Izagirre brothers considering offers from UAE Team Emirates and Astana

Ion and Gorka to leave Bahrain-Merida at the end of the season

Ion and Gorka Izagirre will leave Bahrain-Merida at the end of the season, with UAE Team Emirates and Astana leading the bidding for their services.

The brothers raced together at Movistar before Ion joined Bahrain in their debut season last year, and Gorka followed across at the start of this year.

Gorka, 30, has had a strong year, becoming Spanish national champion as well as finishing on the podium of Paris-Nice and the Tour of Oman. Ion, 29, finished third at the Vuelta al País Vasco but his performances have been more low-key than his debut season at Bahrain, or than his final years with Movistar. In fact, following his glittering 2016 campaign for Movistar, he hasn’t won a race for Bahrain.

Both will leave Brent Copeland’s team at the end of the year and have been linked with a number of WorldTour outfits, including Team Sky.

Cyclingnews understands that UAE Team Emirates have shown significant interest, but Astana have since tabled an offer of their own. Negotiations are still ongoing.

UAE Team Emirates have Dan Martin and Fabio Aru as leaders for the Grand Tours, but the Izagirres would increase their potency over week-long stage races. Ion, in particular, has made something of a speciality of the format, especially when there’s a time trial involved. So far, the team, revamped in 2017 from the ashes of the Lampre dynasty, haven’t made any moves in the transfer market.

Astana, meanwhile, whose stage race focus is built around Miguel Angel Lopez and Jakob Fuglsang, have signed Yuriy Natarov (neo-pro), Manuele Boaro (Bahrain-Merida), and Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattoli Sidermec), while losing Michael Valgren (Dimension Data), Jesper Hansen (Cofidis).

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