AG2R Citroën Team
Biggest loss: Tony Gallopin
Biggest acquisition: Felix Gall
Mostly the same team. Did not lose any of the cornerstone contributors and didn’t add any game changers.
Astana Qazaqstan Team
Biggest loss: Aleksandr Vlasov
Biggest acquisition: Miguel Ángel López
A completely new team. As mentioned in the post evaluating each team’s season, the Kazakh didn’t perform badly in 2021. However, the internal tumult surrounding Alexandre Vinokourov and the team’s sponsors, propelled a dramatic change in the roster for 2022.
Vlasov, Jakob Fuglsang, the Izaguirre brothers, Luis Leon Sanchez, Omar Fraile, Alex Aranburu, and Oscar Rodriguez are just some of the names that are on the way out of Astana.
Vicenzo Nibali, Miguel Ángel López, Gianni Moscon, David de la Cruz, and Joe Dombrowski are the main replacements.
Adding Miguel Ángel López to Alexey Lutsenko was a huge move from Astana. I don’t think the team as a whole is quite as strong as in 2021, but those two riders should be able to achieve the results the team needs to consider the 2022 season a success. At least in stage races, which should be the main objective of the team with the squad that was assembled.
Bahrain – Victorious
Biggest loss: Mark Padun
Biggest acquisition: Luis León Sánchez
Like AG2R, Bahrain will go into the 2022 season with the team mostly intact. Sure, they lost a promising rider in Mark Padun but it’s not like his contributions can’t be matched by another rider in 2022, especially his domestique duties.
It’s also worth mentioning the signing of under-23 world time trial champion, Danish rider Johan Price-Pejtersen to the team. It’s unlikely that he will be able to contribute right away, but signing an under-23 world champion is always worth mentioning.
BORA – Hansgrohe
Biggest loss: Peter Sagan
Biggest acquisition: Aleksandr Vlasov
Bora, a bit like Astana, has recalibrated its priorities for the future. Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann were let go, along with a good portion of their leadout trains. Sam Bennett and Danny Van Poppel replace them. This leads me to think the German team doesn’t intend to prioritize the bunch finish as much, instead opting to focus more on the general classification of stage races. The signings of Sergio Higuita, Jai Hindley, and Aleksandr Vlasov support this theory.
Sagan and Ackermann’s 2021 seasons weren’t irreplaceable but then again, neither were those of Bora’s signings (maybe with the exception of Vlasov’s).
In the end, I really like the Russian rider, and I think he’s going to be the most consistent performer of the bunch. Bora also got younger with these moves which is a plus. A positive offseason for the German team.
Biggest loss: Christophe Laporte
Biggest acquisition: Ion Izagirre
The French team made a lot of moves but, in the end, the quality of the roster didn’t really change much. Cofidis looks more like a Pro Continental team than a World Tour one. The team lost Laporte and whatever slim production Elia Viviani provided in 2021 and replaced them with Ion Izagirre and Bryan Coquard.
Laporte is a big loss, in my opinion. He’s a very versatile rider, that Cofidis can’t replace. Izagirre and Coquard are good acquisitions though, reliable riders that aren’t world beaters but will put Cofidis in the discussion of stage wins and top-10 places in stage races and classics.
EF Education Nippo
Biggest loss: Sergio Higuita
Biggest acquisition: Johan Esteban Chavez
A bit like Cofidis, EF Education made a lot of sideways moves. Overall, with the acquisitions of Esteban Chavez, Mark Padun, and Odd Christian Eiking the team probably got slightly stronger. On the other hand, Eiking and Chavez are known commodities at this point. Quality commodities for sure, but likely none will get EF Education any major wins this upcoming season. Losing Higuita and getting Padun is probably a positive change for the team. Even though both riders are still young (Higuita 24 and Padun 25) and extremely inconsistent, 2021 was certainly a better year of Padun than for Higuita. So if any of them is showing any signs of development, I’d take the Ukrainian over the Colombian.
Groupama – FDJ
Biggest loss: Benjamin Thomas
Biggest acquisition: Michael Storer
Just based on the Thomas-Storer trade I’d say FDJ got better. Not that Thomas is a bad rider, far from it, but Storer’s ability right now plus potential is far greater than that of the French time trial champion. The addition of Bram Welten from Arkea is also interesting in terms of bolstering FDJ’s contingent of fast riders. The roster is good, let’s see if management finds a way not to underperform again.
Biggest loss: Gianni Moscon
Biggest acquisition: Elia Viviani
Ineos’ offseason was peculiar. They actually lost three important riders in Moscon, Rohan Dennis, and Ivan Sosa. The thing is that the latter two dramatically underperformed with the British team so they’re not losing much production. It is therefore entirely possible that the acquisitions of Viviani and Omar Fraile will actually improve the team compared to 2021. I do think the loss of Moscon is a big one though, and those two riders do not make up for it. Still, it is unlikely that any of these significantly impacts Ineos’ biggest goals for the 2021 season (the Tour de France).
I’d still like to mention the addition of Ben Tulett from Alpecin Fenix, a 20-year-old rider that already placed in the top-10 of the Tour de Pologne in 2021, along with other noteworthy results in the pros. Very excited to see his development.
Another interesting note is that on the same offseason in which they lose the best Australian time trialist today, Ineos replaced him with possibly the best Australian time trialist of the future. His name is Luke Plapp, he is 20 years old, and already a national time trial champion and silver medalist in the under-23 world championship.
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
Biggest loss: Danny van Poppel
Biggest acquisition: Alexander Kristoff
Odd Christian Eiking, while undoubtedly a good rider, is not irreplaceable. Danny Van Poppel might be. The Dutchman had a very solid 2021 season, almost always being a factor in the sprints he took part in. His consistency will be difficult to replace. Kristoff is obviously a better sprinter in terms of CV and overall ability. But will he be able to show that on the road? I think Intermarché traded up in this situation but it’s not as clear as the difference in name recognition would lead people to believe.
Israel Start-Up Nation
Biggest loss: Dan Martin
Biggest acquisition: Giacomo Nizzolo
Israel replaced two veterans (a GC rider and a sprinter – Martin and Andre Greipel) with two other veterans (Nizzolo and Fuglsang). Greipel did not have the best stint in the Israeli team to end his career. For this reason, Nizzolo should give a huge boost to the team in terms of sprinting ability. However, even in his last season, Dan Martin leaves behind a legacy that will not be easy to match – a Giro stage win and 10th place overall, along with a couple of great performances in the Tour de France.
Just because of the difference in quality between Nizzolo and Greipel, Israel should have improved during this offseason. Let’s see how Fuglsang comes back in 2022 to fully certify this offseason as a success (at least in sporting terms) for the Israeli outfit.