Trek Factory Racing are one of the most active teams in the current transfer market with the news that Ryder Hesjedal will be joining the team for next season announced this week. The American team have already confirmed that Edward Theuns will join from Topsport Vlaanderen and that Niccolò Bonifazio will arrive from Lampre-Merida, with potentially four more riders set to join the squad for 2016. The team’s short list includes Kiel Reijnen.
However, one rider who will be leaving the team is Bob Jungels, who joined the squad in 2013 as first year professional, having ridden for the team’s development squad. The rider and his current team have ceased negotiations this month and the rider is unlikely to compete again this season due to an injury he sustained at home.
Although no official announcement has been made of the Luxembourg rider’s future, it’s expected that he will sign for Etixx-QuickStep.
“We went through negotiations but in the end I was told by his agent that he’d accepted a different proposal,” Trek Factory Racing’s Luca Guercilena told Cyclingnews.
“I don’t know for sure but from what I understand he’s going to Etixx. I’m almost sure of this.”
Jungels rose through the ranks at Trek and had been earmarked as one of the most promising young riders of his generation. He was given an improved deal with Trek but the team were slightly disappointed with the rider’s results over the last season, although he did finish 27th in his maiden Tour de France this summer. That performance alerted other teams, and Trek were reluctant to invest further.
“It’s a shame because we invested a lot in him, since he was in the development team and we’ve sustained his growth for a number of years,” Guercilena told Cyclingnews.
"In the last two years he was on a good contract with us but lets say we were at a point when we didn’t see much results from him for a number of months. I wouldn’t say the return we got back from him was what we expected but we’re sad to see him go. He’s made his choice and we wish him the best of luck.”
Look for an influx of climbers
Although Jungels leaves Trek Factory are amassing an exciting roster for next season. Seasoned pros likes Cancellara and Mollema remain, while Bonifazio and Theuns add youth and speed.
Hesjedal’s arrival on a one-year deal is an intriguing signing. The Canadian, despite his advancing years, is highly consistent performer in Grand Tours and has been one of Cannondale-Garmin’s most reliable riders in over the last few years.
Guercilena has been on the lookout for climbing support for most of the season and confirmed that he had talked to Hesjedal at this year’s Giro, in which the Canadian finished fifth.
“We were looking for riders who can perform in the mountains and wanted someone who could ride GC at the Giro or Vuelta. We talked at the Giro briefly and now we were chasing a bit more and think that he can get results in the races we want. That led us to finding this solution and making a contract.
“This year he showed that he’s still up there in the major races and he performs well in May on a consistent basis. It’s difficult to say where he can finish in the Giro next year because a lot depends on the route and the contenders but I think he can carry on aiming for top fives and even higher.”
Guercilena isn’t finished in the transfer market just yet. Philip Deignan – currently at Team Sky – is one rider who Guercilena says was proposed to him at one stage, although that move is unlikely at this point.
However Kiel Reijnen is out of contract this year with Unitedhealthcare, and Guercilena believes that’s there’s a 50-50 chance of the American – who has been highly impressive in recent months – joining the team.
“We’re still looking for three or four positions and we’re analysing a number of riders, some of which will be climbers. We’re looking at what’s going on at the Vuelta too and will keep an eye on the Canadian races. We have some names but we can’t define the list at the moment. We’ll probably take another strong climber though.
“We’ve talked to [Reijnen's] agent and we’re looking to see if he can fit with our team. In the next few days we might find a proposition and he’s certainly an interesting guy but we need to define the terms of our offer because he’s a rider who isn’t being considered just because of his recent success, although he has been very impressive in the last few months.
“We’ve had respect for him for some time but at the moment a lot depends on him. Right now it’s maybe 50-50 and we need to finalise an offer and he then needs to accept it.”