IAM Cycling's squad for the 2016 season is due for a shake up with the Swiss team announcing the departure of 35-year-old Sylvain Chavanel. The Frenchman joined the team at the start of 2014, winning five races including the GP Ouest France-Plouay, but with the team looking to focus on sprint success no contract renewal was forthcoming. Jérome Pineau, who joined the team from Quick Step with Chavanel in 2014, is also set to exit the team.
"For next year, we want to have our pack of wolves more compact and prominent at the front of the peloton in order to usher our sprinters to the finish line more effectively. As a result of this reevaluation, we decided not to extend Sylvain Chavanel's contract," the founder of IAM Cycling Michel Thétaz explained. "We are certainly aware of everything that Sylvain has brought to this team. The collaboration has exceeded our expectations. We will never forget his fantastic victory at the GP de Plouay last August, nor his overall qualities as a racer as well as a human being. We have really had two wonderful years together with him. I reiterate my thanks to him for his professionalism and wish him the very best for his future."
The team's sprint options for 2015 include Matteo Pelucchi, Jonas van Genechten and Heinrich Haussler although the trio have just three wins between them and none since the first of February.
In March, Europcar sprinter Bryan Coquard told L'Équipe that the team's future would need to be decided before the Tour de France, explaining "I just now want to develop in a team with riders to support me for the sprints." IAM Cycling, BMC and AG2R have all inquired about the services of the Frenchman although the departure of training partner Pineau may influence his decision to ride elsewhere in 2016.
Contract extensions for Langeveld and Benoot
The immediate futures of Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Garmin) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) are secure with both riders extended their contracts until the end of 2017. Langeveld, who has been with the team since the 2014 season, told AD.nl it was an easy decision to renew.
"Immediately after the classics Vaughters indicated that he wanted to keep me," Langeveld said. "That said a lot of [his] appreciation, as obviously it is not [normal] to offer contracts to riders if they are injured. I had already given my word and recently officially signed. I'm really enjoying myself with this team, so I have not considered offers from other teams. In the coming years I will have the same role as I have now, I may have my own way in the classics and other races I'm road captain.
A successful start to the season has seen Benoot, 21, add another year to his contract which was to expire at the end of 2016. Benoot was fifth on his debut at the Tour of Flanders while he recently wore the first young rider's jersey at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
"Of course this recent development gives me a boost," he said. "That the team extends my contract after half a year is a signal that I’m doing well. I’m feeling very good in this team and I’m looking forward to be part of the team the next few years as well. It’s nice to have security for the future. But it’s not only with this extended contract that the team shows it has faith in me. I get opportunities to start in the big races like Tour of Flanders and Dauphiné and can save energy for the finale. I get a balanced programme that isn’t too hard."
Yellow jerseys galore
Four different stage winners, time bonus, varied terrain and abandons have see four different leaders of the Tour de France on the first four stages. Rohan Dennis (BMC), Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) have all worn the yellow fleece so far this Tour. It's the first time since 1992 that there have been four different leaders after four stages. On that occasion the riders were Miguel Indurain, Alex Zulle, Richard Virenque and Pascal Lino.
Lino held the yellow jersey for 11 days before with Indurain reclaimed the race lead and held it all the way to Paris.
Miguel Indurain wore the first and last yellow jersey of the 1992 Tour de France (Getty)