Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert at the Tour de Suisse.

Report or rumor? Bora-Hansgrohe wants to sign Van Aert and Evenepoel

Is Bora-Hansgrohe actually interested in the two Belgian stars? Really though?

Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert at the Tour de Suisse.

Dane Cash
by Dane Cash 16.01.2024 Photography by
Kristof Ramon
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Amid the potential influx of Red Bull money into Bora-Hansgrohe’s coffers, the transfer rumors just keep coming. This time it’s a report from German press agency DPA (picked up by several German media outlets, including Suddeutsche Zeitung) that Bora-Hansgrohe has shown interest in signing Belgian superstars Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) in the not-too-distant future. As early as next season, in fact.

Wait, what? Really?

It’s January, which means that there is top-tier bike racing in Australia and relative quiet in the Northern Hemisphere of the cycling world, the perfect time to spin up the rumor mill. And, let’s be honest, it’s fun! We’re all here for the entertainment factor, aren’t we? But let’s dissect this one.

Van Aert is, of course, already a Red Bull athlete and the Bora team has collaborated with Red Bull already for several years, while Remco Evenepoel and his Soudal-Quick Step team ride Specialized bikes, like Bora. There are definite synergies there that would fit nicely into the PowerPoint presentation of anyone pitching a big acquisition at the next strategy meeting. Beyond that, the moves make sense in the way that would for any team with money to want to spend it on good riders – but is the German team that just signed Primož Roglič away from Jumbo-Visma really and truly thinking about nabbing another Visma rider and/or another GC star?

Maybe. Or maybe not.

If Red Bull does indeed take a controlling stake in the Bora team – that move is still subject to government oversight in Austria, although approval is expected late this month – the energy drink company should bring plenty of cash with it. And cash could be even more critical than it is for most transfers, seeing as Van Aert and Evenepoel are both under contract at their respective teams through 2026. If Bora is actually planning on making this happen before then, they’ll need to not only pay the riders’ salaries, but also any buy-out fees from exiting their existing contracts, which will no doubt be hefty.

That’s a lot of money to cough up, making it all seem a little suspect. The DPA story does not cite any particular source for what would be a major news scoop; while Bora-Hansgrohe general manager Ralph Denk is quoted in the piece, it’s on other matters, and it’s not clear whether he was asked for comment on the Van Aert/Evenepoel interest. DPA is a major, longtime press agency, and that proved enough for most cycling media outlets to run a story aggregating the DPA report.

When asked for comment, Bora-Hansgrohe press representatives declined to address what they called “rumors,” while Van Aert’s agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment. So maybe it’s true and DPA has a deep source it can’t reveal, or maybe it’s just speculation based on the simple 2 + 2 that Wout is a Red Bull athlete and Remco rides a Specialized and wouldn’t that be neat if they all became one big happy family? Or maybe it’s somewhere in between.

Here’s the thing: It’s our job to keep you informed of what’s happening in the cycling world, and that includes keeping you up-to-date on what people are talking about. That’s even true if they are talking about rumors that we can’t verify and that could be just that: rumors. The fact is that people around the sport are talking about these rumors, so we’re not going to ignore them. But we’re also not going to credulously pass on information without context or further examination, even if firm answers aren’t readily forthcoming.

So is Bora-Hansgrohe really interested in signing Van Aert and Evenepoel?

Maybe. Or maybe not.

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