2017 WorldTour teams preview: Bora-hansgrohe
Jan 12 2017 11:18 pm CET

2017 WorldTour teams preview: Bora-hansgrohe

CyclingPub previews all 18 teams of the 2017 UCI WorldTour as the season continues to edge closer. Now, let's take a look at Bora-hansgrohe.

Bora-hansgrohe is one of the teams making its debut in the World Tour in 2017. The German squad aims to "start a revolution in cycling" in the words of its shiniest star Peter Sagan, and apparently it means it as a major reinforcement of its ranks was made for this season.

The team originated from the NetApp Endura formation that competed with a Pro Continental license in 2013 and 2014. In 2015 the German company Bora became its main sponsor and from there the squad maintained a solid growth in budget and success that ended up with the World Tour license for this season.

Its great performances as a Pro Continental team enabled it to participate, since the times of NetApp Endura, in the Tour de France and in the Vuelta a España of 2016, becoming one of the animators of Grand Tours and other important races. Last season the squad obtained ten individual victories, the most significant being Paris-Bourges and a stage in the Giro della Toscana, both won by Sam Bennett.

For this 2017 a vast investment has been made in order to sign a whole roster that will turn Bora-hansgrohe from a breakaways-chasing team into a formidable candidate to win spring Classics and fight for top places in stage races.

The most important signing was of course the transfer of the double World Road Champion Peter Sagan, one of the most iconic riders of our time and the incarnation of ambition and courage in pro cycling, which attracted worldwide attention. The Slovak is the centre of the team and will surely be focused on the Classics season in order to retain his titles at Gent–Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders while also trying to win the races that had been elusive to him such as Strade Bianche and Paris–Roubaix.

Hopefully the Rainbow Jersey won't have to rely on his effort alone to succeed in the Classics, as he was used to in Tinkoff, as he can now count on names like former IAM Cycling rider Aleksejs Saramotins, Tinkoff teammate Maciej Bodnar or Marcus Burghardt coming from BMC.

The other major objective for Sagan has always been the Green Jersey of the Tour de France, and now he has a squad of fast riders to deliver him in the bunch sprints. This includes long time Bora riders Michael Schwarzmann and Sam Bennett, Mateo Pelucchi from IAM Cycling and Pascal Ackermann who was a U23 silver medalist at the last World Road Championship and is coming from the continental team Rad-Net Rose Team. With these sprinters Bora-hansgrohe will be a big contender for all kinds of flat stages and races throughout the year and, of course, for the points classification of all three Grand Tours.

Rafal Majka and Leopold Konig are also joining the ranks of the German squad and will constitute the core for the GC aspirations in Grand Tours and other stage races, alongside with the veteran climbers of the team: Czech Jan Barta and the Portuguese national champion José Mendes, who will have chances in smaller races.

After winning the King of the Mountains jersey in the last Tour de France and a Top 5 spot in the GC of the last Giro, Majka has stated that he will lead the squad in the Vuelta a España and the Tour de France, perhaps having a shared leadership in the latter with Konig. Given his credentials, the Polish rider is called to aim for a new podium just like the third place he achieved in the Vuelta of 2015.

The question is whether this new squad can offer the adequate preparation and team backup that he needs in order to catch up with some of the biggest names of this decade like Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador or Vincenzo Nibali. The climbers' force is completed with the signings of Pawel Poljanski from Tinkoff as well as Emanuel Buchmann, Patrick Konrad and Gregor Muhlberger.

Under the direction of team manager Ralph Denk, these riders have the challenge to effectively adapt to each other and the managing style in order to form a solid force in Classics and stage races, instead of becoming just another roster that isn;t able to aid Sagan or another squad with no common goals and no clear leadership during three week races.

Cycling fans around the world are already excited to see what Bora is capable of, and given the hard work and careful planning that the management has put into this project, they will probably not be disappointed.

The complete roster

Pascal Ackermann (GER)
Shane Archbold (NZE)
Erik Baska (SVK)
Cesare Benedetti (ITA)
Sam Bennett (IRE)
Maciej Bodnar (POL)
Emanuel Buchmann (GER)
Marcus Burghardt (GER)
Jan Barta (CZE)
Silvio Herklotz (GER)
Michael Kolar (SVK)
Patrick Konrad (AUT)
Leopold Konig (CZE)
Rafal Majka (POL)
Jay McCarthy (AUS)
José Mendes (POR)
Gregor Muhlberger (AUT)
Matteo Pelucchi (ITA)
Christoph Pfingsten (GER)
Pawel Poljanski (POL)
Lukas Postlberger (AUT)
Juraj Sagan (SVK)
Peter Sagan (SVK)
Aleksejs Saramotins (LAT)
Andreas Schilinger (GER)
Michael Schwarzmann (GER)
Rudiger Selig (GER)

By Marcelo Hernández
Image: Bora - Hansgrohe jersey





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