Team Sky has confirmed the names of the five riders that will join them for the 2015 season. In a press release issued Tuesday, the British squad announced that they would be joined by Nicolas Roche, Leopold Konig, Andy Fenn, Wouter Poels and Lars Petter Nordhaug.
There had been much speculation, with all five of the riders linked with the team at some stage, but Sky has kept a lid on it until now. After a turbulent year, the team will be looking to the five new additions to bolster the team in the Grand Tours and Classics.
"We’ve always set our standards high and been very ambitious with our goals. We want to win the biggest races and constantly improve as a team and these new riders have the proven experience and developing talent to perform now and in the future,” said Dave Brailsford.
In Roche and König, the team gain two potential GC contenders and also aim to shore up the Grand Tour teams. Roche has ridden 13 Grand Tours and won his first stage at the 2013 Vuelta a España, he went on to wear the leader’s jersey for a day and finished fifth overall. He’s spent the last two years riding for Alberto Contador in the Tinkoff-Saxo team.
Brailsford said of Roche, “He brings a wealth of experience, having ridden 13 Grand Tours in his career, and that will be invaluable to the team. Nicolas has the perfect character and temperament for us and we expect him to play a key role next season."
König turned professional in 2008, before moving to NetApp-Endura in 2011. The 26-year-old made his debut at the Tour de France earlier this year and went onto finish seventh overall - adding to his ninth place at last year’s Vuelta a España. König can also claim stage victories at the Tour of California and the Tour of Britain.
Poels and Fenn move to the team from Omega Pharma-QuickStep. Unlike many of his compatriots, Fenn turned professional outside of the Sky set-up. He has ridden with QuickStep for the past three years and adds to Sky’s Classics team.
Poels will become Sky’s first Dutch rider. After suffering serious injuries during the 2012 Tour de France, he has enjoyed a year of resurgence this season. He took a stage win at the Vuelta a País Vasco and ably supported Rigoberto Urán at the Giro d’Italia. The Dutch rider hinted that he would make the move last month, saying that it was an opportunity too good to pass up.
"I'm really proud to join the best GC team in the world. This team has a very clear goal for me over the coming years and I look forward to developing as a rider and getting the maximum out of my strengths and qualities. I feel my best years are ahead of me, so it was crucial to make the right choice on my future,” Poels said in the team statement.
Last but not least is Nordhaug, who returns to the team after two years with Belkin. He has had a mixed 2014, with a stage win at the Arctic Race of Norway the highlight of his year. Nordhaug was part of the initial team when Sky launched in 2010 and said that the move felt like “coming home.”