After a chequered 2014 season which saw Chris Froome crash out of his Tour de France defence before riding to second overall in the Vuelta a Espana, Team Sky yesterday announced five signings for their 2015 campaign.
Here, we take a closer look at the new recruits...
Nicolas Roche, 30, Republic of Ireland
A veteran of 13 grand tours, in recent seasons Roche (pictured) has taken great steps towards escaping the shadow cast by his father Stephen, who won the Tour de France in dramatic style in 1987. The Irishman won his first grand tour stage at the Vuelta in 2013 on the way to a career-best fifth-place finish, and has provided invaluable support in the mountains for Alberto Contador during two seasons at Team Tinkoff-Saxo. A former national champion, Roche joins fellow Irishman Stephen Deignan at Sky.
Leopold König, 26, Czech Republic
Arguably the most exciting of Sky’s acquisitions, König rode to prominence with a stage win and ninth place overall at 2013’s Vuelta, his first grand tour appearance. He followed this up with a superb showing in his Tour de France debut this year, where he finished seventh. A strong all-rounder with potential as either a super-domestique or team leader, the Czech rider has won a stage and twice finished in the top 10 of the Tour of Britain
Andrew Fenn, 24, Great Britain
Fenn’s signing maintains Sky’s commitment to developing the best of young British talent. A strong classics rider with a fast finish, the ex-Paris Roubaix junior champion should provide valuable support when Sir Bradley Wiggins targets the senior Roubaix title next spring. Fenn has represented Scotland at the last two Commonwealth Games.
Wout Poels, 26, Netherlands
A talented climber with experience of all three grand tours, Poels is the first Dutchman to ride for the team and will bolster Sky’s support for Chris Froome in the mountains. In 2012, the former Tour of Britain stage winner was involved in a horrific crash which saw him exit the Tour de France with a ruptured kidney and spleen, bruised lungs and three broken ribs.
Lars Petter Nordhaug, 30, Norway
One of the founding members of Team Sky in 2010, Nordhaug returns to the fold after two seasons at Belkin. A punchy climber, he will strengthen Sky’s chances in the hilly classics, as well as maintaining the team’s connections with Norway, where they are particularly popular, following the departure of compatriot Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Sky have also said goodbye to two riders in a busy transfer window.
At the time of Team Sky’s inception in 2010, Edvald Boasson Hagen was one of the most heralded young riders in the sport. Now 27, and after a catalogue of false dawns, the Norwegian has never quite fulfilled his early potential as a sprinter, classics rider, or stage racer. He did, however, win Sky’s first ever stages at the Tour de France, his two victories at the race in 2011 salvaging the team’s pride after Wiggins crashed out.
Joe Dombrowski, the 23 year old American climber, has had his two seasons at Sky blighted by an Iliac artery problem. Currently recovering from recent surgery, he is set to join the new Cannondale-Sharp merger for next season.Reuse content