Team Katusha have confirmed that they are in negotiations with Rein Taaramäe and that a deal between the rider and the Russian team is close to being finalised.
Taaramäe, who recently won the Arctic Race of Norway, has already confirmed that he would leave Astana at the end of the season, citing that he was after a new challenge and different environment. The Estonian has discussed his future with several teams, though he has ruled out a return to Cofidis, for whom he rode during the early stages of his career.
Katusha are in the driving seat, with team boss Viatcheslav Ekimov confirming to Cyclingnews that a deal is close between the rider and the Russian team.
“We’re in negotiations but nothing yet has been signed. We’re certainly considering him but there’s nothing to confirm just yet. I don’t know how you can calculate how close things are but we’re in a good way and we’ve found the right approach. It’s close.”
Ekimov has been busy in the transfer market already, signing Michael Mørkøv from Tinkoff-Saxo and letting Yuri Trofimov go in the opposite direction, while also extending contracts with star riders Alexander Kristoff and Joaquim Rodríguez. According to Ekimov the team are still on the lookout for further reinforcements for 2016 with Daniel Moreno set to leave the squad.
“I have my list of who I’d like to sign and we’re in touch with those guys but I can’t say much more than that.”