Trek-Segafredo is setting up a development team that will be managed by the Alberto Contador Foundation, with two-time Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso heading up the sporting side of the new outfit.
With three-year sponsorship deals agreed with US-based clothing firm Polartec and Italy-based meat products firm Kometa, the team aims to compete at UCI Professional Continental level with Contador’s brother Fran in charge of the administrative side of the project.
The Alberto Contador Foundation, set up by the multiple Grand Tour winner who retires after the Vuelta, has run junior and under-23 teams for the past five years, with the new initiative taking it to the next level.
It will seek to recruit riders from that existing pathway to the professional ranks, as well as from elsewhere, and will be based in Contador’s home town of Pinto near Madrid, as well as undertaking training camps in and around the town of Bormio in the Italian Alps.
Basso, winner of the 2006 and 2010 editions of the Giro d’Italia, retired in 2015 after abandoning the Tour de France following being diagnosed with testicular cancer. At the time, he was a team mate of Contador’s at Tinkoff-Saxo. He made a full recovery following surgery.
Speaking about the new project, the 39-year-old said: "This team is the realisation of a professional dream that Alberto and me have matured for a long time, after sharing many experiences as cyclists and friends.
“We wanted to create something together and I am happy and proud to have achieved this thanks to the support of Trek-Segafredo, who for a year has given me the responsibility to follow the young talent linked to its team.
“Our main objective is to continue working with the young people, an ideal that has united us, Trek-Segafredo, Polartec and Kometa in this adventure."
Contador, twice winner of both the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia and a three-time Vuelta champion, said: "What has united Ivan and me in this project is the dream of giving back to cycling a little of everything that it has given us.
“We are convinced that by joining forces we can do much more to help young people to reach a professional level.
“Thanks to Polartec and Kometa, along with the fundamental support of Trek-Segafredo, where I feel like at home, the Alberto Contador Foundation, directed by my brother Fran, takes a very important step and adds a continental team to the existing school and the junior and U23 teams, which will continue to form the young riders in the values embodied in cycling: teamwork, solidarity, perseverance and sacrifice."
Trek-Segafredo general manager Luca Guercilena said that the UCI WorldTour team’s decision “to invest in the young is not only a necessity, but also an ethical commitment with the future of cycling.
“After this last year of working with Alberto, we have a lot of confidence in his Foundation for the work they are doing with the young people and that is why we have offered them the management of this great project.”
He added; “As a professional team, our goal is to find and develop the best cycling talent and we believe that with the Alberto Contador Foundation we have found the best way to do it.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.