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Reports: Red Bull to Buy BORA – hansgrohe and Make Offers to Van Aert and Evenepoel

By Siegfred Mortkowitz

Just as the German team BORA – hansgrohe was kicking off its 2024 season in high style, with a victory in stage 1 of the year’s first major road race, the Santos Tour Down Under, it was announced on the Austrian government website that Red Bull was purchasing 51% of the team, with the sale to be finalized no later than January 26.

At the same time, the team’s new sprinter, Australian Sam Welsford, won the first stage of the TDO, outkicking Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Victorious), Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) and Caleb Ewan (Jayco AlUla), in that order. The conjunction of the two events suggests that the team, with its more famous new signing, four-time Grand Tour winner Primož Roglič, is on the cusp of what could be a real breakthrough into the elite of the sport.

The funds that Red Bull brings to the table have already started making waves, with reports in German news publications, such as the news agency DPA and Kicker magazine, that BORA will now look to add elite stars to its roster such as multi-discipline superstar Wout van Aert and his fellow Belgian superstar, Remco Evenepoel, who turns 24 on January 25.

The German BORA – hansgrohe rider Lennard Kämna, for one, is overjoyed. “[Red Bull] are at the absolute top level and always try the best of the best,” he told Kicker. “Of the things you see in other sports, there is always only progress.” Indeed, wherever Red Bull has gone in F1 and football, they have spent money and produced success.

Remco Evenepoel
BORA will now look to add elite stars to its roster such as Remco Evenepoel. © Profimedia

The moves for van Aert and Evenepoel, if they are made, will not come until 2025, though both riders have contracts with Visma | Lease a Bike and Soudal-QuickStep, respectively, through 2026. That would mean big cash buyouts if the deals go through. But van Aert already has a personal sponsorship contract with Red Bull, so he would stay with his family, in a way. In addition, if he goes to BORA, he will be reunited with his former coach Marc Lamberts who moved from Visma to BORA with Roglič.

As for Evenepoel, the fact that BORA uses the same Specialized bike supplier as QuickStep is a big advantage. And to have van Aert and perhaps even Roglič ride for him in the Tour de France must be a mouth-watering prospect for him. The deal is obviously a game-changer for team manager Ralf Denk who has been leading the team since 2010. After two Tour de France Škoda Green Jersey victories with Peter Sagan, in 2017 and 2018, the team celebrated its first Grand Tour GC victory in 2022 when Jai Hindley won the Giro d’Italia.

“It will be a partnership of equals,” Denk said. “I think it’s a good fit. After all, our two headquarters are only 45 minutes apart and we speak practically the same dialect.”

The team’s dream – like that of all WorldTour cycling teams – is to win the Tour de France. With beefed-up spending, BORA – hansgrohe will now be able to rival UAE Team Emirates and INEOS Grenadiers and their €50 million annual budgets. The budget at BORA is about half that. For now.