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Will Team Sky and Movistar shuffle decks in rider transfer market?

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Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky)

Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Mikel Landa pulling on the climbers jersey after stage 18

Mikel Landa pulling on the climbers jersey after stage 18 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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European champion Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar)

European champion Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Jamie Roson (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

Jamie Roson (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Egan Bernal (Androni Giocattoli).

Egan Bernal (Androni Giocattoli). (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Team Sky and Movistar are set to be two of the leading teams in the transfer market this season, with a number of high profile riders on both squads out of contract at the end of the year - over half the entire roster, in Sky's case.  Although most of the riders out of contract on each team are likely to re-sign, both squads could see riders move in opposite directions.

Two years ago, both teams were amongst the most active in the market, with Mikel Landa and Michał Kwiatkowski joining Team Sky, while Gorka Izagirre, Jonathan Castroviejo, and Winner Anacona have all renewed in the last two years at Movistar but are all out of contract this year. The bond between all of these riders – bar Landa – is their agent, Giuseppe Acquadro, who also has Nairo Quintana on his books.

Acquadro's influential agency also represents Vasil Kiryienka, Sebastian Henao, David Lopez and Mikel Nieve - the four of whom are at Team Sky and all out of contract. Sky are yet to announce Chris Froome's new contract but have already re-signed Ian Stannard, while Geraint Thomas is expected to take up the option of an additional year on his current deal. According to Acquadro, Milan-San Remo winner Kwiatkowski is expected to re-sign with the British team and the plan is for Kiryienka to follow suit.

"We're in talks for Kwiatkowski with Team Sky and normally he will stay," the Italian agent told Cyclingnews.

"At the moment, the priority is that we only talk to Team Sky and we're looking to find the agreement."

While Landa, who used to be on Acquadro's books, is rumoured to be heading from Team Sky to Movistar, one rider who could be heading in the other direction is Castroviejo. Team Sky have been long-term admirers of the 30-year-old.

"There are two or three teams that are interested in him. It's the same with Nieve as well. With Nieve it's 50-50 if he stays. Normally I said that he would stay but he's open," Acquadro said.

"With Kiryenka we're looking at renewing with Team Sky for another two years but at the moment it's only talking with riders and teams because the market is moving slowly at the moment."

At Movistar, the future could see a greater number of their riders depart. As well as interest in Castroviejo, a move from Bahrain for Gorka Izagirre is also on the cards. The rider's brother, Ion, signed with Vincenzo Nibali's team at the start of the season.

Acquadro also represents two of the hottest properties on the market this year in Egan Bernal (Androni) and Jaime Rosón (Caja Rural). The former was a target for both Movistar and Team Sky earlier in the season and has reportedly already signed for Team Sky, but Acquadro would only add that no deal has been finalised at this point. There are several teams interested in Rosón, including Movistar.

Daniel Benson is the Managing Editor at Cyclingnews. Based in the UK, he coordinates the global coverage for the website. Having joined Cyclingnews in April 2008, he has covered several Tour de France, the Spring Classics, and the London Olympic Games in 2012.

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