Teams & Riders Transfers and Rumours 2020-2021

Interesting. This kid is 17.
TBF, he's turning 18 later this year, as opposed to just having turned 17. But, I find next year the most interesting; So... he's on contract with UAE, but won't actually ride for them, and I don't think they even have a feeder-team.

It seems to be the new norm - Target a junior rider with a long term contract - This will have an effect on assessing under 23's talent.
My biggest concern would be teams thinking that if you don't have a WT contract straight out of the juniors, you're simply not good enough. However, even with all the Evenepoels and Simmons, Bernals and Pogacars of the World, there will always be late bloomers.
 
Reactions: Koronin and yaco
I wrote about a future with prospective loaning of junior and espoir talent being signed to WT teams progressively earlier and earlier here. I think we're potentially headed for either an ice hockey-style market with riders picked up at youth level and then being placed in "the system" as each team will 'own' or affiliate to Continental teams, espoir teams and maybe even ProTeams to create a development path, assigning riders to different teams within their farm as they see fit, or a football-style transfer market of the biggest teams signing up any and all young prospects then loaning them out to other teams at lower levels until they're ready to either graduate to the main team or be discarded. The success of a few big young talents and the hording of top prospects by Sky/Ineos thanks to their skimming the cream off other people's development programs, tempting them across using the money they saved by not spending it on a development program (plus a very pliant Acquadro giving them the lowdown on what the winning offer should be) has meant teams are progressively looking to grab hold of riders ever earlier, in case they miss the boat on the next Egan Bernal or Remco Evenepoel.

Savio has played this masterfully, of course, doing a great line in signing wonderkids up to contracts they'll always be ready to graduate before the end of, and then pocketing the buyout figure. It's a bit like the Athletic Bilbao strategy - you will get your player from Bilbao, but not when their contract is up or when there's a low buyout clause. They'll sign one last contract with Athletic, to ensure that the team that nurtured them can continue to grow using its strategy of only local talent, and then leave shortly afterward when that higher buyout clause that better reflects their value to Athletic (i.e. slightly higher than market value because of the greater difficulty Bilbao will have in sourcing a replacement) is met.

When the second richest team in the sport (at the time) disbands its development team because it can't stop the richest team in the sport stealing all its top talents, no doubt it's frustrating, but you can't really blame Sky/Ineos for doing it. With the help of very compliant agents, they create a system whereby the only threats to their continued success are riders they've already taken a look at and rejected - a great way to create a dynasty, especially now they're less tied to the national project identity so there isn't as much emphasis on a British leader as in the early years. It's easy to be angry at the big money clubs preying on the lower money clubs (notwithstanding that it's not easy to feel sympathy for Jim Ochowicz, of course) creating a Ligue 1-like financial disparity and concentrating all the talent into top teams (you know, like Riyadh Mahrez signing for Manchester City to sit on the bench for 3/4 the season) reducing the variety in the races, but as long as that doesn't create a situation where it destroys the spectacle and affects the audience (as it has done in Ligue 1, which has easily the lowest viewing figures of the 'big 5' leagues in Europe worldwide if I remember rightly), it's smart business. Once it starts affecting the audience and turning fans away because of a lack of spectacle, then of course it's no longer smart business and it's in their interest to try to entice more competition to win that audience back.

Eleven years ago, Cervélo Test Team worked out they could get the best calendar of anybody - they didn't spend the money applying for a ProTour licence. They instead bought a much cheaper ProContinental licence, and used the money they'd saved by doing that to pay some world class riders, which meant that they were welcomed as a wildcard at almost every ProTour race. It was a fantastic success but the long term effects of it changed the wildcard system forever.

Three or four years ago, Sky worked out they could get the best prospect line of anybody - they didn't spend the money running feeder teams or setting up development programs. They instead kept their money in their pockets, and when riders excelled in other people's development programs, they offered them more money than the team that developed them could, because they didn't have the cost of the continued running of a development team to consider. It's a fantastic success at present, and the long term effects of it may change the transfer system forever. Whether that's for the better or the worse, we won't know for a good few years, just as the real impacts of Cervélo and BMC's big spending in the ProConti scene have only really become apparent in the last three or four years too.
 
Reactions: yaco
I could see most WT teams turning to the football style loan model in the near future with each team having agreements with one or a few like minded conti teams who would take in the young prospects.

I had always assumed that was the point of Team Wiggins btw to act as a semi independent 2nd division GB cycling team
 
I could see most WT teams turning to the football style loan model in the near future with each team having agreements with one or a few like minded conti teams who would take in the young prospects.

I had always assumed that was the point of Team Wiggins btw to act as a semi independent 2nd division GB cycling team
The UCI has sort of already allowed that for this yearwith WT teams being allowed to have a rider from their conti level team for a couple of races. The only example I can think of though is Jake Stewart from the Groupama Fdj Conti team racing for the WT Team at the Volta Algarve.

You assumed right as I think the original purpose to the Wiggins team was a place for the GB endurance squad to ride and train together in the lead up to Rio 2016. Then it became an u23 devo team which was sort of diluted last year with Gabz Cullaigh and Lawrence Carpenter.
 
TBF, he's turning 18 later this year, as opposed to just having turned 17. But, I find next year the most interesting; So... he's on contract with UAE, but won't actually ride for them, and I don't think they even have a feeder-team.



My biggest concern would be teams thinking that if you don't have a WT contract straight out of the juniors, you're simply not good enough. However, even with all the Evenepoels and Simmons, Bernals and Pogacars of the World, there will always be late bloomers.
Thanks, thought he had just turned 17.


Agreed, there will always be riders who steadily progress into their 20's.

Movistar does like having a feeder team and it's looking more and more like they want to keep Lizarte as one and they are hoping Valverde Team also becomes a feeder team. I've wondered if that might have something to do with Alejandro recently talking about maybe adding a Continental team to his nice group of teams.
 
Reactions: perico
On the one hand it seems even more plausible to me that cycling teams would fish young talent rather soon. I think that even if there are late bloomers in cycling, it is nowadays easier to see the potential of a cyclist during his teenage years than that of a football player because the physiological limits are way more important and the conditions of the team/ sport do not make such a difference.
But then I wonder if there are so many young people craving to be a pro cyclist, that a fish/loan system like that can fully work in cycling. In football, I think, one reason why it works, is the hope of many, many young boys and the will to cling to the small chance of becoming a star.

Agents indeed are becoming more normal and important in lots of sectors, not only sports. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it is simply a consequence of realizing how important networking and someone who supports your case is and an institutionalisation of this thinking. So, rather a sociological explanation than an economic one.

I wonder how much of this will still apply if most countries will fall into a huge recession.

But actually it might be that pro sports are not losers in the end, if people are desperate for entertainment and seeing "heroes".
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Libertine Seguros Professional Road Racing 3
Similar threads
The Cycling Transfer Market

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts