MILAN (VN) — Peter Sagan will not join Fernando Alonso’s new team in 2015, at least not for €3.3 million, a figure Paolo Bettini believes is too high.
“It seems that his manager exaggerated. If someone is offering that amount of money I don’t see why he’s waiting to sign,” Bettini, who joined the team’s management in January, told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We haven’t talk about this, but with Alonso I was clear: with that amount of money we can sign three riders, one to stay on his wheel and make him lose, and two to win.”
Sagan, who has raced with the Liquigas/Cannondale franchise since he turned professional in 2010, won a peloton-best 22 races in 2013, three more than former world champion Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). Along the way, the Slovak champion won a stage and the green jersey at the Tour de France, as well as the Gent-Wevelgem classic.
His contract, after renewing in 2012, runs through the end of this season. Last week, tuttobici.com reported that Bettini had confirmed a €3.3 million ($4.45 million) deal with Sagan for 2015 and 2016. UCI rules, however, prohibit the team and Sagan from announcing any deal before August 1.
Alonso’s ambitious projection moving ahead
Alonso’s project is moving ahead for a 2015 debut. The two-time Formula One champion convinced Bettini to leave his job as coach of the Italian national team, but the two-time road world champion would not reveal details when talking with La Gazzetta on Sunday. Bettini did say that he works directly with Alonso’s manager, Luis García Abad, and receives e-mail updates from Alonso.
After meetings in Madrid, Bettini visited the the GP Etruschi on Sunday near his home in Livorno.
“For the moment, I haven’t signed any contract,” he said. “I don’t even know the name of the management group.”
Alonso, according to reports, wanted former Spanish professionals Kiko García or José Luis “Chechu” Rubiera in his management team. La Gazzetta reported that García pulled out for personal reasons. Bettini added that Rubiera would not join.
“I can assure you that no one has signed a contract or has a deal. Not any sports directors, riders, or staff members,” Bettini said. “Rubiera is Fernando’s good friend, and recommended, but he won’t be part of the team. Right now everyone is interested in joining us, but we have nothing in hand, not even a sponsor as far as I know.”
A five-year deal is reportedly already in place with a United Arab Emirates-based backer. Bettini said that the squad might secure its sponsor in Dubai in the coming days. The first Dubai Tour opens Wednesday.