That’s according to Belgian media reports, which link the Norwegian star in a move to Total Direct Énergie for next season.
Belgian daily Het Nieuwsblad reports that NTT team boss Douglas Ryder is lining up new backers to keep the team afloat going into 2021. The movement comes a week after a split between Ryder and Bjarne Riis, who joined the team in 2020 with hopes of buying part of the team’s WorldTour license. That deal never materialized, and the Danish ex-pro is out of the WorldTour league after less than one season of a comeback.
The uncertain future of NTT Pro Cycling, which sees its two main sponsors leave at the end of the 2020 season, has left riders in a lurch. Some are waiting to see if Ryder can save the team, while others are securing their futures.
The Belgian daily also reported that Boasson Hagen, which joined the African team in 2015, could join French outfit Total Direct Énergie next year. That comes on the heels of deals that see a handful of NTT riders securing their respective futures. Michael Valgren (to EF Pro Cycling), Ryan Gibbons (to UAE-Team Emirates), Ben O’Connor (to Ag2r-Citroën), and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (to Trek-Segafredo) are among team riders already penning deals for 2021.
Ryder retains control of the team’s WorldTour license, and though the team wasn’t part of a first round of WorldTour license renewals announced earlier this month, there is still a chance the team will race at WorldTour status in 2021.
If Ryder can pull together new sponsors, that would come as a salve for many of the team riders and staffers. The disappearance of CCC Team and the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic sees scores of riders still without contracts for next season.