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by Dane Cash
August 14, 2019
It’s transfer season in the world of professional cycling, and that means teams are announcing rider signings practically every day of the week.
This year’s transfer cycle has already seen some very big names agree to don new kit for the coming season, and many more notables are expected to make their 2020 plans public in the near future. To help you keep track of the comings and goings, we figured we’d put together a handy guide to the noteworthy moves of this year’s transfer season, organized by teams, with some thoughts on what the transfers will mean for the future.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of who is going where across the professional peloton. We’ll give some of the notable domestiques their due, but won’t try to cover every single signing. We’ll also run a guide to Women’s WorldTour transfers once more notable switches are formally announced (Thus far, we know Lucinda Brand is off to Trek-Segafredo, Barbara Guarischi to Movistar, and Soraya Paladin to CCC-Liv).
We will try to update this list every few days as transfer news continues to emerge in the coming weeks, so feel free to bookmark the page and visit often…
Goodbye: Davide Ballerini, Dario Cataldo, Davide Villella
Hello: Davide Martinelli
What it means: Although the big names (Jakob Fuglsang and Miguel Ángel López) are sticking around for the foreseeable future at Astana, the team is losing some climbing firepower. Fortunately, Astana gets at least one Davide back despite losing two of them.
Goodbye: Vincenzo Nibali, Antonio Nibali
Hello: Mikel Landa
What it means: Vincenzo Nibali delivered some huge one-day victories to the team that was essentially built around him when it first started in 2017, but it’s understandable that management would want to go younger as Nibali’s GC prospects wane in the later years of his career. Mikel Landa has not really lived up to the hype that always surrounds him as a GC contender, but he hasn’t had many chances to be his team’s sole featured rider. He should get those opportunities at Bahrain-Merida.
Goodbye: Davide Formolo
Hello: Lennard Kämna
What it means: The emergence of the punchy Max Schachmann and rising Grand Tour star Emanuel Buchmann give Bora the ability to feature other riders than Formolo in the Ardennes and in the GC battles in stage races moving forward. Kämna is a rising talent worth investing in.
Hello: Matteo Trentin, Ilnur Zakarin
What it means: Amid the financial uncertainty that preceded the transformation from BMC to CCC last year, the team lost several big names and was too late to the game to sign many notable replacements. This transfer season is an opportunity to reload. Trentin is a great pickup who can win on practically any terrain. Zakarin will give CCC a much-needed GC contender.
Matteo Trentin on the attack on stage 17 of the Tour de France. Photo: Peter de Voecht/PN/Cor Vos ©
Hello: Elia Viviani, Fabio Sabatini, Simone Consonni
What it means: Cofidis gets one of pro cycling’s most successful sprinters and some capable lead-out men too, which will be crucial for the team’s push to jump up to the WorldTour level next season.
Goodbye: Philippe Gilbert, Davide Martinelli, Enric Mas, Max Richeze, Fabio Sabatini, Elia Viviani
Hello: Joao Almeida
What it means: Deceuninck-Quick-Step loses two of its top performers in Viviani and Gilbert and its best hope for Grand Tour success in Mas, but this is a team that is loaded with talent so there are a few up-and-comers there waiting in the wings. Plus, without those salaries on the books, the team can afford to re-sign some other names, and possibly add a few heavy hitters too. Almeida is an up-and-comer that could develop into a winner.
Elia Viviani takes his first RideLondon win. Photo: Bob Martin for Prudential RideLondon
Hello: Dan Martin
What it means: This was one of the biggest surprises of the transfer season so far, one of the few big moves that wasn’t long rumored in the cycling media. Martin is easily the most notable rider Israel Cycling Academy has signed. He may have had a quiet year but remains a threat in the Ardennes and in punchy Grand Tour stages. His arrival will be a big boost for a Pro Continental team that has WorldTour ambitions.
Hello: Tom Dumoulin
What it means: The biggest signing of this year’s transfer season wasn’t even supposed to be on the market, but here we are. Jumbo-Visma was already one of the top Grand Tour squads in cycling, and now the Dutch outfit has a proven Grand Tour winner in his prime. The team could be in serious contention at every three-week race next year.
Goodbye: Ilnur Zakarin
What it means: No one is quite sure whether Katusha-Alpecin will even be around in 2020, but if the squad does find new sponsors and secure its future, it will be seriously lacking in WorldTour firepower without Zakarin or Marcel Kittel, who left the team in the middle of the season.
Goodbye: Tiesj Benoot, Victor Campenaerts
Hello: John Degenkolb, Philippe Gilbert
What it means: Benoot’s versatility will be hard to replace, but in Gilbert and Degenkolb, the team should be stronger in the Classics. Gilbert in particular is a proven winner in recent years, and that’s been something this team has lacked.
Goodbye: Matteo Trentin
What it means: Trentin manages to fly under the radar despite his impressive palmares, which includes wins at all three Grand Tours and a European Continental road title. His departure won’t be the end of the world for Mitchelton-Scott, of course, but the team might miss his big wins even as it focuses more and more on Grand Tour GC battles.
Goodbye: Mikel Landa
Hello: Enric Mas, Dario Cataldo
What it means: For now, Mikel Landa is the only star GC contender that Movistar has officially lost to the transfer market, but Nairo Quintana and Richard Carapaz are both expected to leave as well. That will put a lot of pressure on the shoulders of newcomer Enric Mas. The Spaniard will be a fine fit in the Spanish WorldTour squad, but the team and the team’s fans may need to recalibrate their expectations of what Movistar can achieve after years of contending in every Grand Tour on the calendar.
Hello: Victor Campenaerts
What it means: Campenaerts is a great pickup for a team in need of results. He has the talent to take time trial victories in Grand Tours, and he’s good at marketing himself too.
Goodbye: Tom Dumoulin, Lennard Kämna
Hello: Tiesj Benoot
What it means: Dumoulin’s departure is a massive loss. This team was built around his talent. Without him, Sunweb goes from one of cycling’s top teams to a middle-of-the-pack squad. At least in the arrivals department, Benoot is a great pickup. If he can turn his potential into results in races like the Tour of Flanders, Benoot will help Sunweb bounce back from a quieter 2018 season than the team would have wanted.
Goodbye: John Degenkolb
Hello: Vincenzo Nibali, Antonio Nibali, Alexander Kamp
What it means: Trek-Segafredo has signed several proven veterans in the later stages of their careers in recent years with mixed results. Nibali definitely fits that bill. With Nibali turning 35 this November, it seems pretty clear that his best days are behind him. That said, he still seems like a strong bet in races like Il Lombardia, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Plus, it’s not like he has nothing left in the tank in the Grand Tours, finishing second at this year’s Giro. At the very least, he’s a popular star and a great marketing opportunity for a team with an Italian sponsor.
Vincenzo Nibali on stage 5 of the Tour de France. Photo: Luca Bettini/RB/Cor Vos © 2019
Goodbye: Simone Consonni, Dan Martin
Hello: Mikkel Bjerg, Davide Formolo, Brandon McNulty, Max Richeze
What it means: Although the team loses one of its big names in Martin, it picks up some riders with big potential. McNulty is America’s most promising young GC rider right now. Mikkel Bjerg is a terrific time trialing talent. With Tadej Pogacar already on the roster, UAE Team Emirates now has a strong young core in place. Davide Formolo is not as young, but he is another rider with potential to be a big contributor in the coming years. On the other side of the coin, the team gets Fernando Gaviria’s lead-out man of choice in veteran Max Richeze.