Edvald Boasson Hagen will leave Team Sky at the end of the season after signing for MTN-Qhubeka.
Boasson Hagen has been at Team Sky since the team formed in 2010 but the Norwegian is searching for a new challenge elsewhere.
The Sky rider has signed a two year contract with MTN-Qhubeka who are a second tier South African team meaning Boasson Hagen will be dropping down a level.
MTN-Qhubeka joined the Pro Continental Tour last year but they are racing in the Vuelta a Espana at the moment. This is their Grand Tour debut.
Hagen satisfied with decision
Boasson Hagen believes he has made the right choice but admits his time at Team Sky was very successful.
According to Sky Sports, the 27-year-old said: “It’s been five great seasons with Team Sky, but the time has come to seek new challenges.
"MTN-Qhubeka has a very good platform and a framework that fits me well, so I’m sure this is a very good choice for the next seasons.”
Boasson Hagen was part of the Team Sky squad that won the Tour de France in 2012 and 2013 and I think his departure will be a big loss for the British team considering other WorldTour teams are strengthening.
Rejected other opportunities
The 2009 Tour of Britain champion admitted he did have the opportunity to join other WorldTour teams but opted to sign for MTN-Qhubeka because of their race programme.
He added: “I have had several options for the future, among them also WorldTour teams, but after some consideration, this is the team I most of all want to ride for.
“They are upgrading the team for next season, but already this year they have received wildcards for most of the races I would like to do next year. They are targeting the Tour, so I feel safe about the race programme.”
If Team Sky are going to win any of the Grand Tours next year they will need to sign top quality riders. The loss of an all rounder such as Boasson Hagen means their whole squad becomes weaker and if they don't replace him they will struggle next year.
Team Sky could also lose Sir Bradley Wiggins at the end of the season because he wants to concentrate on track cycling at the 2016 Olympics. If he leaves as well Sky will have a big problem as they will be lacking the quality that other squads have.
I think Wiggins will leave because a rider of his standard should be involved in the best races and Team Sky aren't letting him race in the big events.
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