The Tour of Flanders winner is on the hunt for a new team after current team owner Oleg Tinkov announced he was leaving the sport
Sagan blasted away from his rivals on the Kwaremont and Paterberg to win the 100th Tour of Flanders on Sunday in Oudenaarde, Belgium. He has Paris-Roubaix on his programme next this Sunday. At some point, however, he will need to think about signing for a new team.
Owner Oleg Tinkov said in December he would close his team at the end of 2016. The team manager Stefano Feltrin told Cycling Weekly that he is looking for a new owner and backer, but the airwaves are quiet.
Teams Trek-Segafredo, Etixx-Quick-Step and BMC Racing could be the front-runners to sign the 26-year-old from Žilina, Slovakia.
“We know that Sagan is on the market,” Trek-Segafredo general manager Luca Guercilena told Cycling Weekly. “The market is still open and there are still many months before we can sign athletes. For sure, he’s a big champion, a big name, and has a lot of talent. We will see.”
Watch: How Peter Sagan won the Tour of Flanders
Guercilena added, “It’s not that Fabian lost the race against a no-one. That was a big name in front, it was a big fight.”
With Cancellara gone, the team’s budget opens to sign another marquee rider. It was in line for Vincenzo Nibali, but Guercilena said that the Italian Grand Tour star is planning to leave Astana for the new Bahrain project.
“We are interested in both [a classification rider and a new Classics rider]. We will see what will work out, it could be one or both,” Guercilena explained.
Sagan is working with former professional and agent Giovanni Lombardi. No one knows for sure, but they could be asking for €4 to 5 million or £3.2 to 4 million.
Guercilena did not comment on Sagan’s asking price, but said that he is receiving proposals year-around. “For sure [we are talking to Lombardi]. The market and agents are quite active and they propose riders 12 months a year.
“It’s clear that we’ve had some chats with him, but it’s clear that we are far from finding a solution right now.”
The only news coming from Russian WorldTour Tinkoff team regarding its future was an April Fools’s joke saying that they inked a deal with a “major Chinese food company.”
Few laughed because if the team closes, around 40 to 50 members will be looking for work. Sagan is one of five cyclists, including Rafal Majka, who still have a contract for 2017 with Tinkoff.