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Arkea Samsic deny Katusha-Alpecin merger for 2020

Joe Robinson
31 Jul 2019

Katusha owner Igor Makarov was believed to have reached a deal to merge with the French ProContinental team

ProContinental setup Arkea-Samsic have denied rumours they wil merge with WorldTour team Katusha-Alpecin for 2020.

It was reported by Dutch website Wielerflits that the current owner of Katusha-Alpecin, Igor Makarov, had reached a deal with the French second division team to combine the two teams for next season with the Russian retaining ownership of the WorldTour licence.

However, these rumours have since been denied by Arkea-Samsic team director Emmanual Hubert.

Talking to French newspaper Le Telegram, Hubert said 'Like other teams considering WorldTour, we were surveyed by the Katusha team. But we did not respond to this proposal,'

'It’s out of the question for the Arkéa-Samsic team to make an alliance with Katusha.'

The original rumours suggested Makarov had been in talks with various teams regarding over a potential merger before agreeing a deal with Arkea-Samsic.

Sources suggested that the team would consist of 11 riders still under contract from each of the existing teams. The squad would then be completed with the signatures Arkea-Samsic already have in place for 2020 including Nairo Quintana and Nacer Bouhanni.

It was also believed that talks are so advanced that riders have even been shown revised contracts for the merger.

British duo Alex Dowsett and Harry Tanfield are among the 11 Katusha riders under contract for 2020 and are expected to be retained in any potential merger alongside the likes of Jens Debusschere and Rick Zabel.

The report also included Paris-Roubaix runner-up Nils Politt however it is believed the German Classics specialist has already agreed on a move to Deceuninck-QuickStep. Former Vuelta a Espana podium finisher Ilnur Zakarin is one of those expected to depart.

Arkea-Samsic also have 11 riders contracted through 2020 who are expected to ride for the team next season, including French National Champion Warren Barguil and British rider Connor Swift.

The list of riders also included veteran sprinter Andre Greipel however it has been speculated that the German could leave the team early after a largely disappointing season.

Nairo Quintana will be moving over from Movistar to lead the team's General Classification hopes, supported by brother Dayer and fellow Colombian Winner Anacona, while Nacer Bouhanni will be joining from Cofidis.

Team Ineos riders Deigo Rosa is also on his way as well as young Spanish climber Fernando Barcelo.

During the Tour de France, rumours circulated that Katusha would be closing its doors at the end of 2019 due to insufficient funds as a result of co-sponsors Alpecin and Canyon cutting ties with the team.

It is rumoured both ended their relationship with Katusha in order to invest in the Corendon-Circus ProcContinental team fronted by Amstel Gold Race winner Mathieu van der Poel.

Replacing Canyon as bike sponsor, the newly combined team was also expected to ride BMC bikes from January 1st however this is now in doubt.