It is little wonder that Trek-Segafredo have been linked to every major rider on the market. The team has only five riders under contracts for the 2017 season and with added investment from their new title-sponsor Segafredo and new sponsor CA Technologies, plus one of the best infrastructures in the WorldTour, the US-registered squad have become one of the most attractive options for riders both looking to re-sign and those on the transfer market.
The team have already been linked with Alberto Contador and John Degenkolb and although signings cannot be officially announced until August 1, Cyclingnews understands the team are close to signing both riders, with the team management set to meet with Contador and his representatives next week. They hope to reach an agreement in principle before the Tour de France with a one-year deal on the table with the option of a second, should both parties wish to continue after 2017.
Cyclingnews also understands that Trek-Segafredo are also talking to Degenkolb, who is currently at Giant-Alpecin. The team would not confirm the talks but it appears they are talking to the German about bringing in riders who will help him in the Classics. Again, the team cannot officially sign riders before the UCI’s August deadline but Trek-Segafredo see Degenkolb as a rider who can deliver in the Classics.
The Tinkoff team are all but certain to close and Contador – although a huge star – actually has limited options on the market in the final years of his career. If he is unable to start his own team for next year then there are few teams that can either afford him or who are prepared to base a portion of their squad around him. Astana have Fabio Aru, Team Sky are tied to Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, and Cyclingnews understands that Lampre are close to a deal with the Bahrain project and will bring on board Vincenzo Nibali.
In many ways Trek is the natural fit for the Spaniard but terms have not yet been agreed. Guercilena will meet Contador after the Dauphine concludes to talk about the finer parts of a deal but the thinking is that Contador and Mollema will form a partnership in the Grand Tours for 2017.
His agent quickly emailed Cyclingnews after we printed the story and denied that a deal had been done but Cyclingnews understands that Trek are already talking to the German about which riders they will bring in to help support him in the Classics. The team would not confirm this, however, and would on that specific matter would only refer to the UCI’s August 1st deadline.