The rest days at the Tour de France offer riders a chance to recover from the intense racing but, in contrast, the days without racing are the busiest moments of the race for team managers and rider agents, as they work on deals for the next season.
Riders transfers cannot be announced until August 1 under UCI rules but the rest day in Annecy saw a number of deals finalised, especially after Jim Ochowicz confirmed CCC as a replacement for BMC and Greg van Avermaet agreed to stay on-board for another three years. Ochowicz has lost stage race leaders Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis to Trek-Segafredo and Bahrain-Merida respectively but has moved quickly to build a strong Classics unit around van Avermaet.
Polish CCC owner Dariusz Milek would apparently love to see Rafal Majka in the new-look CCC WorldTour team. Majka recently extended his contract with Bora-Hansgrohe but, according to reports in Poland, there is still a chance that Majka could become CCC’s GC rider.
Roelandts to Movistar?
Jürgen Roelandts will apparently not be joining Greg Van Avermaet at the new CCC team next season. Instead, as Belgian newspaper Het Laaste Nieuws reports, the Belgian will be headed to Spain and Movistar, where he will be captain for the Spring Classics.
Roelandts joined BMC this year after spending his entire career with the Lotto organization. While he has never won a Classic, he has consistently brought in top finishes, finishing fifth at Milan-San Remo this year.
He would also play the top domestique in the Grand Tours for the Spanish team’s captains, a role currently played by Daniele Bennati. Bennati is out of contract at the end of this season, and it is said he will not be offered a renewal.
Van Keirsbulck to return to WorldTour with CCC
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck is set to return to WorldTour level in 2019 thanks to CCC saving the BMC team.
The Belgian turned professional at just 19 with Quick-Step Floors but struggled to live up to the expectations of being the 'next big thing'.
He moved to Wanty Groupe-Gobert for a leadership role in the Classics but is reported to be teaming up with Greg van Avermaet at CCC for 2019.
Yves Lampaert turns down Sagan’s offer and stays with Quick-Step Floors
Belgian national champion Yves Lampaert has reportedly turned down offer from Peter Sagan to become part of his Bora-Hansgrohe classics squad and instead inked a new deal with Quick-Step Floors and so will stay with Patrick Lefevere’s team for 2019.
Sagan was apparently impressed with Lampaert’s string of solid performances in the Classics and his victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen. He wanted the West Flandrian in his Classics group and hoped to also weaken rivals Quick-Step Floors by stealing one of their future leaders.
However, Lefevere rarely loses a rider he really wants to keep and Lampaert agreed a new deal early in the Tour de France.
Greipel to stay at Lotto-Soudal
Andre Greipel looks set to stay at Lotto-Soudal for the year. The German sprinter had a public spat with team manager Paul De Geyer last month, notably immediately after strong rumours surfaced that Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan would likely move to the Belgian team in the coming year.
The dispute was to whether an offer had been made to Greipel, and whether it was in writing or “in principle”. Greipel accused De Geyer of "lying" by saying no offer was made.
However, the Belgian media reports, a definite proposal was made just before the Tour, under terms acceptable to Greipel. It now seems the 36-year-old will end his career with Lotto-Soudal, forming a “super combination” with - and perhaps serving as a mentor to - Ewan.
He will apparently be without long-time leadout man (and best friend) Marcel Sieberg. Sieberg, also 36, is said to be headed to Bahrain-Merida to lead out fellow German Phil Bauhaus in the sprints. Sieberg and Greipel have been together since 2008, first at Team Columbia and the last eight years at Lotto.
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