The transfer season moves into full swing on August 1 and Ineos Grenadiers – the team with the biggest budget in professional cycling – have a number of major decisions to make in terms of riders they bring in and those expected to be shown the exit door.
Almost half the team’s riders are out of contract and, while a handful of those are expected to re-sign, the high number of vacancies has created significant space in the team’s 2022 roster.
The bulk of the Grand Tour leaders within the team are all settled and have contracts for next year, with Egan Bernal, Richard Carapaz, Pavel Sivakov, and Adam Yates all tied down for at least another season.
Richie Porte has a contract for 2022 and is expected to do one final season on the team but the future surrounding Geraint Thomas is far from certain. The 2018 Tour de France winner is out of contract at the end of the year and faces some difficult choices over the next few months.
The team will not offer an extension on the Welshman’s current terms, given his lack of results in the last two years and his age, meaning that any new offer would be a reduction in relation to wages. Cofidis, Qhubeka Assos, and Trek-Segafredo have all been linked with approaching Thomas this summer but a possible move to the American team was categorically denied by the squad’s management last week. Cofidis have also distanced themselves from signing Thomas.
Thomas has been in this position before and has used the market to help negotiate better terms but, at 35, he is looking at his last WorldTour contract. Other teams might be able to offer better terms than Ineos but they are unlikely to provide the same level of backroom support. The Welshman will need to weigh up those elements with the fact that he is unlikely to be given a sole leadership role at next year’s Tour de France if he stays where he is.
Away from Thomas, a host of other riders are expected to leave or have already signed elsewhere. The British team currently have 31 riders on their books but only around half of them have deals for next year.
Rohan Dennis signed a two-year deal with Team Jumbo-Visma, while Michał Gołas and Cameron Wurf are expected to depart the team and possibly retire.
Iván Sosa, who the team fought so hard for three years ago, is also expected to leave. The Colombian has several offers on the table, with Movistar leading the chase. Sebastian Henao is also set to move on, having spent eight years on the team.
Owain Doull is also on his way to another WorldTour team, while Leonardo Basso is another rider who will not be retained.
There are several other riders out of contract and, although Jonathan Castroviejo is one of them, the veteran Spanish climber is set to stay. Another experienced rider, Salvatore Puccio is also set to sign a contract extension.
Ben Swift and Gianni Moscon are both out of contract and it’s unclear at this point as to whether they will remain. Brandon Rivera is another rider facing an uncertain future, with the 25-year-old failing to make a sizeable impression since joining the British squad at the start of 2020.
While a number of riders are expected to depart, it’s not clear on all the names that will be drafted in to replace them. Aleksandr Vlasov had been heavily linked with a move to the British team at the start of the year but the Russian is now set for a move to Bora-Hansgrohe, with the German outfit recruiting a number of climbers as they move on from Peter Sagan’s exit.
Australian youngster – and 2021 time trial champion – Luke Plapp signed a multi-year contract at the start of the year but, in terms of the current market, Ineos Grenadiers have remained relatively quiet by their own usual standards.
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