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Jumbo - QuickStep merger

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Funny how Remco would be perceived as the "savior of cycling" (I know that's overdramatic) if he joins Ineos. How the times have changed.

This is really bringing me to question the entire WT model again. In the heat of the moment it's always hard to say if I'm currently suffering from a severe case of "everything was better in the old days" but it does feel like the balance between cycling teams becomes more and more uneven. It's just something that seems to happen in all sports without a budget cap nowadays. But then at the same time budget caps don't really work in sports where teams are constantly fighting just to survive. It's such a complicated issue I cannot think of good answers for, but pro sports is just such a pirme example of the market simply not regulating itself. Maybe the UCI should have the right to stop transfers that would put too many riders with lots of UCI points into one team?
 
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Funny how Remco would be perceived as the "savior of cycling" (I know that's overdramatic) if he joins Ineos. How the times have changed.

This is really bringing me to question the entire WT model again. In the heat of the moment it's always hard to say if I'm currently suffering from a severe case of "everything was better in the old days" but it does feel like the balance between cycling teams becomes more and more uneven. It's just something that seems to happen in all sports without a budget cap nowadays. But then at the same time budget caps don't really work in sports where teams are constantly fighting just to survive. It's such a complicated issue I cannot think of good answers for, but pro sports is just such a pirme example of the market simply not regulating itself. Maybe the UCI should have the right to stop transfers that would put too many riders with lots of UCI points into one team?
If you cap the number of UCI points within teams, all that changes is that teams like Jumbo will start to deliberately sandbag in smaller races to stay within said cap.

I'm not sure if I agree with the notion that budget caps are ineffective in a sport where teams are constantly fighting to survive. If you implement a cap of, say, 30 million euros, then teams above said cap (like, presumably, Jumbo) won't have to find sponsors that can collectively stump up 40 or 50 million euros, so in that sense finding a new sponsor would become easier for them. As for the teams below said cap, their existing budget would now represent a larger share of the total of all team budgets and thereby make them more attractive for sponsors. The only issue is that you would royally p*ss off sponsors who've pumped lots of money into teams to give them a competitive advantage they were expecting to maintain for as long as they wished (i.e. the UAE sportswashing project and Ineos).
 
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Nothing wrong with a "the Netherlands vs Belgium-dynamic. If done respectfully. But the hate messages and serious insults mainly come from Dutch writers and are also aimed at other nationalities, such as France.The fact that it comes from the Netherlands is clearly noticeable in the content, the writing style and the many typical language errors. Not correctly conjugating verbs, not the correct past participle and the constant incorrect use of ij and ei are typical of many Dutch people.
Haha, well it's clear you're very fond of the Dutch people at least :)

There's usually a much stronger anti-Dutch sentiment among Flemish people, than the other way around. But perhaps unwittingly you've indicated another reason why this merger is never going to work: it's already a little too much to handle for most Belgians that Van Aert is on a Dutch team. Now Evenepoel as well?
 
Indeed, all riders will be free. But if the merger goes through, it won't be until 2025. There will be huge negotiations in 2024. Roglic will then definitely leave at the end of next season. Evenepoel will have doubts, because he certainly does not want to work for Vingegaard. So not together in the same Grand Tour. But if Evenepoel does not join the merger team, the merger may not go ahead. If Van Aert wants to save anything from his career, he must take advantage of the merger to get out of his contract. To still win a few top classics, stages in the Tour and the worlds, joining another team. Which was no longer possible as a "milked dry" super domestique this year. And completely impossible with even more leaders in the merge team.
They wouldn’t go public with a merger like this for 2025. When news leaks, it always is bound to happen sooner rather than later.
 
Funny how Remco would be perceived as the "savior of cycling" (I know that's overdramatic) if he joins Ineos. How the times have changed.

This is really bringing me to question the entire WT model again. In the heat of the moment it's always hard to say if I'm currently suffering from a severe case of "everything was better in the old days" but it does feel like the balance between cycling teams becomes more and more uneven. It's just something that seems to happen in all sports without a budget cap nowadays. But then at the same time budget caps don't really work in sports where teams are constantly fighting just to survive. It's such a complicated issue I cannot think of good answers for, but pro sports is just such a pirme example of the market simply not regulating itself. Maybe the UCI should have the right to stop transfers that would put too many riders with lots of UCI points into one team?
Jumbo ousting Ineos from dominating stage racing is not thanks to more money. Ineos was if anything in an even more dominant position after the 2018 season. That didn't last long.

Budget caps and veto on transfers lower rider wages. Maybe you prefer that, but generally I think it's better with more money in cycling, not less.
 
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I don't like this at all. I'm all for competition and would support any rule / move towards teams not being allowed to have more than 1 rider from the top 10 of the UCI ranking in their team by the start of any year.

So, you think teams should only be allowed to sign 1-year contract with riders, who aren't neo-pros?
Otherwise, what if a team has more than 1 rider on contract who're in the top-10 of the UCI ranking? Should UCI basically force the team to not honour the contract with at least one rider?
 
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If you cap the number of UCI points within teams, all that changes is that teams like Jumbo will start to deliberately sandbag in smaller races to stay within said cap.

I'm not sure if I agree with the notion that budget caps are ineffective in a sport where teams are constantly fighting to survive. If you implement a cap of, say, 30 million euros, then teams above said cap (like, presumably, Jumbo) won't have to find sponsors that can collectively stump up 40 or 50 million euros, so in that sense finding a new sponsor would become easier for them. As for the teams below said cap, their existing budget would now represent a larger share of the total of all team budgets and thereby make them more attractive for sponsors. The only issue is that you would royally p*ss off sponsors who've pumped lots of money into teams to give them a competitive advantage they were expecting to maintain for as long as they wished (i.e. the UAE sportswashing project and Ineos).
Yeah, I didn't phrase that well. The budget cap would absolutely work, but if you make it low enough to have a real impact it would cut a big chunk of the annual WT team budget in a sport where the average athlete is just a normal person with a normal life and a normal salary, not some multi millionaire who has enough money for the rest of their life anyway. Creating a budget cap would have an immediate impact on those riders salary and I think that makes it very questionable if that's the right move. I can see arguments that this would increase the value of small teams making them richer in the long run but that's a very thin line to navigate.

Jumbo ousting Ineos from dominating stage racing is not thanks to more money. Ineos was if anything in an even more dominant position after the 2018 season. That didn't last long.

Budget caps and veto on transfers lower rider wages. Maybe you prefer that, but generally I think it's better with more money in cycling, not less.
Jumbo indeed got a lot of their great riders by being better at scouting, but you can't keep that kind of team without deep pockets. And I mean, isn't this exactly what this merger is about? To make sure Jumbo is financially set up to keep dominating?
And concerning your last point, that's why I'd be careful with budget caps but I thought making it something more like a "UCI points cap" might create the same results while getting around the wage problem. I'm not saying this is a perfect idea though. I can think of problems this would create right away. It was really just a thought I put out there.
 
They wouldn’t go public with a merger like this for 2025. When news leaks, it always is bound to happen sooner rather than later.
Yeah, I think so too.

Because if Soudal-Quickstep cease to exist, WT-license is auctioned/sold/given to another team, all the contracts are basically worth nothing. They also cease to exist with the team/company. Have I understood it right?

If above checks out... I think the only hold up is the negotiation with Remco then. They are trying to convince him to agree to join the Soudal - Visma team for the next few years and sign with them.

The rest of the current Soudal - Quickstep riders will go out on the free market, maybe Remco can bring one or two with him but thats it.
 
Yeah, I didn't phrase that well. The budget cap would absolutely work, but if you make it low enough to have a real impact it would cut a big chunk of the annual WT team budget in a sport where the average athlete is just a normal person with a normal life and a normal salary, not some multi millionaire who has enough money for the rest of their life anyway. Creating a budget cap would have an immediate impact on those riders salary and I think that makes it very questionable if that's the right move. I can see arguments that this would increase the value of small teams making them richer in the long run but that's a very thin line to navigate.
The impact on wages would unquestionably be a net negative. Maybe you could alleviate the impact on modal wages by combining a budget cap with a salary cap, to make the richest riders bear the brunt of the impact, but that would put meritocracy under threat in a way that it wouldn't in sports that have insane wages for the top athletes and/or incentivise circumventing the rules via personal (or 'personal') sponsorships.

It does make you wonder whether there's a good way of stopping the oligopolistic (arguably even monopolistic) developments of recent years. Banning mergers would be a good move IMO, but that doesn't address the structural issues that have enabled Jumbo's 2023 season. Maybe you could ban teams whose riders have won a higher than X% of monuments + GTs (perhaps give more weight to GTs here) in the past Y years from signing (not renewing) riders in the top Z of the UCI ranking?
 
Did I miss the sarcasm? That sounds exactly like Lefevere.
The guy that flew Jakobsen's family to Poland in a private plane, and then kept Jakobsen on the payroll when he didn't have to? You think a person that would do such a thing is going to put so many riders and staff randomly on the street? If so you believe too much in the persona people are trying to create of him.
 
The guy that flew Jakobsen's family to Poland in a private plane, and then kept Jakobsen on the payroll when he didn't have to? You think a person that would do such a thing is going to put so many riders and staff randomly on the street? If so you believe too much in the persona people are trying to create of him.
That was a personal thing though. Jakobsen could have died and was badly hurt.

This is just business at the end of the day. Sure, it is unfortunate but companies goes under and people lose their jobs every day. Especially, in the current economy. Hence why it is not easy finding new sponsors.
 
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Because if Soudal-Quickstep cease to exist, WT-license is auctioned/sold/given to another team, all the contracts are basically worth nothing. They also cease to exist with the team/company. Have I understood it right?
Not necessarily. If the paying agent, which is the company holding the license and the contracts, is sold, the contracts are sold with it. A new sponsor could buy that paying agent, gets the license and (some of) the riders. The new "super" team first has to transfer the riders involved in the merger by offering them new contracts. However, if an existing team---which already has/is a paying agent---buys only the license, then you are correct. A rider contract cannot be moved from one paying agent to the other without permission of the rider; he would be free to leave.
 
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The impact on wages would unquestionably be a net negative. Maybe you could alleviate the impact on modal wages by combining a budget cap with a salary cap, to make the richest riders bear the brunt of the impact, but that would put meritocracy under threat in a way that it wouldn't in sports that have insane wages for the top athletes and/or incentivise circumventing the rules via personal (or 'personal') sponsorships.

It does make you wonder whether there's a good way of stopping the oligopolistic (arguably even monopolistic) developments of recent years. Banning mergers would be a good move IMO, but that doesn't address the structural issues that have enabled Jumbo's 2023 season. Maybe you could ban teams whose riders have won a higher than X% of monuments + GTs (perhaps give more weight to GTs here) in the past Y years from signing (not renewing) riders in the top Z of the UCI ranking?
Jumbo have come and Jumbo will be gone. Is it important whether or not they last 5 years more or less?

I think teams closing is one of the best things about cycling. If anything, too few teams close.
 
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Jumbo have come and Jumbo will be gone. Is it important whether or not they last 5 years more or less?

I think teams closing is one of the best things about cycling. If anything, too few teams close.

Not from a riders' perspective!

I see talk about a salary cap or other spending limit, but to do that you need a a pool of wealthy owners, like in the Premier League or NFL, and a pot of money from broadcast rights primarily. No one is going to pay the UCI a billion euros a year for exclusive rights to broadcast cycling, I don't think.

But the first issue is the real problem: Cycling is still a niche sport overall with limited sponsorship appeal, and it's been tainted by doping scandals. In what other sport would the most dominant team have to go hat in hand seeking sponsorship? So every team is under constant threat of folding, even Ineos, if Ratcliffe decides he wants to focus on football or building Land Rover clones...
 
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So, you think teams should only be allowed to sign 1-year contract with riders, who aren't neo-pros?
Otherwise, what if a team has more than 1 rider on contract who're in the top-10 of the UCI ranking? Should UCI basically force the team to not honour the contract with at least one rider?
I realized (when I was typing) that this kind of rule is very hard to implement in a solid / lawful way, but for example, here are 2 rules you can implement:

1. not allowing teams to sign another top 10 UCI rider if they already have one; (but teams are free to keep multiple riders in the top 10).
2. any rider that ends up in the top 10 at the end of the season while the team already has a rider in that top 10, should be able to get a tranfer to another team without contractual obligations.
In this way, any team (that doesn't have a top 10 rider already) can make an offer.

Just one example: JV should, according to those rules, be allowed to keep Vingegaard and Roglic.
But they aren't allowed to buy e.g. Evenepoel. And in the current situation, other teams should be allowed to negotiate with Roglic, even if he has a multiple year contract.
 
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Not from a riders' perspective!

Or all the other people caught up in the mess...

2. any rider that ends up in the top 10 at the end of the season while the team already has a rider in that top 10, should be able to get a tranfer to another team without contractual obligations.
In this way, any team (that doesn't have a top 10 rider already) can make an offer.

What if the new rider, who moved into the top-10 after signing, actually really, really wants to join to team with which he signed? Could there even be a risk that said rider would do his best to avoid moving into the top-10?
 
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Or all the other people caught up in the mess...



What if the new rider, who moved into the top-10 after signing, actually really, really wants to join to team with which he signed?
Those riders can stay in the team (they are not forced to move).
So any talent that is developed in-house and reaches the top, is free to stay, but if a team has the luxury of having 2 riders in the top 10, they have to allow the lowest ranked rider to move, if offers come from other teams.

As those other teams making offers can only be those without a current top 10, it guarantees that riders without top 10 riders have more opportunities to get a top 10 rider in their team (by offering them a good contract).

ps: I'm just brainstorming, the main goal is to have a more level playing field where all teams should be able to get some good riders and don't have to wait 5 years until a top rider, from a fully stacked team, is back on the market.
 

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