It might only be May, but riders who are out of contract at the end of the year must start considering their futures, and one rider who is generating a lot of interest is Astana's Diego Rosa. Cyclingnews understands that the Italian is in talks with multiple WorldTour teams - among them Team Sky - as well as German Pro Continental outfit Bora-Argon 18.
French newspaper L'Equipe linked Rosa with Sky on Thursday and the rider's agent Giuseppe Acquadro confirmed to Cyclingnews that the British team have shown considerable interest and that talks have taken place.
Rosa, 27, has caught the eye in the last 12 months with a string of impressive performances. After beginning his professional career at Italian Pro Continental squad Androni Giocattoli, 2015 was his first season with Astana and he was a key part of the success of Fabio Aru, who won the Vuelta a España and finished second at the Giro d'Italia.
He was also part of Vincenzo Nibali's Il Lombardia victory, where he kicked on behind his teammate to finish fifth. Rosa has also captured results of his own, winning Milan-Turin towards the end of last year, and winning a stage at the Vuelta al País Vasco last month before taking a top-10 at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Cyclingnews understands that one possible destination for Rosa is Bora-Argon 18, where, unlike at Sky or Astana, he would be an out-and-out leader.
Bora are a growing team and, though they are currently racing at Pro Continental level, they have set their sights on securing a WorldTour licence for 2017. The move would not necessarily be contingent on the team gaining access to cycling's top-tier next year, given they already participate in a large portion of the WorldTour calendar, including four of the five monuments and two of the three Grand Tours (with the exception of Il Lombardia and the Giro d'Italia respectively).
In any case, Rosa will not wait until the UCI's Licence Commission makes its decisions towards the end of this year, as he is likely to decide his future after the Tour de France and Olympic Games in the summer.
It is understood that at least two other WorldTour teams have been in contact with Rosa, who is not ruling out extending with Astana. Indeed, Nibali is widely rumoured to be on his way out of the Kazakh team, and that would have some influence on Rosa's decision, given the way it might affect his race programme and role within those races.
At this stage, Rosa is not eyeing Grand Tour leadership, but wants to concentrate in the immediate future on week-long stage races and hilly one-day races.
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