After months of speculation, Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale have confirmed that the two teams will join forces for the 2015 season. Cannondale will become the WorldTour team's title sponsor and bicycle supplier, with Slipstream Sports becoming the managerial body behind the team. Garmin, who have been a main title sponsor at WorldTour level since 2008, will remain as a key sponsor of the new-look team.
As of today, the team will be known as Team Cannondale in 2015. However Cannodale have agreed with Slipstream sports that the management holding company can pursue a first or second name sponsor for the start of next season. This means that the team could see Cannodale move to the position of a secondary sponsor, or remain as the sole title sponsor. One possibility could see the team named as Cannondale-Garmin.
The new deal will last for an initial three-year period with Slipstream's Jonathan Vaughters confirming that the budget will remain roughly on par with current finances. There is an option for a three-year contract extension.
"This move made sense. That's probably the best explanation," Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews.
"Cannodale is an American team and their market is the American market. They are a company that wanted to stay in a leadership position and Slipstream Sports offered them the right path for that to happen."
"Garmin have a contract with us for next year, but it's not a title-level contract and while they'll be around for a while have done a great job to promote their product, marketing cycles do come to an end. They have been a great partner and will continue to be. However, team budgets have increased dramatically since 2008 and for the teams out there not supported by a national federation, a government or an extremely wealthy individual, in order for us to remain competitive, consolidating forces make sense."
The make-up of the squad
The full roster for the new team is yet to be confirmed. Eight riders at the current Cannondale team have existing contracts for 2015 and Vaughters confirmed that all eight had been offered new deals as part of the squad. The eight are Moreno Moser, Elia Viviani, Alan Marangoni, Kristijan Koren, Davide Villella, Davide Formolo, Alberto Bettiol and Matej Mohoric.
Vaughters confirmed that Formolo was the first rider to agree to his new contract and that all riders coming to the squad would face the same Biological Passport scrutiny that all new signings face.
"There are eight riders that have a contract with Cannondale. All of those riders will be offered new contracts from Slipstream, and to explain Cannondale are now the second largest shareholder in Slipstream. We hope that those eight riders come over but there’s no obligation for that to happen and it’s of course all pending on Biological Passport checks," he said.
When asked how many of the remaining seven riders would join the team, Vaughters replied, "I think that the majority will."
He also confirmed that he was in discussions with Ted King, an American on Cannondale who does not currently have a contract for next season.
Away from the riders, the majority of the support staff and management for the team will come from the Slipstream side of the operation. The team’s service course will remain in Girona, Spain and there is no place for Cannodale’s current manager, Roberto Amadio. However Vaughters stressed that when it came to staff vacancies for 2015, existing Cannodale staff would be given priority when it came to recruitment.