo.
Only tomorrow and in the days following, however, will the transfers rumours be confirmed.
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