Market preview: Cycling's official transfer window opens August 1

Cavendish, Dennis, Higuita, and Sagan are among the big movers this year
Cavendish, Dennis, Higuita, and Sagan are among the big movers this year (Image credit: Getty Images)

The cycling transfer window officially opens on August 1, with a flurry of signings expected to be announced as teams and riders unveil their plans for 2022 and beyond.

One of the most significant moves on the market has already been partly announced, with Bora-Hansgrohe confirming that Peter Sagan will leave at the end of the season and take a clutch of riders, including his brother Juraj, Daniel Oss and Maciej Bodnar, with him. 

The three-time world champion and his entourage are expected to wash up at TotalEnergies, with the French team also switching to Sagan’s long-term bike partner, Specialized.

The space created by the departures of Sagan, Oss, Bodnar, Erik Baska, Juraj Sagan, Rudiger Selig, Andreas Schillinger and Michael Schwarzmann has created a significant about of budget space at Bora-Hansgrohe, with Sagan reportedly taking home around €5 million per year under his current terms. The German team have reinvested that sum in order to completely reshape their roster, with Sam Bennett, Jai Hindley, Sergio Higuita, and Aleksandr Vlasov all joining from rival teams as Ralph Denk beefs up his stage racing options.

The majority of WorldTour teams have already tied down their main assets for at least another season, with the likes of Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), the Ineos Greandiers duo of Egan Bernal and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), the Deceuninck-QuickStep duo of Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel, and the Jumbo-Visma trio of Primož Roglič, Wout van Aert, and Dylan Groenewegen, all aligned to existing deals.

Several teams have also announced a number of re-signings but there are still some major moves expected to be completed and confirmed in the coming days and weeks.

There are major questions in regard to several plot lines, including the future surrounding Astana-Premier Tech, where it's unclear who exactly is in charge following the departure of Alexandre Vinokourov and the rise of the Canadian element of the team. The resulting instability has left many riders unsure of their positions, while several high-profile riders have already jumped ship.

Apart from Vlasov’s expected move to Bora, Alex Aranburu is set to move to Movistar. That deal was reportedly done months ago, when the Spaniard was in great form and attracting interest from several major teams. Aranburu will be joined at Movistar by Gorka Izagirre and Oscar Rodríguez, but Omar Fraile and Ion Izagirre are holding out for offers from Astana and currently wish to stay. Matteo Sobrero is expected to leave for another WorldTour team, and 2019 Tour of Rwanda winner Merhawi Kudus is also set to leave.

The future of Jakob Fuglsang remains unclear, with Cofidis – a team recently linked to the Dane – informing Cyclingnews that interest in the all-rounder never reached the negotiation stages.

Climbers and GC riders

The highest-profile GC rider still on the market appears to be Geraint Thomas. At the Olympic Games, the Welshman talked about receiving various offers and there had been speculation in the press that he was in talks with Cofidis and Trek-Segafredo.

The American team ruled out a move for the former Tour winner last week and Cedric Vasseur from Cofidis has told Cyclingnews that he 'doesn’t even know what Thomas' value is' and clarified that no approach has been made.

Thomas is likely to have an offer to stay at Ineos either on the table or in the works but it will be vastly reduced from the last deal that he signed shortly after his Tour victory in 2018. There is still likely to be interested in securing Thomas' services, but his value has undoubtedly taken a hit after a poor summer. 

Qhubeka-NextHash have been mentioned as a possible destination but Thomas has been in this position before at Ineos and has re-signed at each opportunity. Unless a salary that’s too good to turn down is submitted then he will most likely stay.

The British team are braced for a number of significant changes over the winter. Although their GC leaders - aside from Thomas - are locked in for at least one more season, a number of key domestiques are set to either retire or potentially move on.

Leonardo Basso, Owain Doull, Sebastian Henao, Jhonathan Narvaez, Brandon Rivera, Ivan Sosa are all out of contract, with a number of them moving on, while Michal Golas and Cameron Wurf are likely to retire. Super domestique Jonathan Castroviejo is expected to re-sign but Rohan Dennis heads to Jumbo-Visma for the next two years. The British team are likely to build around younger riders, especially Tom Pidcock and Ethan Hayter, while Luke Plapp will join from the U23 ranks.

Tour de France 2021 108th Edition 15th stage Ceret Andorra La Vella 1913 km 11072021 Geraint Thomas GBR Ineos Grenadiers photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Geraint Thomas is one of the biggest names on the market (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Elsewhere, Esteban Chaves is set to leave Team BikeExchange and land at EF Education-Nippo as Jonathan Vaughters looks to replace Higuita. The American team have made a number of other shrewd moves over the summer, picking up riders from Ineos Grenadiers and below the WorldTour. They’ve also extended a contract with Simon Carr, while Stefan Bissegger has also been retained despite interest from other teams.

At UAE Team Emirates, the Tour-winning team for the last two years aren’t resting on their laurels. Along with signing young riders from the U23 ranks, they are also investing in proven talent. George Bennett is on his way from Jumbo-Visma, Davide Formolo will stay, Joao Almeida joins from Deceuninck-QuickStep, but their most interesting signing is possibly Marc Soler from Movistar, who is expected to join on a multi-year deal rumoured to be worth €1.25m.

At Jumbo-Visma, the biggest signing is Dennis. The Australian seemed to be settling at the British team but Jumbo made him an offer that was too good to turn down. Jonas Vingegaard signed a new deal, while Christophe Laporte has been strongly linked with a move from Cofidis. The Dutch media have already written about Antwan Tolhoek’s departure, with Trek Segafredo rumoured to be his next destination.

Trek-Segafredo will keep the core of their climbing contingent together, although they fully expect Vincenzo Nibali to leave, having never properly initiated contract negotiations. The former Grand Tour winner has been heavily linked to his former team, Astana but the internal power struggles within the team still need to be resolved. Quinn Simmons has signed a two-year contract extension.

Elsewhere, James Knox stays at QuickStep, Diego Rosa (Arkéa-Samsic) and Mikel Nieve (Team BIkeExchange) are still on the market, while Rui Costa has been offered around to several squads, with his future at UAE Team Emirates uncertain. 

Dan Martin is still on the market for a team too. The Irishman is said to be considering his options for next year and it is somewhat surprising that Israel Start-Up Nation have not extended his deal given his record in the past two years. A move back to EF is not an option but Cofidis have confirmed that they are interested in Martin’s experience.

At Bahrain Victorious, team boss Milan Erzen has remained tight-lipped on his team’s transfer activity. According to the Slovenian, around 90 per cent of the team are contracted for 2022 but the futures of Mikel Landa, Wout Poels and Bello Bilbao have yet to be announced. Simon Pellaud, currently at Androni-Giocattoli, is set to return to the WorldTour, while Louis Meintjes will re-sign with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert after a consistent showing at the Tour de France this year.


SAINTCYRLECOLE FRANCE MARCH 07 Arrival Sam Bennett of Ireland and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Celebration Arnaud Demare of France and Team Groupama FDJ Mads Pedersen of Denmark and Team Trek Segafredo during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 1 a 166km stage from SaintCyrlEcole to SaintCyrlEcole ParisNice on March 07 2021 in SaintCyrlEcole France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

Sam Bennett (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The sprinting scene is set for major changes ahead of next year. 

With Sam Bennett returning to Bora-Hansgrohe on a two-year deal, Pascal Ackermann is on his way to UAE Team Emirates. Alexander Kristoff will leave that team, with second-division Norwegian outfit Uno-X rumoured to be his next destination.

Mark Cavendish is likely to re-sign with Deceuninck-QuickStep but he may be joined by Elia Viviani. The Italian will leave Cofidis at the end of the season but is currently concentrating on the Olympic Games. He has expressed interest in returning to Patrick Lefevere’s team after two disappointing years away in France. 

There have been conflicting reports surrounding Fernando Gaviria but last month it was reported that he would stay at UAE and compete with Ackermann. 

Nathan Haas is still on the market, while Gianni Moscon has yet to confirm his future, having been linked with a possible move away from Ineos Grenadiers.

John Degenkolb heads back to Team DSM after two years at Lotto Soudal, while Bryan Coquard has been linked to Cofidis as they search for a replacement for Viviani.

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