The 2021 Cycling Transfers to Watch
With the 2021 transfer window now open, Rouleur examine some of the smartest, and most intriguing moves so far
We still have plenty of racing left in the 2021 season yet. The Vuelta a España is quickly approaching, and there are two monuments to look forward to with Paris-Roubaix and Il Lombardia to take place in October.
However, with the transfer window finally open, teams must now cast at least one eye to the 2022 season. So here are some of the most interesting transfers that have been officialised so far.
Sergio Higuita / EF Education-Nippo to Bora-Hansgrohe
Sergio Higuita climbs the Montée de Tignes at the Tour de France (Image credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Bora-Hansgrohe have been one of the most active teams since the transfer window opened on 1st August. Already, they have confirmed the signings of seven new riders. Among them, is the talented, diminutive Colombian Sergio Higuita.
Higuita has plied his trade with EF Education-Nippo over the past three seasons, as he gets to grips with WorldTour racing. Still just 24-years-old, Higuita’s talent was apparent almost immediately after he joined EF. A great climber, Higuita also possesses a strong sprint in a reduced group finish.
The Colombian started his first Grand Tour at the 2019 Vuelta a España and capitalised on the opportunity to win stage 18 from the breakaway. That performance remains the most prestigious result of his career, though he also defeated Egan Bernal, Esteban Chaves and Daniel Martínez to win the Tour Colombia 2.1 in 2020.
Bora-Hansgrohe picks up an uber talented rider, who could become a GC contender at WorldTour stages or one of the best stage hunters in the peloton. He signs a contract that will keep him with the team until the end of the 2024 season.
Michael Storer / Team DSM to Groupama-FDJ
Michael Storer on his way to winning stage 3 of the Tour de l’Ain (Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
Michael Storer recently became a winner of a professional bike race for the first time. The 24-year-old won the queen stage of the Tour de l’Ain to also win the general classification. Storer has progressed steadily since joining Team DSM (then Team Sunweb) in 2018 as a 21-year-old. The 2021 campaign has been his most successful yet — as well as the aforementioned victory at the Tour de l'Ain he was Romain Bardet's key mountain domestique at the Giro d’Italia.
Team DSM have gained a sour reputation of losing some of their most talented riders in recent seasons — Marc Hirschi and Lennard Kämna are just some of the riders that have moved on. It’s happened again this year with Storer deciding to join Groupama-FDJ in 2022, and it seems to be a perfect fit for both rider and team.
With Thibaut Pinot’s growing inconsistencies and injury struggles, Groupama-FDJ may have found their new GC leader. Of course, David Gaudu is still developing, but Storer has the potential to become a general classification rider at Grand Tours. He will surely get that chance with Groupama-FDJ.
Sam Bennett / Deceuninck-Quick Step to Bora-Hansgrohe
Sam Bennett wins stage 1 of the 2019 BinckBank Tour with Bora-Hansgrohe (Image credit: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)
In Patrick Lefevre’s recent Nieuwsblad column, the Deceuninck-Quick Step team boss hurled abusive comments in the direction of Sam Bennett. It comes as no surprise then, that the Irishman has moved on to pastures new. Or pastures old, as it were.
Bennett spent five seasons with Bora from 2015 until 2019, where he became a WorldTour stage winner, and then a GrandTour stage winner. Now, he returns to Bora-Hansgrohe as a victor at all three Grand Tours and a winner of the green jersey.
With Peter Sagan departing to Team TotalEnergies and Pascal Ackermann looking likely to move on too, Bennett will be the undisputed sprint leader for the German outfit. He will team up with his countryman Ryan Mullen who also joins Bora from Trek-Segafredo. Leadout man Shane Archbold also makes the switch from Deceuninck to Bora.
Luke Plapp / InForm TMX Make to Ineos Grenadiers
You may have heard Luke Plapp’s name mentioned recently if you’ve been watching the Tokyo 2020 Olympics — he was part of the Australian team that won the bronze medal in the team pursuit.
However, Plapp is a talented road cyclist who to this point in his young career is blossoming in the time trial discipline. Although he is just 20-years-old, Plapp is already the Australian time trial champion. He didn’t have to face Rohan Dennis in February, but did defeat Team BikeExchange's Luke Durbridge. This follows Plapp's U23 Australian time trial crown last year.
Still at such an early stage in his career, Plapp could develop into almost any type of rider. However, due to his phenomenal talent in the time trial, perhaps the Ineos Grenadiers will look to mould him into a stage racer.
Rüdiger Selig / Bora-Hansgrohe to Lotto Soudal
Rüdiger Selig at the Tour of the Alps (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
Rüdiger Selig has raced with Bora-Hansgrohe since 2016 and he has only picked up one victory throughout that period. That win came at the Okolo Slovenska in 2018. Although he isn’t a rider that wracks up the victories himself, Selig is a great leadout man.
As the likes of Philippe Gilbert and Thomas De Gendt have seemingly crested the peaks of their respective careers, Lotto Soudal are becoming more reliant on the batch of wins Caleb Ewan can provide in mass sprints. This makes the signing of Selig a great one.
The German solidifies the Lotto Soudal leadout train, which will be crucial if they are to retain Caleb Ewan long-term, as well as maximise the rapid Australians potential in the win column.
Cover image: David Stockman/AFP via Getty Images