German team Bora-Hansgrohe have confirmed their 27-rider roster for the upcoming 2017 season with the arrival of IAM Cycling duo Aleksejs Saramotins and Matteo Pelucchi, and Australian Jay McCarthy from the Tinkoff team. There is also a change to the roster with the medically forced retirement of Dominik Nerz. In total, the 27 riders represent 11 different nations with eight German riders in the team for its debut season in the WorldTour ranks.
"I think we did a good job and are able to enter the 2017 season with a strong roster. For me it is important that also in the future about one third of the riders will be from Germany," team manager Ralph Denk said of the team. "We are a German team with German sponsors and I think this has to be represented in our roster. Also on the staff side we were able to find the right people for key positions. Lars Teutenberg will be our performance director, with Jens Zemke and Jan Valach we have two new sports directors."
For the coming season, world champion Peter Sagan is the star rider on the team with the Slovakian joining from the soon to be defunct Tinkoff team. Along with signing with world champion and moving into the WorldTour, the team also secure a new naming rights sponsor in Hansgrohe and have switched bicycle sponsor from Argon 18 to Specialized.
There are further changes in the team's approach to training and coaching which Denk believes will soon pay dividends as he explained.
"We also changed our approach regarding training and season planning and switched from the riders coaches to own team coaches and hired 3 experienced people for that. I am sure that we provide our riders a professional surrounding. This is especially important for our young riders and their development in the coming years," he said.
Aleksejs Saramotins has been signed to bolster the team's classics team that will be lead by Sagan and adds several seasons of top level experience to the squad. Matteo Pelucchi adds another option to the sprint team as both a fast finisher and lead out man when required for the likes of Sam Bennett.
Jay McCarthy, the final signing, will look to build on his 2016 season that saw him claim a debut professional win and target short stage races and punchy one-day races.
While the team welcomed onboard its three new signings, it also bade farewell to Nerz who has been advised to retire at just 27 years of age.
"It is hard for me, but I have to quit my career by the end of 2016 for health reasons. It’s really a tough call, and to say goodbye to the pro scene won’t be easy for me," said Nerz who also rode for the Milram, Liquigas and BMC teams during his career. "But after several medical investigations there is no other option. I gave it everything until the last races in Italy and also the team supported me as far as possible – I am very thankful for that – but I have to stop cycling at this point. It was an intense time in cycling where I gained experience, had some great moment and also found friendship. Now there is a new part in my life waiting and like always in cycling, I again will give it 100%."
The team will make its 2017 WorldTour debut at the Tour Down Under with Peter Sagan its only confirmed starter for the race so far.
2017 Bora-Hansgrohe roster: Pascal Ackermann (Ger), Shane Archbold (NZl), Jan Bárta (Cze), Erik Baška (Svk), Cesare Benedetti (Ita), Sam Bennett (Irl), Maciej Bodnar (Pol), Emanuel Buchmann (Ger), Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Silvio Herklotz (Ger), Lopold König (Cze), Michael Kolar (Svk), Patrick Konrad (Aut), Rafal Majka (Pol), Jay McCarthy (Aus), Jose Mendes (Por), Gregor Mühlberger (Aut), Matteo Pelucchi (Ita), Christoph Pfingsten (Ger), Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut), Pawel Poljanski (Pol), Juraj Sagan (Svk), Peter Sagan (Svk), Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat), Andreas Schillinger (Ger), Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) and Rudiger Selig (Ger).