Bora-Hansgrohe and Ineos Grenadiers emerge as Primož Roglič’s top suitors

German team have become a major option but Ineos carry considerable financial clout

Clock09:02, Sunday 1st October 2023

© Sprint Cycling Agency

Primož Roglič has been chased by a number of teams

After weeks of speculation and plot twists, Bora-Hansgrohe and Ineos Grenadiers have emerged as the two most likely destinations for Primož Roglič in 2024, with the German team moving from an initial dark horse position to a major option as the Slovenian’s future team.

Ineos Grenadiers have remained silent on their transfer ambitions but the British team appear desperate to land a GC contender, even after securing the long-term services of Carlos Rodríguez.

At the same time, there are reports that Roglič visited the Red Bull Athletic Performance Centre last week in order to hold talks with Bora-Hansgrohe’s senior management. The German WorldTour team work with Red Bull and have an agreement to share the facility just outside Salzburg, in Austria.

On Saturday, it was confirmed by Roglič, and then later Jumbo-Visma, that the Slovenian would leave at the end of the year, despite having a contract with the team for 2024. Roglič’s tenure at Jumbo-Visma has been in doubt for several weeks, with a clutch of teams monitoring his situation in the wake of a tense Vuelta España in which the rider was forced to forgo his own ambitions for those of teammate, Sepp Kuss.

In the last week, a raft of WorldTour teams have talked to Roglič’s agent about signing the 33-year-old but one-by-one the list has thinned down after Movistar Team, Lidl-Trek, Bahrain Victorious and Jayco-AlUla all denied that they had offered Roglič a contract after initial discussions.

The only other team linked to Roglič in the last few weeks has been Israel Premier Tech. Like Ineos, they are bankrolled by a billionaire but a move to the second-division team would be seen as a left-field decision for Roglič given the Israeli team’s push for sprinters in the recent transfer market and the fact that they could not offer the same level of support in the peloton when compared to Ineos and Bora.

On Saturday, one WorldTour boss told GCN that Roglič was in line for a salary that would put him close to the most expensive rider in the world, Tadej Pogačar, who earns in excess of €6 million per season. Roglič’s agent has reiterated several times that no contract has been signed at this point and that his client will make a final decision after Il Lombardia in a week's time.

The Ineos option

While Bora may have been programmed into Roglič's sat nav last week, there is still a secondary route on the table, with Ineos Grenadiers also in the hunt for the rider.

According to our forthcoming information the British team are the main opposition in the pursuit of Roglič, and are desperate to land the rider, with under-contract Bora-Hansgrohe rider, Cian Uijtdebroeks, having also been in their sights over the last few months.

The British team have undergone a complete internal review, with several staff set to depart. Matteo Tosatto and one other sports director are among those likely to leave, while the team lost their Head of Performance earlier this summer, and another coach is set to depart in the coming weeks.

The situation built up over the last few weeks suggests that a number of WorldTour teams would be keen on having Roglič on their books but that Ineos could outbid almost anyone in the market.

Ineos certainly have the budget to outmuscle Bora-Hansgrohe. Many have speculated that Red Bull could fund the move for the rider, and it’s a strong assumption that, with Peter Sagan off their books, Specialized could also provide financial support, but Ineos are owned by one of the richest men in the world in Jim Ratcliffe.

Since taking over the team in 2019, Ratcliffe has won just one yellow jersey and in the intervening years the team has slipped behind key rivals including Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates. Earlier this summer the team rescued their relationship with potential Tour star Carlos Rodríguez by persuading the Spaniard to eventually stay but the squad still looked lightweight in terms of leadership.

Strong plays have been made for Remco Evenepoel but, with the Belgian still under contract until 2026, Roglič offers an immediate chance to genuinely challenge for the yellow jersey.

The ace up the Ineos sleeve, along with cold hard cash, could be Dave Brailsford. His ability to persuade riders to join his team is well renowned within the peloton, with several riders having previously been destined for rival teams, only for Brailsford to persuade them that Team Sky – or Ineos, as they are now known – is the best place for them.

Money will be a considerable force in Roglič’s mind, especially given his age and the likelihood that he probably has three to four years left at the top. It could be a simple choice between Ineos' financial clout and Bora-Hansgrohe’s pragmatism.

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