World champion Peter Sagan will help German team Bora-Hansgrohe take another step this winter in its slow and steady development.
With new star Slovak, whose contract will be announced in the coming week, the team may now enter the WorldTour with rights to race every major Classic and Grand Tour.
>>> Cycling transfers 2017: All the ins and outs from the WorldTour
The UCI, cycling's governing body, allows teams to sign new riders and to announce them as early as August 1 – this Monday. The German team will not say, but Sagan has already put ink to paper for two to three years.
Sagan's contract, and his 3233 World Ranking points, will make sure Ralph Denk's team goes into the first division or WorldTour in 2017. Of course, the UCI will not make that official until its commission rules later this November or December.
"The UCI makes the final decision, but we will present a strong roster along with our budget," Denk said during the Tour de France. "I'm hoping for a green light."
The light should come thanks to Sagan's three Tour de France wins and green jersey – the fifth in a row for him. This year, he also won the Tour of Flanders in the rainbow jersey he took at the 2015 World Championships.
Along with Sagan, Slovakians Erik Baska, Michael Kolar and Juraj Sagan – Peter's brother – will join from Tinkoff.
The Russian WorldTour team is closing after its brash owner Oleg Tinkoff decided he had enough with cycling. Its Polish star Rafal Majka will make the jump from Tinkoff to Bora as well.
Team Sky will say goodbye to Czech Leopold König, who joined the team after placing seventh in the Tour de France for Denk's team in 2014.
German Tony Martin, three-time world time trial champion, is set to join Bora-Hansgrohe from Etixx-Quick-Step.
Bora will add more staff. Inside sources say that Lars Teutenberg will join as a technical expert and Patxi Vila will take a sports director role.
Denk's team is based in the south of Germany in Raubling, an hour's drive southeast of Munich, in the Bora kitchen factory.
This year, Bora opened a new headquarters and Denk decided to move his team in. He knows the owner Willi Bruckbauer well as they both used to race together.
After his career racing, Denk started a mountain bike team and Ralph Denk Pro Cycling. The management company began with NetApp in 2010, raced the Giro d'Italia in 2012 and merged with British team Endura in 2013.
In 2014, Denk received on of the wildcard invitations in the Tour and helped König place seventh. His next dream of becoming a WorldTour team is about to come true, starting with Sagan and a series of other announcements next week.
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