Former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski and Giro d’Italia podium finisher Mikel Landa are among seven new Team Sky signings after Sir Dave Brailsford confirmed the British WorldTour team’s 2016 squad.
Polish ace Kwiatkowski, 25, joins from Etixx-QuickStep while Landa – who won three Grand Tour stages this season – moves from Astana, with both men having been linked with the team all year.
In addition to the new signings, ten riders – including British trio Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe – have all agreed new contracts, meanwhile to join the likes of Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas who were already under contract in next year’s line-up.
Though expected, the signing of Kwiatkowski highlights the team’s ambition to be successful across the board, with the Pole having won the Amstel Gold Race this year in the rainbow jersey.
He was also second at both the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice, behind Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte respectively.
And Brailsford admitted it had been third time lucky in terms of capturing the 25-year-old’s signature.
“Michał has performed fantastically well over the past couple of years,” he said. “We have been following his career for a long time.
“We have attempted to sign him on two occasions previously and weren’t going to miss out this time around.
“Team Sky can help him progress and develop both his one-day racing and stage racing. Michał is still young, a great talent for the future, and will keep getting better.”
Kwiatkowski echoed those sentiments, adding: “Sir Dave Brailsford believes in my ability, which gives me great confidence for next season, and I know that this team can help me raise my performance levels and win big races.
“The team’s marginal gains philosophy really fits my approach to cycling and I have great respect for what this team has achieved in such a short time. I am excited and motivated to race for Team Sky next year.”
Landa, meanwhile, will boost the team’s Grand Tour squads and helps to compensate for the loss of Richie Porte to BMC Racing.
The Spaniard won two stages at the Giro d’Italia on his way to third place overall before winning another stage at the Vuelta a Espana as he helped lead Fabio Aru to victory.
He is joined by compatriot Benat Intxausti, who signs from Movistar, in bolstering Team Sky’s climbing ranks.
Danny van Poppel is another Vuelta a Espana stage winner to make the switch meanwhile, the 22-year-old Dutch sprinter having left Trek Factory Racing despite his victory in Lleida.
Kwiatkowski’s compatriot and long-time team-mate Michal Golas is the team’s fifth signing, while neo-pros Gianni Moscon and Brit Alex Peters complete the list of new signings.
Kennaugh, Rowe and Stannard are joined in penning new deals, meanwhile, by newly-crowned world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka, Ireland’s Philip Deignan, Colombian ace Sebastian Henao, Christian Knees, Vuelta a Espana top-ten finisher Mikel Nieve and veteran Spaniard Xabier Zandio.
Leaving, however, are Australian trio Porte, Nathan Earle and Chris Sutton, American veteran Danny Pate, Belarussian Kanstantsin Siutsou and Austrian powerhouse Bernie Eisel.
The latter has been strongly linked with a move to MTN-Qhubeka, to reunite with Mark Cavendish should his former team-mate make the switch.
Brailsford said of his new squad: “It’s a strong team – led by Chris Froome – that will ensure we can be even more competitive in all the major races – from Grand Tours to Classics.
“We have recruited some of the best young talent from around the world in Michal Kwiatkowski and Mikel Landa for example.
“At the same time we have been able to keep the nucleus of this year’s successful team together by re-signing riders of the calibre of Vasil Kiryienka – the new time trial world champion.”
And he was pleased to have added to the team’s British core too, concluding: “Cycling is a global sport and Team Sky will always look to recruit the best riders from around the world. But we remain a British team with a strong British core.
“I’m pleased the five British riders who were such a big part of this year’s successful Tour de France team will all be riding for us again in 2016 – along with new signing Alex Peters.”
Team Sky for 2016
New signings: Michal Kwiatkowski, Michal Golas, Benat Intxausti, Mikel Landa, Gianni Moscon, Alex Peters, Danny van Poppel
Contract renewals: Ian Boswell, Philip Deignan, Sebastian Henao, Peter Kennaugh, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Mikel Nieve, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Xabier Zandio
Already under contract: Chris Froome, Andy Fenn, Sergio Henao, Leopold Konig, David Lopez, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Wout Poels, Salvatore Puccio, Nicolas Roche, Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas, Elia Viviani