An inside source close to the deal confirmed it to Cycling Weekly, “It’s done. Richie is riding with Trek in 2019.”
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Porte could earn around €1.5 million to perhaps €2.5 million if he wins the Tour de France. Trek-Segafredo has a clause in its deal that will allow Porte to earn more if he wins the French Grand Tour this July.
He earned an estimated €2.2 million with BMC Racing.
The deal will be announced after the official date, August 1, given by the UCI governing body for signing new riders. The team would not confirm the move or the Australian’s salary when asked by Cycling Weekly on the ground at the Tour.
Porte spent four years helping Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome in Team Sky and joined BMC Racing in 2017. Both last year and this year, insiders named him as a top favourite to win the Tour de France. Last year, he crashed on stage nine and fractured collarbone and pelvis. This year, he is ready again with a victory in the Tour de Suisse before arriving in Vendée.
Trek-Segafredo’s current Tour leader Bauke Mollema has a contact that ends, but he will stay with the team. “He didn’t have a problem helping [Alberto] Contador in the years before and he works well with other leaders,” said a source. “He will stay and race alongside Richie, or different races when they have chances.”
Porte’s team-mate and fellow Australian Rohan Dennis will not join the team as well from BMC Racing. Dennis, winner of a stage and pink jersey wearer in the Giro d’Italia in May, will switch to Bahrain-Merida.
The Porte move is almost the last of the big classification rider transfers on tap for the 2018/2019 season. The Yates twins Adam and Simon are said to have renewed with Mitchelton-Scott already, but are waiting to announce the deal.
Geraint Thomas is staying with Sky, explained a couple of sources close to Sky and the Welshman. The British super team are already giving him greater responsibilities in this 2018 Tour de France, especially after Froome lost 51 seconds on the first day.
Thomas was hoping to have a deal announced already, but the lawyers are combing over the fine print that could see his salary bumped to around €2.5 million.
Greg Van Avermaet, the Belgian Olympic champion and Paris-Roubaix winner, remains the big move to be sorted. He like others is searching for options with the team now known as BMC Racing facing an uncertain future. The BMC bike manufacturer is leaving the team, but general manager Jim Ochowicz keeps searching for a new backer while his riders search for other options.
Van Avermaet apparently had an option with former Astana manager Marc Biver. Biver’s brother Jean-Claude is the CEO of TAG Heuer, the sponsor still confirmed with Ochowicz for 2019 along with the WorldTour licence.
Biver, however, put off the project until 2020 with backers not ready to get the deal rolling in 2019. It closed a possible door for Belgian Van Avermaet and now it appears more likely that he could follow BMC bikes to Dimension Data and form the Classics arm with Mark Cavendish, if he stays, leading the sprint arm.
“You can’t say we can’t find a sponsor for next year, we are not there yet,” Ochowicz said. “We just haven’t done it up to this point, today’s date.”
He is hoping to make the most out of the Tour. “Of course, it’s global publicity. It’s a global stage and that’s’ whey people want to sponsor.”