Trek-Segafredo manager Luca Guercilena believes that the addition of Alberto Contador to the roster for 2017 will allow the American team to launch a general classification challenge in each of the three Grand Tours.
Contador has already made the Tour de France his primary target for next season, but it remains to be seen how he will share the calendar with Bauke Mollema, who led the line for Trek-Segafredo at the Grande Boucle for the past two seasons, placing 7th in 2015 and 11th this year.
“Well, let’s say that it is clear that with having two leaders the idea is to cover the three Grand Tours. It is evident that at the Tour de France we must be ready with the strongest squad ever. So that means that at the Tour de France we must be competitive, that all the big, talented climbers must be there,” Guercilena told the Trek-Segafredo website after the new riders and staff completed a two-day get together in Milan after Il Lombardia.
“Of course, we cannot decide now what the rosters for the races next year will look like, but we want to be strong at the Giro, the Tour, and the Vuelta. I think that is really the ultimate goal for next season. I am convinced we can have the possibility to win both the Giro and the Vuelta, but the Tour is, of course, the most difficult one to win. That said, I am pretty sure that if we go there with a really strong team, we can even win the Tour.”
Trek-Segafredo made overtures to Vincenzo Nibali in the early months of 2016, but abandoned their interest once it became clear that the Sicilian preferred the new Bahrain-Merida team. Once Contador confirmed his desire to extend his career into 2017, Guercilena had no hesitation in chasing his signature.
“Once Alberto Contador announced officially he wanted to go on for at least one more year, it was our pleasure to start talking to him,” he said. “Obviously, he is one of the top GC guys ever, and we are thrilled to have him on board. With Alberto joining the team, first of all, we have a big support for Bauke, and he doesn’t have to carry alone the responsibility for all the races.”
Trek-Segafredo have added another marquee signing to their Classics unit, signing John Degenkolb as a direct replacement for the retiring Fabian Cancellara. Since Guercilena took over the reins of management in 2013, the team’s greatest success has come in the Classics.
“We hired a strong Classics rider in John Degenkolb. With him, we will cover the gap left by Fabian’s retirement. And in the meanwhile, we also wanted to support the whole group. We were able to renew Jasper (Stuyven), who in the future, I think, will be one of the strongest for the Classics,” Guercilena said, adding that Fabio Felline and new arrival Jarlinson Pantano would lead the line in the Ardennes Classics.