Deconstructing the transfer market: Understanding the big deals and top trends of the ‘silly season’

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The ‘silly season’ of the 2023 transfer got pretty silly, very quickly.

Lidl-Trek and Emirates UAE have closed the doors on some blockbuster deals, top sprinters are swapping WorldTour rivals and, of course, questions remain over the futures of Mark Cavendish and Remco Evenepoel.

And these are just a few select titles.

Struggling to make sense of all the nonsense?

Here are the highlights so far from the men’s WorldTour transfer window and some tasty nuggets to look out for in the coming weeks.

Read also:

Note The following analyzes only capture the main movements since August 16:

The big movers: Lidl-Trek, Emirates UAE, Ineos Grenadiers

‘TGH’ was in the form of his life at the Giro before a crash ended his race. His exit leaves Ineos Grenadiers less than a GC contender. (Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)


  • IN: Jonathan Milan, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Andrea Bagioli (all 2026), Patrick Konrad (2025)
  • RENEWALS: Quinn Simmons (2026), Giulio Ciccone (2027)

Emirate of UAE

  • IN: Nils Politt, Pavel Sivakov (both 2026)

Ineos Grenadiers

  • OUTSIDE: Tao Geoghegan Hart, Pavel Sivakov
  • NEWS: Carlos Rodriguez

Emirates of the UAE, Lidl-Trek and Ineos Grenadiers were at the center of some of the summer’s signings. And it was Ineos Grenadiers – the former powerhouse of the pro peloton – who were the surprising ‘victim’ of potentially the two biggest switches so far.

The departure of Tao Geoghegan Hart and Pavel Sivakov from Ineos Grenadiers spells serious trouble for Britain’s 2024 climbing team’s ambitions.

As if that wasn’t enough to make Dave Brailsford sweat, rising Spanish star Carlos Rodríguez has also been linked elsewhere for the new year. Ineos Grenadiers may need to keep hold of Rodríguez even harder than before if they want to keep a foot in the grand tour door.

But Brailsford and Jim Ratcliffe are no fools – it could be a big deal. Remko, all eyes are on you.

Emirates UAE’s climbing bench behind Tadej Pogačar, João Almeida, Juan Ayuso and Adam Yates got even deeper with the addition of Pavel Sivakov.

The team has been hit by two big losses to Jumbo-Visma this season and is all-in on their mission to buy their way to the top of the GC stage. With a roller de luxe Nils Politt also arriving at the team in 2024, “Pogi” and Co. they are guaranteed elite support in all territories.

Meanwhile, Lidl-Trek added some serious weight to both the GC and sprinter units in the form of Tao Geoghegan Hart, Patrick Konrad and Jonathan Milan.

The US-based team thrived in their mold as an unruly scene-chasing mob, but the signings of ‘TGH’ and Milan will give the team two new centers of trajectory until 2026.

The sprinters’ carousel

Fabio Jakobsen quickly exits Quick-Step and moves to DSM. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
  • Arnaud Demare: Groupama FDJ – Arkéa-Samsic (2025)
  • Fabio Jakobsen: Soudal Quick-Step – DSM-Firmenich (2026)
  • Sam Bennett: Bora-Hansgrohe – Ag2r Citroën (Rumors)
  • Sam Welsford: DSM – Bora-Hansgrohe (Rumoured)

Some of the fastest finishers in the peloton are speeding around the transfer carousel this summer.

Even with Soudal Quick-Step’s new focus on Remco Evenepoel, the Wolfpack seemed surprised to let Fabio Jakobsen go – the Dutchman guaranteed wins and had a deep emotional history with the team.

History dictates that sprinters suffer when escaping the clutches of Patrick Lefevere’s stout top crew. It will be fascinating to see if Jakobsen bucks the trend and returns to dominance in 2022 with DSM-Firmenich.

Conversely, there was no surprise when Arnaud Démare left Groupama-FDJ – there are only so many choices a rider can make. The Frenchman’s move to rivals Arkéa-Samsic sees Démare get the exit with his middle fingers up.

And raising the rumours, it could all change at Bora-Hansgrohe.

Sam Bennett continues to suffer from driving with a racing team and is reportedly on the way out, with DSM’s rising Australian speedster Sam Welsford said to be set to fill the void.

And who replaces Welsford at DSM-Firmenich? You got it – Jakobsen.

The WorldTour wannabes: Uno-X, Tudor Pro Cycling

Magnus Cort brings a bundle of scene hunter experience and a Danish passport to the Uno-X.

One X:

  • IN: Magnus Cort, Andreas Leknessund (both 2026), Markus Hoelgaard (2024)
  • FAMOUS AT: Michael Mørkøv

Tudor Pro Cycling:

  • IN: Matteo Trentin, Michael Storer, Floran Stork, Marius Mayrhofer (all 2026), Alberto Dianese (2025)

Uno-X and Tudor Pro Cycling are taking some big steps in their WorldTour ambitions.

Both of these ProTeam teams are looking for promotion to the top tier in 2026 and need to collect a stack of UCI points to do so. The signings of Magnus Cort, Andreas Leknessund, Micahel Storer and Matteo Trentin should give them some big bang for their buck.

Cort and Leknessund are perfect signatures for the Uno-X. The two men reinforce the team’s Scandi identity and should fit the team’s aggro race style.

Meanwhile, Fabian Cancellara’s Tudor crew could reinvent themselves next year with the arrival of five former WorldTour riders in a squad dominated by the under-25s.

Michael Mørkøv is also touted to link up with athletic brother Jesper at Uno-X next year (if Astana doesn’t find him first – see below). The Rolls Royce front man would bring more than a decade of extra experience to his young home team and could prove crucial to them building on a string of leading Tour de France results from 2023.

Evenepoel, Cavendish, Jumbo-Visma: Big questions for the kings of the peloton

When Evenepoel is not playing, he is quashing contract rumours.

Astana Kazakhstan:

  • IN: Max Kanter, Ide Schelling, Anthon Charmig (all 2025)
  • RENEWAL: Cees Bol (2025)
  • RENEWAL COMES / AT: Mark Cavendish, Michael Mørkøv

Soudal Quick-Step

  • OUTSIDE: Mauro Schmid, Andrea Bagioli, Fabio Jakobsen, Ethan Vernon
  • IN: Luke Lamperti (2025)
  • NEWS: Remco Evenepoel
  • FAMOUS AT: Mikel Landa, George Bennett

Jumbo Visma:

  • IN: Matteo Jorgenson (2026)

The most interesting stories always emerge from anticipation, and this year is no different.

Mark Cavendish and specifically Remco Evenepoel fill enough column inches for their own dedicated dailies and provide enough drama to sell their stories on Netflix.

Evenepoel remains linked with Ineos Grenadiers despite his ongoing contract with Soudal Quick-Step, while Cavendish could see another year if Astana-Kazaqstan has anything to do with it.

Evenepoel is reportedly unhappy with his support for the Quick-Step climber, and the departure of top homegrown Mauro Schmid probably won’t have helped.

The exit of the Ineos Grenadiers climbers in 2024 could hint that a big new name is set to join the team as part of its mission to return to the top of the Tour de France. And if anyone is going to level with Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard, it’s Evenepoel.

However, sources within the peloton say that Mikel Landa and George Bennett could be part of the Belgian “Wolfpack” in 2024. Their futures could be strongly intertwined with Evenepoel’s.

Cavendish has an open door to compete for another year with Astana-Kazaqstan in his bid to go one better than Eddy Merckx.

The Vine has been quiet since Alexander Vinokourov made his bid, but the arrival of Max Kanter and the renewal of top ace Cees Bol suggest that “Vino” has sprint aspirations written in his notebook for 2024.

Michael Mørkøv – the mastermind behind the sprint train that led Cavendish to four stage wins at the 2021 Tour de France – has also joined the team to further add to Cav-civation.

Mark Cavendish
Another year, Cav? (Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)

And Jumbo-Visma?

The story is that the grand tour-slayer has just taken a seat on the transfer merry-go-round with the recent signing of Matteo Jorgenson.

Rohan Dennis and Jos Van Emden both retire at the end of this season, leaving an experience gap in the squad, and Tobias Foss is likely to leave

Even without Dennis, Van Emden and Foss, Jumbo-Visma does not need other riders in what would still be the strongest group in the peloton.

However, the additional classics and racing artillery would no doubt help his bid to remain at the top of the WorldTour – expect more signings, soon.

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