By Gregor Brown
The 2019 season is closing with Il Lombardia in Italy and the Tour of Guangxi in China, but some riders still are uncertain – or have yet to announce – where they are riding in 2020.
In the recent days, riders like David De La Cruz (to UAE) announced new contracts and others like Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos) renewed. But the others? Cycling Weekly takes at look at those riders still in limbo with the winter approaching.
Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida)
The Australian pulverised his rivals in the Worlds time trial to win the title last week, but remains without a 2020 deal. After the Worlds, Bahrain-Merida said that it annulled his contract one year early stemming an incident in the Tour de France.
On the eve of the Tour de France's time trial, the reigning 2018 world champion pulled out of the race for reasons that have yet to be clarified by rider or team. He did not race again until the Worlds, and when he did he rode on an old BMC bike.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported overnight that Movistar could sign Dennis for 2020, but that other teams like CCC and Dimension Data, who use BMC bikes, could be interested in Dennis.
Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Bennett's future 2020 team, though winning two stages in the Vuelta a España, is up in the air. Sources say that Deceuninck-Quick-Step are ready to offer the Irish sprinter a contract as soon as he sorts out his deal with current team Bora-Hansgrohe.
The UCI governing body arbitration panel will decide on the case between Bennett and the team's general manager, Ralph Denk. Bennett signed an offer letter in May with some financial conditions that the German WorldTour team is trying to enforce to in order to keep him for 2020. Bennett, however, wants to leave in a team that already includes Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step have prepared the way for Bennett to be their top sprinter by letting Italian Elia Viviani free to transfer to Cofidis. With the deal, Bennett could race the Tour de France for stage wins in 2020.
Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida)
After a horror training crash, Pozzovivo's future as a professional cyclist remains in doubt. He suffered a fractured leg and arm, and a punctured lung on August 11 when a car hit him.
The Italian climber raced to fifth overall twice in the Giro d'Italia, won stages there and in races like the Tour de Suisse. He was set to lead Bahrain-Merida at the Vuelta a España.
He said after the incident, "I'm already thinking that my career cannot end like this. I will come back." However, his contract with Bahrain-Merida ends this year.
Steve Cummings (Dimension Data)
Britain's Steve Cummings has not raced in Dimension Data's colours since crashing and fracturing his vertebrae in the Tour of Britain a month ago. At 38 and without a contract offered yet by boss Doug Ryder, it is unsure where he could race or what he will do in 2020.
Cummings placed third in the time trial national championships and 10th overall in the Arctic Race of Norway in 2019. Everyone remembers his huge first win in the Tour de France, however. In 2015, he was racing his first year with MTN-Qhubeka and helped the South African team take its first Tour stage on Nelson Mandela Day.
Most likely, if Cummings were to continue he would stay one more year in Ryder's NTT team and help its new riders including Under 23 World Champion Samuele Battistella.
Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott)
The Colombian who finished second in the 2016 Giro d'Italia and won a stage this year has yet to confirm his renewal with the Mitchelton-Scott team with the Yates twins, Simon and Adam.
Chaves, 29, last raced in the Vuelta a España but suffered through. In the Worlds, he represented Colombia and placed 38th despite the miserable conditions.
Unlike the Yates, Chaves had a rocky run in his professional career. He suffered a horrific crash in the 2013 Laigueglia and most of 2018, he was knocked out by the Epstein–Barr virus. Given his class and wins like that one to San Martino di Castrozza in the Giro this year, it seems likely the Australian team will renew him soon.
Taylor Phinney (EF Education First)
Phinney's future is unclear. Since the Classics Season ended, he raced only the Tour of California in May and the RideLondon-Surrey Classic in August. At other times, he has shown up at Dirty Kanza and at the Leadville 100 riding alongside US amateurs.
The tentative schedule is that he will line up one more time at the Japan Cup to close out 2019. Afterwards it is unclear if he will will return to the top WorldTour peloton and with EF Education.
He has suffered to return to his best since breaking his leg in 2014 at the National Championship road race. This year, the twice Under 23 Paris-Roubaix winner, was held back by knee issues in the Classics.
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