Although pro cycling’s transfer season is beginning to cool off as the leaves turn, a few notable moves were confirmed this week in both the men’s and women’s pelotons.
American Larry Warbasse is returning to the WorldTour with Ag2r La Mondiale following the collapse of the Aqua Blue Sport team. Former world time trial champion Ellen van Dijk will join the growing Trek women’s team.
Based in Nice, France, Warbasse said Ag2r will offer him an opportunity to contribute as a domestique.
“I live in Nice and I will use it to continue to immerse myself in the French culture,” Warbasse said. “I already know some riders with whom I have good relations in the pack.
“I am a pretty complete rider, both a climber and a rouleur. I hope I can contribute to some more victories. I will do my best to find my place, be a good teammate, enjoy the chance to ride for Romain Bardet or Oliver Naesen … and seize the opportunities for my own victories that may arise.”
He is the first American to ride for the French team in its 19-year history.
Warbasse won 2017 U.S. Pro road national championships as well as a stage at Tour de Suisse.
Van Dijk’s transfer comes after two years with Team Sunweb, where she was a key lead-out rider for Coryn Rivera.
A professional since 2006, van Dijk has 40 major wins to her credit, most recently having won the European time trial championships and Dutch national championships in the TT.
“I’m very excited to join the Trek Factory Racing team next year,” she said. “It’s great to see Trek stepping up as a sponsor and bringing women’s cycling to a higher level with this team. The way they approach women’s cycling is exactly what is needed to see it grow,” said van Dijk.
On Tuesday, Trek also confirmed the signing of Italian up-and-comer Letizia Paternoster, 19.
The team is headlined by former world road champion Lizzie Deignan.
In addition to Warbasse, Eddie Dunbar is another refugee of the Aqua Blue program who has found a WorldTour ride. Team Sky confirmed Thursday that the Irishman will begin racing in its white and blue kit immediately.
Dunbar will debut with Team Sky Saturday at Coppa Agostoni in Italy. He has a deal through 2019.
“Sometimes a team folding is the way the sport goes. I just had to be professional about it and understand the situation. Luckily Sky came along and they offered me a block of Italian races which is good preparation for Innsbruck,” Dunbar said. Still only 22 years old, he will race the under-23 world championships in Austria.
“It’s all fallen into place for me — and I can’t wait to get started now,” he added.