German hair manufacturer to leave Giant to form Katusha-Alpecin, with the team's licence swapping from Russia to Switzerland

WorldTour team Katusha are undergoing some big changes ahead of the 2017 season with a new sponsor, new name and registration with a new national federation.

From next season the team will be called Katusha-Alpecin, as the German shampoo maker moves across from its sponsorship of Giant. Further, the team’s licence will be registered in Switzerland rather than Russia.

European holiday firm Sunweb had already stepped up its sponsorship of Giant-Alpecin in order to become the lead named sponsor from 2017 onwards.

At the start of 2015, Alpecin signed a four year contract with Giant. That agreement has now come to a close with the news of the Swiss-based Katusha-Alpecin team.

With reference to the change of national federation, the team said: “The clear transformation of Team Katusha, from a predominately national team to a solid international project, was already very visible in the 2016 peloton.”

Board Member of Katusha-Alpecin Alexis Schoeb added: “As we are now a real international team, it was logical to change the team nationality to the neutral Swiss nationality.”

What’s more, following the signing of nine new riders, the team’s roster of 25 will boast cyclists from 14 different countries.

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The team’s leader for the Classics looks set to remain as Alexander Kristoff, who will now be able to count on new signing Tony Martin for support.

However, the German may be looking for opportunities of his own, and his win on the cobbled stage of the 2015 Tour de France shows his pedigree.

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Giant-Alpecin‘s best results include John Degekolb‘s Monument wins in the 2015 editions of Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix, and Tom Dumoulin‘s breakthrough performance in that year’s Vuelta a España.

Results have been harder to come by this year, but again Dumoulin was in winning form at both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

Alpecin will be looking to build on these successes with its new team, and has said that it will continue its focus on German cyclists.

Managing partner at Alpecin Eduard Dörrenberg said: “Now we see major opportunities for the new approach of Katusha. We want to drive the project forward together from 2017 onwards and to gain the benefits for Alpecin.

“This will be an exciting task and it is the next logical step. In addition to possible sporting successes, we will continue to support German cyclists and positively change cycling as a whole,” he concluded.