UCI 2014-15 - the biggest transfers ahead of the new season

The 2015 pro-cycling season begins next week, with the first notable race, the Tour Down Under, taking place from January 20.

There have been a number of big moves during the off-season as teams look to assemble groups of riders capable of leading to their goals in 2015.

These are the top UCI transfers ahead of the new campaign…

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Peter Sagan (Cannondale to Tinkoff-Saxo)

The biggest signing in Tinkoff-Saxo’s busy transfer market was undoubtably that of young all-rounder Peter Sagan. The 24-year-old’s apparently disappointing 2014 season included him winning the points jersey at the Tour de France (for the third year running), as well as stages and points jerseys at Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of California and Tour of Switzerland.

He also won E3 Harelberke, his national road race champs, was second in Strade Bianche, third in Gent-Wevelgem and sixth in Pais-Roubaix. It is no surprise Oleg Tinkoff is rumoured to be paying him around €3.5 million per year.

Ivan Basso (Cannondale to Tinkoff-Saxo)

Following Sagan from Cannondale to Tinkoff is veteran GC contender Ivan Basso, who also joins his ex-boss from CSC Bjarne Riis.

Though not the Grand Tour favourite he once was, Basso will no doubt play a vital role as a domestique in Alberto Contador’s quest for a Giro-Tour double.

Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ to Cofidis)

Bouhanni’s move down a division to pro-continental Cofidis was a surprise when announced back in August, given his breakthrough year in which he won sprint stages at both the Giro and Vuelta (as well as the points jersey in the former).

However, as he was then sidelined by FDJ manager Marc Madiot for the remained of the season after complaining about his absence from the Tour (where fellow young French sprinter Arnauld Demare was picked), it may have been that tensions were present between Bouhanni and the team for some time prior. 

Bauke Mollema (Belkin to Trek)

Moving away from the growing number of GC contenders at Belkin, Mollema will likely look to better his sixth place in the Tour de France from 2013. He was 10th last year following a disastrous final time trial in which he lost over nine minutes.

Lars Boom (Belkin to Astana)

Also leaving Belkin is Dutch classics specialist Lars Boom. Though not a factor in 2014’s spring classics, his dominant stage win on the cobbled stage five at the Tour de France showed he should be one to watch at Flanders/Roubaix in 2015.

Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural to Astana)

Rejoining the pro tour after a year with pro-continental Spanish outfit Caja-Rural, Sanchez will hope to be competitive at the top level again following a lackluster end to his spell at Belkin.

After a fairly successful 2014 season which included winning the Mountains jersey at the Vuelta, Sanchez will hope to take his rediscovered good form into 2015.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky to MTN-Qhubeka)

Like Sanchez after 2013, Boasson Hagen is dropping down a level from Team Sky to MTN-Qhubeka after what was a very unspectacular season by his standards.

The Norwegian all-rounder will be looking to rediscover his form from several years back which saw him win two stages at the Tour, one at the Giro and claim a silver medal at the 2012 World Championships, among many other impressive accomplishments. 

Tyler Farrar (Garmin to MTN-Qhubeka)

As part of a mass recruitment of riders at MTN-Qhubeka, including several sprinters who have seemingly lost their best form, American fast man Tyler Farrar has joined the African squad.

Though not at his grand tour stage-winning best, Farrar did have a fairly consistent though pretty anonymous 2014 campaign, which he ended with a stage win and the points jersey at the Tour of Beijing (his first win in nearly a year and a half).

As well as Boasson Hagen, the addition of quick men Matt Goss, Gerald Ciolek and Theo Bos should make for interesting competition within the team, and ideally a very strong lead-out train.

Leopold Konig (Netapp-Endura to Sky)

One of the biggest spenders in the 2014-15 transfer market was Team Sky, who have recruited several strong climbers to aid Chris Froome’s Grand Tour hopes in 2015.

Among them is Czech rider Leopold Konig. Ninth in the 2013 Vuelta and seventh in the 2014 Tour, Konig will likely be working for Chris Froome at the Tour but should get chances to shine throughout the year.

Nicholas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo to Sky)

Joining Konig as part of Team Sky’s mountain helpers is Irishman Nicolas Roche, who will go from being a domestique for Contador at Tinkoff to Froome at Sky. His aggressive riding style, which has gotten him many good results, may be lessened by being at Sky, but he will be a valuable asset to the team nonetheless.

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