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Teams & Riders EF Pro Cycling

Page 46 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.

MuskyOurSaviour said:
They will end blaming today for Uran's poor showing later in the race to save face. I think the sponsors expected Uran to replicate last year's results.

Well, I expected him to replicate last year's results ;)

Very prescient post. TdF is kind of a disaster for EF. However, Craddock's ride is probably giving them as much positive publicity, maybe more, than if Uran had scored a Top 10 GC placing.

On the subject of Lawson...is his shoulder healing? It must be. 107k raised for a velodrome is pretty impressive.
EF and Rapha announced their partnership today for the 2019 season. There's a buzzword-filled announcement here ("... with the aim of taking a disruptive approach to the sport throughout the 2019 season and beyond" :rolleyes: ), and apparently some of their riders will not only do regular road races, but also "mixed calendar of events in the 2019 season, including the WorldTour schedule and also criteriums, ultra-endurance races and renowned mixed-terrain events."
A decent start of the season for the team with 3 wins in 3 consecutive days. None of these came from races with quality fields but it's good to see that they are at least not struggling to take these easy wins like they were last year.

I wonder what this season will bring. After 2017 sponsorship trouble, the older key riders mostly stayed with the team, but the whole generation of riders who were about to enter their prime like Formolo, Bevin, Van Baarle, Bettiol etc. left almost entirely, leaving the team with a generation hole to fill. Now EF has to build it again from young riders.

The 2018-->2019 transfer window has brought some interesting names and I would say, the general amount of talent has increased during that period, as expected after compromised 2017-->2018 transfer period. Maybe there weren't any stand-out signings but the depth of the team is better than it was last year.

Bettiol is back and it's exactly the type of rider EF was missing last year- someone with a bit of versatility who can deal with the hills as well as has a decent sprint and rolling skills. Hopefully he can rediscover his 2016-2017 level after a rough 2018.
Van Garderen and Kangert will both bring a much needed combination of riders who can climb and TT at the same time. It will provide the team much needed options whenever there will be stage race with a TTT of significance or maybe a TT-heavy one-week race. I'm not naive about TJVG ever reaching the level he had in 2014-2015, but even his results from some of his weakest seasons would still be decent additions. He has taken a WT win in every of his last 5 seasons.
Van den Berg and Whelan both seem interesting prospects and I will curiously follow their development. Caicedo should add some climbing depth and we will see what Hofland can bring. I wouldn't bet my money on him rediscovering his form from his best years but I think I would still take him over riders like Canty, Will Clarke, Magnusson or Cardona who all did very little last year.

Moreover, the important question for the immediate future of the team is if Martinez and Carthy can step up a little bit more. If yes, then the team will have plenty of options to cover the GC fight of all of the mountainous stage races in calendar.

Between Martinez and Woods there are perhaps the 2 biggest question marks over which GT will they ride this year. I think everyone had expected Woods to do the Giro but he has hinted he would like to try the Tour. If that's the case then it would be logical to send Martinez to do the Giro, as Uran does the Tour and Van Garderen also hinted that we would like to ride in France as well so they need someone to do well in Italy.

Modolo had a rather disappointing season last year and he needs to step up otherwise the team might be looking for a new main sprinter. If I were Vaughters, I would talk to people who might not be satisfied with their current situation, like Sam Bennett, as early as now.
I wanna bet that the intended TdF roster is: Uran, Martinez, Van Garderen, Kangert, Clarke, Craddock, Phinney and Vanmarcke. That would be a good squad to support Uran in all terrain including TTT. We'll see in July if I was right about these riders being included. Hopefully all of them are healthy and in decent form.

Otherwise, a very good start of the year for the team. They put a rider on the podium in 3 out of 4 stage races they participated in in February (and in the 4th race they had a rider in the top 5), have decent number of 4 wins so far and they are well in the top10 of PCS and CQ team rankings for 2019. Hopefully, those are signs of improved performance thanks to having the sponsorship stability for the first time in many years rather than anomaly that will vanish later in the season. Vaughters had excellent results for money with his team before 2015 so I see no reason why those times can't come back.
Yeah, I too wonder what plans they have for him. Will he ride cobbles like in 2017? EF have plenty of riders for cobbles so he may be redirected elsewhere. He is such a versatile rider that he can be sent to pretty much any race in the calendar and contribute well. Will be interesting to see what his focus is in 2019.
I find selections for races a bit strange.

Modolo, McLay, Whelan, Van den Berg and Sean Bennett are all doing UAE Tour which means they'll be unavailable for the opening classics weekend. This leads to Howes being on a provisional startlist for K-B-K and that would be his first ever cobbled classic at the age of 31 if I'm not mistaken. He has no business in being there for a team with such a depth for cobbled races, he is not a goud rouleur and I count as many as 14 riders in the team who could want to have their taste of cobbled classics. That spot should either go to Modolo who could be their best bet for a good result considering the fact this race often ends up in a reduced sprint or for one of the young guys to get their first taste of racing cobbles with pro riders (all of Whelan, Van den Berg and Bennett had some results in u-23 cobbled races and K-B-K is a great race to start getting experience in this type of racing).

I know K-B-K is not a big deal all season considered but I feel like the starting calendars for riders could have been more optimised? Even with all of these guys doing UAE Tour, there are riders like Bettiol, Phinney or even Logan Owen who should ride this instead of Howes. I would hope the final selection is different.
Whoever was responsible for bringing Higuita to EF, I'm impressed with his talent-spotting ability. A quick look at his 2017/2018 results doesn't reveal anywhere near as much promise as Higuita is showing right now, in early 2019. They will now have a lot of Latin-American climbing talent in the team with Martinez, Caicedo + Villalobos set to join later this year.
Damn, I can't recall the team performing this weak in a cobbled classic since 2015, I think. Never in the front group during any splits. Most of the team at the back and getting dropped early despite not doing much visible work. For guys like Phinney, Breschel, Docker these races are important part of the season, they have the experience and they should give the team more. Very disappointed after today.

Hopefully G-W, E3, RVV and PR look better. Maybe reinforcing the squad with Modolo and Bettiol will help, if that's the plan anyway, because I don't really understand the selection for races this year.

Escarabajo said:
EF having a good season this year. And what a good find with Martinez.
Yeah, it was a surprise they were able to secure such a talented rider in such circumstances. He signed with EF in 2017, when they only secured a sponsor in September and were very late to the transfer market. It's surprising not a single good team was able to secure Martinez before that year.
To win a MTF after a direct fight with Simon Yates and Lopez is a big thing nowadays. Two of the best climbers of the last 12 months.
Higuita might be even better find because his pre-2019 performances didn't indicate as big capabilities as Martinez' pre-2017 performances so it's more of a surprise he is doing so well this year.

Good year for the team so far indeed. The last time they had 6 wins by mid March was in 2012. I hope they can show more on cobbles than they did on the opening weekend. I was also pretty disappointed they ended up being out of contention for GC at Paris-Nice despite bringing several capable riders to the race but at least they are doing well in T-A. Simon Clarke is probably having the best season of his career. And there is a very noticeable improvement in how well they do in TTs this year. Perhaps the sponsorship stability they have now but didn't have for years before is paying off.
The turnaround the team has made in time trials is remarkable. 2 riders in top4 in TA ITT and 4 riders in top8 in PN ITT. Garmin used to be very good at TTs as well but then the last several years were really miserable in that regard with some quite embarassing performances like Romandie 2016, where Uran, Formolo and Rolland set 3 worst times among GC contenders and with quite some gap to the 4th worst.

Bettiol is back on track after bad 2018 and I have a feeling we might not have seen the best he can develop into, yet. Langeveld finished every single TT he rode in 2019 in the top6. He seems to be seriously well prepared to the season. I really hope they will give a good showing during cobbled classics, much better than they did during OHN and KBK.

Looking at what they've done in recent months, I would seriously consider not giving Modolo and Phinney contract extensions, unless they show some good form in the following weeks. It feels like it wouldn't be a problem to find guys who would do a better job for the same money. Phinney rode a great Paris-Roubaix last year but he's done absolutely nothing apart from this. He is not even a solid-domestique level in other cobbled races and, shockingly, didin't even finish a single ITT in top20 since TdF 2017. He even seems to be "immune" to the TT improvement the team has been experiencing recently.

Apart from Dani Martinez, all most valuable (IMO) EF riders are under contract for 2020 so it's a comfortable situation for Vaughters to try to strengthen the team with some interesting riders for next year.
I agree that the TT turnaround has been remarkable.

I previously argued that they would benefit from getting in a competent lower tier sprinter to pick up three or four extra wins a year. Now that they’ve tried Wippert, Modolo and McLay I think we can say with some confidence that I was wrong. It turns out that the very unusual current abundance of very fast sprinters means that there simply are not many races where anyone outside of that big upper tier can avoid superior competition. Unless they start riding the coupe de France, there just isn’t much low hanging fruit to pick. It appears that the choice is between investing in a sprinter who can actually compete with the big guns or accepting that no more than a very occasional sprint win is possible.

There are not many of the big guns out of contract next year. Ackermann, Demare, Ewan, Gaviria, Greipel, Groenewegen, Hodeg, Jakobsen, Sagan are all tied up. Kittel and Cavendish would represent dubious value. The only two out of contract proven regular winners of big bunch sprints who don’t represent a huge risk of overpaying for past glories are Bennett and Viviani. Viviani is likely to be both unaffordable and very keen to stay where he is. Bennett will presumably be moving. He would represent a big investment, both in terms of salary and in terms of support, but if they want a bunch sprinter who actually wins he looks like the only choice they have.

An alternative would be to try for a hilly/durable sprinter. They don’t win as much as the big bunch guys, but there is a solid niche for them and some of the better ones appear to be out of contract. Matthews probably wouldn’t be any cheaper than Bennett, but Trentin and Colbrelli probably would be. Neither is going to reliably take ten wins, but they will take say four and have proven it repeatedly.

Another alternative would be to get lucky with some kid, sign Ghirmay or someone and have him tun out to be a freak talent. Obviously that’s not much of a plan. Realistically it’s spend substantial money on a Bennett or Trentin/Colbrelli or cut their losses and get out of the sprint game.

Of course all of their transfer choices will depend on how much they spend to keep Martinez.
Not really Martinez/EF talk but I think it is not unlikely that Deceuninck move on from Viviani. They did so with Cavendish, Kittel and Gaviria after their first contracts ended and they had to pay them more money cause of the wins the got them. Now they locked up Jakobsen and Hodeg for another year which again makes it less likely that Viviani stays. Also lets not forget that Lefevere has stated that he will get Enric Mas his deserved support next season if he does well in the 2019 Tour. For that to happen either a few classics guys or leadout men have to go to make room for mountain support. I think the chances are better that Viviani has to look for a new team rather than staying with the Belgians. Even though he would probably prefer to stay and keep his leadout together.