Trek-Segafredo expecting Vincenzo Nibali to join Astana-Premier Tech
Italian could re-join Astana for 2022 after five years away
Trek Segafredo are preparing for life after Vincenzo Nibali, with the team fully expecting the Italian to leave for Astana-Premier Tech at the end of the year.
Nibali is out of contract this year and, despite holding initial talks with the Trek-Segafredo management in the spring, no contract was forthcoming, with the rider keen on a one-year deal at the time.
"It's a good question," general manager Luca Guercilena told Cyclingnews when asked about Nibali's future beyond 2021.
"From what I know, he's not decided on what he wants to do next. He hasn't communicated what he wants other than he wants to ride the Olympics first. He has been linked to Astana very often, so I think that his move will be to there. At this point we've not offered him a contract."
Nibali, 36, joined Trek-Segafredo last year on a two-season contract. He was seventh in last year's Giro d'Italia and 18th this year after injury disrupted his spring.
Despite having one of the most complete palmarès in modern cycling, with wins in all three Grand Tours, he has not won a race since taking a Tour de France stage in 2019.
"We discussed with his agent some options in the spring, but we never reached out with a real deal," Guercilena said. "He was looking for a one-year deal."
Despite the imminent departure of Nibali, the team are not set on replacing him with a like-for-like GC rider. Instead, the team will re-sign the core of their squad and build with number of talented youngsters. Two pure climbers are expected to join, while another two young Classics riders are also set to be announced in August.
"We're not planning a GC replacement - not at this point. We always look but we've made investments with younger riders, and we'd like to keep going and support riders like [Giulio] Ciccone, [Bauke] Mollema, [Jasper] Stuyven and [Mads] Pedersen," Guercilena said.
"Then we have a bunch of kids that we want to bring up to the next level. We are bringing on two pure climbers, but we can't confirm them yet until August 1. Kenny Elissonde will stay, along with the core of the team, and a couple more young Classics riders are also joining."
Guercilena also confirmed that he had not been approached by Geraint Thomas' agent. The Welshman remains out of contract at the end of the year and Trek were on the hunt for the 2018 Tour winner's signature the last time he was on the market.
"We were chasing him a few years ago but he's not been offered to us at this point," Guercilena added.
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.