The future of the IAM Cycling team will be decided in the next few days, with Swiss team owner Michel Thetaz set to explain his decision when he visits the Giro d'Italia for the final days of the race.
Thetaz has still to make a final decision on if he will continue to fund the team via his Independent Asset Management investment company, secure a co-sponsor to boost the team's budget or even quit the sport. The team stepped up to WorldTour level in 2015 but has struggled to compete in the biggest races, winning just 14 races in 2015 and five races so far this season.
On Thursday Italian television pundit Beppe Conte suggested that the IAM team could merge with BMC for the 2017 season. That rumour has been circulating for a while, with BMC owner Andy Rihs and Thetaz keen to create a Swiss WorldTour super team that could compete with the biggest teams in the sport.
Rihs seems to have committed to supporting the BMC team at least for 2017 but the likes of Greg Van Avermaet and Samuel Sanchez have agreed to one-year contracts, with just options for the 2018 season.
"I've never hard anything about a merger with BMC. It's a rumour that has been going around for a couple of years but I can't really say anything. Personally I don't believe it," directeur sportif Kjell Carlström told Cyclingnews at the Giro d'Italia
"At the moment we have no idea about the future of the team. Michel will decide things. He said that he will announce something in the next few days but we don't know if that's the team will continue, if it will stop or if another sponsor will come in. For sure we've known since last year that we're looking for a co-sponsor and that's what we've been working towards.
"It'd be a pity if the team stopped because we've gradually built a good structure and a good team. But uncertainty is part of professional cycling; it's always been like that. It's something you have to taken into account. You have to always focus on the results in the races and to the best work you can. Hard work usually pays off and so we want to be optimistic about the future. We'll see what happens in the next few days."