UCI WorldTour transfer round-up: the biggest deals confirmed so far

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UCI WorldTour 2017 transfer round-up: the biggest summer deals confirmed so far

World champion Peter Sagan heads list of star riders on the move for the 2017 season

August marks the start of the official cycling transfer window, with plenty of UCI WorldTour stars confirming where they will be riding from 2017 onwards.

And already, with deals having been done earlier in the season but not allowed to be confirmed until Monday August 1, no shortage of of big-name transfers have been revealed in the fortnight or so since.

Peter Sagan will ride for Bora-hansgrohe in 2017 (Pic: Sirotti)

Oleg Tinkov’s departure from the sport means the Tinkoff squad are all looking for new teams for 2017, while Bora-Argon 18 (to be renamed Bora-hansgrohe) are likely to be busy as they bid to step up to WorldTour level next year.

It is fitting, therefore, that Tinkoff’s world champion Peter Sagan was among the first riders officially snapped up by Bora for the 2017 campaign.

So who is off to pastures new? We’ve rounded up some of the biggest transfers below.

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff to Bora-hansgrohe)

World champion Peter Sagan will spearhead Bora-hansgrohe’s Classics charge in 2017, after the German team confirmed the high-profile signing of the five-time Tour de France green jersey winner.

Sagan and four Tinkoff team-mates, including brother Juraj, the Slovakian champion, and Polish time trial champion Maciej Bodnar will all be making the switch.

Peter Sagan is one of Bora-hansgrohe’s statement signings as they bid to step up to WorldTour level in 2017 (Pic: Sirotti)

But Sagan is the biggest signing confirmed by Ralph Denk’s ambitious team who, with new sponsors on board, are looking to step up to WorldTour level in 2017.

Team manager Ralph Denk said: “It is a great honour to welcome one of the most popular cyclists of our time onto our team.”

Owain Doull and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Wiggins and Axeon Hagens Berman to Team Sky)

Team Sky have secured the signatures of two of British cycling’s rising stars for 2017, with Owain Doull, 23, and Tao Geoghegan Hart, 21, joining from Team Wiggins and Axeon Hagens Berman respectively.

The two riders have taken different paths in joining the British WorldTour team, with Doull rising through the British Cycling Academy and winning Olympic gold on the track in the team pursuit in Rio, while Geoghegan Hart has focused exclusively on the road with Axel Merck’s development team.

Owain Doull (left) and Tao Geoghegan Hart (right) have joined Team Sky (pic: Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)

But now they step up to the top level with an impressive CV at under-23 level – Doull, who is eyeing future success in the Classics, finished third overall in the 2015 Tour of Britain, while and Geoghegan Hart, touted as a future general classification contender, is the current under-23 national champion.

On joining Team Sky, Doull said: “It’s always been a bit of a boyhood dream to try and join Sky. So to finally be at a stage where I’m about to start racing for the team, and then joining the team properly in 2017, is a bit surreal.”

Geoghegan Hart, meanwhile, feels ready to make the step up to the top tier: “This season was about getting another year stronger, becoming more consistent, and developing as a rider and as a person, before making the big step up from a Continental team to a WorldTour team. I’m 21 now, so I think this is the ideal time to be stepping up into a big team. I’m super, super excited.”

Nicolas Roche (Team Sky to BMC Racing)

BMC Racing have bolstered their support squad for the Grand Tours with the acquisition of Nicolas Roche, who leaves Team Sky after two years with the British outfit.

Roche was a key domestique for Chris Froome at the 2015 Tour de France, and the Irish road and time trial champion, who finished 24th at the Giro d’Italia, will support Froome again at the forthcoming Vuelta a Espana.

Nicolas Roche will help support Richie Porte at BMC Racing in 2017 (Pic: Sirotti)

But the Irishman will switch allegiance to BMC Racing from 2017, with the aim of supporting fellow former Team Sky man Richie Porte and American Tejay van Garderen, as well as having the chance to ride for himself at next year’s Vuelta a Espana.

And Roche is relishing the challenge, saying: “I’m super excited because BMC Racing is a team that rides with a lot of the characteristics that I like.

“They’re always up the front, riding with aggression and trying to make an exciting race. I think I’ll enjoy the aggressive style of racing.”

Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff to Orica-BikeExchange)

A top-ten finish at the Tour de France, after team leader Alberto Contador was forced to abandon, was a reminder of 30-year-old Roman Kreuziger’s ability.

And Orica-BikeExchange have added the Czech champion to their burgeoning Grand Tour squad, where he is set to support British twins Adam and Simon Yates, and young Colombian Johan Esteban Chaves.

Roman Kreuziger will join Orica-BikeExchange in 2017, adding experience to their young GC squad (Pic: Sirotti)

Kreuziger has committed to supporting the Australian team’s younger riders in the Grand Tours, but remains ambitious about his Classics and stage-racing chances.

DS Matt White has not held back in expressing his delight at the signing – the Australian called it ‘game-changing’, adding: “He is not only one of the classiest and strongest riders at WorldTour level, but he also brings a wealth of experience having worked for the best GC riders in the world.”

John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin to Trek-Segafredo)

With Classics superstar Fabian Cancellara retiring from professional cycling this year, Trek-Segafredo have been quick to fill the void left by Spartacus’ imminent departure.

John Degenkolb, winner of Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix in 2015, will join from Giant-Alpecin for the 2017 season.

Two-time Monument winner John Degenkolb will fill the void left by Fabian Cancellara’s retirement at Trek-Segafredo (Pic: Sirotti)

The German sprinter and Dutchman Koen de Kort will both make the move across, with Degenkolb keen to put an injury-ravaged final season with Giant-Alpecin firmly in the past.

Degenkolb was one of the riders injured when a car ploughed into the Giant-Alpecin team on their winter training camp and only started racing again in May.

And he called his switch to Trek-Segafredo, where rising star and American champion Greg Daniel will also ride next year, a ‘dream come true’.

“This team is one of the few really big teams in races like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and this was a big motivation for me to join,” Degenkolb added.

Though still to be officially confirmed (so we’ve left them off this list), Trek-Segafredo’s busy summer of recruitment has also seen them strike deals with Alberto Contador and Jarlinson Pantano.

Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange to Giant-Alpecin)

With a Degenkolb-sized hole to fill, Giant-Alpecin did not hold back on the hyperbole when it came to announcing the signing of versatile Aussie Michael Matthews.

The headline on their team website called him their ‘desired dream signing’ as part of the ‘continued pursuit of growth’.

With John Degenkolb on the move, Michael Matthews has been signed up to replace him at Giant-Alpecin (Pic: Sirotti)

High praise indeed, but the team – who will welcome Sunweb on board as title sponsors in 2017 – do have reason to be excited.

Stage wins at all three Grand Tours – the triple having been sealed at this year’s Tour de France – and podiums places at the likes of Milan-San Remo and the Amstel Gold Race bode well for the 25-year-old’s future.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana to Bahrain-Merida)

As statement signings go, Bahrain-Merida may have hit the jackpot with Vincenzo Nibali.

The Giro d’Italia champion is the first rider to be announced by the newest addition to the pro cycling ranks, backed by the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Vincenzo Nibali will lead the new Bahrain-Merida team (Pic: Sirotti)

Bahrain-Merida say they will build their team around the four-time Grand Tour winner – one of only six riders ever to win all three Grand Tours. Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff) will also join the new team.

Further signings are yet to be announced, but if Nibali is an indication of what’s to come then there’s plenty of reason to be excited about the new team’s ambitions.

Hugh Carthy (Caja Rural-Seguros to Cannondale-Drapac)

The British contingent riding at WorldTour level is set to grow again in 2017, with Owain Doull bound for Team Sky and Hugh Carthy off to Cannondale-Drapac.

Cannondale-Drapac CEO Jonathan Vaughters believes Carthy to be one of the most exciting British stage-racing prospects around, and the move could be a fillip for both parties.

Hugh Carthy is to step up to WorldTour level with Cannondale-Drapac in 2017 (pic: Sirotti)

Cannondale-Drapac were bottom of the prize money list at the 2016 Tour de France, barely making an impact on the three-week race, while Carthy is keen to realise his own Grand Tour ambitions in future.

A string of impressive GC results already mean the Preston-born 22-year-old is well worth keeping a close eye on.

In fact, Cannondale-Drapac have been busy – cobble specialist Sep Vanmarcke will also make the switch from LottoNL-Jumbo, to lead their charge for success in the spring.

Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep to Katusha)

Time trial specialist Tony Martin has been an integral part of the Etixx-QuickStep since joining when HTC-Highroad folded in 2011.

In the five seasons since, Martin has added 35 victories to his palmares, worn the Tour de France yellow jersey and played a key role in sprint leadouts for the likes of Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and Fernando Gaviria.

Tony Martin will swap his Specialized Shiv for the Canyon Speedmax after joining Katusha for 2017 (Pic: Sirotti)

His powerful engine and ability to ramp the pace up in the bunch has made him a valued domestique, so it’s little surprise Katusha were keen to snap Martin up.

And Martin says his decision to move was buoyed by the opportunity to also race for himself with Katusha.

“What convinced me the most to make the move was the fact that the team directors and the team manager really believe in me,” he explained. “I will be able to obtain more results than I have had so far.”

It will also see him ride Canyon’s Speedmax time trial bike from next season – which he admits was a factor – and time trial rival Alex Dowsett, who rides for the Canyon-sponsored Movistar team, wrote on Twitter: “Tony Martin just knocked a good half minute off his 25 time now he’ll be on a Speedmax.” Very ominous for his rivals.

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing to Etixx-QuickStep)

Philippe Gilbert will switch from BMC Racing to Etixx-QuickStep for 2017, looking to recapture some of the form which has brought him such success earlier in his career.

Gilbert is one of the leading Ardennes Classics riders of all time and in 2011 won the triple of the Amstel Gold Race, La Fleche Wallonne and Liege–Bastogne–Liege, before winning the World Championships in 2012.

Philippe Gilbert wins in the Belgian champion’s jersey at the 2011 Tour de France, during his incredible year of success in the Ardennes Classics (pic: Sirotti)

The Belgian hasn’t quite reached the same level again but has still added victories at the Amstel Gold Race, Giro d’Italia and National Championships since 2014.

The 34-year-old is also a member of a select group of riders to have won stages at all three Grand Tours having also claimed victories at the Tour de France (2011) and Vuelta a Espana (2010, 2012, 2013).

“I’m excited to continue my career together with Etixx-QuickStep, a team whose ethos and aggressive style of racing are very much to my liking,” said Gilbert, who is also looking to return to the cobbled Classics, having finished third at the Tour of Flanders in 2009 and 2010.

“I’m looking forward to next season and I hope to be competitive and bring my contribution and experience to the Classics and to the other important races the team will target.”

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