Teams & Riders Team Movistar-thread

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The new jersey is the result of a design-competition. As I understand, they'll only be used for Strade Bianche, and then the jerseys will be auctioned off, with the income going to various organisations in the fight against COVID-19.
As for Valverde's jersey; I guess having in ride around in the rainbow stripes for a year, and people not randomly forgetting that he rides for Movistar, taught them that they can indeed give people proper championship jerseys.
Reactions: Koronin
Even if he didn't test positive himself, if that's the family emergency - someone from his family having tested positive - I guess he's a potential carrier...
Could be possible, but I've heard from people who are well informed that the problems who keep him in Colombia and make him show up too late in Europe and out of shape are actually family related. I don't know more and I don't want to speculate about those things, but apparently it's not just him being lazy and unmotivated.
Reactions: Sandisfan
Could be possible, but I've heard from people who are well informed that the problems who keep him in Colombia and make him show up too late in Europe and out of shape are actually family related. I don't know more and I don't want to speculate about those things, but apparently it's not just him being lazy and unmotivated.
Wouldn't someone from his family testing positive - or simply showing symptoms - be considered family related? In fact, if that's the case, it would give him two very good reasons to not want to go:
1. The above mentioned reason of not wanting to travel while being a potential carrier.
2. Not wanting to leave his family behind
They were colossally top-heavy previously, to afford those big name riders (less so Carapaz who had come through the ranks at the team and only just won a GT that would push his salary up, but definitely Quintana at this stage in his career and Landa who was a big-money acquisition) they had had to sacrifice a lot of their strong all-rounders who would get good results in one-day and one-week races and be the engine room in the domestique corps come GT time (the Izagirre brothers, the Herradas, Jonathan Castroviejo), plus their rouleur corps was also depleted by the career-ending injury to Malori. Prospective replacements to this kind of role have either not kicked on as hoped (Rubén Fernández) and some of the signing gambles haven't paid off (Victor de la Parte, Carlos Betancur). Plus of course Jaime Rosón getting suspended for things he was doing at Caja Rural has thrown a big spanner in the works for them as you can imagine he would have stepped up into that role too. I think losing Amador is the biggest thing of this off-season though. Bigger than the GT winners departing. Because Andrey Amador was an Abarcá lifer, if not in the literal sense like Txente or Lastras, then at least in the same way as Rojas, Valverde and José Iván Gutiérrez. For him to walk to a big money team is a real dagger to the soul of Abarcá's view of the sport, whether that be right or wrong.

There has been a need for Abarcá to go through what would be termed a "rebuilding phase" in American sports parlance for a while, to be honest. And this has to entail accepting that you won't be the major player, or at least the major rival to the biggest dog in the yard, for a bit. They've had to adapt their model to suit modern cycling, and I'm sure some of that will be begrudgingly. They've ploughed money into developing their women's team and, while they're hardly the biggest team in the world, Spanish women are far more prominent in the sport than they were prior to the Movistar team's development, which is reassuring for those that feared it might be a token gesture for tax purposes. They've divided Lizarte into two, with a commercially sponsored team that is able to race pro races for some of their better prospects, enabling there to be less of a significant step-up from the amateur team to the pros and so that they can keep people within the family if they've outgrown Lizarte but aren't yet ready for Movistar, like Martí Marquez or Martin Bouzas, or if they've not quite adapted to the step-up but still have ability, like Jaime Castrillo. They've started hiring young guns from across a wider, different spectrum of styles of rider, going actively after young rouleurs that simply aren't being created by the Spanish amateur scene, especially not the Basque-Navarrese scene that they specialise in and derive most of their talent from. They're hoping to turn Valverde's Murcían amateur setup into an active feeder as well, giving them eyes on the Valencia-based amateur scene which is also one of the strongest in the country (strongest outright away from the north coast) as well, though whether that entails a linear progression (Valverde squad) --> (Lizarte) --> (Kern Pharma) --> (Movistar) or if they're going to run it parallel to Lizarte and cream off the best of those talents across both teams into Kern Pharma I'm not sure. They've spent money on bringing back Sérgio Samitier, a very promising climber who came through their feeders but was lost specifically because there wasn't a Kern Pharma route at the time - he was perceived as less ready for the step-up than Héctor Carretero and they needed a different style of rider to balance the team at the time so there was no room at Movistar, but he was clearly at a time where he should turn pro and they had no 'in-between' house so he went to the ProConti Murias team instead.

Now, definitely this hasn't been smooth sailing. There are still some clear remnants of traditional Abarcá policy here - paying over the odds for ageing helpers, for example, as the team brings in 35-year-old Dario Cataldo, just as they did with Szmyd, Gadret and Moreau before - and some of the neo-pro contracts have a bit of a sense of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks when it comes to contracts outside of what you might expect to be traditional Abarcá expertise - Alba, Rubio and Elosegui come from traditional sources from which they've taken riders, Jorgensen, Jacobs, Hollmann and Cullaigh are a bit more of a departure for the team from their standard operating procedure, which may be a sign of desperation or it may be a canny moving with the times depending on how those riders develop and whether Abarcá is a good environment for them, especially considering Jacobs and Hollmann in particular have specialisms well away from what the team would usually be considered a strong development spot for. And while they're long established veterans on the velodrome, there can be no denying that signing Albert Torres and Sebastián Mora - whose road career has largely been bouncing around smaller scenes riding for teams like Raleigh-GAC, Inteja Dominican Cycling and with next to no WT-level experience - to fill up their rouleur corps is a bit underwhelming when they're needing to replace the likes of Castroviejo, and their last foray into signing track specialists for the same reason - Eloy Teruel in 2012 - was a one-year experiment that really didn't give much to suggest it was an experiment worth repeating.

As a result, though, this is a great opportunity for Enric Más to make this his team. I know, I know, Unzué loves Valverde like a son and as long as he's active it's Valverde's team. But it isn't really. If the realignment of the development teams works, then between Marc Soler, Enric Más, Samitier and the two young Colombians they could have a core that they can work around for the foreseeable future. I'm sure they'll continue their standing policy of pilfering from Caja Rural if the latter is able to get the best out of some of their youngsters - Xavi Cañellas and Jefferson Cepeda in particular stand out, but there's also Jhoján García, and I'm interested to see how Orluís Aular gets on. Depending on their agents, of course. They'll probably trade off by signing those guys and giving Caja some guys like Jorge Arcas in return if the youngsters are able to help replete that rouleur group. I don't see much on Burgos that might appeal to them, but Euskadi have António Soto and Dzmitry Zhyhunou who came through Lizarte, and with the ties to Canyon and their seemingly wider vision in terms of where they look to scope riders from nowadays, there may be some riders from Alpecin that are of value to them, Petr Vakoc standing out there as a name they could get something from.

They seem to realise that the way cycling does business is changing, and whether they're right about the direction it's heading time will tell, but it seems like they're doing the equivalent of an NHL team rebuild, acquiring a lot of draft and prospect capital (I use hockey rather than football as the analogy because hockey drafts pre-college, so prospects are a mix of wonderkids and those who will need a few years to reach the top level if they ever make it at all) at the expense of contending now; doing the bidding on prospects with a view to getting people into the system at a young age and looking to develop them from inside, rather than waiting for them to go through the conventional routes. Previously, the Lizarte amateur team was all Abarcá needed to keep up in the prospect game, but with our views on neo-pro expectations being changed dramatically by certain supertalents, as well as people rewriting the rulebook with things like the complete change in how contracts are viewed with football-style tapping up and contract breaking with teams paying off the contract breakers' fines; we have Sky/Ineos bypassing development costs by waiting for others to develop riders and then spending their development budget on offering bigger money to those riders that show themselves best, and wily old veteran team owners like Gianni Savio signing riders to contracts far longer than they will ever hope to fulfil, pocketing the money from teams buying out those long-term contracts to get their hands on the talents he develops.

It might be that Movistar are behind the curve in what they are doing compared to the likes of Jumbo and Ineos... or it could be that because their budget pales in comparison to those two, they are ahead of the curve in taking action that is counteracting the measures taken by these teams, and while it may entail some short term pain in terms of limited relevance, it has long term benefits in terms of establishing a new core for the team that would not have been possible if they only acquired riders through the traditional route to market or only in their traditional target and core markets of Spain and Latin America, and they hope that doing this while Valverde is still active can soften the blow a bit . However, we may be headed for a period in history for them a bit like the early 2000s. Mancebo was their leader then, and they had some people coming through with promise like the Osas, plus some that bounced around a bit like a late-career Zülle, early-career Menchov and the ailing Chava, who the team had backed after the public falling out with Olano, but it wasn't really until Valverde came along that they got out of that funk.
I guess they haven't really caught up with the bigger money teams, even if they were never the biggest budget team in the first place.

However I also get the idea they used to get a lot of talent from South America and now everybody does their scouting there.

Obviously they couldn't retain all of Landa, Quintana and Carapaz but I'm still surprised to see all of them go. Carapaz was gone super early anyway, and I guess Quintana having issues with the team and underperforming probably just had to go. But I had thought Landa would've been worth to retain at least.

Then there's probably also the 'bad luck' of Soler not growing into a GT leader and Mas underperfoming last year so him being a big GT leader seems a worse than it would've seemed 18 months ago
Reactions: jaylew and SHAD0W93
I don't know what type of $$ their riders were on but when you lose Quintana, Carapaz and Landa and replace them with Mas and not much else (not sure who I missed) but you retain Valverde you're probably gonna implode soon.
Yep. They're a bottom tier WT team, current talent-wise. When your best rider might finally be showing signs of decline at 40 and your 2nd and 3rd best riders are Mas and Soler, your team isn't very good.
Reactions: Red Rick
Libertine Seguros gave a great summary. Movistar is basically doing a full rebuilt. This is necessary in sports from time to time. If you do it right you sacrifice 1 to 2 years for a long run of success. Movistar has done this before, although this time it's more drastic. IMO they should have started this process about 3 years ago. Also remember a part of this drastic chance is due to black listing the Italian agent Acquadro (sp) due to the Carapaz and Amador situations (and likely others that haven't been publicized). So they are now looking for other agents to work with. Or even riders who do not have agents (Jorgensen being one of those). Movistar also realized they needed a better feeder system than what they currently have, hence splitting Lizarte into two teams with the new team Kern Pharma being a pro team. Also interesting 4-5 years ago Valverde was asked if he would ever consider adding a pro team to group of teams and he said no, he didn't want to run a pro team as he's seen what it takes and he wasn't sure he wanted to deal with that. After he got his U-23 team up and running he's started floating the idea of adding a Continental team to his set of teams if he can get enough sponsorship. I suspect this has to do with Movistar's wanting/hoping to use Valverde Team as a feeder team eventually.

Yes, this is Valverde's team for as long as he's racing. However, Mas has a chance to make it his team with this rebuild process. They are building a young team around him and to a lesser extent Soler. Plus Valverde wants to help/teach the young riders. As for Movistar's stated expectations for Valverde, it's simply that he's enjoying himself and having fun and any results are a bonus. They want the young riders to step up.

Landa and Quintana were making around 2 million each. Movistar is not a high budget team. They are at best an average budget team.