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by Shane Stokes
August 1, 2014
With the August 1 deadline for announcing signings for 2015 now having been reached, teams have began to announce the new acquisitions they will have from next season. Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali has received reinforcements which he hopes will boost his chances of defending his title in 2015 and, possibly, in taking the Giro d’Italia too.
Classic specialist Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling) has inked a two year deal, having sealed the team’s attention with victory on the cobblestoned stage five of this year’s Tour. He was the only rider to finish ahead of the Astana duo of Jakob Fuglsang and Nibali into Arenberg Porte du Hainaut.
The Dutchman is also a past winner of a stage of the Vuelta a España, plus the overall classification in the Tours of Belgium, Britain, Eneco Tour and Ster ZLM Toer.
Also signing up for two years is the young Italian Diego Rosa (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), a past winner of the mountains classification in the Baby Giro plus overall victor in the 2012 Giro del Friuli. Compatriot Davide Malacarne (Europcar) is coming on board for one year and will add climbing strength, as evidenced by his past win in the mountains classification of Tirreno Adriatico, while past Paris-Nice winner Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural) has also committed for twelve months.
He previously competed alongside the team’s general manager Alexandre Vinokourov at the Liberty Seguros team, and has clocked up four stage wins in the Tour de France.
He was forced to drop down from the WorldTour level when he was implicated in doping investigations, but will now return to the top rank of the sport.
“Boom is a Classics rider as well as a Grand Tour teammate, and won stage five this year at the Tour de France in conditions not seen on the pave in more than a decade,” said general manager Vinokourov of the former world cyclo cross champion.
“Malacarne and Rosa are strong Italian riders who can help Fabio Aru in stage races.”
The team has also announced the signing of three stagiaires from the Astana Continental team, namely the Tour of Qinghai Lake winner Ilya Davidenok, plus fellow Kazakhstan riders Maksat Ayazbaev and Bakhtiyar Kozhataev.
Meanwhile Cofidis has confirmed the signing for two years of the impressive French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, who will move across from his current FDJ.fr squad. Bouhanni won three stages plus the points classification in the Giro d’Italia and, at 24 years of age, is regarded as a rider with a big future.
The French team has also confirmed deals with eight other riders, namely Steve Chainel (Ag2r La Mondiale), Geoffrey Soupe (FDJ.fr), Dominique Rollin (previously FDJ.fr), Jonas Ahlstrand (Giant Shimano), Stéphane Rossetto (BigMat Auber 93), Kenny Van Bilsen and Michael Van Staeyen (both Topsport Vlaanderen Baloise) plus the neo-pro Anthony Turgis.
Current riders Nicolas Edet, Romain Hardy, Gert Joeaar, Rudy Molard, Daniel Navarro and Romain Zingle are all being retained.
Finally the Tinkoff Saxo team has said that it has agreed terms with several riders, but that their identities will not be disclosed as yet.
Alberto Contador’s squad has indicated that it will reveal the key riders on August 3 during the Tour de Pologne and on August 7 and August 9 during the Tour of Denmark.
“With the ambition of being the strongest team in cycling, we believe that the new contracts and extensions will further boost Tinkoff-Saxo and the team’s versatility,” it said in an announcement.
It is expected that Peter Sagan will be one of these riders.