Fabian Cancellara’s retirement could leave a large hole in the Trek-Segafredo team come the end of 2016, but general manager Luca Guercilena won’t be scouring the bargain basement for his replacement.
The Italian is looking for a like-for-like replacement for Spartacus, who has had 10 Monument podium finishes, including three wins, during his five-year stint with Trek.
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There aren’t many riders in the peloton who could match such production, but Guercilena is reported in Het Nieuwsblad as saying that Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) are top of his shopping list.
“[The person to replace Cancellara] will be someone who is already on a high level and immediate results can score,” he said. “We want to show us, we want to win races. That pressure you put on the shoulders of young people, how talented they are.
“Van Avermaet will soon be free. Sagan also, as Tinkoff ceases to exist [with Oleg Tinkov leaving after 2016]. They are the level we aspire. Of course I would love to have one of those ride for us, but the market is a bit more complicated.”
Trek, with new Italian sponsors Segafredo, have also been a rumoured landing spot for Vincenzo Nibali, should the 2014 Tour de France winner leave Astana.
Guercilena was diplomatic in his response to the question, claiming he is happy with his current general classification options, but wouldn’t rule out signing the Italian should he become available.
“I would like first of all emphasise that we are very satisfied with Bauke Mollema,” he said. “But a rider with the record of Nibali is more than welcome in our team.
“He has won several Grand Tours and smaller stage races. Does the fact that he is Italian play a role? No, but also yes. Segafredo is an international company and really look well beyond the Italian market. But while they and we like to have an Italian champion on board.”
One thing is for sure, with a new sponsor comes more money for Trek to chase the talent they need to win races, be them Classics, stage races or Grand Tours.