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Transfer news: Nils Politt linked to Bora-Hansgrohe, Romain Bardet to Sunweb

German Classics ace Nils Politt could leave Israel Start-Up Nation for Bora-Hansgrohe, while a French report suggests Romain Bardet and Pierre LaTour will depart AG2R-La Mondiale at the end of the season.

Nils Politt, the promising German classics specialists, is linked to a deal to join Bora-Hansgrohe next season.

Sources tell VeloNews the 25-year-old, runner-up in the 2019 Paris-Roubaix, is poised to join the German-backed team in 2021 on a two-year contract.

Bora-Hansgrohe officials would not comment Wednesday. Politt’s arrival would boost the team’s already prolific classics program, currently centered around three-time world champion Peter Sagan, whose contract ends in 2021.

Politt entered the WorldTour in 2016 with Katusha, and stayed with Israel Start-Up Nation this season after the team merged with the now-defunct Katusha-Alpecin. The German classics ace was among a handful of Katusha riders still under contract for 2020 when Israel Start-Up Nation gained control of Katusha’s WorldTour license.

Israel Start-Up Nation, which made headlines last week when it confirmed the arrival of Chris Froome in a multi-year deal, has been extending contracts with several other riders over the past few weeks.

Politt and Gilbert took the top two steps of the 2019 podium at Roubaix. Photo: Stephane Mantey-Pool/Getty Images

Under team manager Ralph Denk, Bora-Hansgrohe has been steadily building up the team’s German presence, so Politt’s arrival would fit nicely with the team’s rising national profile that already includes eight German riders. Bora-Hansgrohe’s current fleet of German riders — including  Tour de France star Emanuel Buchmann, Pascal Ackermann, Max Schachmann and Lennard Kämna — are among the most successful German riders in a generation.

Politt, who has also raced the past three editions of the Tour de France, has emerged as one of the most promising cobblestone classics riders. His palmarès were already packed with a handful of top-10’s in major one-day races before his breakout 2019 spring campaign, which included sixth at the E3 Binkbank Classic, fifth at the Ronde van Vlaanderen and second behind winner Philippe Gilbert at Paris-Roubaix.

Report: Bardet, Latour could leave AG2R-La Mondiale

Also Wednesday, L’Equipe reported that French star Romain Bardet and Pierre Latour could leave AG2R-La Mondiale at the end of 2020. The French daily reports that Bardet could be headed to Team Sunweb, which sees a hole in its GC program following the exit of Tom Dumoulin. Latour, best young rider in the 2018 Tour de France, could land at Total-Direct Energie, the second-tier French team also looking for a stronger GC presence.

Up to now, the rider transfer market has largely been on hold as the coronavirus pandemic continues to play out across the peloton. Many teams are waiting to see how their budgets shape up before moving more aggressively to sign new riders. Agents tell VeloNews there are more contract extensions with existing riders being signed right now than major transfers.

With the Froome move and others, that seems to be changing as teams and riders alike move to secure their respective futures.