Movistar may have ruled themselves out of potentially signing Chris Froome from Team Ineos but the Spanish WorldTour squad have revealed that they are monitoring the situation at CCC after it was revealed that Greg Van Avermaet’s team would have to find a new sponsor for 2021.
Movistar have been one of the least affected squads in terms of sponsorship worries in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, while several other teams have let staff go, furloughed others, and enforced pay cuts and deferrals.
Movistar’s stability was one of the reasons Froome, who is exploring his options for 2021 and even for the rest of this year, was initially linked with the team. However, directeur sportif Max Sciandri confirmed that the Spanish squad had not discussed the four-time Tour de France winner as a possible target – at least not in a serious manner.
"La Gazzetta dello Sport called me at 10 o’clock one evening about a week ago. I didn’t know about the story and I don’t know why he [Froome] would want to move during the season," Sciandri told Cyclingnews.
"It’s funny, because we have a message group with the management and directors and there was a picture of Froome in a Movistar jersey going around and I threw it on there and everyone went ballistic. Honestly, I don’t know about it and we’ve not spoken about it internally."
On a more serious note, the situation at CCC Team looks somewhat bleaker. Riders have already taken pay cuts after their main sponsor was hit with massive revenue losses owning to the COVID-19 lockdown. Earlier in May, it was reported that the team would need to find a new sponsor at the end of this year, with CCC deciding to step down.
If the CCC management fail to find a sponsor, that would force 28 riders onto the market. Movistar already have a complete roster for this year but Sciandri, who used to work for the team when it was known as BMC Racing, added that the Spanish team had begun initial discussions around who they might try and sign at a later date.
"When the news hit about CCC, we did have a chat within the team about a few of their riders, but we’ve not heard about Froome. There were a few names with CCC, because they’ve had some issues, but I think a few teams will be interested in them. With all the issues going on at the moment it’s not the right time, though, because the priority is to carry on racing," Sciandri said.
"At the same time, I know [team manager] Jim Ochowicz well and I’m sure that he’ll pull out a sponsor for a year or two. He has a lot of friends in California and I’m sure he can do something there.
"We had a major change this year with eight or nine young guys coming in. Maybe later we’d throw in one or two more later on. We were going to have a meeting during the Spring Classics but that obviously didn’t happen."
With the resumption of the calendar set for August, teams have began plotting their routes back to competition. Movistar will make the necessary adjustments around rosters given that the UCI has looked to cram three Grand Tours into 71 days but the leadership at major events remains settled.
"We’ll more or less stick with a young team for the Giro but we want to see how true the calendar is. It’s going to be hard to respect that calendar with things like the accommodation and the hotels," Sciandri said.
"We just need to get going and then things will hopefully fall into place. From our major players, [Alejandro] Valverde will be doing the Tour and the Vuelta and Enric Mas will do the same."