Teams & Riders The Great Big Transfers and Rumours Thread

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To say EF is falling apart is too harsh. Losing Martinez and Woods was a blow, Higuita is as well. Sep had been on the vane for several years.
They still have a strong core of Carthy, Bettiol, Uran, great up and coming talent in Bissegger, Carr and Rutsch plus good stage snipers/support cast with Guerreiro, Cort, Caicedo, Craddock et al. They will need to replenish with young GC/climbing talent soon though.

I’d say EF are stagnating. BikeExchange are in a more rapid decline.
I'd say stagnating is a big understatement.
Now they sit 17th in PCS team ranking. In 2020 they were 10th and in 2019 they were 10th too. So they've dropped 7th places in the pecking order in the span of just one year and as if it's not enough, they're losing maybe their most promising rider for 2022.

And you have to understand the context too. They achieved this 10th place in 2020 with a very future-oriented roster. Higuita-Martinez seemed like a perfect tandem to take the team into the bright future. Both had long term deals so there was no immediate danger of losing any of them. Both of them at an age they still could develop into even better riders. They seemed like a perfect combination. Martinez more of a pure stage racer with a great ITT and Higuita mr consistent with great sprint and explosiveness. They complemented each other very well from a team's point of view. And people might forget how incredibly consistent Higuita was already at 21-22 y.o. He was a super promising rider who felt like the team would be able to rely on him for delivering results consistently in the years to come. Atop of that, there were also other youngish strong riders like Carthy and Bettiol and both had contracts beyond 2020 too IIRC.
With Uran and Vanmarcke approaching their decline and their supposedly big contracts running out after 2020, freeing-up some budget, it felt like there should be enough money to keep all the younger riders.

And it all fell apart. Martinez was released from contract early and now Higuita is leaving too. No sign of equally talented riders replacing them. Woods and Vanmarcke also haven't been replaced yet with riders who offer similar consistency and ability to bring the results in so that's a lot of depth lost. The results have already deteriorated a lot and there's not much hope for the future now.
We'll see who they are going to sign this year, maybe those will be better names than I expect but honestly I think it's a big task for Vaughters to take the team back to an equally promising spot as it was in in 2020. They've never had the budget to battle for the hottest talent on the market and I doubt Nippo will bring their budget to another level compared to recent years and I would imagine the EF company is still heavily affected by pandemics so it's difficult to expect that they'll up the budget. Moreover, teams like UAE are now more aggresive than ever in trying to sing all of the most promising youngsters before they even show what they're capable of at smaller teams, so it's even more complicated for smaller teams to try to keep up. I guess EF will have to sign a lot of underdogs and with some luck they'll maybe find one or two overlooked talents like they did with Martinez and Higuita but it will perhaps take another couple of years before they amass and develop enough talent just like they only really started to recover around 2020 from all the talent lost they had experienced due to the 2017 sponsorship troubles.
 
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Slipstream are always up and down the rankings, it goes with the territory. Vanmarcke had arguably already been replaced the moment Bettiol went clear for his Ronde win. They’ll get 2 stage wins at the Vuelta from someone I’ve never seen in a race before and reinvent themselves (again) as a (different kind of) stage hunting team, or a top 10 chasing team or a breakaway team or something.
 
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Slipstream are always up and down the rankings
Can be said about any team. 17th is much below their long-term average and those below average years usually come for a reason, like uncertain sponsorship leading to a bad transfer period. Also we have a weaker WT than we used to have a few years ago- teams like Qhubeka, Israel, Cofidis and Intermarche would never get close to the former EF in terms of being up there in a number of big races and racking up points.

Vanmarcke had arguably already been replaced the moment Bettiol went clear for his Ronde win.
No, they still had both Bettiol and Vanmarcke a year after Bettiol's win. If we compare this to their 2020 potential, they haven't replaced Vanmarcke.
Besides, that's how they won that Ronde in the first place. Bettiol is not someone who will take a lot of big wins by simply being the strongest rider in the race. Most of the success in the classics in the team's history was down to having multiple cards to play with because they'll be never able to afford riders like peak Sagan, Gilbert, Cancellara, Van der Poel etc.
 
Sucks for EF to lose Higuita and I don't consider Chaves to be a rider of the same potential at this point of his career. It's just all falling apart for EF since summer 2020, although the article does mention "The American squad are also expected to announce a number of other signings in the coming weeks" so I hope there is some good talent coming in because there's not that much potential in the team left.
Chaves form this year has been solid - I am certain he'll win one or two WT races in 2022 - The strangest thing is Bike Exchange never offered Chaves a contract.
 
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So Almeida, Higuita, Hindley and Vlasov all moving to BORA and joining Keldermann, Buchmann and potentially Konrad?

Pacher goes to Groupama-FDJ according to Cyclismactu.
Elissonde re-ups with Trek from CN article.
 
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Can be said about any team. 17th is much below their long-term average and those below average years usually come for a reason, like uncertain sponsorship leading to a bad transfer period. Also we have a weaker WT than we used to have a few years ago- teams like Qhubeka, Israel, Cofidis and Intermarche would never get close to the former EF in terms of being up there in a number of big races and racking up points.


No, they still had both Bettiol and Vanmarcke a year after Bettiol's win. If we compare this to their 2020 potential, they haven't replaced Vanmarcke.
Besides, that's how they won that Ronde in the first place. Bettiol is not someone who will take a lot of big wins by simply being the strongest rider in the race. Most of the success in the classics in the team's history was down to having multiple cards to play with because they'll be never able to afford riders like peak Sagan, Gilbert, Cancellara, Van der Poel etc.
ISN, Cofidis and Intermarche have all increased their budgets, you can’t compare them to Wanty in 2016.

And I realize the role Vanmarcke played in Bettiol’s Flanders win, but the point is he was hired to be the guy to win Flanders (or Roubaix), not be the setup man. And his personal ambition is presumably the same. So once the team had someone else winning that race, the end was in sight.
 
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So Almeida, Higuita, Hindley and Vlasov all moving to BORA and joining Keldermann, Buchmann and potentially Konrad?

Pacher goes to Groupama-FDJ according to Cyclismactu.
Elissonde re-ups with Trek from CN article.
Didn’t someone else say Almeida to UAE was a done deal? It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up, and if he goes somewhere that he’ll gushiest own chances, or where he’ll be working for someone else.

And with all those gc riders at/going to Bora, will they have room for Bennett?
 
ISN, Cofidis and Intermarche have all increased their budgets, you can’t compare them to Wanty in 2016.
I don't compare them to Wanty in 2016, I compare them to Garmin/Cannondale/EF from 2010-2020. I don't know how high budgets they have but I can see what riders they have and on what level they perform. They all seem to be weaker than pretty much all WT teams from 2-3 years ago so the bar wasn't set very high for EF this year, yet they can't distance this type of teams in the rankings. If someone told me that would be the case some 12 months ago, I would probably shrug it off as a trolling attempt.

And I realize the role Vanmarcke played in Bettiol’s Flanders win, but the point is he was hired to be the guy to win Flanders (or Roubaix), not be the setup man. And his personal ambition is presumably the same. So once the team had someone else winning that race, the end was in sight.
Slipstream have always had multiple options for cobbled classics. From the days of Farrar/Maaskant/Vansummeren through Hushovd/Haussler/Vansummeren/Vanmarcke and Nuyens/Vansummeren/Langeveld to Van Baarle/Langeveld/Vanmarcke/Bettiol.
Having to rely on Bettiol alone is a step backwards and can backfire horribly as shown by the results this spring. Theoretically they've brought Valgren but he hasn't had any results in the spring in 3 years.
Vanmarcke will turn 33 in a few days and hasn't had a monument podium in 5 years. I don't see why he would insist on being the sole leader and Bettiol hasn't shown consistency that would justify making him a sole leader either. They would both have a higher chance to win something big if they were co-leaders in one team rather than solely leading two weak teams.

And I wouldn't moan Vanmarcke's loss so much if the team was able to keep Martinez and Higuita but losing all of them without bringing a worthy replacement for any of them left such a big hole. They're neither particularly strong in classics nor in stage races now. Also the thing with Vanmarcke was that if he was not injured, you could count on him being among 10 strongest riders in pretty much every cobbled race he rode. That type of consistency is very lacking in 2021 version of EF.
 
Slipstream have always had multiple options for cobbled classics. From the days of Farrar/Maaskant/Vansummeren through Hushovd/Haussler/Vansummeren/Vanmarcke and Nuyens/Vansummeren/Langeveld to Van Baarle/Langeveld/Vanmarcke/Bettiol.
Having to rely on Bettiol alone is a step backwards and can backfire horribly as shown by the results this spring. Theoretically they've brought Valgren but he hasn't had any results in the spring in 3 years.
Vanmarcke will turn 33 in a few days and hasn't had a monument podium in 5 years. I don't see why he would insist on being the sole leader and Bettiol hasn't shown consistency that would justify making him a sole leader either. They would both have a higher chance to win something big if they were co-leaders in one team rather than solely leading two weak teams.
While I think this is not incorrect, I think you're being slightly uncharitable. It seems fairly clear to me that their budget has reduced during covid and their personnel decisions should be viewed in this context.

They have had to re-sign Bettiol to what is likely a significantly bigger contract post RVV win. With this in mind I don't think it would be particularly canny decision making to pay Vanmarcke the same or even close to what Israel are given his age and recent results.

Also with Valgren I think taking a risk on him in the context of a reduced budget is not a bad decision. He had bad results at a team that wasn't performing well, so I don't think it's out of this world to take a gamble on him going back to his form with Astana, even if it hasn't been fulfilled.

Elsewhere they seem to have some riders who should be able to be future cobbled classics riders in Bissegger and Rutsch who need to get experience riding these races to be able to be successful in the coming years. Combine with Langeveld and Keukeleire as older guys/domestiques, I don't think their classics team is in too bad of a shape/can't be criticised too heavily in light of the budget restrictions, even if they didn't have good results.

The bigger problem in my opinion was that Bettiol was doing the Giro which probably affected his form and preparation for spring.
 
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While I think this is not incorrect, I think you're being slightly uncharitable. It seems fairly clear to me that their budget has reduced during covid and their personnel decisions should be viewed in this context.
That's the point! Budget cuts led to the team losing quality. I was never arguing the team did a bad job with the transfers, just that they've lost quality. Which was a very unpleasant surprise after how things were going from 2018 to mid 2020. They were in a very good spot before the pandemics hit their budget. After that they've lost a lot of strong riders and they weren't able to replenish the losses anywhere near quick enough to keep the team at roughly the same level. That's not what I would call "stagnation".

The bigger problem in my opinion was that Bettiol was doing the Giro which probably affected his form and preparation for spring.
I think it had more to do with him suffering from ulcerative colitis than riding the Giro. If he had a good form in the spring, he might have never rode the Giro at all but Tour de France, I assume.
 
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That's the point! Budget cuts led to the team losing quality. I was never arguing the team did a bad job with the transfers, just that they've lost quality. Which was a very unpleasant surprise after how things were going from 2018 to mid 2020. They were in a very good spot before the pandemics hit their budget. After that they've lost a lot of strong riders and they weren't able to replenish the losses anywhere near quick enough to keep the team at roughly the same level. That's not what I would call "stagnation".
That's fair enough :). To be honest I think to a certain extent part of their business plan is probably to make sure that they get a transfer fee for as many of the riders they develop as possible which will inevitably lead to a higher churn of riders and periods like this where they are low on quality. If I was an optimist I would say that this low period should be followed by a stronger period as riders develop and begin to get results; but perhaps describing it as going backwards as you do is more accurate!


I think it had more to do with him suffering from ulcerative colitis than riding the Giro. If he had a good form in the spring, he might have never rode the Giro at all but Tour de France, I assume.
Ahah I completely forgot he was unwell at the beginning of the year, makes a lot more sense now. I do find it somewhat strange that Magnus Cort hasn't ridden much in the spring classics since moving to them, he always seemed to be in and around the selection at the end of races for Astana and would be a very good second option next to Bettiol for them.
 
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Didn’t someone else say Almeida to UAE was a done deal? It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up, and if he goes somewhere that he’ll gushiest own chances, or where he’ll be working for someone else.

And with all those gc riders at/going to Bora, will they have room for Bennett?
I'm still not convinced Bennett is anything but a good domestique. I like the guy, he attacks when he can but I don't see what he brings to the table that would get a top 5 in at GT at this point. (Not saying he can't; he was on great form at the Tour in 2019 but had to work for SK if I recall). He's in his early 30s and there's a whole new generation coming through.

Almeida is the biggest fish in the transfer market this year; I think he'll want to make sure he can go for GC sooner rather than later.
 
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Didn’t someone else say Almeida to UAE was a done deal? It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up, and if he goes somewhere that he’ll gushiest own chances, or where he’ll be working for someone else.

And with all those gc riders at/going to Bora, will they have room for Bennett?
Someone did, but he's been wrong about UAE more than he has been right, despite what he claims.
 
I'm still not convinced Bennett is anything but a good domestique. I like the guy, he attacks when he can but I don't see what he brings to the table that would get a top 5 in at GT at this point. (Not saying he can't; he was on great form at the Tour in 2019 but had to work for SK if I recall). He's in his early 30s and there's a whole new generation coming through.

Almeida is the biggest fish in the transfer market this year; I think he'll want to make sure he can go for GC sooner rather than later.
I think it was one of the other Bennetts that was meant. The sprinter one.
 
To be honest I think to a certain extent part of their business plan is probably to make sure that they get a transfer fee for as many of the riders they develop as possible
I don't think that has been the case.

In the entire team history I recall only 3 instances when they "sold" a good rider to a strong/rich team before his contract ran out. Dennis, Woods and Martinez. The latter two were because of pandemics presumably and Dennis only had a few months left in his contract. And Woods is 34, it's rare for anyone to buy out someone this old out of contract, I'm not sure if ISN even paid anything for that, maybe EF were happy to let him go to cut down on wages.
Maybe now since Vaughters has realised he can cash on riders like Martinez he will try to do it more often but I'm sure it's nevert been his plan before. I'm also not sure how sustainable that is because there are only a few teams in the peloton who will consider buying anyone out of contract for any decent money.
 
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I'm still not convinced Bennett is anything but a good domestique. I like the guy, he attacks when he can but I don't see what he brings to the table that would get a top 5 in at GT at this point. (Not saying he can't; he was on great form at the Tour in 2019 but had to work for SK if I recall). He's in his early 30s and there's a whole new generation coming through.

Almeida is the biggest fish in the transfer market this year; I think he'll want to make sure he can go for GC sooner rather than later.
If Sam Bennett gets a top 5 in a GT, whoever he's riding for will think they've got an absolute effing bargain.
 
Jun 26, 2020
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Vlasov to Bora confirmed by wielerflits.

 

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