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Pozzovivo: It's difficult to find a new team in December

Domenico Pozzovivo (Qhubeka NextHash) in action at the Giro dell'Emilia
Domenico Pozzovivo (Qhubeka NextHash) in action at the Giro dell'Emilia (Image credit: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

The future of a number of Qhubeka NextHash riders and staff became even more uncertain on Thursday following the UCI's decision to refuse the South African squad a WorldTour license for the 2022 season.

As in 2020, the team have been undergoing a much-publicised sponsor search in recent months as boss Doug Ryder tried to save the squad for the second successive year.

Among those riders without an agreed move for 2022 and with time running out to find a landing spot is Domenico Pozzovivo, the 39-year-old Italian climber who has seven Grand Tour top 10s to his name.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Pozzovivo said that he's at a loss with what to do at the moment, adding that the remaining team members have found little to encourage themselves about their situation.

"I was really convinced that there was still time to make things right," Pozzovivo said. "At the moment I don't really know what to say or what to do.

"We have a large group chat in the team and there is great discouragement in it," he added. "We continue to hope for a good outcome but it's difficult to find a new team in December." 

Pozzovivo is one of a number of riders at the team who don't have a place at a team for the upcoming season, and with many teams having already completed their rosters – or come close to it – the prospects of finding a spot get slimmer by the day.

Other riders in the same position are Robert Power, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Kilian Frankiny, Emil Vinjebo, Andreas Stokbro, Dylan Sunderland, and Nicolas Dlamini.

Several riders have already sorted contracts with other teams, including Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel Start-Up Nation), Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal), Max Walscheid (Cofidis), Mauro Schmid (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), and Michael Gogl (Alpecin-Fenix). Meanwhile, Fabio Aru and Matteo Pelucchi have retired from the sport.

Last year, clothing manufacturer Assos stepped in to help the ailing team keep running through 2021, though that move came on November 20, a date which this year passed several weeks ago.

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