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Doubts about Team Alonso hold back transfer market

The Giro d'Italia is traditionally a key moment for the rider transfer market and future of major teams, as sponsors confirm or end their backing and rider agents and team managers negotiate to secure new contracts.

While the Giro d'Italia comes well before the official start of the UCI transfer window on August 1, when riders can officially sign new contracts, the most important deals are being thrashed out now.

However according to the news gathered by Cyclingnews from several different sources at the Giro d'Italia, the 2015 transfer market is being held back by one big obstacle: doubts about the creation of Team Alonso.

The riders in question, five of whom will have the vital and valuable ranking points that Team Alonso needs to secure a WorldTour place, are preferring not to sign new contracts with their current teams in the hope of being part of Team Alonso. Several team managers are also happy to wait for Alonso to make his move, knowing that they can sign the big-name riders for less if the Alonso team does not happen.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Team Alonso wants an exclusive deal with a bike brand to avoid teams profiting from any technology they may bring from Formula One. Cervelo was named as a brand keen to join forces with Alonso but that could mean Garmin-Sharp loses its Cervelo deal.

Australian television boasted that Orica-GreenEdge would sign an Australian stage race leader for 2015, marking a change in strategy for the team that has so far focused on Classics and sprints.

The suggestion quickly sparked rumours that it could be Cadel Evans or Richie Porte. Cyclingnews understands it is unlikely to be Evans, who has close links to BMC team owner Andy Rihs. Porte is apparently under contract with Team Sky for 2015 and so team manager Shayne Bannan would have to cut a deal with his British rival Dave Brailsford. The team has also been linked to Bradley Wiggins.

Orica-GreenEdge also has to find the cash to secure its current riders. Both Simon Gerrans and Michael Matthews are reportedly out of contract this year and their success at the Tour Down Under, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro d'Italia will have to be rewarded.

Bouhanni's two million euro price tag

Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) headed home from the Giro d'Italia with three stage victories, the red points jersey and the reputation as one of the best sprinters in the sport.

With Arnaud Demare having signed a new contract with and pencilled in to ride this year's Tour de France as the team's designated sprinter, Bouhanni seems to have accepted that his future lies elsewhere.

He has been linked to several teams but some of them, including Cannondale, moved quickly to deny they are interested in signing him.

It seems Bouhanni asking price has frightened off several interested teams. He apparently wants a salary of one million Euro, with a further million needed to pay for his lead out train and personal support staff.

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Stephen Farrand
Stephen Farrand

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.