The transfer window has been open for almost two weeks now and one of the teams who have a fair amount of work to do is Lampre-Merida. The Italian squad is having to work out what shape it wants its sprinting line-up to take on in the coming years, with most of its fast men out of contract for 2016.
The futures of Sacha Modolo, Niccolo Bonifazio, Roberto Ferrari, and Ariel Richeze are still to be decided and Cyclingnews understands that Modolo and Bonifazio are both considering multiple offers from elsewhere.
"I am in the final year of my contract, and at the moment I am waiting to take a decision. I’d like to remain in this team but I’m also looking around to see if something else can happen," Modolo told Cyclingnews at the Tour de Pologne, where he was fifth on the second stage.
"I have asked to remain here in this team because this is a team that has given me so much but I have two other interesting propositions. I will take a decision in the near future."
Modolo has enjoyed a great season, triumphing at the Tour of Turkey before taking the two biggest wins of his career so far at the Giro d’Italia. However, despite the scale of those successes – his first in a Grand Tour – the 28-year-old is unhappy not to be nearing the total of eight wins he managed last year, or nine the year before.
"I was delighted with two wins at the Giro, but this year I’ve won only three races and for me it’s not so much," he said. "I’m a rider that needs to win. I want to win much more than that in a season and I hope from now to the end of the season to achieve that satisfaction."
Niccolo Bonifazio finds himself in a similar situation; looking to get some more wins on the board before the season is over and assessing his options for next year. The 21-year-old notched five victories in an impressive neo-pro campaign last year but only has two to his name so far this time out. He was up there in the sprint stages in Poland, finishing third, sixth and fifth on the opening three days, where he admitted to having offers on the table and decisions to make.
"I hope I can match what I did last year, the season is not over yet so I hope to be able to get some results before the season’s out," he told Cyclingnews in Poland.
"I’m in the process of deciding and shortly I’ll make a decision on my future and next year. I’m evaluating the offers and I’ll take everything in consideration. I’ve had a few offers and along with my agent I’ll evaluate them. I’ll trust in the experience of my agent who has been in this environment for a long time. We’ll see."
By contrast, Ferrari and Richeze are both 32-year-olds whose best years are behind them. Neither has won since early 2012 and Lampre must decide if and how they will slot into leadout trains next year.
Two riders that both prefer the more selective finishes are Davide Cimolai and Diego Ulissi. Cimolai, who won a stage of Paris-Nice in March, will be with the team next year but Ulissi, who came back from a doping suspension this year and won a stage of the Giro d’Italia, is another one up for renewal.
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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.
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