Friday opens the official opening of transfer season, and though most deals have been finalized weeks and months ago, expect a wave of announcements in the coming days.
The first moves to be publicly confirmed are transfers involving Lars Boom to Astana, and Nacer Bouhanni to Cofidis.
Boom, the former world cyclocross champion riding for Belkin, confirmed a two-year deal with Astana. Boom won the prestigious stage across the cobbles at stage 5 in the Tour de France, and will help bolster Astana’s classics program going into 2015-2016.
On his Facebook page, Boom wrote, “Next two years I’m proud to join team Astana. After 10 years of Rabobank (now team Belkin) where I started in 2004 as Continental rider I felt it would be good to look out for a new challenge and thus a new team. It was hard decision after so many years but for me this was the moment. After not being sure team Belkin would continue I was asked by few teams to think about the possibility to join their team. At that point I started to realize this could be the right decision to challenge the next step. From the start on Astana was interested and Alexander Vinokourov convinced me that I would fit perfectly in the best team of last Tour the France. I feel really confident with the decision to be part of team Astana next year. I will have strong support for the spring classics as well be valuable for the team during Tour de France which will next year start in Utrecht, the Netherlands.”
“Boom is a racer for the classics but also for grand tours,” said Vinokourov. “He won the Tour stage on the cobblestones in conditions I haven’t seen in 10 years.”
Boom will be joined at Astana by Luis Leon Sanchez, who rode for three years with Rabobank and later Belkin, before he was released amid doping suspicion. Sanchez spent 2014 with professional continental team Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.
The other is the move of Bouhanni from FDJ.fr to Cofidis as part of a two-year deal for the promising French sprinter.
Bouhanni, 24, has emerged as one of France’s best young sprinters, but he was unhappy sharing sprinter duties with Arnaud Démare at FDJ.
Bouhanni won three stages and the points jersey at the Giro d’Italia, but did not race the Tour, as FDJ brought Démare instead. Knowing that Bouhanni was likely to leave, FDJ wasn’t keen to take him to the Tour.
The French wires were also reporting that Canadian Dominique Rollin would return to the pro ranks with Cofidis next season. Rollin, 31, was left without a contract at the end of last season with FDJ, but was one of Bouhanni’s men of confidence for the sprints. Rollin could not be reached for confirmation, but several French outlets are reporting he is set to return with Cofidis.
Cofidis has signed nine new riders, but has dropped Jerome Coppel and Rein Taaramae.