Katusha-Alpecin boss denies rumours that team will fold

José Azevedo says the team is still awaiting a decision from their current sponsors

Katusha-Alpecin has not told his riders to look for a team but it is working on securing its future, says team boss José Azevedo.

On Wednesday, French newspaper L’Equipe reported that Azevedo told his 10 riders under contract including Alex Dowsett that they should look for new teams.

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“No it’s not true. There are a lot of rumours and speculations. We have people who are working on the future of the team. When we have real news we will announce it,” Azevedo said.

“We don’t have a time limit and we are working for the future. We have some possibilities and everything is open.”

The team only has 10 riders under contract, and others have already signed new deals, like Ilnur Zakarin to CCC for 2020.

Azevedo recognised that he needs more than 10 riders to continue the team in 2020 in the WorldTour.

“First we need a decision about the future and then we start working,” he continued.

“We need to have a decision from the sponsors, and this is the situation, and we are working on this.”

He confirmed his second sponsor Alpecin would leave the team at the end of 2019. It is rumoured that it will sponsor the team of Mathieu van der Poel, Corendon-Circus.

Also, the team’s bike supplier Canyon has its contract up for renewal. If it did not continue with Katusha, it would have more money to support rising star Van der Poel who already races on Canyon bikes.

“We have some possibilities and we are working on that,” Azevedo said of the team’s future backers.

The team has had a hard 2019 season. Ilnur Zakarin brought it a stage win in the Giro d’Italia and Alex Dowsett in the British National Championships time trial. However, they sit at the bottom of the WorldTour team’s ranking for wins, having only five.