Team NTT Pro Cycling Thread

No official thread for DiData or MTN Qhubeka that i can find, but thought I’d start one with the new sponsor.

Main reason for posting is the news of their young rider Nicholas Dlamini getting an arm broken by park rangers while on a training ride in Cape Town.

He’ll presumably sit out the first bit of the season now.
 
Huge over reaction to not having a permit. No matter the rules of the park no one needs to break arms over a permit
A friend with connections to South Africa had this to say on another forum.

Was chatting to a couple SA mates about it. They reckon the rangers in that particular section (tokai/silvermines) are complete plum. Always there to check the permits, never there to, you know, actually ranger the park and protect people who pay fees. Muggings and car breaking are common but that type of action isn't rare against regulars who might not have a visible permit on a bike.
 
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I just listened to a long interview with Lars Michaelsen, leading DS at NTT - recorded 2 weeks ago (yeah, I missed it).

He said some pretty interesting things about NTT.

First he spoke to NTT needing the same kind of turn around Astana was through, after Nibali left, and suddenly having to redefine itself, after losing the all-overshadowing captain, who gave the team most its results. He liked that to Cavendish leaving NTT, and the team now having to completely redefine itself.

To those not knowing, Michaelsen was the brain behind the turnaround Astana went through, after a big internal debate, over departing from the old school (italian) way of running a pro team, to trying to copy what QS was doing (we all know how that went).

He also spoke to having a lot of internal debates, about the NTT "money ball" system, and wanting to changing it somewhat, because: "people are not machines, that you just plug in, and then they perform in the same race as they did last year".

It will be interesting to see, how Riis manages to make those ends meet - between what the main sponsor wants, and what the lead DS thinks the team needs.

Michaelsen also spoke to being DS for Campenaerts, and what a revelation his dedication is, giving the example of bike fitting of his TT bikes, where Campenaerts doesn't care what is comfortable, he just cares what is most aerodynamic, and Michaelsen quoted him as saying: "And then I just have to learn to ride with the pain".
Michaelsen also said Campenaerts is a rider he gives special consideration (captain-like status).

It's going to be an interesting thing to follow this teams attempt at a turnaround, because while Michaelsen has done it before, Astana was already a successful team, NTT is not.
Riis may be the catalyst needed, because he has built a successful team from scratch before, and was the first one Michaelsen worked for as a DS.
 
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To those not knowing, Michaelsen was the brain behind the turnaround Astana went through, after a big internal debate, over departing from the old school (italian) way of running a pro team, to trying to copy what QS was doing (we all know how that went).
Not knowing for sure, afaik Michaelsen was an employed DS for northern classics in particular.
 
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It was what he did there. This story about Michaelsen revolutionizing Astana I have never heard.
I honestly don't remember the source, it was some article or interview in danish median sometime during 2018, speaking to Michaelsen being instrumental in changing the philosophy in the team, from a "all for 1" mentality to a "wolf pack" mentality, as well as making a lot of logistical changes.
 
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I think the team composition is absolutely garbage. I don't know what kind of "moneyball" data they base their recruiting on. Also Bjarne's first recruit Carbel didn't get any better since first year U23.

However I do think that Bjarne will have a positive impact and at least get guys like Valgren, EBH, O'Connor and Nizzolo to perform well. If those guys operate on their normal level and Campanaerts wins a bunch of TT stages they will be a mediocre team again.
 
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I think the team composition is absolutely garbage. I don't know what kind of "moneyball" data they base their recruiting on. Also Bjarne's first recruit Carbel didn't get any better since first year U23.

However I do think that Bjarne will have a positive impact and at least get guys like Valgren, EBH, O'Connor and Nizzolo to perform well. If those guys operate on their normal level and Campanaerts wins a bunch of TT stages they will be a mediocre team again.
I think what Riis is better at than any other manager in cycling, is logistics.

The whole foundation of the team, who does what, when and why, what systems are in place to support, what personnel, what technology and machinery, etc., etc.

Many of the systems and innovations Riis made on Team CSC/Tiscali/Saxo/Tinkov, are today commonplace for most of the top WT teams. - For instance Brailsfords marginal gains philosophy, is largely the continuation of what Riis started.

So I expect Team NTT to be completely overhauled, behind the scenes, over the next 1-2 years, with Michaelsen (being Riis' primary apostle) leading the charge for systematic change.

Other than that, Riis has always been a very good tactical DS, so we can expect to see a Team NTT, riding a great deal more like a team in future, and try to execute a lot more complicated race tactics.

Btw I also think Virtu and NTT are a perfect marriage, because Virtu is a very innovation focused company, which ties in nicely with NTT.

All that having been said, things take time, and with this happening at the start of a new season, we should not expect significant change until 2021, because this season, they will have to work with what they've got.
 
All this talk of what Riis brings to the table makes me wonder how inept the previous management must have been. If Riis is some kind of messiah, then how was it before? «Um, good luck with the race today guys, see you at the finish»? One would think that people entrusted with investments of millions of euros would be highly professional and leave no stone unturned in the hunt for success. Otherwise, Dimension Data and NTT have made an inexcusable mistake in choosing to sponsor the team.

I'm not completely sold yet on the idea that Riis will revolutionize the performances of this team. Maybe they just have poor (and in some cases, unlucky) bike riders. But then Riis could of course help with transfer policy...
 
All this talk of what Riis brings to the table makes me wonder how inept the previous management must have been. If Riis is some kind of messiah, then how was it before? «Um, good luck with the race today guys, see you at the finish»? One would think that people entrusted with investments of millions of euros would be highly professional and leave no stone unturned in the hunt for success. Otherwise, Dimension Data and NTT have made an inexcusable mistake in choosing to sponsor the team.

I'm not completely sold yet on the idea that Riis will revolutionize the performances of this team. Maybe they just have poor (and in some cases, unlucky) bike riders. But then Riis could of course help with transfer policy...
My memory of early CSC is foggy so I might be wrong but we're Riis glorydays involved much better riders than NTT currently has so I wouldn't be expecting an immediate impact
 
My memory of early CSC is foggy so I might be wrong but we're Riis glorydays involved much better riders than NTT currently has so I wouldn't be expecting an immediate impact
CSC was built on a few very experienced riders (like Jalabert ) , and a bunch of young talents.

Many went on to become stars, but were not when Riis picked them up.

That having been said, it was a different era for cycling, and the path to being a top 10 team was a great deal easier than today.
 

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