Marc Hirschi (SUI/Sunweb) is the first rider atop the Col de Marie Blanque (1st Cat) ©kramon

Marc Hirschi, released by DSM, is back on the rider market

Marc Hirschi, the revelation of the 2020 Tour de France, has been released by his team.

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Marc Hirschi, a revelation of the 2020 Tour de France, has been released by his team. 

Hirschi’s contract with Team DSM, formerly Sunweb, was set to expire at the end of 2021, but has been terminated with immediate effect. The team announced the move on Tuesday and indicated that the decision to end its relationship with Hirschi was mutual. 

It is unclear at this time where the 22-year-old Tour de France stage winner might be headed. A report in Spanish daily AS indicated the two frontrunners are Trek-Segafredo and, of course, the Ineos Grenadiers. A team with Swiss connections, like AG2R (via BMC bikes) would make sense as well.

UPDATE: According to a report in Wielerflits on Tuesday afternoon, Hirschi will ride for UAE-Team Emirates in 2021. Neither Hirschi nor UAE have thus far confirmed the transfer. The Swiss connection between UAE’s Mauro Gianetti and Hirschi’s agent, Fabian Cancellara, appear to have paved the way for the deal. We’re keeping an eye on this story and will update as necessary.

“Team DSM has reached a settlement agreement with their rider Marc Hirschi to terminate their present employment before the original end date of 31 December 2021. It has been agreed that the agreement will be terminated with immediate effect and that no further comments will be made. Team DSM wishes Marc Hirschi all the best for the continuation of his career and expresses its gratitude for what Marc Hirschi has contributed to the team.”

Team DSM’s statement on Marc Hirschi’s departure

Hirschi turned pro with Sunweb in 2019 and broke through this season, winning Fleche Wallone, a stage of the Tour de France, and hitting the podium at both the world championships and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He is one of cycling’s hottest young prospects, and is represented by former professional Fabian Cancellara. 

In a September column, just after the Tour de France, journalist Raymond Kerckhoffs indicated that Hirschi was already being shopped around to other team managers. “I have already heard noises from team managers that Hirschi is being offered to them, while the Swiss’s contract with Team Sunweb will run until the end of 2021,” he wrote.

It is unlikely that Hirschi would jump from DSM without a landing pad ready, particularly after the new year, when many team rosters are completely full. Following his exploits this season, he is surely aware of his value, and would be unlikely to put himself at risk of not finding a team that can pay what he’s worth.

The departure is the continuation of a trend for Sunweb, now Team DSM, and its manager Iwan Spekenbrink. The team is known for its ability to identify and pick up young talent, but has struggled to hang on to those riders as their profiles grew. Hirschi is the fifth such rider to leave prior to the end of his contract, following Marcel Kittel, Warren Barguil, Tom Dumoulin, and Michael Matthews. 

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