The 2019 season is here, and with it comes a whole host of transfer moves that have strengthened some teams but weakened others.
Here, in part 4, we take a look at the riders who've come and gone from Deceuninck Quick-Step, Team Sky, Team Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo and UAE Team Emirates, and weigh up who's made the smartest moves.
Overview: If any team can survive a mini exodus of talent, it's Patrick Lefevere's squad.
In: Remco Evenepoel (neo-pro), Mikkel Honoré (Team Waoo)
Out: Niki Terpstra (Direct Energie), Laurens De Plus (LottoNL-Jumbo), Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jhonatan Narvaez (Team Sky), and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates)
Extended: Yves Lampaert
Analysis: Losing double Monument winner Niki Terpstra to Direct Energie and Fernando Gaviria to UAE Team Emirates would signify a blow to any WorldTour team, but if there's a squad that can cope, it's probably Deceuninck Quick-Step. The Belgian outfit remains bursting with winners and, what's more, has a flurry of young riders coming through the ranks.
Elia Viviani enjoyed a breakthrough 2018, and with Julian Alaphilippe, Philippe Gilbert, Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert, Alvaro Hodeg, Enric Mas, Fabio Jakobsen and Remco Evenepoel on the books, this team will be competitive in a number of departments.
In the transfer market, Lefevere has given up on signing a proven Tour de France contender, but that philosophy – coupled with the development of Mas and Jungels, plus excellent rider recruitment – has allowed this team to steamroller bunch sprints, remain a threat in the Classics, and still have a presence in Grand Tours.
They won 13 stages between the Giro, Tour and Vuelta in 2018. The tightening of budgets meant losing Gaviria and Terpstra, but the loss of Schachmann to Bora could be just as significant in the long-term. The German was a clear talent, and his departure only strengthens a direct rival in Bora-Hansgrohe. Gaviria will certainly be missed, but it will be interesting to see how the Colombian fares outside of the Quick-Step support bubble. Expect Lefevere to be busy throughout 2019 with only a handful of his current roster signed for the following season.
Overview: Ivan Sosa added to stage racing pool.
In: Filippo Ganna (UAE Team Emirates), Eddie Dunbar (Aqua Blue Sport), Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates), Jhonatan Narvaez (Quick-Step), and Ivan Sosa (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)
Out: Lukasz Wisniowski (CCC Team), Beñat Intxausti (Euskadi-Murias), Philip Deignan (retires), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Dibben (TBC), David Lopez (retires)
Extended: Geraint Thomas, Luke Rowe, Egan Bernal, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Salvatore Puccio
Analysis: Ben Swift aside, the Team Sky management have invested heavily in youth, with Ganna, Dunbar, Sosa and Narvaez all 22 or under. Dunbar was a savvy signing after Aqua Blue collapsed, while Narvaez and Ganna are interesting pick-ups if they can be given opportunities at the best races in the world.
Sosa's protracted and messy transfer from Androni – via a short video message and premature press release from Trek-Segafredo – shows the clout Team Sky have in the market, but their most pressing issues in the next 12 months will revolve around sponsorship and retaining several high-profile riders. They also have the tricky road of navigating the transition between Froome and Thomas and the next wave of GC Tour contenders, but that's one of those nice-to-have problems. Of the riders who have left, only Henao stands out, but there's so much depth at Team Sky that the effects of the Colombian's departure will be minimised by a raft of Grand Tour riders who can cover.
Overview: A number of youthful signings that partially compensate for Mike Teunissen and Phil Bauhaus leaving.
In: Cees Bol (neo-pro), Max Kanter (neo-pro), Joris Nieuwenhuis (neo-pro), Robert Power (Mitchelton-Scott), Nicolas Roche (BMC), Asbjorn Kragh Andersen (Team Waoo), Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale)
Out: Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Merida), Simon Geschke (CCC Team), Mike Teunissen (Team Jumbo-Visma), Laurens ten Dam (CCC Team), Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)
Extended: Chris Hamilton and Roy Curvers
Analysis: Overall, nine riders came in – the team's biggest roster turnover in five years – but there is a distinct lack of WorldTour winners in the new-rider column, with the team heavily investing in a crop of young riders.
Robert Power has potential, and Roche adds experience to compensate for the departures of Ten Dam and Geschke, but there are no like-for-like replacements for Teunissen and Bauhaus. That said, Sunweb have signed some of the most promising riders on the market. World under-23 champion Marc Hirschi is a real prospect, and still only 20, and has shone consistently in the development team. Casper Pedersen will benefit from a better race programme, while Max Kanter – another rider from the feeder programme – looks like a fascinating prospect. Cees Bol also looks like a star in the making.
If Tom Dumoulin remains at his 2017-2018 level, Soren Kragh Andersen continues his progression, and Michael Matthews has better luck in the spring, the team should be fine. However, Wilco Kelderman and Sam Oomen will be expected to step up another level.
Overview: Richie Porte provides a sleeping giant with an outlet for stage racing success, even if inconsistency at the Tour de France remains an issue.
In: Matteo Moschetti (neo-pro), Richie Porte (BMC), Alex Kirsch (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic), Will Clarke (EF Education First-Drapac), Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF), Edward Theuns (Team Sunweb)
Out: Grégory Rast (retires), Giacomo Nizzolo (Dimension Data), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott), Boy van Poppel (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij)
Extended: Mads Pedersen, Jasper Stuyven, Markel Irizar, Koen de Kort, Fumiyuki Beppu, Bauke Mollema, Jarlinson Pantano, Peter Stetina, Fabio Felline
Analysis: The team have dropped five riders to bring the total squad number down to 25, but so much of their success will revolve around Richie Porte – who they signed after Simon Yates chose to stay at Mitchelton-Scott. The signing of Porte may look like a short-term cover given his age, but it could be the making of the American team in 2019.
Porte remains the most consistent week-long rider on the planet, despite some problems in 2018, and there's no reason he can't podium in every stage race he competes in between January and the Tour de France. Such a scenario would give Trek-Segafredo a stability they've not had in years. In fact, they've won just three stage races since the start of the 2016 season, and none of them were at WorldTour level.
Elsewhere, the team has made small additions to its roster, but the signing of Ciccone is at least an acknowledgment from the management that they need to build for the future. The messy transfer of Ivan Sosa certainly hurt the team's transfer activity, drawing away vital budget and attention when they could have been focusing elsewhere. The distraction and Sosa's eventual move to Team Sky has left Trek-Segafredo short of a climber, although they have mitigated that to some extent with a late offer made to Peter Stetina. If the American can find his health and best form, he remains a dependable pair of hands. Edward Theuns has been given the chance to resurrect his career, while Will Clarke will undoubtedly make the first attack of the season on stage 1 of the Tour Down Under. In terms of those that have departed, Trek have trimmed some of the fat, without disrupting the core of the squad.
Overview: Another heavyweight in Fernando Gaviria, but does the team have a strong enough spine?
In: Alessandro Covi (neo-pro), Tadej Pogacar (neo-pro), Tom Bohli (BMC), Christian Munoz (neo), Rui Oliveira (Hagens Berman Axeon), Ivo Oliveira (Hagens Berman Axeon), Juan Sebastián Molano (Manazana Postobon), Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), Sergio Henao (Team Sky)
Out: Ben Swift (Team Sky), Filippo Ganna (Team Sky), Przemysław Niemiec (retires), Darwin Atapuma (Cofidis)
Extended: Edward Ravasi, Oliviero Troia, Rui Costa, Rory Sutherland, Vegard Stake Laengen, Jan Polanc, Diego Ulissi, Manuele Mori, Yousif Mizra
Analysis: Few teams would pass up the chance to sign a rider of Fernando Gaviria's quality, but UAE Team Emirates remain a team too top-heavy when it comes to their roster. Fabio Aru, Dan Martin, Alexander Kristoff, Rui Costa, Diego Ulissi and Gaviria make up the column of leaders, but anyone who watched the team during the spring and then at the Grand Tours would have seen that there was a lack of cover when it came to supporting riders.
Too often in the spring Classics, Kristoff was forced to close gaps on his own, while Dan Martin would surely snap your hand off for another climber or rider to protect him on the flat alongside Rory Sutherland. With Gaviria joining, the management have only diluted their core group of reliable domestiques and questioned Kristoff's position on the team.
The signing of Allan Peiper to the management team, however, could be the most important development. The Australian will bring discipline and a clear structure to a team that has underperformed in a number of areas since their inception.
The addition Henao should certainly help the team in the mountains, while both of the Oliveiras are stars for the future.