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Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

Sagan expected to join Bora – Hansgrohe

In what would be the blockbuster trade of 2016, Peter Sagan looks set to switch to Bora – Hansgrohe for 2017. Two separate sources confirm the news Thursday.

SAINT-LÔ, France (VN) — World champion Peter Sagan is expected to join German team Bora – Hansgrohe in 2017 for a likely two- to three-year deal, sources confirmed to VeloNews on Thursday.

Sagan has been linked to Astana and Etixx – Quick-Step, but the confirmation that Bora has a new sponsor opened the door for Sagan’s multi-year contract.

The the 26-year-old Slovak currently races on a three-year deal with Russian WorldTour team Tinkoff, which is due to close at the end of this year. The 2015 world champion is one of the hottest commodities on the market this year after winning the Tour of Flanders, and so much more, in his rainbow jersey.

VeloNews confirmed the deal Thursday through multiple sources, even though Bora’s general manager Ralph Denk would not do so in the press conference in Saint-Lô before the start of the Tour de France, where he presented the team’s new co-sponsor Hansgrohe.

“At this point Sagan is too big a name for our team,” Denk said at the press event. “From what I’ve heard it’s huge money. For sure it would be a dream to have rider like him in the team but we’ll see.”

Denk remained quiet on any deal with Sagan, but he has been pushing steadily for one of the two 2017 WorldTour spots left open by Tinkoff and IAM Cycling.

Sagan’s deal with Tinkoff paid him an estimated $4.5 million a year. The money for Sagan will come from increased investment by Bora, a kitchen furnishing company, and likely Specialized. The American bicycle company wants to follow Sagan to his new team and is expected to provide funds for him.

UCI rules prohibit teams dealing with riders, and of course announcing new contracts deals, until August 1.

Sagan earns a reported 4 million euros ($4.44m) a year with Tinkoff, owned by wealthy Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov. He struck the deal in 2014 after riding with Liquigas/Cannondale. When called, his agent was unavailable to comment on the new move. According to some in March, Sagan’s 2017 asking price was €6 million or $6.6 million, which would make him the highest-paid cyclist ever.

“We are going to present a strong roster to the UCI in August, we can also show our budget, then the final decision for the WorldTour license is up to them,” Denk added. “I hope we get the green light.” The German manager had just announced a three-year project with his sponsors, including kitchen and bathroom company Hansgrohe, for 2017.

Sagan once was linked with Astana, but instead, the team will build its support for Fabio Aru.