The UCI transfer window officially opens next Wednesday – August 1, and with the future of Jim Ochowicz's team confirmed and most team leaders now signed up for 2019, team managers are busy recruiting key riders to complete their future rosters.
Successful sprinters are always highly sought because they can produce a number of victories and placings. Nacer Bouhanni's problems at Cofidis and Andre Greipel's divorce from Lotto Soudal mean they are both looking for alternative teams for 2019.
L'Equipe reports that Bouhanni's brother Rayane says the French sprinter is keen to terminate his contract with Cofidis a year early and try to move to another French team that has shown interest.
Bouhanni was not selected for the Tour de France after months of tension and debate about his role as a protected sprinter at Cofidis. He recovered from injury to win a series of smaller races in June but has admitted his relationship with the team and especially new manager Cedric Vasseur was 'complicated'.
The Vital Concept team has reportedly found a new title sponsor for 2019 and will double is budget and so Bouhanni could be a target for team manager Jerome Pineau.
Caleb Ewan is widely expected to take Greipel's role of lead sprinter at Lotto Soudal in 2019, especially after being overlooked for a place at the Tour de France by Mitchelton-Scott. Greipel was offered a contract to stay but talks ended abruptly with Belgian team confirming a divorce at the end of 2018.
A report by Het Nieuwsblad has suggested that Greipel could move to Ochowicz's new-look CCC team alongside Greg Van Avermaet. Filippo Pozzato could also move to CCC for a final season in the WorldTour according to reports in Italy. If the 36-year-old Italian fails to secure a place in the WorldTour, Pozzato is likely to finally retire after 19 seasons as a professional.
Ochowicz was in touch with rider agents before confirming that the Polish fast-fashion shoe brand had saved his team for 2019. He needs to rebuild his squad after losing Richie Porte to Trek-Segafredo and Rohan Dennis and Damiano Caruso to Bahrain-Merida.
"Greipel is, despite his age, a sprinter that still has potential. I also think he will be able to win often at a high level next year," Ochowicz told Het Nieuwsblad without confirming his interest.
Changes at Astana and Trek-Segafredo
Het Nieuwsblad reports that Laurens De Vreese will stay at Astana for 2019 but it seems almost certain that Michael Valgren will move on after his victories at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Amstel Gold Race. The Dane was initially linked to Trek-Segafredo but is now more likely to join Dimension Data, who have confirmed they will ride Cervelo bikes in 2019.
Trek-Segafredo's goals will change significantly with Porte's arrival, with changes also amongst the technical staff.
Gregory Rast will reportedly retire at the end of the season and become a directeur sportif, with Alain Gallopin and Dirk Demol expected to move on. Demol has been linked to the Katusha-Alpecin team in the hope he can resolve team's sprint problems and help Marcel Kittel get back to his best.
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