Team Sky finalised their 2016 lineup by announcing the signing of 2014 world champion Michal Kwiatkowski – their seventh new arrival. But who are these new boys, and what have they done to secure a contract with Team Sky?
Here we have a look at the seven in question, as well as looking at the six riders who have left the squad, including Austrian favourite Bernhard Eisel.
Sky’s first signing of the year was young Brit Alex Peters, who signed as a stagiaire with a two-year contract at the start of August.
Peters becomes the latest British prospect to start his WorldTour career at Sky, having impressed with Continental outfit SEG Racing in 2014. He came second overall at the Tour of Normandy back in March and followed it up with seventh at the Tour de Bretagne a month later.
Having signed for Sky, Peters made his debut at the RideLondon-Surrey Classic and went on to ride the Tour of Denmark in black and blue, but retired from the race on stage three.
Peters came 12th overall at the Tour of Britain, riding for Great Britain, with two top-10 finishes over the week.
Reigning Italian U23 champion Gianni Moscon joins Sky as his first step in his professional cycling career after a good season riding domestically in Italy.
He started his year with fourth place in the best young rider classification at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali – a race where new Sky teammate Ben Swift came second overall.
Moscon took three wins in 2015, including the U23 national championships, and took three top-10s in the Tour de l’Avenir. More recently, Moscon kept his nerve on a tricky World Championships course in Richmond to finish fourth in the U23 road race.
The first of two signings from Etixx-Quick Step, former Polish champion Michal Golas adds more depth to Sky’s domestique pool.
Four seasons at the Quick Step team have seen him form part of one of the most prolific teams professional cycling has seen.
In 2015, Golas helped Kwiatkowski win the Amstel Gold Race, before being part the Etixx team that took home three wins at the Tour de France.
Sky’s Spanish contingent is strengthened by the signing of Basque rider Beñat Intxausti from the Movistar team.
A loyal domestique, Intxausti has also shown he is capable of getting results of his own having claimed stage wins at both the Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia.
It was at the Giro this year that Intxausti particularly impressed with his attacking riding, winning stage eight’s summit finish and performing well in several breakaways over the three weeks.
A former winner of the Tour of Beijing, Intxausti showed his week-long stage race credentials this year with third at the Ruta del Sol behind Chris Froome and Alberto Contador. He also finished fourth at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Another Spaniard and another rider who impressed at the 2015 Giro d’Italia. Mikel Landa finished third overall in the Grand Tour race and won two consecutive stages – looking a threat to Astana team leader Fabio Aru.
Landa was forced to play second fiddle to Aru again at the Vuelta – a race that his teammate won overall – and told a Basque newspaper that he will be given more of a leadership role at Team Sky.
With Richie Porte on his way to BMC, Landa looks set to take the lead at the Giro next year and could bring Sky their first podium finish in the Italian race since 2013.
Danny Van Poppel
With the Classics in mind, Sky bring in Dutch sprinter Danny Van Poppel from Trek Factory Racing. At just 22 years old, Van Poppel has shown his aptitude for Spring racing, finishing fifth in Scheldeprijs and breaking the top 50 at Paris-Roubaix in 2015.
Van Poppel also won two stages of the Tour de Wallonie in July, taking his form into the Eneco Tour where he notched up three consecutive top-10 finishes.
The icing on his cake came with a stage win at the Vuelta a España on stage 12, showing his mettle to continue the race having suffered in the sweltering heat over the course of the first week. His stage win came the stage after the gruelling day in Andorra, which saw new teammate Froome’s chances of winning the race end.
Another key piece in Sky’s Classics plan is Kwiatkowski, who won the Amstel Gold Race in style this April – coming from behind to win in the rainbow stripes.
His ability to win in the big races at the age of just 25 is exciting for Sky, who will look for Kwiatkowski to break their duck in the big Classics, as well as supplement their stage racing teams.
He won the Volta ao Algarve in 2014 and finished second in Paris-Nice this year and also formed part of the victorious Etixx-Quick Step team at the 2013 Team Time Trial World Championships.
Riders leaving Team Sky
Sky announced that the contracts of six riders would not be renewed for 2016, with the most notable departure being Eisel. The Austrian joined Sky from HTC in 2012 as one of Mark Cavendish’s key helpers but stayed on with the British team after the Manxman’s departure a year later.
Rumours are that Eisel could team up with Cavendish again when the sprinter announces his plans for 2016.
Also departing are Australians Nathan Earle and Chris Sutton, veteran American Danny Pate, Kanstantin Siutsou and the BMC-bound Porte.