Inside sources say that Irish national champion Nicolas Roche will join American team BMC Racing for the 2017 season, leaving Team Sky after two years
The 32-year-old, son of Stephen Roche, will likely support Richie Porte in his bid to win the 2017 Tour de France. The American WorldTour team in red and black should announce the new contract sometime next month when, according to UCI rules, teams may officially sign riders.
This year, Roche won both the Irish time trial and road race championships. He rode the Giro d’Italia in support of Sky leader Mikel Landa and helped Mikel Nieve win a stage and the blue mountains jersey after Landa abandoned sick.
Czech Leopold König, who joined Sky after placing seventh in the Tour de France in 2014, is set to return to team Bora-Argon 18. Italian Salvatore Puccio could join Vincenzo Nibali in the new Bahrain team. Spaniard Xabier Zandio will end his career this season.
The British WorldTour team is firming up its 2017 roster with a new contract for Froome’s mountain helper Sergio Henao. It already confirmed Geraint Thomas will continue in its black and blue colours. Mikel Nieve and Wout Poels will remain with Team Sky, as well.
Watch: Show us your scars – Stephen Roche
Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe and Michal Kwiatkowski all have existing contracts through 2017 and will lead the team’s one-day charge from Milan-San Remo to Paris-Roubaix. Poels, of course, won Sky’s first monument, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, in April.
Kwiatkowski will not only have Michal Golas, but another Polish team-mate if Lukasz Wisniowski leaves Etixx-QuickStep as reported.