Teams have been announcing new signings left, right and centre over the past few months since cycling’s transfer window opened, but under the radar have gone a few guys who’s contracts are set to expire at the end of the year.
Now, many of these riders will undoubtedly have actually renewed their contracts with their current teams, but as of the time of publishing they haven’t announced it yet.
There are some pretty big names still out of contract and they’d make a pretty decent Grand Tour team if they decided to set up a squad together. So here is our list of the nine best unsigned riders.
Could this be the year that Davide Rebellin finally hangs up his wheels and calls a day on his incredibly long cycling career?
The 45-year-old is at the end of his contract with Polish team CCC Sprandi Polkowice and unless he re-signs with them he may not have many offers on the table.
Teams aren’t too willing to offer money to athletes who are closer to 50 than they are 40 (just ask Chris Horner), but Rebellin still seems to have plenty in his legs, managing 65 race days this year.
Davide Malacarne (Astana)
“Why should I be forced out at 29-years-old?” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Maybe I was too generous not to try to win for myself.”
He won the 2005 junior cyclo-cross Worlds title, raced three years with Quick-Step, three with Europcar and the last two in Astana’s blue.
Matteo Tosatto (Tinkoff)
The 42-year-old Italian still wants to race, but without a contract he may be forced to pull the brakes.
He spent the last six seasons helping the Classics and Grand Tour leaders at Tinkoff. Last year, he delivered Alberto Contador to his Giro d’Italia win and in the 2016 Tour, he supported Contador and helped Sagan win three stages and the green jersey.
He thought about stopping on a high after the Tour, but kept going with the idea of another season as Contador’s bodyguard. After a deal fell through with Contador’s new team Trek-Segafredo, he was left in the cold. He told Tutto Bici, “I could take another offer, but I don’t want to accept certain minimal conditions.”
The Yates twins occupy the headlines, but another pair, Martin (Etixx) and Peter Velits (BMC Racing) are fading.
They both came through Milram, HTC-Highroad and Omega Pharma/Etixx before Peter went his own way. Peter supported Tejay van Garderen in the Tour and helped with three world time trial titles, both with Omega Pharma and BMC. In 2012, he won the Tour of Oman overall.
However, both have been without results lately and both are without 2017 contracts.
Theo Bos (Dimension Data)
The money may be helpful because Bos has not inked a deal yet for 2017 and appears to be returning to the track. The Netherlands is looking for a new Omnium cyclist, and he could fit the bill.
The sprinter at one point held the 200m track record at 9.772 seconds, won several world titles and took a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics.
He never completely transferred his track speed to the road. He won several smaller sprints and in 2014, the World Ports Classic, but the big victories never came. He reportedly fell out of love with road racing after crashing in the Abu Dhabi Tour with Tom Boonen in 2015.
Jack Bobridge (Trek-Segafredo)
The Australian tackled the Hour Record, unsuccessfully, and rode to silver behind Great Britain in the Olympic team pursuit this summer.
Trek-Segafredo gave him a lifeline in 2016 after he raced for Budget Forklifts. This season, he balanced his road and track commitments, but felt tired. He pulled out of the Tour of Britain at the last moment to return to Australia.
He said that he may consider another WorldTour contact or that he may just retire.
Fredrik Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin)
The Swede was part of the Giant six involved in a training crash this spring, when a British driver drove head-on into them. It marked a bad two years for him that is ending without a contract renewal.
He made headlines last month when wrote in Twitter asking followers for “a team who needs a strong rider for 2017.”
His brother Tobias Ludvigsson, who was also with Giant-Alpecin, found a contract with FDJ.
Ludvigsson said that if he does not find a good deal, he will race in the continental division for one year and look to return to the WorldTour in 2018. He already proved himself once before as an amateur, winning races like the three-day Boucle de l’Artois and earning his place with team Giant.