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Teams & Riders The Remco Evenepoel is the next Eddy Merckx thread

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Funny how every failure seems to be the teams fault... And I still don't think sending him to the Giro in 21 was a mistake. His form was pretty good, he lacked the basis, but he got to experience of a GT, even if he then crashed out towards the end. But that experience certainly didn't hurt him in the Vuelta 22. And no, his 21 season after that wasn't as horrible as somehow it's made out to be now. He went on to win Belgium, Denmark, pull Colbrelli to the EC win, win Brussels, Bernocchi... nah, riding the Giro didn't hurt him. Only hurt the ego of his fans who had unrealistic expectations of him winning his first GT, riding his first race in 8 months or so. His form was good, he felt well and optimistic, put him in there and see what happens. He rode well, showed that he could be a GT rider in the future, had to take a day off on the Cortina stage, that was endurance missing after the time off, that was experience missing, his first GT. Would he have done better riding the Vuelta that year? Better result yes, winning, highly doubt it, it still would have been his first GT, he very likely would have run into similar, but less severe problems in the third week.

As for the team, with Van Wilder and Vansevenant they have at least 2 very decent riders, that can become better, not sure why Mauri seems to be completely dismissed here, he's had 2 decent seasons. Masnada in theory too, but he seems not to have recovered from whatever he had last year. Cattaneo after his excellent 2021 fallen of a cliff too. Knox on the other hand getting better again. Bagioli looks more like a future Ulissi than a real climber, but Ulissi as a helper is decent enough. Schmid the same, he can develop into a sort of Castroviejo/Amador/Kiryienka kind of rider. Hirt was a strange addition from the start, had a career season last year, sort of unlikely he can repeat that. They miss the top helper(s), yes, but the 2 Belgians surely can develop into that. 2 years ago I thought Van Wilder might fight for a podium in a GT around now, so far he's not developed well enough, but has had his career set back by DSM and crashes as well, so let's wait. Something like Schmid as early tempo rider in the mountains (if necessary), Bagioli next, Van Wilder and Mauri last, add Masnada/Cattaneo/Knox/Hirt if one of them shows signs of high quality, add Alaphilippe with freedom instead if it's the tour, plus 2 guys for the flat part, with Ilan and Mauri expected to improve, that's a pretty decent team. And for the Tour not more is needed anyway, since Jumbo/UAE can be expected to ride.

Ineos? Not completely sure it even makes sense from their point of view. They already have x riders that want to be GT leaders, Bernal, Martinez, Rodriguez, Tao, Arensman, Thomas maybe another year, Pidcock at some point. Add Plapp (don't really see that to be honest) and Tulett... Add Remco and some of these are out faster than Remco can say "hi". Especially guys like Rodriguez and Arensman, that looks set to be leaders in a GC very soon. Remco there? And he rightly would demand to be the number 1, not sure that works out well for the team strength in general. Yes, De Plus, Sivakov, Plapp, Tulett, Thomas stay, but Sivakov crashes out anyway, but riders like Rodriguez, Arensman, Tao would either demand to be leader in their own GT, or then leave. The Colombians depends a bit on how Bernal recovers and if Martinez ever comes out of his slump. Right now with Arensman and Rodriguez Ineos has 2 riders that can hope to reach the level necessary to compete vs Vingegaard/Pogacar/(Remco) at some point in the TdF, no guarantee they will, but they surely have to think they can, and the way they have to be riding Ineos has to have some trust in them too. Add Remco and.... Not sure they want to change the whole team without first knowing that their young guys won't challenge for the TdF.

UAE at some point will face the same problem with Pogacar-Ayuso-Almeida... especially Ayuso.

Remco staying put makes sense for both Remco, Lefevre and IMO in the end Ineos at this point. Revisit this in a year after the TdF if Arensman-Rodriguez aren't progressing, if Bernal never recovers from his injuries, if Tao has another off year (or doesn't recover well from the injury), and if Soudal Quick doesn't improve, meaning Van Wilder and Mauri getting better or another high quality climber joining the team.
Obviously, Ineos would have to evaluate the cost against the benefit, but if you ignore economics, taking Remco IMO is a no brainer. Those guys you mention are solid riders, but I disagree that they must think they can take on Vingo and Pog in the Tour. Of course Ineos transformations have happened, but the only one who should realistically be thinking about that is Bernal if he can fully recover and improve from his previous level. I would trade Remco for any 3 of the riders you mention personally. And I like those riders. Also, Bernal, TGH, G, etc have already shown an affinity for riding other GTs. Very easy to go with Remco and, say, TGH as 1a and 1b for the Tour, while having G and Bernal for the Giro and Rodriguez and Martinez lead the Vuelta for example. Arensman should continue to superdom like Bernal did and see if he can rise up further.
 
Obviously, Ineos would have to evaluate the cost against the benefit, but if you ignore economics, taking Remco IMO is a no brainer. Those guys you mention are solid riders, but I disagree that they must think they can take on Vingo and Pog in the Tour. Of course Ineos transformations have happened, but the only one who should realistically be thinking about that is Bernal if he can fully recover and improve from his previous level. I would trade Remco for any 3 of the riders you mention personally. And I like those riders. Also, Bernal, TGH, G, etc have already shown an affinity for riding other GTs. Very easy to go with Remco and, say, TGH as 1a and 1b for the Tour, while having G and Bernal for the Giro and Rodriguez and Martinez lead the Vuelta for example. Arensman should continue to superdom like Bernal did and see if he can rise up further.
Ineos has no budget limit from what I see. Buying up riders is a good way to control your risk at the very least. That said, you couldn't cut loose a bunch of promising riders to gain Remco. Ineos wants to win the Tour. They don't have a surefire leader at this point.
 
La Vuelta is a GT
I realize that, but as we saw, the Giro, not to mention the Tour, is a different matter. Now if Remco's form in the opening TT, had he held it, were to have been the same climbing wise, then he could have won the Giro on his own. However, not having even one companion at the top of Gran Sasso, which wasn't even that hard, was unacceptable for a guy and a team that aspires to one day win the Tour de France. We saw how vital Kuss was in keeping Rog in the game. That's what you need when the going gets tough, but Soudal doesn't have a Kuss. And I think this Giro would have turned out differently, had Geoghegan Hart not fallen. Ineos would have owned the race otherwise, I think.
 
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Right, my bad, but still he was wasn't usefull and the team was nowhere, so my point stands.
I agree that based on the performances in the first week, the team was nowhere. But I can’t make any predictions on how the third week would’ve went. Van Wilder wouldn’t be at Kuss level but basically Arensman/De Plus level, and it’s hard to predict how good Hirt would’ve been.
 
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UCI country Rankings. If the best cycling country in the world can't create a GT winner, it doesn't look good for the rest of them.
Yes but Belgium has a series production of one-day classics champions. Less risky and apparently more valuable for the local brick and mortar sponsor than starting GT investments.
 

UCI country Rankings. If the best cycling country in the world can't create a GT winner, it doesn't look good for the rest of them.
That's because Don Patrick's team has been good enough to rack up the points, but not repeatedly win the Tour, which alone gives 70% of World Tour publicity and hence you need the mega-budget backing to win it, in the order of 30, 40 million euros. I wish it weren't so, because it does have distorting effect, the mega-budget teams basically taking the biggest prizes on outspending the poorer teams, but it's the way of things in a market driven world. Mine wasn't a dig on Belgium, mind you. It's the same for Italy. I just don't see Don Patrick getting that type of funding from Belgian corporations, which is what he needs to build a team around Remco to compete year in and year out at the Tour against the super teams Jumbo, Ineos and UAE.

PS: Now, if I were Remco, as Don Patrick always prizes himself for his no-nonsense straight talk, and how big his balls are said to be as a businessman; I would say, look, Patrick, of you can't find the funding to build me a team that can go head to head with those guys, then I'm going to one that can sooner than later.
 
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That's because Don Patrick's team has been good enough to rack up the points, but not repeatedly win the Tour, which alone gives 70% of World Tour publicity and hence you need the mega-budget backing to win it, in the order of 30, 40 million euros. I wish it weren't so, because it does have distorting effect, the mega-budget teams basically taking the biggest prizes on outspending the poorer teams, but it's the way of things in a market driven world. Mine wasn't a dig on Belgium, mind you. It's the same for Italy. I just don't see Don Patrick getting that type of funding from Belgian corporations, which is what they need to build a team around Remco to compete year in and year out at the Tour against the super teams Jumbo, Ineos and UAE.
It's not the money that makes a Tour winning team. Of course it helps, but the current best GT team is not the richest (by far). And Jumbo is from the Netherlands, which isn't as cycling crazed as Belgium. But traditionally Jumbo have cared more about GC riding than about the classics, and I think that's where the difference lies. Lefevere has comfortably focused on the relative niche of cobbled classics for years, as well as bunch sprints and stage hunting. GC riding is a different ball game, which takes a whole different approach. Just look at Jumbo who can't quite get it together for the major classics, but who can dominate GTs.
 
It's not the money that makes a Tour winning team. Of course it helps, but the current best GT team is not the richest (by far). And Jumbo is from the Netherlands, which isn't as cycling crazed as Belgium. But traditionally Jumbo have cared more about GC riding than about the classics, and I think that's where the difference lies. Lefevere has comfortably focused on the relative niche of cobbled classics for years, as well as bunch sprints and stage hunting. GC riding is a different ball game, which takes a whole different approach. Just look at Jumbo who can't quite get it together for the major classics, but who can dominate GTs.
Ah, but aren't the thrifty Dutch said to be the best spenders? At any rate, we're still talking about a budget in the order of 25 million. True, they have focused on being a GT team, which means it's possible for Soudal to convert, a process with Remco already under way. But they need to speed things up considerably, if the team's performance on the first real mountain of the Giro was any indication. And to do that, they need big funding. I mean, it's not as if they can rely only on a Jumbo's budget now to do it. Patrick needs an UAE type budget, if he's going to give Remco the team he needs for the next decade. Because in five years it will be too late. Either Remco will by then have gone elsewhere or not have achieved the results his talent likely warrents otherwise.
 
Patrick needs an UAE type budget, if he's going to give Remco the team he needs for the next decade. Because in five years it will be too late. Either Remco will by then have gone elsewhere or not have achieved the results his talent likely warrents otherwise.
That's not gonna happen. Remco just needs to leave, and I don't even understand why he signed a contract for so long. And why is his father his manager? That's never a good idea, and definitely not when he has 0 experience. He has the best interest of Remco at heart, but he doesn't know how to handle such things. And that for a rider that was deemed the next Merckx. Patrick must have laughed when the father was handling all of it.
 
That's not gonna happen. Remco just needs to leave, and I don't even understand why he signed a contract for so long. And why is his father his manager? That's never a good idea, and definitely not when he has 0 experience. He has the best interest of Remco at heart, but he doesn't know how to handle such things. And that for a rider that was deemed the next Merckx. Patrick must have laughed when the father was handling all of it.
Considering Pat has previously trashtalked Contador for having his brother as his agent, I dont really doubt it
 
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That's not gonna happen. Remco just needs to leave, and I don't even understand why he signed a contract for so long. And why is his father his manager? That's never a good idea, and definitely not when he has 0 experience. He has the best interest of Remco at heart, but he doesn't know how to handle such things. And that for a rider that was deemed the next Merckx. Patrick must have laughed when the father was handling all of it.
I can't but agree with you here. Patrick is a man that one must play hardball with. If he senses weakness, he goes for blood. This isn't to say, however, that deep down he doesn't have a heart somewhere. His taking Cavendish on (the cheap), when everyone thought he was done, demonstrates some humanity, or how he handled the recovery of a broken-faced sprinter is another. This is not just kind sentimentalism, however, but shrewdly driven by business interests. And his ostentatious display to stuff the Ineos affair is proof of it. He is a nude king. In Remco he has a rider he needs, more than the rider needs him. So I Hope Evenepoel's father pays a ruthless advisor to guide him through the negotiations for his son's career with Don Patrick. They need to tell Patrick to put up or shut up. Show me the money, baby! Or he goes to another team. It's as simple as that. It's what Patrick himself would do. Because if Remco's career continues on a less than stellar trajectory, then his market value goes down. I wouldn't want an Ineos in five years to get Remco on the cheap, as Patrick did Cavendish, who, after winning 4 stages and the Green Jersey at the Tour, wasn't even brought back to France the following year and ultimately let go.

In a world governed by business interests, there is little room for sentimental loyalties. It's what have you do for me lately! And Soudal, at least from what we saw in the Giro up until Remco's poorly orchestrated exit from the race, was decidedly not up to scratch.
 
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Honestly, for me Remco doesn't have to leave SQS, but only if PL can make sure they build a great team around Remco. Now, it's simply not good enough (good, but not good enough).
Another condition is that they stop overprotecting Remco (counterreaction after Lombardia? Bad experiences in the past with Frank VDB) and also allow him to participate not going for the win. On one hand they are overprotecting, on the other they put a tremendous pressure by only letting Remco start in races he can/must win...

As a Belgian, I would be very keen on seeing a young Belgian rider winning the TdF in a Belgian team. But not if this puts a brake on his career.
 
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