Bora-Hansgrohe confirmed “the most popular cyclist of our time” Peter Sagan would ride in their German team for the next three seasons, through 2019.
The Slovak world champion rode for the last two years with team Tinkoff, which is closing at the end of 2016 after owner Oleg Tinkov decided to leave the sport.
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Sagan will join with current Tinkoff team-mates Maciej Bodnar, Michael Kolar and Erik Baska at Bora-Hansgrohe.
“It is a great honour to welcome one of the most popular cyclist of our time in our team,” team manager Ralph Denk said. “That’s why we tried to provide familiar surroundings as far as possible. I think Peter’s trust in us proves that we did a good job the last years and have solid reputation in the peloton.”
American bicycle manufacturer Specialized is following Sagan from Tinkoff to become Bora’s bike supplier through 2019. Currently Bora uses Argon 18, which could sponsor team Astana in 2017.
Along with Sagan and Specialized, German kitchen company Bora and bathroom company Hansgrohe both are confirmed for the next three years.
“Since we started our sponsorship in cycling our objective was to get to the top of this sport,” said Willi Bruckbauer, owner of Bora. “Peter will help us to achieve this goal.
“He is a real star, who achieved almost everything in cycling by being focused, dedicated and by believing in himself. At Bora we share this approach, self-belief helped us to get to where we stand now. And we are proud to go the next steps together with him.”
Sagan’s contract value remains closely guarded, but earlier this season he was asking for €6 million (£5.07m), which would have made him the sport’s highest-paid athlete. He earns a reported €4 million now with Tinkoff, which could be close to the amount he will earn with Bora.
Bora currently races with a German UCI Professional Continental licence. With Sagan, it should receive one of the top WorldTour licences for the 2017 season that will allow it automatic entry into all the major classics and three Grand Tours.
Watch: Pro bikes of the Tour de France – Peter Sagan’s Specialized
“My goal is a well-balanced roster for the 2017 season,” Denk said. “With Peter the classics will be a big highlight for us. But we also want to play a role in the grand tours, therefore we still look for new signings.”
Bora still has more announcements to come. Inside sources say Polish star Rafal Majka, winner of the three stages in the Tour de France, will join from Tinkoff.
Czech Leopold König will return to Bora, where in 2014 he placed seventh in the Tour de France, after two years with Team Sky. And German Tony Martin, three-time world time trial champion, will make the switch from Etixx-Quick Step.