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The transfer season is well underway but there are still plenty of riders who haven’t put pen to paper for 2022.
Some have deals all but done and just need to get their name on the dotted line. Meanwhile, it’s a mad dash for others to find an empty space before the music stops — not an easy task this late in the year.
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Let’s take a look at a few of the riders in the men’s peloton who are still to confirm their team for 2022.
Current team: Deceuninck-Quick-Step
Likely destination: Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Mark Cavendish had already confirmed a deal with Patrick Lefevere’s team for next year, but an official announcement has not yet been made. There has been a lot of to-and-fro over the deal since the middle of this year.
Cavendish joined the team on a one-year deal after spending just one season with Bahrain-McLaren. Despite Cavendish’s big summer, where he won four stages of the Tour de France and equaled Eddy Merckx’s all-time record at the grand tour, made him hot property again after a couple of seasons of struggling.
Despite the strong performances this summer, hashing out the details of a new contract has proved tricky. Lefevere said in September that an agreement had been reached but an official announcement has not yet been made.
Current team: Ineos Grenadiers
Likely destination: Ineos Grenadiers
Geraint Thomas finds himself in much the same place as Mark Cavendish with a deal close to being done but no signature on the document just yet. Thomas has been with Ineos Grenadiers/Team Sky since its inception in 2010 and it would have been a surprise to see him go elsewhere next year but the brokering of the deal has been a tough process for all involved.
Speaking with BBC Sport Wales toward the end of last month, Thomas said he was close to agreeing on a two-year deal for next year but that it hadn’t happened yet. He described it as the “worst” contract negotiation he’d been through and that he was “happy” it was almost done.
Thomas has had all of his major successes on the road with Ineos, including winning the Tour de France back in 2018.
Current team: Team BikeExchange
Possible destination: Movistar Team
Mikel Nieve announced in September that he would be leaving Team BikeExchange at the end of this season after four years with the Australian squad. He told the newspaper Diario de Navarra that he had was in talks with a potential new team, but he didn’t say who with.
Despite being one of the oldest riders in the bunch, he said that he wanted to continue riding and was looking for a team that “motivates” him. When pressed, he didn’t deny that the Spanish Movistar Team was a possible destination and said his manager was doing all the talking for him.
Like Nieve, Movistar is from the Spanish region of Navarra, and he would find some former teammates at the squad, including Carlos Verona.
Current team: UAE Team Emirates
Likely destination: UAE Team Emirates
Things have been quiet on the Davide Formolo front of late and an official confirmation about his 2022 contract has not been made. However, it is expected that he will remain with the UAE Team Emirates squad for at least another year.
His presence at the post-season team camp in the UAE at the end of October, where some of its new signings also attended, would appear to indicate that he’s sticking around beyond his current contract.
Formolo joined the team last year after a two-season spell with Bora-Hansgrohe. He rode the Giro d’Italia this year and was also part of the Tour de France squad that supported Tadej Pogačar to victory.
Current team: Qhubeka-NextHash
Likely destination: Unknown
Domenico Pozzovivo is one of the many riders caught up in the drama surrounding the Qhubeka-NextHash team. With the squad still searching for a big-money backer for 2022, many of its star names have already jumped ship to other teams.
Pozzovivo is not yet among the riders that have found a new home ahead of next season and time is running out for the Italian. He told an Italian publication last month that he hoped to stay with the team for next year and that 2022 — if he gets a contract — is likely to be his final year in the peloton.
Pozzovivo was loyal to the Qhubeka team when it had financial troubles at the end of 2020. Let’s hope for him and the rest of the riders and staff at the team that his loyalty will pay off.