Transfer news: Modolo renews with Lampre-Merida, Busche to Unitedhealthcare

After much speculation about whether Sacha Modolo will stay with Lampre-Merida or move on, the team has at last announced the Italian has renewed his contract for two years.

The 28-year-old sprinter has been with the team for the past two seasons. After an up-and-down debut season in the WorldTour in 2014, Modolo found his place in the WorldTour sprints this year, winning two stages in the Giro d'Italia in addition to a stage in the Tour of Turkey.

"I had no doubts when I chose to continue my professional path with Lampre-Merida," Modolo said in a team press release. "I'm sure my decision is perfect and the relationship will be full of satisfactions.

"I thank the whole team, the management and the sponsors for their decision to extend the contract, I'll work hard to give them many victories in top level races. I'm really happy."

Team manager Brent Copeland was equally happy to keep one of his top riders. "For the team, the extension of the contract of Modolo is very important," he said. "In the two years he has raced in our team, he improved his cycling qualities, so the prospect for the next two seasons are very good and we all must be ambitious. We are proud that Modolo appreciated the effort made by the team to build up a group of riders who helped him to achieve top results."

Busche signs with UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare announced today that it has signed US road champion Matthew Busche for the 2016 season. The 30-year-old has spent the last six years with the RadioShack and Trek organisation, with which he claimed two national championships. A solid general classification contender, Busche has landed on the podium of races such as the Tour of Utah and Tour of Denmark, and has three Grand Tours under his belt.

"It's great to have a US National Champion racing for us in 2016. He is a solid rider in one-day races and weeklong stage races, alike. Both of which are clear goals for us here at the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team," UnitedHealthcare team manager Mike Tamayo said. "His consistency in the general classification standings at stage races is something we can help turn into podiums next season. On this team, we rally behind clear goals and we have some plans that will be exciting to watch in 2016."

The shift is the first transfer for Busche of his pro career, which began in 2009 with a stint in the Kelly Benefit Strategies team before he was called up to the WorldTour with RadioShack.

"I'm very excited and thankful for the opportunity to be joining the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. It is a great group of riders and staff and I'm really looking forward to racing with them in 2016," Busche said.

"We haven't laid out a specific race program yet, but primary goals are likely to be the three American races. I know the team is going to do everything possible to help me get back to the top of my racing potential, so I'm excited to get the season underway."

Small stays with Bigla

American Carmen Small renewed with the Bigla Pro Cycling Team for the 2016 season. Small joined the team midway through the 2015 season after the departure of her compatriot Shelley Olds, who moved back to Ale Cipollini.

The partnership proved to be successful, with Small helping the team to fourth in the World Cup team time trial. The PanAmerican time trial champion will continue to focus on earning a selection to the 2016 Olympic Games in addition to her team races.

"From day one showing up at the Giro, not knowing anyone, it was a brand new team for me and I just felt like I belonged and was accepted," the 35-year-old Small said. "It felt like I had been here from the beginning. Coming in the middle of the year can be tricky and could be a negative thing but it transitioned so well for me."

Bigla also recently renewed with South African champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Lotta Lepistö, Clara Koppenburg and Lisa Klein, and signed German rider Stephanie Pohl.

"I couldn't even fathom changing again," Small said. "I have the same vision as [Team Manager] Thomas Campana and it helps. I really clicked with Ashleigh and I really look forward to racing with her some more next year. Her contract extension was an important part in my decision."

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