German team Bora-Hansgrohe has announced that Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann will both leave the team at the end of the season. The news was confirmed on Thursday with both riders part of a wave of departures planned over the next few months as the team restructures behind a raft of new signings. Also leaving the team are Erik Baska, Maciej Bodnar, Daniel Oss, Juraj Sagan, Rudiger Selig, Andreas Schillinger and Michael Schwarzmann.
Teams and riders cannot confirm their new moves for 2022 until the UCI transfer window officially opens on August 1 but they can confirm if they are leaving their current squads and parting ways. It is expected that three-time world champion Sagan will head to Team TotalEnergies and that he will bring the bulk of the released Bora riders with him. However, Ackermann is expected to sign for UAE Team Emirates, and replace Alexander Kristoff, who has not been renewed by the team from the Middle East.
Sagan has been with Bora-Hansgrohe since 2017, joining after the Tinkoff squad that also included Alberto Contador and Michael Valgren famously imploded.
Since joining the German team Sagan has been their talisman both on and off the road for the last five seasons, winning multiple Grand Tour stages, green jerseys in the Tour de France, a world title and Paris-Roubaix. However in the last two years his win tally has dropped off and while he is still one of the most successful riders in the WorldTour, with an extensive palmares, he has not won a green jersey at the Tour in two years, while his last Classics title was back in 2018.
This year Sagan saw his Classics campaign disrupted after he contracted COVID-19 but he bounced back to win a stage and the points jersey at the Giro d’Italia. Team TotalEnergies, who will ride Specialized – the bike brand tied to Sagan and who helped facilitate the team – will hope that the Slovakian can lead the line next year in a team that will be stacked towards one-day racing.
Sagan commanded one the biggest salaries in the WorldTour and, coming with a significant entourage of staff and riders, Bora decided to reinvest those funds in other areas within their team.
The news cannot be announced for several more days but Sam Bennett is set to rejoin the team after leaving QuickStep. The Irish sprinter is expected to bring at least one or two riders with him in order to build a lead-out train.
The loss of Ackermann is a major shift for the German team after they chose to back the homegrown sprinter two years ago when it was clear that they couldn’t combine both him and Bennett in the same team. However Ackermann has failed to replicate anything like his best form this year. He was left angry and frustrated after missing out on Tour de France selection this year and didn’t win a race for the first six months of the campaign. He returned to form this month and has won five races, albeit at 2.1 events.
At UAE Team Emirates, however, he will have to compete with Fernando Gaviria for sprint opportunities, while his chances of making a Tour de France debut are slim as the team continues to focus their efforts on Tadej Pogačar.
Bora are also set to sign a raft of stage racing talent for the new season. Jai Hindley will move to the squad from Team DSM, while Sergio Higuita agreed to join the German team back in the spring. Aleksandr Vlasov is also expected to join the team from Astana-Premier Tech. The new signings will add huge depth to the team’s stage racing core with Wilco Kelderman, Max Schachmann, and Emanuel Buchmann already onboard.
Team boss Ralph Denk praised Sagan and stated that he understood why the rider had chosen to move on.
"I would firstly like to say that both riders are important parts of our team and we have been able to celebrate many successes together over the past years. For this, I am grateful. There are different reasons why we are parting ways now. As far as Peter is concerned, we were in negotiations until the end," Denk said.
"Of course, I can't disclose details, but both sides worked constructively on solutions and we both wanted to proceed into the future together. However, we have also developed as a team, and we aim to continue this development. We have already made some strategic decisions and ultimately, Peter decided that there is another option available to him that is more in line with his ideas. I have full respect for that. Nevertheless, it is a great shame, because Peter is part of our success story and has contributed much to our development."
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