Several riders will leave the team, including Brit Scott Thwaites, and only a handful will stay – all say that Sagan’s superstar status will mean it will not be the same Bora-Argon 18 team anymore.
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“We are a pro continental team at the moment with no massive riders, but good riders like Sam Bennett,” Thwaites told Cycling Weekly. “Sagan is just at another level, the current world champion and wins around 20 races a year. Everything changes when he comes to a team, it revolves around him.
“Unless you are a climber then you are pretty much going to be a worker for Sagan. If you are sprinter or lead out man, he is always going to be faster than you and you have to fill in the worker role.”
Thwaites will be one of those riders moving on at the end of the year, with a contract with a yet unnamed WorldTour team. After his improvements in the Classics, he said that he wants to ride in a team where he has a chance to win or the opportunity to work alongside the leader.
“I want to push on year by year and keep on improving,” said Thwaites. “I want to try to get closer to the top 10 and the podiums in the future. With Sagan coming, I would be taking a step back and going into a worker role which is not what I want to do.”
Peter Sagan wins stage two of the Tour de France
“Will it be team Sagan? Hopefully we are the Bora team next year, but Sagan has a really big image and the Sagan world is really big,” German Rüdiger Selig explained. “The whole image will change next year.
Selig used to lead out Alexander Kristoff in Katusha and said that he ought to do the same for Sagan. “That’s my job I hope so to be the last man.”
He and Austrian Gregor Mühlberger are both riding their first Grand Tour in the Vuelta a España, and are relieved for the chance to do so before the team steps up another level in the WorldTour and with Sagan.
“Yeah maybe I can’t do a Grand Tour next year because there are so many good guys in the team,” Mühlberger added.
“We will see in the next year when we become WorldTour. I think we will do many hard races and it will be different to this year.”
Juraj Sagan, Michael Kolar, Erik Baska and Maciej Bodnar will join with Peter Sagan from Tinkoff. Instead of Argon 18, Specialized will supply the bikes. Hansgrohe will sponsor and the team will race as Bora-Hansgrohe.
“For the whole team, it will be a lot different,” Mühlberger said. “With Peter there will be much more photographers and journalists, but it will be good for the team. It may not be good for some, but most of the riders are looking forward to it.”