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Teams & Riders The Great Big Cycling Transfers, Extensions, and Rumours Thread

Page 337 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
See the problem is I don't think the promotion/relegation system is long for this world, because they're growing the WT to a size where there simply isn't scope for gaining or losing points outside of it,
This is categorically untrue. There used to be space for 19 or 20 WT teams, the cap at 18 is still quite recent.
The organisers of the biggest races basically have zero flexibility or choice of who they invite, so the top scoring PT teams are going to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, it'll be the same group of teams alternating between "wildcard" (which is a compulsory invite) and "automatic" (which is an automatic invite) status.
Weren't you complaining that the small races handed out too many points, meaning that smaller teams were getting squeezed out of opportunities by teams in the relegation battle sending quality lineups? So which is it - do smaller races or WT races hand out too many points for the relegation battle? You can't have it both ways depending on which suits your argument...

Also, Total got the automatic WCs for this year despite being nowhere near promotion. The system, while imperfect, is nowhere near as closed as you make it seem, and IMO has made it more attractive for sponsors like Uno-X and Tudor to properly invest in their respective teams because the awkward phase between smaller team and WT team where you're at the mercy of the organisers has been mostly eliminated by the auto-WCs. Would have given Alpecin their GT debut a year earlier had the system been in place then as well, which would unequivocally have been a good thing. And things will actually get more competitive in the near future, because we are likely to finally be rid of WT Astana after 2025.
 
This is categorically untrue. There used to be space for 19 or 20 WT teams, the cap at 18 is still quite recent.

Weren't you complaining that the small races handed out too many points, meaning that smaller teams were getting squeezed out of opportunities by teams in the relegation battle sending quality lineups? So which is it - do smaller races or WT races hand out too many points for the relegation battle? You can't have it both ways depending on which suits your argument...

Also, Total got the automatic WCs for this year despite being nowhere near promotion. The system, while imperfect, is nowhere near as closed as you make it seem, and IMO has made it more attractive for sponsors like Uno-X and Tudor to properly invest in their respective teams because the awkward phase between smaller team and WT team where you're at the mercy of the organisers has been mostly eliminated by the auto-WCs. Would have given Alpecin their GT debut a year earlier had the system been in place then as well, which would unequivocally have been a good thing. And things will actually get more competitive in the near future, because we are likely to finally be rid of WT Astana after 2025.
The problem with the smaller races was the absurd imbalance between one day races and stage races, that meant podiums in two or three one-day races in the saturated "flat to rolling Belgian and northern French race" category were worth almost as much as winning a World Tour race.

I think there's too many WT teams, and organisers should have more flexibility to invite who they want. One of the things about cycling that seems to be underappreciated in today's scene is the way races have their own individual characters not just in what they look like but who rides them. I miss the days of Italian ProConti teams who would go hell for leather for the Giro and build their entire year around it - they wouldn't compete year-long with the WT teams, but they would be a handful at the race, not just some unheralded guy that once won a stage of Settimana Coppi e Bartali sitting three minutes in front of a bored-looking péloton for three and a half hours in a Tirreno-Adriatico stage as the sum total of their involvement in the year's racing. I miss the days of teams like Landbouwkrediet having people that would genuinely threaten to podium the Classics, because that was the entire year to them. It was part of what gave those races their characters. But nowadays genuine GC riders and threats are off-limits to those teams, other than the small handful that can guarantee the majority of the invites. Total got those invites largely not because the organisers thought they were going to be competitive or because they were a stronger team than those around them, but rather because they were likely to bring Peter Sagan. Nowadays the wildcard teams buy some second rate sprinter to try to win some points in smaller races because of that imbalance, meaning they're another team trying to make it boring, not a team trying to upset the apple cart anymore. If we're lucky, they get a Sagan or a Froome (or formerly a Garzelli or Pozzato), a veteran with name value who can help get invites to attract fans to races but is not so likely to actively impact the outcome anymore.

18 teams locked to invites is about as maximal as I would give it, and pretending to offer flexibility while insisting on "compulsory wildcards" is ridiculous. I don't mind them restricting the wildcard invites to the top 40 to rule out total cannon fodder, but making it top 30 means that it's going to end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the top teams that get the invites get the most points and therefore keep getting the invites.

But hey, I'm an old curmudgeon. The Premier League makes a lot more money than the old Division One did in England, right? It doesn't matter that if you get promoted you have to buy an entire new squad and spend €100m+ like Aston Villa or Nottingham Forest did if you want to survive, and teams that have spent out and then got relegated, or just teams in lower divisions that never sniffed a cent of the increased revenues, have gone bust. They weren't in the PL at the time, so they ceased to exist in the minds of the casual fan. There is no problem.

And we have all been taught to dream by the fresh ink of the newspapers, Soyuzpechat'.

Edit: I guess what I'm saying is, one of the things that originally drew me into cycling, and one of the things I liked about it, was the cast of thousands, that each race you watched could have a totally different field, with totally different goals, so you only got to see the best of the best face off with one another periodically in the biggest races and it felt special. It didn't feel like it was structured like Formula One. I feel like they're trying to restructure it to be more like Formula One, with all the talent in a fixed number of teams that fight out the entire calendar. That isn't the sport that I fell in love with, and the more it turns into that, the less I feel like I recognise it as the sport of cycling. It's still cyclists racing each other from point A to point B, but it's no more the sport of cycling to me than the world of DRS zones, "let the Mercedes through, we're not racing them" radio messages and tarmac runoff penalty fights is F1 to people who grew up on Senna vs. Prost vs. Mansell vs. Piquet in the 80s.
 
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One of the things about cycling that seems to be underappreciated in today's scene is the way races have their own individual characters not just in what they look like but who rides them. I miss the days of Italian ProConti teams who would go hell for leather for the Giro and build their entire year around it - they wouldn't compete year-long with the WT teams, but they would be a handful at the race, not just some unheralded guy that once won a stage of Settimana Coppi e Bartali sitting three minutes in front of a bored-looking péloton for three and a half hours in a Tirreno-Adriatico stage as the sum total of their involvement in the year's racing.
Yeah, this is a very charming aspect about cycling which has gone a bit missing. When everyone 'have to' race all of the same races, most teams inevitably look quite similar. When local teams were proper protagonists in the Giro or the Vuelta the race had a more unique character, instead of being just another race where the top 10-15 teams spread their international captains across.

Going towards a more streamlined and bland top division like we are now in cycling is just a sign of the times in all sports, and there are of course positive things about it. But I do agree that having a slightly smaller WT would help bring back a bit of this aspect. Then you could even keep the auto-wildcard thing, because you'd still have a couple more spots for invites, which would create more stability for teams who would want to operate like Androni, LPR Brakes or similar. This all means less money for the people making the decisions though, so it's not gonna happen.
 
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One of the things about cycling that seems to be underappreciated in today's scene is the way races have their own individual characters not just in what they look like but who rides them. I miss the days of Italian ProConti teams who would go hell for leather for the Giro and build their entire year around it - they wouldn't compete year-long with the WT teams, but they would be a handful at the race, not just some unheralded guy that once won a stage of Settimana Coppi e Bartali sitting three minutes in front of a bored-looking péloton for three and a half hours in a Tirreno-Adriatico stage as the sum total of their involvement in the year's racing. I miss the days of teams like Landbouwkrediet having people that would genuinely threaten to podium the Classics, because that was the entire year to them.
These days aren't coming back irrespective of what the wildcard system is, for a variety of reasons.
  • It costs more to run a team nowadays. From wind tunnels to dieticians, the whole entourage you need is simply a lot bigger than it was even 15 years ago. So for the money that used to buy you a guy who can do a middle-of-the-top-10 at the Giro/Vuelta + the rest of your roster + staff, you can now only get two of the three - and then it by definition has to be the big-name rider who goes.
  • At the same time, available sponsorship money in Italy and Spain has collapsed. This does not have to do with the WC system, because if that was the reason why, then their WT teams would not have gone (almost) extinct in the past 15 years. But it does mean that their PCT teams are among the poorest, and therefore also the weakest, even of the teams in their category.
  • Moreover, the pool of Italian and Spanish riders is far, far weaker than it was until 10-15 years ago. In the 00s, you could rely on at least half the top-10 of the Giro and Vuelta consisting of home riders. Nowadays, there aren't even 5 active (PCT and up, not fair to count the likes of Sevilla here) Italians or Spaniards who have top-10d a GT. And the decline is similar away from GC riders. That would have made it much harder to build a strong roster of home riders for teams from said countries even without the structural changes outlined above.
  • Furthermore, all the main talents are joining the big leagues (and succeeding) at younger ages than we've seen in decades, if not the entire history of the sport. Which also means that anyone who's actually rated isn't going to break through at a team like Green Project anymore. There is also much-improved scouting and thereby far fewer riders/countries being 'forgotten about' in this regard - see for example Isaac Del Toro coming third in Aosta and then winning Avenir when he, as a Mexican, probably wouldn't even have gotten to race these in the past and therefore wouldn't have been offered a contract by a team like UAE, when otherwise he might have been a Rujano-esque diamond in the rough. Combined with more and more WT teams having a development team, this means that fewer and fewer genuine talents are debuting as a pro for PCT teams, which closes off that path too irrespective of the wildcard system. Yes, you can have a development team of your own like Uno-X or Tudor, but that brings us back to the financial side of things.
  • As for the Landbouwkrediets of this world, the Belgian and French teams that were taking on this role quite recently have grown into the WT (Alpecin, Intermarché, Arkéa) and those outside of it (Lotto, Total) can usually get in the main classics via automatic invites anyway (not this year for Total though). The only other PCTs from either country are Sport Vlaanderen and Bingoal, neither of which were ever set up for that kind of role.

In addition, the WC system as we know it has proven not to be a safety net even if you're the strongest eligible team in your own country. In 2021, Caja - the top-ranked Spanish PCT for about as long as I can remember - had about as many ranking points as the next two Spanish teams combined,, yet were the only of the four Spanish PCTs to miss out on a wildcard for the 2022 Vuelta. Since then, their advantage has been eroded. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Finally, while the Androni/LPR model is more or less dead, it's still possible to build a good PCT if you have enough money - Alpecin only turned pro for the 2019 season, Uno-X have developed well, and Tudor seem to be following suit, in fact taking on the role that you would want an Italian PCT to take on with the signings of Trentin and Dainese in addition to some good non-Italians. However, because they are from the 'wrong' countries for GTs, the wildcard system as it is right now puts them at a disadvantage, even though the Italian/Spanish competition is unequivocally far, far weaker. Should these teams be left entirely at the mercy of chauvinistic organisers unless and until they manage to enter the WT?

I don't mind them restricting the wildcard invites to the top 40 to rule out total cannon fodder, but making it top 30 means that it's going to end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the top teams that get the invites get the most points and therefore keep getting the invites.
I miss the days of Italian ProConti teams who would go hell for leather for the Giro and build their entire year around it - they wouldn't compete year-long with the WT teams, but they would be a handful at the race, not just some unheralded guy that once won a stage of Settimana Coppi e Bartali sitting three minutes in front of a bored-looking péloton for three and a half hours in a Tirreno-Adriatico stage as the sum total of their involvement in the year's racing.
Wait, I don't understand - how is it possible that the invitee teams are incapable of doing more than entering no-hope breakaways in the big races, yet also score so many points in said races that the non-invitees ever have a hope of catching up? Especially when the top-40/30 requirement only applies to GTs.

Also, top-30 really isn't that tall an order - the Groupama development team finished 27th last year, with a 13-rider roster and naturally very few races above the less-than-lucrative .2 level.

TL;DR: it doesn't make sense to design the system based on which teams are allowed to enter races on the basis of (nostalgia for) a past situation that has been rendered obsolete by developments independent of said system.
 
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So an invite system based on only inviting teams who score enough points, by restricting who is allowed to score points, means the same teams will get all the wildcards and the top division will become fixed. And a nice and steep budgetary line will be drawn between those that can get to the big races and those that can't, ensuring the boundary can never be crossed. A ring-fencing of the top teams, precisely what Vaughters has been begging for ever since he got himself up to the top level, preventing anybody joining the cartel the very same way he did. Leaving us a neat little package that the UCI can then auction off to the highest bidders, say goodbye to variety, and hello to more compulsory attendance flyaway races in the desert in sportswashing dictatorships and the same roster riding every race. The second tier teams will either die or just become overspill of the top teams via loans or development teams, like an AAA affiliate system.

That's what I see the goal to be, that's the future we're headed towards, where every race is the same, all character and identity of any given race is lost, and all the races have the same rosters. I'm already bored of the same three or four teams winning everything and hording all the top talent, but the fact this is a reality that all of the stakeholders in the sport seem to wholeheartedly endorse and want to push for is deeply concerning for the identity of the sport. Some of you might be the kind of guys and girls who would prefer to see a 0-0 between Barcelona and Real Madrid than a 4-4 between Espanyol and Getafe and that's fine, but I'm not one of you.
 
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So an invite system based on only inviting teams who score enough points, by restricting who is allowed to score points, means the same teams will get all the wildcards and the top division will become fixed. And a nice and steep budgetary line will be drawn between those that can get to the big races and those that can't, ensuring the boundary can never be crossed. A ring-fencing of the top teams, precisely what Vaughters has been begging for ever since he got himself up to the top level, preventing anybody joining the cartel the very same way he did. Leaving us a neat little package that the UCI can then auction off to the highest bidders, say goodbye to variety, and hello to more compulsory attendance flyaway races in the desert in sportswashing dictatorships and the same roster riding every race. The second tier teams will either die or just become overspill of the top teams via loans or development teams, like an AAA affiliate system.

That's what I see the goal to be, that's the future we're headed towards, where every race is the same, all character and identity of any given race is lost, and all the races have the same rosters. I'm already bored of the same three or four teams winning everything and hording all the top talent, but the fact this is a reality that all of the stakeholders in the sport seem to wholeheartedly endorse and want to push for is deeply concerning for the identity of the sport. Some of you might be the kind of guys and girls who would prefer to see a 0-0 between Barcelona and Real Madrid than a 4-4 between Espanyol and Getafe and that's fine, but I'm not one of you.
I have a lot of time for you as a poster, but there's not much point in having this discussion if you're going to engage with quite literally zero of the points being raised in response to you.. There is even less point when you're choosing to deflect instead, especially when the deflection is moot: firstly I've criticised/complained about the domination of the very best teams again and again (especially this year - some people must be sick of it by now), so you're projecting me to be someone I'm not. And secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the dominance of 2/3/4 teams has little to do with whether or not the sport is being ringfenced below the top 18/20 teams, and thereby also has little to do with the wildcard debate in the first place.

Look, I understand the nostalgia and I see plenty of problems with the current direction of cycling, but there is no wand to magically wave to make things go back to the way they used to be, both inside and outside cycling. Some things are just impossible to bring back, and certain flavours of non-WT teams are one of them.
 
I have a lot of time for you as a poster, but there's not much point in having this discussion if you're going to engage with quite literally zero of the points being raised in response to you.. There is even less point when you're choosing to deflect instead, especially when the deflection is moot: firstly I've criticised/complained about the domination of the very best teams again and again (especially this year - some people must be sick of it by now), so you're projecting me to be someone I'm not. And secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the dominance of 2/3/4 teams has little to do with whether or not the sport is being ringfenced below the top 18/20 teams, and thereby also has little to do with the wildcard debate in the first place.

Look, I understand the nostalgia and I see plenty of problems with the current direction of cycling, but there is no wand to magically wave to make things go back to the way they used to be, both inside and outside cycling. Some things are just impossible to bring back, and certain flavours of non-WT teams are one of them.
The response was specifically about the top 30 rule thing. Either way, I think that the ringfencing does have to do with the dominance of the small number of teams at the top; if all of the prize money of the top level is being bogarted by a small number of teams, that means that the other teams become increasingly dependent on protecting placements (resulting in less interesting racing) and maintaining their status at the top table becomes more important, so they will vote with the cartel so that their own position is not at risk. If they proposed ring fencing the EPL tomorrow, do you think teams like Crystal Palace or Burnley vote against it? Of course not, because it's more important to them to get rid of the jeopardy of losing their spot at the table than it is to actually win football matches. They know they're not going to win any trophy ever again, but they guarantee the finances that come with playing against - and usually losing to - the big guns every year.

I get that changes have happened and the version of cycling I view with nostalgia is gone, but I don't see why it's wrong to object to the version being imposed or to want to resist the fait accompli.
 
I just wrote in the Uijtdebroeks thread:

I don't like to see cycling doing down the soccer transfer path,although I suspect that the recent move to longer contracts, especially for younger riders, is essentially inviting such a thing. But I'll raise that in the transfers thread, rather than push this one off topic.

It has of course happened in the past: it was the essence of Savio's business plan. Now (largely because of big teams signing riders early, and on those long contracts), is it becoming explicitly part of the scheme of the main teams too?
Or, rather than just seeing the equivalent of a big team bankrolling a third division team by paying enough for their promising midfielder to pay the salaries of the groundstaff and physio for a year, are we beginning to see the equivalent (on a much lower financial scale) of clubs undermining the plans of their main rivals by undermining the stability of their teams and inducing star strikers to demand release from contracts and sulk if they don't.

I'm more interested in this in terms of a development in the sport rather than discussion of any individual case (although it is obvious why it comes to my thoughts at this time), and maybe it is not as new as I think (I would not claim to be as steeped in the history as many of you).

But are we now at the stage when Team Promote-a-Product offer 19 year old hot prospect Carlo Rideabike a five year contract not so much for what he will achieve before he is 24, as for what Team Pleasethinknicelyaboutthisnastything might think he could achieve for them between the ages of 22 and 26, such that they would buy him out of that contract?

Is a legitimate part of the plan of Team Whynotbuyanotherbike beginning to be "let's undermine Team Thisisnotabikebutyoumightwantitanyway by unsettling Jan Peddalfast", and giving a large proportion of their budget not to their own riders and other staff but to Thisisnotabikebutyoumightwantitanyway instead?
 
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Padun to Corratec confirmed, which begs the question;


"He took the VO2 Max test well out of condition from his peak and produced what I would say is the highest gross – not relative, but gross – VO2 Max test result I’ve ever seen in 30 years in this sport"

What went wrong Jonathan
 
But are we now at the stage when Team Promote-a-Product offer 19 year old hot prospect Carlo Rideabike a five year contract not so much for what he will achieve before he is 24, as for what Team Pleasethinknicelyaboutthisnastything might think he could achieve for them between the ages of 22 and 26, such that they would buy him out of that contract?

Is a legitimate part of the plan of Team Whynotbuyanotherbike beginning to be "let's undermine Team Thisisnotabikebutyoumightwantitanyway by unsettling Jan Peddalfast", and giving a large proportion of their budget not to their own riders and other staff but to Thisisnotabikebutyoumightwantitanyway instead?

Those "teamnames"... :tearsofjoy:
 
Padun to Corratec confirmed, which begs the question;


"He took the VO2 Max test well out of condition from his peak and produced what I would say is the highest gross – not relative, but gross – VO2 Max test result I’ve ever seen in 30 years in this sport"

What went wrong Jonathan
Maybe Padun should've kept training like 1974 like Pierre Rolland! :D
 
Koerner, Olausson, and Leth, one year each. Sorry for the somewhat clunky way of posting it.

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Potentially I suppose he could be a good one-day rider, which Movistar are collectively getting better at since Valverde stopped being their classics squad?
Potentially yes. He's punchy while obviously being a great TTer. He told me his climbing level is very hit or miss, but at times he could stay with the best young climbers at DSM.
He's not very sound tactically, so there's work to be done on that aspect. He also tends to crash a little too often.
 
I was seeing it more from his perspective. I think he's quite a catch for Movistar, and I had expected that he went to a team more renowned for TT performance.
My main concern is that he's someone who needs more structure because he's a former footballer who started late (Remco style, he also started when he was 16 years old) and that doesn't seem the Movistar way. Maybe they have changed a bit over the last seasons, but there used to be a reason why most younger riders (besides Quintana) took some time to develop at Movistar.
 
Potentially yes. He's punchy while obviously being a great TTer. He told me his climbing level is very hit or miss, but at times he could stay with the best young climbers at DSM.
He's not very sound tactically, so there's work to be done on that aspect. He also tends to crash a little too often.
Honestly, from what I've seen his recovery and his ability on multi-mountain stages is actually pretty good. I see him as a Schachmann type of rider.