Cofidis team manager Cedric Vasseur has told Cyclingnews that contrary to rumours and speculation, the French team has not made a move to sign Geraint Thomas from Ineos Grenadiers. However Vasseur confirmed that Dan Martin is a possible candidate, with Cofidis and Israel Start-Up Nation the two most likely teams to sign the Irish climber and Grand Tour rider.
Martin is out of contract at Israel Start-Up Nation and despite being the team’s most successful rider over the last two years with stage wins in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, as well as top ten GC results in both races, the team, have so far failed to retain the 34-year-old’s services.
“Dan is someone who we know is out of contract,” Vasseur told Cyclingnews.
“We need to look at his files and we need to evaluate the budget. He’s a great rider and we can see that all the time. At the moment we’re in a waiting position. He rode the Tour, then the Games, and he’s one of the best riders in the world. We will wait until the beginning of the Vuelta to decide things, as we have a lot of candidates fighting for places in the team.”
One GC rider who isn’t on Vasseur’s radar is Geraint Thomas.
The Welshman has been linked to several teams with his current deal at Ineos set to expire at the end of 2021. The 2018 Tour winner does have an offer on the table from his current team but the terms are lower than the ones in his existing deal due to both his age and lack of Grand Tour results in the last two years. Several teams have been linked with his services for next year, including Cofidis, but Vasseur distanced himself from the speculation.
“We’d like it, but there’s honestly been no discussion between us and Geraint and his agent for the moment. We are not close to a discussion. It’s the same with [Jakob] Fuglsang. It was written that Fuglsang was coming to Cofidis but we never discussed it with his agent. I saw that Geraint is free but I don’t even know his price. Jakob is also a great rider but we’re more focused on young riders. The sport belongs to a younger generation now, so we’re more focused on this generation.”
Elsewhere on the team and it’s all change in the sprint department. Christophe Laporte is off to Jumbo-Visma, although Vassuer would not confirm the Frenchman’s next team, while Elia Viviani will also leave.
Cofidis have been linked to several French sprinters in the last few weeks, with Bryan Coquard likely to join from B&B Hotels.
“Christophe was really hesitating and we understand that his wish is to discover something new. Eight years on one team is a lot and as a former rider, I understand him wanting to see something else. I cannot confirm where he will go but for sure he won’t be in our roster,” Vasseur added.
Viviani has been linked with a return to Deceuninck-QuickStep – the team he rode for before Cofidis – but Vasseur could only confirm the Italian’s departure after two hugely disappointing years on the team that netted just three victories.
“You must ask Patrick Lefevere about that but we decided not to carry on with him. Of course, we are disappointed with the results. We’re grateful for what he gave us in terms of his image, and we became a bigger team with his name but a name today is not enough. You can see that in Israel with Chris Froome," Vasseur said.
"As a manager, you have a hard time explaining to your riders that you have someone who is earner ten or twenty times more salary than guys who are stronger than him. In a cycling team, you must have a logical scale for salaries. If someone is taking a lot of money they must be providing results. So it’s good that Elia has a new challenge and we do hope that he can follow a profile like Mark Cavendish.”
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