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August 1 marks the official opening of the WorldTour transfer market with riders and teams able to officially sign contracts and announce them to the public.
A flurry of activity is expected from the biggest teams in the sport with Jumbo-Visma, Ineos Grenadiers, EF Education EasyPost and UAE Team Emirates all expected to make major announcements in the coming days and weeks.
In many cases, deals were hammered out months ago, either directly after the Giro d’Italia or during the Tour de France. Some big-name riders remain on the market for the coming season, most notably Mark Cavendish and Adam Yates.
Jumbo-Visma, Ineos Grenadiers not sitting still
One of the most active teams is Tour de France winners Jumbo-Visma. The Dutch squad is expected to unveil a host of big names inthe coming weeks with Dylan van Baarle from Ineos Grenadiers the most high-profile new arrival. Joining van Baarle are a number of key signings. Wilco Kelderman is expected to join from Bora-Hansgrohe, while young British talent Thomas Gloag moves up to the WorldTour after an impressive stint at the U23 level. The climber had drawn attention from several teams, including UAE Team Emirates and Ineos Grenadiers. Jan Tratnik will also join from Bahrain Victorious.
There are several riders set to leave Jumbo-Visma at the end of the season, too. Tom Dumoulin will hang up his wheels and retire, while Chris Harper has been linked with a move to BikeExchange-Jayco. That deal has not yet been signed. David Dekker, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Lennard Hofstede, Timo Roosen are all out of contract too, while it’s expected that Mike Teunissen will depart for Wanty. There have also been rumors of Ineos Grenadiers poaching Primoz Roglic but both teams have played down such speculation in the last few days.
As for Ineos Grenadiers, the British team is set to announce Thymen Arensman from Team DSM in the coming weeks. Leo Hayter will stagiaire for the team later this year before stepping into the WorldTour permanently next season. Andrey Amador will leave, with a move to EF in the offing.
The biggest high-profile departure from the team is Richard Carapaz with the former Giro d’Italia winner moving to EF in order to spearhead the team’s grand tour challenge for the next three years.
Adam Yates has still not signed a contract with the British team and he has drawn attention from several rival squads including Israel Premier Tech, Jerome Pineau’s revamped B&B Hotels team, and Yates’ previous team BikeExchange. VeloNews understands that Yates has been offered a new deal by Ineos but that it comes under both his current salary and the market value his agent is striving to achieve.
Meanwhile, UAE Team Emirates is keeping their cards close to their chests. Fernando Gaviria has been deemed surplus to requirements and has been linked with a move to Total for 2023. Domen Novak will join from Bahrain Victorious, while Matteo Trentin, Davide Formolo and Diego Ulissi have contract extensions. Rui Costa, Ryan Gibbons, and Rafal Majka are all out of contract. Gibbons is weighing up his options, while it’s expected that Majka will stay. Tim Wellens will join from Lotto-Soudal.
BikeExchange and EF Education building out
BikeExchange would be keen to link Yates with his brother Simon for another two years but price is a sticking point. Yates had been banking on a top-five or better at the Tour de France but COVID-19 and then another mid-race bug sapped him of his best form, and that appears to have dented his negotiation powers. Ineos is keen to keep the British climber but not at his current valuation.
There are conflicting reports about the future of Daniel Martínez. The Colombian has a deal at Ineos for next year but several teams have been made aware of his potential availability for 2024, even at this point. Eddie Dunbar is also set to move to BikeExchange.
Along with signing Carapaz, Jonathan Vaughters’ squad is set to strengthen in a number of important areas. It’s expected that Lachlan Morton and Alex Howes will transition away from the WorldTour completely in 2023 and move to a gravel/off-road program, and therefore free up two spots on the team. Jefferson Alexander Cepeda and Andrea Picolli are both expected to make mid-season moves from Gianni Savio’s Androni team, while Ruben Guerreiro will race one more year for the team before moving on in 2024.
Rigoberto Uran’s future is unclear, but a decision on his future is likely to be made later in the season. The American team is interested in keeping their veteran talisman but he would need to take a paycut with his leadership opportunities reduced. A lot will depend on Uran’s desire to keep on racing at this point, and whether he sees himself as a mentor and domestique for Carapaz. There are certainly no issues between the rider and the team, and the management are well aware of how popular the rider is in South America. Links to signing Mark Cavendish appear to have gone cold for now but as reported by VeloNews during the Tour de France there have been talks about a possible move for the sprinter.
Looking deeper into the BikeExchange situation, the biggest news was Gerry Ryan’s commitment to the team for the next three years. That allows the management to extend contracts and recruit new faces. Simon Yates and Michael Matthews have both been extended but there are a number of domestiques out of contract next season, including Sam Bewley, Dion Smith, Amund Grøndahl Jansen, Bauer, Damien Howson, Alexander Konychev, Cameron Mayer, Luka Mezgec, Callum Scotson, and Alex Edmondson. Tanel Kangert is expected to move on or retire.
Lucas Hamilton apparently drew interest from Ineos but will stay, while Elmar Reinders will join from Riwal in a bid to beef up Dylan Groenewegen’s leadout train. The future of Nick Shultz, however, is not so clear. He has drawn major interest from B&B and a decision on his next deal is expected to be concluded in the next few days.
No room for Cavendish, who is still hunting a deal
Cavendish has already been told that he can move on from Quick-Step AlphaVinyl and his future team remains unclear at this point. B&B could be first in line, and it looks like they will have improved equipment for next year with BMC coming on as the bike sponsor. The French team is set to bring in Cees Bol from Team DSM and Ramon Sinkeldam from Groupama FDJ, so the team is clearly improving its sprint capabilities.
Despite his record and pedigree, there are not that many clear options for Cavendish on the market. Few teams will guarantee him what he wants most, a rubbed-stamped spot on the Tour de France team, while Trek Segafredo and Ineos Grenadiers have both told VeloNews that they are not interested in signing the Manxman despite talking to the rider in the last few weeks.
At QuickStep, Patrick Lefevere is making relatively small modifications to his team having locked in Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel on longterm contracts. Casper Pedersen is set to join Team DSM while Yves Lampaert has agreed a verbal contract to stay. Devenyns and Keisse are retirement candidates, while Štybar isn’t a priority for renewal at this stage. Tim Merlier will join from Alpecin.
As for Alpecin, they will announce Soren Kragh Andersen, Kaden Groves and Quinten Hermans in the coming days or weeks.
At Israel Premier-Tech, Daryl Impey and Simon Clarke are both expected to stay, while Dylan Teuns has been linked with a move from Bahrain Victorious for most of the season. Patrick Bevin is out of contract at this point, sources confirm. Wout Poels will remain at Bahrain Victorious having agreed terms on a new deal but VeloNews has learned that Stephen Williams will leave the team at the end of the season.
In Italy Niccolò Bonifazio (Total), Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) Davide Gabburo (Bardiani) are all out of contract. Alessandro Tonelli will leave Bardiani at the end of the season.
Stefan Küng drawing interest, with some riders still without deals
One of the most interesting moves of the summer involved Stefan Küng. The Swiss is free for next year and has major interest from Team DSM. However, his current team, Groupama FDJ, can keep him if they match the DSM offer. Küng is expected to make a decision on his future within the next few days.
Bob Jungels also has a choice to make with interest from several teams following his Tour de France stage win. He has an offer on the table from his existing team, AG2R but is weighing up his options. As with Küng, a decision is expected in the next week.
Other riders still without contracts for next year include Larry Warbasse, Stefan de Bod, Heinrich Haussler, Alex Dowsett, and Matt Holmes.