Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford has confirmed the British WorldTour outfit's full 2016 line-up following a spate of signings unveiled at the weekend. He also provided confirmation that riders including Bernie Eisel - tipped to be moving to MTN-Qhubeka with Mark Cavendish - will join BMC Racing-bound Richie Porte in leaving the team.
Brailsford said that the line-up will be able to challenge for all of cycling's biggest races, from the Classics to the Grand Tours, following high-profile signings including outgoing road world champion Michal Kwiatkowski.
But he insists that the team still has a British core, with eight riders from Great Britain, one more than this season - British champion Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard , Andy Fenn, Ben Swift and Luke Rowe all having renewed their contracts, while Alex Peters is a new signing and Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas are still under ongoing contracts.
When it launched in 2010, Sky's stated ambition - which some saw as overly optimistic at the time - was to win the Tour de France with a British rider within five years. As it turned out, they managed it twice through Sir Bradley Wiggins and Froome, in their first four years.
"January 2015 marked the start of the next chapter for Team Sky with our ambition to be indisputably the best team in the world by 2020," said Brailsford, reiterating Sky's second five-year plan.
"We have taken the first steps on that path and I am proud of what we have achieved this season," he went on, following a campaign in which Froome won his second Tour de France yellow jersey.
"However we can never be complacent and must always look forward," he said.
"We have recruited some of the best young talent from around the world in Michal Kwiatkowski and Mikel Landa for example. At the same time we have been able to keep the nucleus of this year’s successful team together by re-signing riders of the calibre of Vasil Kiryienka - the new time trial world champion.
"Cycling is a global sport and Team Sky will always look to recruit the best riders from around the world. But we remain a British team with a strong British core.
"I’m pleased that the five British riders who were such a big part of this year’s successful Tour de France team will all be riding for us again in 2016 - along with new signing Alex Peters.
"Britain has become a cycling nation over the last decade," said Brailsford, who held the reins of the national team for much of that period, with British Cycling also sponsored by Sky during those 10 years, a partnership which comes to an end this year.
The broadcaster's sponsorship of the professional team continues, however, and Brailsford added: "We want more and more people to love the bike and Team Sky will continue to play its part in this cycling revolution."
He concluded: "Of course some riders will be leaving us. They have all made a massive contribution to the team on and off the bike.
"We will miss them and look forward to the opportunity of thanking them properly later this year for everything they have done for Team Sky."
Team Sky 2016 line-up
Michal Golas, Benat Intxausti, Michal Kwiatkowski, Mikel Landa, Gianni Moscon, Alex Peters & Danny van Poppel.
Ian Boswell, Philip Deignan, Sebastian Henao, Peter Kennaugh, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Mikel Nieve, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard & Xabier Zandio.
Under existing contract
Andrew Fenn, Chris Froome, Sergio Henao, Leopold Konig, David Lopez, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Wout Poels, Salvatore Puccio, Nicolas Roche, Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas & Elia Viviani.
Nathan Earle, Bernhard Eisel, Danny Pate, Richie Porte, Kanstantsin Siutsou & Chris Sutton.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.