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Is Peter Sagan headed to Deceuninck-QuickStep?

Joseph Delves
6 Apr 2021

Bora-Hansgrohe look set to lose the services of Sagan after questioning whether he’s still worth the money. Photo: Chris Auld

Three-time World Champion Peter Sagan could be headed to Deceuninck-QuickStep according to French newspaper L’Equipe.

The extension of the 31-year-old Slovakian racer’s contract with Bora-Hansgrohe had recently been called into question by the team’s manager Ralph Denk.

Asked whether Sagan deserved a contract extension for the 2022 season, Denk had suggested Sagan was now 'entering the autumn of his career'.

Having formerly been largely based around Sagan, the German team has recently found success with a more rounded roster including Pascal Ackermann, Wilco Kelderman and Maximilian Schachmann. Denk had said that as one of the best-paid riders in the peloton, he now had to weigh up whether it would be better to invest Sagan's fee in younger riders.

Apparently learning of Denk’s feelings via the media, this understandably didn’t go down well with Sagan, who said he was happy to find a team that did want him. It now seems that team could be Patrick Lefevere’s mighty Deceuninck-QuickStep.

Compared to the €5 million he earns a year now, Deceuninck-QuickStep is well-known for offering riders fairly small short-term contracts, but big bonuses for wins. It’s a strategy that has made the team massively successful, if sometimes slightly unstable.

Should he sign, Sagan would have to fit in with an already stacked roster including former teammate Sam Bennett, along with Tour of Flanders winner Kasper Asgreen, young sensation Remco Evenepoel and current World Champion Julian Alaphilippe.

However, while he’d no longer be a leader by default, it’s hard to imagine Sagan would be short of either chances or support.

Inter-team rivalries

If true the move could be the latest development in an already testy relationship between Lefevere and Denk. Both had spent March snipping at each other after Denk expressed interest in securing the services of Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Remco Evenepoel.

While Bora-Hansgrohe has recently grown into a much more well-rounded squad capable of challenging in both the Classics and stage races, much of their success was based around Sagan. For many years the most talked-about rider in the peloton, he snatched an exceptional stage at last year's Giro d'Italia and has looked relatively in-form at the recent Classics.

Having helped sell a lot of homewares in his time, should Sagan sign with Deceuninck-QuickStep he’ll at least be able to carry on in this vein while keeping lucrative long-time sponsor Specialized on board too.