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Jumbo - QuickStep merger

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Dave Brailsford
 
What I find fascinating is one of the central, prevailing assumptions that appears to be driving, or a least turbocharging, this whole affair, specifically the unproven notion that Remco is obvious TdF champion material and only needs the right team and organizational support to realize this.

While Plugge clearly has a budget shortfall arriving in 2025 (!), the rush to close the deal immediately clearly revolves in large part around Remco's demands and Don Patrick's desire to cash out at the top (ie to parcel out "his" superstar). Rogla's departure always made sense, even before this clusterf%$&.

But what if Wonder Boy cannot deliver? Neutral observers could be forgiven for sincere doubts after this Vuelta.

I'm on the fence at the moment & my conclusion will depend on where Evenepoel goes.

If Soudal aren't taking Evenepoel to Visma with them, then it's effectively Soudal shuttering the Evenepoel project, at least at their end. It'll mean they have zero faith in Evenepoel winning the TdF & jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the current 2x TdF champions.

If Soudal does take Evenepoel over to Plugge's team, it'll mean they want him to have a better environment to develop in.

Because the basic truth is Evenepoel at Ineos won't have increased odds to win the Tour next year. He'll get more money, he'll get more stardom (superstar riding for a super team), but winning the TdF will remain a long-shot. Don't get me wrong, i.e. Evenepoel is box office material. He'll smash monuments & races all over the calendar season. But GT racing is something else & he can't be considered one of the best yet.
 
It has been asked before but on what base can the contracts be annulled?
The company is not going bankrupt. I don't get it.

It's from the riders side. They can annul their contracts.

From the team side the contracts with the riders have to be respecte. If a guy doesn't want to sign with another team his contract has to be paid out by the new entity.

I guess they are firing a lot of the staff and the riders they do not want to keep and giving those people payouts.

And I doubt a lot of the staff (non-riders) had already signed contracts for next season (the greek trainer who was quite well liked in the team clearly had not so why would it be different for other staff) so mostly the letter will be one that their contracts won't be renewed.
 
The problem is although visma would have to respect SQS rider contracts, it's in the riders best interest to find another team asap or it could affect they career in the long-term. Rival teams will be more inclined to sign SQS riders as there will be a deal to be had with visma covering a percentage of their contract.
 
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It's from the riders side. They can annul their contracts.

From the team side the contracts with the riders have to be respecte. If a guy doesn't want to sign with another team his contract has to be paid out by the new entity.

I guess they are firing a lot of the staff and the riders they do not want to keep and giving those people payouts.

And I doubt a lot of the staff (non-riders) had already signed contracts for next season (the greek trainer who was quite well liked in the team clearly had not so why would it be different for other staff) so mostly the letter will be one that their contracts won't be renewed.
View: https://twitter.com/cirogazzetta/status/1706988149073731674?t=YPDK7MS5o_hnFUdMquj6Rg&s=19
 
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Remco has no obligation to race for xxxx-Visma. He is free to sign with any team, and it looks like he may have done so. This is from a new article posted on Cycling Up To Date, based on an article in l"Equipe:

"As soon as the merger is completed and finalized, Plugge's team will take the upper hand and all contracts of the Lefevere team will be annulled. There is already a contract for Evenepoel with INEOS. The deal between him and the British team will be completed within five minutes."​

All of the "Remco to Ineos" stories are just rewording the L'Equipe article, which seems to be based on the French animosity toward Plugge (winning the Tour if you're not a Frenchman is a crime) rather than anything Evenepoel has said.

I think strictly legally he would indeed be out of contract and free to leave if Lefevere's team dissolves, but on the other hand you could also make a case for the riders on Plugge's team that the merger is not what they signed up for, which could also hold up in court. All of that is not relevant. They won't keep him to his contract anyway if he really doesn't want to race for them. It's not a prison camp and they're not desperate for a Tour winner like Ineos are.

I think the Specialized connection is more relevant. They seem to have adopted Evenepoel as a kind of flagship rider, and if Specialized join the team but not Evenepoel, that would be quite surprising. Then you have to wonder why Plugge wouldn't just stick to Cervélo.
 
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As it looks like now, this merger could be disaster for Visma and Quickstep. Huge number of riders can and will change teams. Remco will go to Ineos, Roglič to Bora. Basically, Visma will loose serial stage and GT winner in Roglič, Visma will never have world champion, monuments, GT winner Remco and they are one Vinge injury away from winning nothing.
 
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Far too much stock has been put in that quote relayed by L'Equipe IMO.

For what it's worth I'll take a wild guess here & 'assume' Evenepoel is going to the new Visma, not Ineos. He's the Rog replacement, with a slightly different profile.

It makes a lot of sense.
It may just be that they are still negotiating. I said that earlier in the thread. When everyone is happy and it is clear what happesn, they will move on.

And that things has to happen in a certain order with the rest of the team, riders and staff, before they can proceed.
 
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As it looks like now, this merger could be disaster for Visma and Quickstep. Huge number of riders can and will change teams. Remco will go to Ineos, Roglič to Bora. Basically, Visma will loose serial stage and GT winner in Roglič, Visma will never have world champion, monuments, GT winner Remco and they are one Vinge injury away from winning nothing.
Just two weeks ago everyone was saying that Roglic should leave and it wasn't fair, Jumbo were too dominant. What has changed for you? Because other than Roglic they'll be left with the same team, probably with a few of the stronger Quickstep riders as well (and maybe Evenepoel).
 
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I'm on the fence at the moment & my conclusion will depend on where Evenepoel goes.

If Soudal aren't taking Evenepoel to Visma with them, then it's effectively Soudal shuttering the Evenepoel project, at least at their end. It'll mean they have zero faith in Evenepoel winning the TdF & jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the current 2x TdF champions.

If Soudal does take Evenepoel over to Plugge's team, it'll mean they want him to have a better environment to develop in.
You are talking here about Soudal the company in their role as sponsor, right?

I think what the businessmen think about a riders chance is pretty irrelevant of the actual chances of a rider. It’s what the sportspeople decide that is relevant, for example how Plugge/Zeeman didn’t see Foss as a big asset anymore even if the people at Visma would’ve liked to see him develop more at the team.
 
HLN, Belgian newspaper, today on the Evenepoel saga:

"Nothing has yet been decided, in the form of a signed agreement or 'handshake' deal - everything in due time -, but the signals that have reached us in recent days certainly indicate that with this intention things are going in the right direction and that there is a very real chance that the two strongest Belgian riders - Evenepoel and Wout van Aert - will ride together in the same team in 2024."

No idea what their sources are, but they are diametrically opposite to L'Equipe. I think the conclusion is: nobody knows except Evenepoel himself. But him going to Visma would make sense if Bakala started this whole merger plan after daddy Evenepoel complained to him... which is something that Lefevere mentioned in his column, so one of the few things that has been confirmed by someone actually involved in the merger.
 
There would be no need for SQ to close, if it was just a question of Soudal ending its sponsorship, so of course it is a merger (if it comes off) and I am pretty sure Evenepoel will be part of it, because otherwise there would be no need for JV to initiate the merger in the first place.

Also as far as I know there is no where in the EU you can just close down a business, which has assests, and then just refuse to pay out the existing contracts.

You can fire people of course, but you need to abide by contracts made.
The possibility I mooted was that with the departure of Soudal's money (and there is still a 'how?' to that if there was indeed a multi-year contract) is that QS would need to close, unless another sponsor could be found at very short notice, and that Lefevre decided that it is just not worth the hassle at his age.

I believe that you are right, about closing down the business without respect to those with a stake, but contract holders sit after creditors in the pecking order for payments (I believe), and liability is limited to the assets of the company (not its owners). For a cycling team, physical assets that can be turned into cash are very limited: their 'wealth' is their personnel, and a WT licence that the UCI has declared to be of no resale value at all.

Of course, if it were a merger, or a takeover, then the assets of TJV would be brought into account as well: further evidence, to my mind, that this is not a merger.
 
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The whole thing is pretty strange. QS is the team in cycling with the longest traditions and Belgium is more or less cycling country number 1. One would then think that this would attract more sponsors and money with the emergence of a generational talent and the most talented Belgian rider in 50 years. But no. They are unable to support him in proper way and just as he should enter his prime years the team seems to be absorbed by another team, and Remco goes abroad.