Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) continued his fine late-season run on Thursday with an impressive victory at the Coppa Sabatini in Peccioli, a win that will do little quell speculation that he could join Team Sky in 2015.
The 24-year-old was diplomatic when asked about the Sky rumours after his win, politely insisting that he was thinking only of the final two races on his 2014 programme but admitting that he was flattered by the link.
“Right now I just want to concentrate on the end of the season. There’s still the Giro dell’Emilia and Trofeo Beghelli left for us to win the Coppa Italia,” Colbrelli told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Then we’ll think about a possible transfer. But a friendly agreement needs to be reached with the Reverberi family. Bardiani has given me a lot and I’ve given a lot to Bardiani too. But Sky would be a big opportunity.”
Colbrelli’s current deal with Bardiani extends to the end of 2015, but there is scope for him to switch during the off-season as the team will change management company, meaning that all riders must re-sign new contracts.
Since its establishment in 2010, Sky has always maintained an Italian presence on its roster, due in part to the support of the broadcaster’s Italian arm. Elia Vivani has been heavily linked with a move to Sky for next season, while Salvatore Puccio will remain on board, although Dario Cataldo departs for Astana.
Colbrelli’s victory in Peccioli was his fifth of the season and his third in recent weeks following his back-to-back triumphs at the Memorial Pantani and the GP Prato. He also finished second in the Tre Valli Varesine, a run of success that was enough to secure his place in the Italian team for the world championships in Ponferrada.
Colbrelli completed his first Worlds as Italy’s best finisher in 13th place after he fell just short of latching onto the back of the chasing group on the final climb.
“The first image that comes to mind are those few metres, maybe ten, that I was behind the group that was chasing [Michal] Kwiatkowski. It’s not a happy picture,” Colbrelli said. “The 13th place counts for nothing, but it’s a symbol of both a missed chance and a promise for the next Worlds.”