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Italian WorldTour team to be wound up at end of year, but Vaughters declines to reveal sponsorpship plans

Cannondale Pro Cycling is reportedly being wound up at the end of this season, with the US bike brand becoming sponsor and bike supplier to what is currently Garmin-Sharp under a name yet to be decided, according to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, which describes the deal in loose terms as a “merger.”

The newspaper says in reality it is more a case of a shuffling of sponsorship and supplier at Garmin-Sharp, with none of  Cannondale Pro Cycling’s management moving across to the team managed by Jonathan Vaughters.

As for its riders, Peter Sagan and Ivan Basso, both among the team’s riders who will be out of contract at the end of the season, are reported to be heading to Tinkoff-Saxo.

Eight riders are contracted to the Italian WorldTour outfit, previously sponsored by Liquigas, beyond the end of the season.

They include Moreno Moser and Elia Viviani, although according to La Gazzetta dello Sport it is far from certain whether they will move across to what is currently Garmin-Sharp.

The newspaper points out that in effect there will no longer be a top-flight Italian team. Lampre-Merida is considered one by the UCI because the commercial interests of its lead sponsor are centred on Italy, but in reality the team is now run out of Lugano, Switzerland, and is subject to Swiss law.

Vaughters told Cycling News on Monday that Garmin-Sharp’s team name would change in 2015, and that its contract with bike supplier Cervélo would not be renewed once it expires at the end of the season.

He also said that while Garmin does have a contract with the team in 2015, it would not be a title sponsor, nor did he say whether Sharp would be a lead sponsor, adding that details would not be announced until deals had been finanalised.

Tinkof-Saxo owner Oleg-Tinkoff suggested that agreement had been reached with Cannondale, saying in a tweet that has since been deleted, "@Vaughters good deal with @cannondalePro. I am very much support it! #changecycling." Vaughters declined to comment on Tinkov’s tweet.

Cervélo became Garmin’s bike supplier in 2011 after a merger between the US team and Cervélo TestTeam was announced in late 2011, with a number of the latter’s riders moving across.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.