August marks the start of cycling’s transfer season, with big name moves confirmed throughout the month ahead of riders officially swapping teams in January 2019. Already this month we've seen moves announced for the likes of Tejay van Garderen, Caleb Ewan and Andre Greipel. Could Geraint Thomas even be on the move?
Riders can only officially sign for other teams from August 1, though talks will have been ongoing behind the scenes for some time.
And there are already plenty of big names set for pastures new in 2019, with BMC Racing’s merger with CCC meaning several of the Swiss team’s former riders top the list of confirmed transfers.
Former Tour de France white jersey winner van Garderen is off to Team EF-Drapac, while Rohan Dennis will ride for Bahrain-Merida next season.
As with every transfer window, the sprinters merry-go-round has got moving, too; 11-time Tour de France stage winner Greipel will join Fortuneo-Samsic, with Ewan – angered by his Tour de France omission – off to Lotto-Soudal to replace him.
The cycling rumour mill will heat up from now until the end of the season, too, with those soon to be out of contract linked with high-profile moves.
For this year, that includes Tour de France champion Thomas – his current Sky deal expires at the end of the year, and the new BMC-CCC team have already confirmed they have made an offer.
Struggling to keep abreast of the latest transfer news? We’ve rounded up the biggest confirmed deals and the most eye-catching rumours so far, and will continue to update this article as more moves are announced.
Biggest confirmed cycling transfers for 2019
Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing to EF-Drapac)
Once upon a time, Tejay van Garderen was one of the hottest properties in pro cycling. The American finished fifth at the 2012 Tour de France to win the white jersey and repeated the same overall finish two years later.
In 2015, he was third overall at the Tour de France when he was forced to quit the race on stage 17 but has fallen out of favour since – playing second fiddle to Richie Porte at the Tour and being unable to seize his own chance in other races.
A Giro stage win is the best can Garderen has to his name and so, with BMC Racing set to merge with CCC Sprandi Polkowice, the 29-year-old, reaching a critical point in his career, has decided on a fresh start.
Rigoberto Uran’s career was revived by a move to Slipstream Sports (officially Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) and TVG will be hoping his own move sparks a similar revival.
Pierre Rolland (EF-Drapac to Vital Concept)
Making way for van Garderen is fellow former Tour de France white jersey winner Pierre Rolland, who will end a three-year stay with Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale.
Rolland’s biggest result in that time was a stage win at the 100th Giro d’Italia in 2017, while he was an integral part of Uran’s team when the Colombian rode to second overall at the Tour later that summer.
However, Rolland's destination may come as a surprise to some – stepping down a division to join Vital Concept, who were overlooked for a Tour de France wildcard this year.
Rolland will lead the team in the mountains, continuing to hunt for stage wins at the Tour if they are handed a wildcard, which is more likely with a French rider of Rolland's calibre in their ranks, while Bryan Coquard leads the team's sprinting ambitions.
Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott to Lotto-Soudal)
The writing was on the wall for Caleb Ewan’s relationship with Mitchelton-Scott went as soon as the team opted to omit the rising sprint star from their Tour de France line-up.
Ewan was set to make his Tour debut, but Mitchelton-Scott decided to put all their eggs in the Adam Yates basket and back the young Brit’s GC bid – a plan which backfired when Yates struggled in the Alps.
Ewan, 24, will now look to add to his 28 career wins with Lotto-Soudal instead, filling the void left by Andre Greipel’s departure from the Belgian outfit.
He will likely make his Lotto-Soudal debut at his home tour, the Tour Down Under, where both he and Greipel have enjoyed plenty of sprinting success.
With Ewan making the move, two of his former lead-out men – Roger Kluge and Luka Mezgec – are rumoured to be heading to the Belgian team, too.
Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal to Fortuneo-Samsic)
Andre Greipel turned 36 during the Tour de France, but that has not deterred Fortuneo-Samsic from signing the 11-time Tour de France stage winner on a two-year contract.
The big German sprinter has claimed 93 of his 153 professional victories during his eight-year spell with Lotto-Sodual (and its former guises) and established himself as one of the peloton’s finest sprinters.
A 22-time Grand Tour stage winner in all, Greipel was understudy to Mark Cavendish at HTC-Colombia before his move but has not looked back since being backed to lead his own sprint team.
At 36, however, he will now step down to UCI ProContinental level where he will lead the sprinting charge in tandem with Warren Barguil’s bid for glory in the mountains. The team will need a wildcard to compete at the Tour de France, but that looks very likely with Barguil and Greipel on the books.
Greipel will be without his former lead-out man Marcel Sieberg, however – his fellow German has also moved on, but will now ride for Bahrain-Merida.
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing to Bahrain-Merida)
Part of the big BMC Racing clear-out – in anticipation of the team’s merger with CCC Sprandi Polkowice – has seen a clutch of riders make the move to Bahrain-Merida.
Australian time trial ace Rohan Dennis is one of those, with the 28-year-old – a stage winner at both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France – leaving after four years with the Swiss team.
As well as those Grand Tour stage wins, Dennis has also won the Tour Down Under and USA Pro Challenge overall, and will bolster Bahrain-Merida’s team for week-long races as well as time trials.
Climber Damiano Caruso – a top-ten finisher at the Giro and Vuelta, former runner-up at the Tour de Suisse and this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico and, last month, 20th place at the Tour de France – will also make the move from BMC Racing, alongside Dylan Teuns.
It's been a busy summer for Bahrain-Merida, with young Brit Stevie Williams joining as a stagiaire ahead of a permanent move next summer and 24-year-old German Phil Bauhaus set to move for 2019, too.
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky to BMC-CCC)
Could the Tour de France champion be off to pastures new next season? Geraint Thomas seized his Tour opportunity this summer, becoming the third Brit to win cycling’s greatest race, but he has still not signed a new deal with Team Sky.
Thomas has been with the team since its inception, but can rightly command a higher salary now as reigning Tour champion (and Criterium du Dauphine winner too). Unsurprisingly, with his contract up at the end of the year he has other potential suitors, too, with the merged BMC-CCC team confirming they are one of them having made a contract offer.
The Swiss-Polish outfit are hoping the promise of a guaranteed leadership role at the Tour de France will entice the Welshman – who would otherwise probably have to share leadership with Chris Froome.
Whether that’s enough to see Thomas leave the team that performed so superbly in his service at the Tour de France, remains to be seen.
Richie Porte (BMC Racing to Trek-Segafredo)
By confirming they have offered Geraint Thomas a contract and with it sole Tour de France leadership next year, the merged BMC-CCC team have effectively confirmed Richie Porte is off this winter.
Porte joined BMC Racing from Team Sky in 2016 but the Australian has been beset by bad luck – recovering from an early crash to finish fifth at the Tour de France in 2016 but crashing out on stage nine of each of the next two editions.
The 33-year-old is set to return from his fractured collarbone at the Vuelta a Espana, with a view to getting fit for the World Championship road race.
But the Australian also has to consider his future too, with Trek-Segafredo the team linked most strongly with a move for Porte.
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data to QuickStep Floors)
Another former Team Sky rider who could be in line for a move is Edvald Boasson Hagen, the Norwegian three-time Tour stage winner.
Out of contract after four years with Africa’s Team, during which he has revived his reputation as a fast-finishing all-rounder with 26 wins, some reports have linked Boasson Hagen with a move to QuickStep Floors.
One such report on Belgian cycling website Wielerkrant suggested the move would be as a result of BMC Racing's Greg van Avermaet heading to the African team - however, the Belgian has now been confirmed as staying to lead the BMC-CCC team’s Classics hopes.
Brian Holm told TV 2 he wanted to be re-united with Boasson Hagen at Quick-Step Floors but a move away from Dimension Data may now not materialise.