Transfer Mechanics: Market already open for business as teams chase deals for 2025

The star names up for grabs and the forces at play across the men's and women's pelotons

Clock15:04, Tuesday 6th February 2024

© Sprint Cycling Agency

Julian Alaphilippe, Simon Yates and Demi Vollering highlight the riders out of contract for the 2025 season

We’ve not even seen the likes of Primož Roglič and Cian Uijtdebroeks turn a pedal in anger for their new teams this season, but the transfer market waits for no rider, with agents and teams already making plans for 2025.

Both men’s and women’s pelotons are set for a flurry of transfer activity in the coming weeks but each side finds itself in a distinctively different position. Whereas the majority of the stars on the men’s side are locked in for the coming years, it’s almost the exact opposite on the women’s side, with several powerhouse teams facing the prospect of seeing their leaders depart for pastures new.

On the men’s side, the biggest names on the market include Julian Alaphilippe, Jai Hindley, Jasper Philipsen, Simon Yates, Ben O’Connor, Kasper Asgreen, Stefan Küng, Romain Bardet, Finn Fisher-Black, Stefan Bissegger, Lennard Kämna, Aleksandr Vlasov, Marc Hirschi, Ethan Hayter and Thymen Arensman.

On the women’s side Demi Vollering, Lotte Kopecky, Grace Brown, Sarah Gigante, Lizzie Deignan, Juliette Labous, and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot are all out of contract. SD Worx only have three riders under contract for next season, while the situation is similar at several other Women’s WorldTour squads that have historically formed contracts between and around Olympic Games cycles.

Read more: Pro cycling transfers – Every move for the 2024 season

The factors that will drive the transfer market into 2024 are also varied. New investment from Red Bull will inject fresh hope into Bora-Hansgrohe’s development, while UAE Team Emirates, Ineos Grenadiers and Visma-Lease a Bike will continue to set the tone with their deep pockets and thirst for up-and-coming talent.

WorldTour teams are habitually signing up juniors and U23 stars on long-term deals, while at the same time breaking up existing contracts for the leaders and renegotiating new terms in a bid to stave out interests from rivals. Few GC contenders, for example, are reaching the final years of their current deals these days.

Bora-Hansgrohe and Red Bull could lead the men's market

Bora-Hansgrohe are easily one of the most interesting projects to watch over the coming months. The investment from Red Bull opens up significant opportunities for the German team but what’s also striking is just how much room they have to play with. Only one rider from the 2023 Tour team currently has a contract with the squad for 2025, and Sergio Higuita, Jai Hindley, Bob Jungels, Emanuel Buchmann, Lennard Kämna and Aleksandr Vlasov are all out of contract next season.

Read more: Red Bull takeover of Bora-Hansgrohe confirmed by Austrian FCA

GCN understands that multiple teams are already looking at Kämna as a possible GC rider, while Hindley's market value could conceivably drop over the next six months as he supports Roglič at the Tour, which would make the former Giro d’Italia winner an even more attractive option for several WorldTour teams. Team boss Ralph Denk has huge potential to bolster his squad and shape it in almost any direction he wishes.

Visma-Lease a Bike have less flexibility in the market. The Dutch squad have 27 riders on their men’s team in 2024 and have designs on keeping to that number for next year. Robert Gesink is set to retire but every one of the main stars on the squad is tied to a long-term deal, with Sepp Kuss, Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard all aboard for the foreseeable future. Perhaps the biggest name on the team without a contract for 2025 is Milan Vader.

“We have 27 riders this year so we have three more to fill if we want,” sports director Merijn Zeeman told GCN this week.

“Everything depends on what’s possible sporting-wise and budget-wise. I'm working on that in the background for 2025. If we can keep the roster like this and keep it at 27 riders, then we’re quickly there but so much depends on the availability of quality and what we can bring into the team,” he said.

Read more: Ranking the men's WorldTour teams based on new signings

At UAE Team Emirates it’s a similar situation, with all the GC leaders and young talent tied down to long-term deals. There is slightly more wiggle room for team boss Mauro Gianetti compared to his Visma counterpart in that Finn Fisher-Black, Tim Wellens, Michael Vink, Marc Hirschi, Mikkel Bjerg, Alessandro Covi and Domen Novak are among those out of contract. Adam Yates currently has one more year left on his deal but could extend before entering 2025.

The number-one ranked team in the world can afford to play a waiting game when it comes to retaining the services of a number of riders given their financial clout and ability to draw the very best from the junior and U23 ranks.

Ineos Grenadiers re-signed a batch of riders on two-year deals at the tail end of 2023, leaving them with around 20 riders already on the books for next season. Ethan Hayter is probably the most prominent rider without a deal heading into 2025 but Jhonatan Narváez and Elia Viviani are both on expiring deals. We’re waiting on confirmation regarding the status of Thymen Arensman, who signed an initial two-year deal with the team at the start of 2023.

Jayco-AlUIa had a fine off-season in terms of the market, picking up Luke Plapp from Ineos and Caleb Ewan from Lotto Dstny. Their main priority this time around will be retaining Simon Yates. The British climber has attracted interest before, with Lidl-Trek a former suitor but at 31, and with his place on the team firmly established, it would take a lot for Yates to move on. The team would be wise to retain Yates on a one or two-year deal and aim to develop Plapp into a possible long-term success - even though both riders have completely different styles of racing. Chris Harper, Amund Grøndahl Jansen, Jesús David Peña and Lucas Hamilton are among those out of contract but the majority should stay.

Read more: Visma-Lease a Bike welcome competition from Red Bull following major cycling investment

Lidl-Trek made a big splash in 2023, signing the likes of Tao Geoghegan Hart and Jonathan Milan. This time around their activity will be based around adding depth to key areas and, as GCN already revealed, Mattias Skjelmose signed a new long-term deal over the winter that ties him to the team until the end of 2026.

Alpecin-Deceuninck looks set to offer Mathieu van der Poel a new deal but the team have several key athletes in the final year of their deals, with Sam Gaze, Kaden Groves, Søren Kragh Andersen, Jasper Philipsen all drawing attention. Philipsen will definitely draw a market from rival teams, with several squads already monitoring the situation of the sprinter who won four stages at last year's Tour de France.

Patrick Lefevere’s Soudal Quick-Step picked up a number of up-and-coming riders last winter and aligned them with the experience of Gianni Moscon and Mikel Landa. This year Lefevere will need to decide how to handle the situations involving Kasper Asgreen and Julian Alaphilippe. Both marquee riders are out of contract and Lefevere must choose whether to hand out expensive new deals or invest those funds in providing more support for Remco Evenepoel.

Other riders reportedly out of contract at the end of the season, and confirmed by GCN, include Stefan Kung – he has the option of extending with FDJ for 2025 but can listen to rival offers – Fausto Masnada, Gianni Moscon, Gianluca Brambilla, Samuele Battistella, Michael Valgren, Rui Costa, Hugh Carthy, Jonas Rutsch, Simon Carr, Michael Gogl, Johan Jacobs, Maurice Ballerstedt, Tobias Bayer, Patrick Gamper, Jason Osborne, Michael Schwarzmann, Rüdiger Selig, Liam Slock, Itamar Einhorn, Ion Izagirre, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Orluis Aular, Ben O’Connor, Edoardo Zambanini, Giulio Pellizzari, Fernando Gaviria, Oier Lazkano, Ivan Sosa and Alex Aranburu.

Women’s WorldTour

In the women’s WorldTour it would probably be more efficient to note down who has a contract for 2025 rather than the other way around, such is the glut of athletes who are in their final years at major teams.

Team SD Worx - Protime confirmed to GCN this week that only Lorena Wiebes and two other riders have deals for next year, leaving Demi Vollering, Niamh Fisher-Black, Blanka Vas, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, Anna Shackley and world champion Lotte Kopecky all on the market.

Canyon-SRAM are in a similar place, with only a handful of riders tied to the team for 2025. Chloe Dygert is one of those athletes, having extended her deal last winter. Tiffany Cromwell and several others are in the final years of their existing deals. 

Read more: EF Education-Cannondale announce their debut roster

Elynor Backstedt, Lizzie Deignan and Amanda Spratt are all up for renewal at Lidl-Trek, while Movistar buck the trend with around a dozen riders already on deals for 2025. Their main issue will be retaining Emma Norsgaard, who is up for negotiations.

EF-Education Cannondale have the basis of their team already formed for 2025, with Veronica Ewers, Kristen Faulkner and Noemi Rüegg set for next year but Clara Koppenburg and Coryn Labecki free to talk to rival teams this season.

Liv AlUla Jayco have confirmed to GCN that they have five riders contracted for 2025. Georgia Baker, Alexandra Manly, and Urška Žigart are among those in their final years, while Grace Brown, Katie Archibald, Juliette Labous, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, and Anna Henderson are also out of contract with their respective teams.

GCN will update this page as more out-of-contract riders are confirmed.

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