Team Sky has signed five new riders for the 2015 season – Andrew Fenn, Leopold König, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Wout Poels and Nicolas Roche.
Announcing the new riders, Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: "We’ve signed five quality riders for next season and each one of them will help strengthen and enhance the squad.
"We’ve always set our standards high and been very ambitious with our goals. We want to win the biggest races and constantly improve as a team and these new riders have the proven experience and developing talent to perform now and in the future.
"We have a strong nucleus of riders at Team Sky and these signings will be excellent additions to the squad. They all bring their own qualities and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to the team and seeing them in action next season."
The new five are:
Nicolas Roche (Republic Of Ireland, age 30)
With 13 Grand Tour appearances to his name Nicolas has experience in abundance and will significantly add to the team’s firepower on the climbs. Joining fellow Irishman Philip Deignan at Team Sky, Roche is an attacking rider capable of racing hard for a team-mate or as a GC contender in his own right. In 2013 he finished an impressive fifth place at the Vuelta a Espana. This year he claimed victory in the Route du Sud and finished fifth in the Tour of Britain.
Roche said: "It’s a great honour to sign for Team Sky and I have the opportunity to ride with some of the best riders in the world. I feel that I’m still developing as a rider so now’s the perfect time to join Team Sky and to continue my upwards path. I’m confident that under the guidance of Sir Dave Brailsford and the team, I’ll continue to improve."
Brailsford said: "Nicolas joins us from Tinkoff-Saxo and becomes the second Irish rider in Team Sky. He brings a wealth of experience, having ridden 13 Grand Tours in his career, and that will be invaluable to the team. Nicolas has the perfect character and temperament for us and we expect him to play a key role next season."
Andrew Fenn (Great Britain – age 24)
Andrew Fenn joins Team Sky after an assured first three years in the professional ranks. In 2012, his debut season as a pro, he won back-to-back victories at the Trofeo Palma and Trofeo Migjorn in Mallorca. Winner of the junior Paris-Roubaix in 2008, Fenn is a powerful rider with a fast finish and is well suited to the Classics. He will provide strong support to Team Sky’s ambitions in spring’s toughest one-day races.
Fenn said: "Team Sky has always been built around a strong British core so to be the team’s first Scottish rider is very special for me. I’m joining a team that has helped nurture and develop some of the best riders in the world so I’m really excited to see what the future holds. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead and fulfilling my potential with Team Sky."
Brailsford said: "Team Sky has a strong British influence at its heart so we’re very pleased to add Andrew Fenn to the team. Andrew’s a talented young rider who has come through the British Cycling system, so we know him and his abilities well. He has a bright future and we’re sure that he can develop into a key member of our team, and an integral part of our Classics squad."
Leopold König (Czech Republic – age 26)
One of the biggest up-and-coming talents in the sport, Leopold has been very impressive over the last few years, recently securing a magnificent seventh-place finish at this year’s Tour de France. His superb climbing and time trial abilities make König an elite all-rounder, with stage victories at the Vuelta a Espana, Tour of California and Tour of Britain just part of his growing palmares.
König said: "I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for Team Sky so to be joining them is a real honour for me. It fills me with huge excitement to know that I’ll be working with some of the best support staff in the world and riding alongside such a talented group of riders. Next season I want to focus on improving my stage racing abilities and pay back their trust in me by helping win races."
Brailsford said: "Leopold joins us from NetApp–Endura and is a very exciting talent. He’s ridden two Grand Tours in his career and has impressed in both. Leo’s a very gifted rider who has a great combination of climbing and time trialling ability, so he’ll be an excellent addition. We’re looking forward to working closely with him so that he can develop further."
Lars Petter (Nordhaug Norway – age 30)
Team Sky welcome Lars Petter back into the fold after two years away. A founding member of the team in 2010, the Norwegian is an accomplished climber and his attacking style invariably sees him battling it out for victory at the end of races. With notable wins at GP de Montreal and Trofeo Deia during his first stint with the team, Lars Petter will be looking to emulate his good form in 2012.
Nordhaug said: "I’m unbelievably proud, thankful and happy to re-join Team Sky for 2015. I started my professional career with Team Sky back in 2010 and had three fantastic years, so for me this feels like coming home. I learnt a huge amount with the team and it resulted in my best year as a cyclist so far, in 2012. I look forward to picking up where I left off and continuing to progress as a rider by reaching new levels with the team in the future."
Brailsford said: "Lars Petter spent three seasons with us and his improvement over that time was clear to see, proving himself as a particularly strong one day rider. He’s a model professional, a great teammate, always committed to the team and will fit back into the group perfectly. We’ve always had a big fan base in Norway so following Edvald’s departure it’s great to have another Norwegian rider in the team. We’re delighted to have him back."
Wout Poels (Netherlands – age 26)
Set to be the first Dutchman to ride for Team Sky, Wout is another accomplished climber and will strengthen the squad significantly. With experience of all three Grand Tours, he has taken stage victories at high-calibre races such as the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the Tour of Britain and Tour de Luxembourg during his six-year pro career.
Poels said: "I'm really proud to join the best GC team in the world. This team has a very clear goal for me over the coming years and I look forward to developing as a rider and getting the maximum out of my strengths and qualities. I feel my best years are ahead of me, so it was crucial to make the right choice on my future. I know I can achieve my goals racing with Team Sky."
Brailsford said: "We’ve followed Wout’s career for some time and have always admired his natural ability on a bike. He has huge potential and I’m sure we can help him improve and develop as a rider. Wout is particularly impressive on punchier climbs and he’ll be a great addition to the team."