Just when the Mark Cavendish transfer saga appeared to be nearing conclusion, the team reportedly first in line for his signature have now cancelled their mega pre-Tour de France route reveal press conference due to "the absence of some of the main stakeholders in the 2023 team's project".
With the road racing season winding down, transfer speculation about where the Manx Missile will be riding post-Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl departure ramped up, fuelled by sightings at events, internet whispers and tenuous connections.
However, the speculation-packed rumour mill seemed to be settling down last week when most people 'in the know' came to the conclusion that French UCI ProTeam B&B Hotels-KTM would be Cav's new home.
[📷: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com]
However, the team has now cancelled the press conference scheduled for tomorrow in Paris to share their new riders and sponsors with the public, one day before the Tour de France route is revealed on Thursday, also in the French capital.
"Due to the absence of some of the main stakeholders in the 2023 team's project, there will be no press conference held by the B&B Hotels-KTM team this week," the team said.
"We will keep you posted on the date when it will be held. Have a good evening and see you soon."
According to L'Équipe the team did not apply for a WorldTour or ProTeam licence for 2023 before the October deadline, but that should not be an issue for getting one at a later date. The reason for this was reportedly issues with creating the new legal structure behind the team, and finalising the budget.
The French newspaper says the link to the City of Paris would only be a naming rights deal so the team remains in search of funds — Amazon France, Carrefour, Cdiscount, Enedis and Engie have all rumoured to be in discussion, although the latter two now seem most likely.
Back in August, B&B Hotels-KTM team boss Jérôme Pineau said the deal to sign Cavendish was "quite complicated" and described it as a "50-50" chance.
Yesterday, CyclingTips spotted Cav had been getting quite chummy with Factor Bikes CEO Rob Gitelis at the Leblanq "Michelin-standard attention" cycling holiday in Ibiza, prompting wild speculation a last-minute move to Israel-Premier tech, the WorldTour team who ride Factor bikes, could be on the cards.
Beyond a couple of Insta posts there does not actually seem to be any hard evidence, but it's all part of silly season detective work...
At the time of writing B&B Hotels-KTM have not rescheduled their big reveal press conference.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.