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Vincenzo Nibali has not officially moved into retirement but that hasn’t stopped the multiple grand tour winner from making plans for 2023, with the Italian linked to a consultancy role on Doug Ryder’s new team.
According to several sources and a report in today’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Swiss-based team is set to have an initial five-year plan with hopes of one day stepping into the WorldTour. Ryder has not announced any sponsors for next year and he declined to comment last month when VeloNews reported the news that he was seeking to finalize backers and a roster.
Ryder has been looking to bounce back after losing his WorldTour license at the end of 2021 with the demise of Qhubeka-NextHash.
At the start of August VeloNews reported that Ryder was in the middle of building a second-tier team for the coming season with talks between rider agents and sponsors all moving in the right direction.
At the time VeloNews learned that Ivan Glasenberg, a successful South African billionaire, was financially propping up the project.
Glasenberg retired as CEO of Glencore, one of the world’s biggest mining and commodities trading companies in 2021 but since then moved to Switzerland, where his passion for cycling blossomed.
In 2021 Glasenberg also invested in Q36.5, an Italian cycling apparel company. The Q in the brand’s name stands for quaerere, which means ‘research’ in Latin. The numbers refer to the temperature, in Celsius, of the human body at its optimum temperature.
It’s understood that Glasenberg will be a prominent figure moving forward in relation to the team and that Q36.5 will supply clothing materials next year. A deal with Scott bikes for equipment is also in the mix. Nibali is also set to become an ambassador for Q36.5, according to La Gazzetta.
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As for Nibali’s involvement, one source close to the Italian told VeloNews that the rider would take on a board position as something similar to an ambassador or consultant. This is due to his ties with key potential team sponsors Breitling and a Swiss bank, which VeloNews understands will be the title sponsor for the team.
According to La Gazzetta, “Nibali will enter the board as an advisor, will have an active role in the choice of athletes, and will make available his experience in the fields of training, nutrition and performance.”
Nibali, 37, announced his formal retirement at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year. He is currently racing the Vuelta a España – a race he won back in 2010. His final race of the season is likely to be Il Lombardia, a race he won twice during his career.