Team Garmin-Sharp will join with Cannondale for 2015 and see to the end of Italy’s top team with Peter Sagan, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.
Garmin’s team boss, Jonathan Vaughters told Cycling Weekly, “I can’t comment on that,” but said at the start of the Tour de France that a new sponsor is coming to replace Garmin. The announcement could come as soon as July 27, when the race ends in Paris.
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Team Cannondale would wave good-bye to 28 cyclists including star Peter Sagan. Two-time Tour poins winner Sagan, with Ivan Basso, is due to head to team Tinkoff-Saxo Bank.
Cannondale, the American bicycle manufacturer, would likely leave behind its first division licence and join Vaughters’s Slipstream team a bike sponsor and secondary title sponsor, or possibly as the new head sponsor
“I don’t know about my future, I’ll decide later,” team Cannondale, General Manager Roberto Amadio told Cycling Weekly.
“Is the team closing? No, but that’s the word going around. We’ve still haven’t had news from Cannondale [the team owner] about its decision, but I think team is going to continue. They’ll have to tell me if the situation changes.”
At the end of the 2012 season, Cannondale took on part ownership from Paolo Del Lago and became the sole owner last year. The manufacturer is based in Connecticut but owned by Canadian company Dorel.
If the team were to close, Garmin would need to work out a release deal or take on the eight Cannondale riders with existing 2015 contracts: Moreno Moser, Elia Viviani, Davide Villella, Davide Formolo, Alberto Bettiol, Alan Marangoni, Kristjan Koren and Under-23 World Champion Matej Mohoric.
Cannondale already reportedly tried switch to team Tinkoff-Saxo with Sagan and Basso. That deal is apparently off based on Oleg Tinkov’s tweet. The owner of Tinkoff-Saxo team wrote, “@Vaughters good deal with @cannondalePro. I am very much support it! #changecycling”
Cannondale’s move would also leave Italy, a historically cycling-strong nation, with only one professional team, Lampre-Merida. The team in blue and pink, however, have based itself for some time in Lugano, Switzerland.
Amadio helped start the team Cannondale as Liquigas in 1999 and brought up riders like Peter Sagan and Vincenzo Nibali. After helping Basso to the Giro d’Italia title, Nibali won the Vuelta a España in the team’s green colours. In 2013 he began riding for Astana, won the Giro d’Italia and this week took the lead in the Tour de France.
“Cannondale owns the team,” Amadio added, “and they can decide what they want.”