Katusha's future looks uncertain as rider contract extensions put on hold
08 July 2019 12:01
The future of Katusha-Alpecin has once again come into focus, with general manager Jose Azevedo confirming to Cyclingnews that he is currently unable to offer riders contract extensions for next year. The team’s future already looked shaky, with shampoo brand Alpecin set to depart as secondary sponsor when their contract with the team expires at the end of the year. At the weekend, Italian publication Tuttobici wrote that bike supplier Canyon would also leave the team at the end of the year, with the German brand and Alpecin choosing to focus their complete attention on sensation Mathieu van der Poel, as they look to build a road team around the Dutch rider in the future. Azevedo went on the record to confirm that he was no closer to re-signing Katusha-Alpecin’s current Grand Tour leader, Ilun Zakarin, after initial contract discussions were put on hold. The Russian was linked to CCC Team earlier in the year. Behind the scenes, Azevedo's team are busily trying to secure more funds in light of Alpecin’s departure in order to lessen the burden on the team owner and Russian billionare Igor Makarov.ADVERTISEMENT "I don’t know if Zakarin will stay or if he’ll leave. We had talks a couple of weeks ago but at the moment there’s no decision," Azevedo told Cyclingnews at the Tour de France. When asked if he’d like to keep the Russian, the former teammate of Lance Armstrong said: "It’s a negotiation. At the right moment we’ll have something to say. Now is not the right moment to talk." Of greater importance is the stability of the team. Without the ability to make new signings at this point in the year, the squad will struggle to attract the big names they so desperately need after another poor season of results.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com.readfullarticle