Teams & Riders Transfers and Rumours 2020-2021

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I'm just confused. Is Valverde on the verge of retirement, with 2021 basically being a Spain-only farewell tour, or is he going to continue for five more years?
Valverde has 4 more years left on his contract. The 1st 2 were guaranteed he would race the final three are to be determined later. Unzue seems to think Valverde may race longer than 2021. As to 2021 being a Spanish farewell tour may depend on how he's racing at the start of the season. Either way he is one of the leaders next year. He did sign a 5 year contract last year.
 
Lopez will guaranteed be behind Mas and Valverde. Valverde has started to hand over team leadership to Mas, but he'll have partial team leadership until he retires. Putting Lopez as best equal to Soler or behind Soler.
I don't think you can say or evaluate leadership so easily. Obviously Movistar are developing Mas to be the next big spanish GC rider, which is fair given his results. He is undoubtedly the leader of the team for whatever GT he chooses to ride (maybe Co-leader at the Vuelta with Valverde but even that is questionable at this point on Valverdes behalf). 5th at the Tour followed by another 5th at the Vuelta was a pretty good first season for him in a underwhelming Movistar team. But then, realistically, I don't think we can talk about a 2nd "leader" as the skillsets are just different if we're talking Valverde and Lopez. For GC, Lopez will be 2nd in line, its just no way around that if you look at the results. Both Valverde and Soler don't seem to bring the high end performances to warrant to be picked over Lopez at the Giro or Tour. Valverde maybe gets his Vuelta bonus but then again Lopez doesn't need to ride that race.
Mas will get the races he wants, probably the Tour, and Lopez will then probably ride the Giro for GC and maybe support Mas at the Tour. Valverde will ride Tour and Vuelta as always, supporting Mas and riding his own race at the Vuelta, also as usually. I don't think Soler has any place to claim GC leadership, he will be super domestique or stage hunting at the races they need him most.

That is concerning leadership at GTs. Then you have week long stage races where you can easily split the team in two camps to avoid clashes over leadership. Just give the non spanish races to Lopez, while Valverde and Mas will race those to win. Tirreno and P-N is also easy to send 2 to both and in the Ardennes Lopez isn't bothering anyway.

I just think there isn't really a discussion to be held about ranking leadership claims. It's pretty obvious who is gonna have which role. Soler may be the one who is freelancing here and there the most, switching between Co-leadership status in some 1-week races and a free role/supporting role in GTs. Other than that, it looks pretty much settled.
 
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I don't think you can say or evaluate leadership so easily. Obviously Movistar are developing Mas to be the next big spanish GC rider, which is fair given his results. He is undoubtedly the leader of the team for whatever GT he chooses to ride (maybe Co-leader at the Vuelta with Valverde but even that is questionable at this point on Valverdes behalf). 5th at the Tour followed by another 5th at the Vuelta was a pretty good first season for him in a underwhelming Movistar team. But then, realistically, I don't think we can talk about a 2nd "leader" as the skillsets are just different if we're talking Valverde and Lopez. For GC, Lopez will be 2nd in line, its just no way around that if you look at the results. Both Valverde and Soler don't seem to bring the high end performances to warrant to be picked over Lopez at the Giro or Tour. Valverde maybe gets his Vuelta bonus but then again Lopez doesn't need to ride that race.
Mas will get the races he wants, probably the Tour, and Lopez will then probably ride the Giro for GC and maybe support Mas at the Tour. Valverde will ride Tour and Vuelta as always, supporting Mas and riding his own race at the Vuelta, also as usually. I don't think Soler has any place to claim GC leadership, he will be super domestique or stage hunting at the races they need him most.

That is concerning leadership at GTs. Then you have week long stage races where you can easily split the team in two camps to avoid clashes over leadership. Just give the non spanish races to Lopez, while Valverde and Mas will race those to win. Tirreno and P-R is also easy to send 2 to both and in the Ardennes Lopez isn't bothering anyway.

I just think there isn't really a discussion to be held about ranking leadership claims. It's pretty obvious who is gonna have which role. Soler may be the one who is freelancing here and there the most, switching between Co-leadership status in some 1-week races and a free role/supporting role in GTs. Other than that, it looks pretty much settled.
You're missing one of the issues here. Valverde is team leader regardless of who they are racing for. He is looked to as the leader. That is what he us starting to turn over to Mas. Basically Valverde holds the reins of the team and is now teaching Mas how to do that. Movistar has differentiated team leadership from race leadership. It's that team leadership Valverde still holds and has started to turn over to Mas. It feels like Valverde finally found who he's been looking for in Mas to turn team leadership over to. It also appears there is something about Mas' personality that has given Valverde the peace of mind he's found the person he's comfortable leaving the team in the hands of.
I do think Lopez will be given the Giro. Valverde doesn't want to go the Tour. If he's allowed what he truly wants for GTs he'll only go to his beloved Vuelta next year.
 
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Koronin, there is one fundamental flaw in your logic.

López is a much better Grand Tour rider than the three Spaniards currently. Try factoring that into your equation.
I don't agree Lopez is currently better than Mas. 1 year ago Valverde was better than Lopez. Plus it's well know Movistar is Valverde's tram even if he is trying to hand over team leadership to Mas.
 
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Can you repeat who is handing over leadership to whom one more time? I didn't quite get it the first five times.

López had a horrid TT in the Tour but that was an abnormality and he would under normal circumstances have finished above Mas on GC. Plus he beat Roglic and Pogacar on Col de la Loze. Plus he has a cooler nickname. Plus his worst ever GC result is 7th in a Grand Tour.
 
Can you repeat who is handing over leadership to whom one more time? I didn't quite get it the first five times.

López had a horrid TT in the Tour but that was an abnormality and he would under normal circumstances have finished above Mas on GC. Plus he beat Roglic and Pogacar on Col de la Loze. Plus he has a cooler nickname. Plus his worst ever GC result is 7th in a Grand Tour.
Lopez definitely has a great nickname. He could become the 2nd leader, but he'll never be the top leader there. I don't think he cares about that after sharing leadership at Astana. I can't remember him complaining about that.
 
Valverde's contract is structured for review at end 2021. He has what is, in effect, to continue my analogy from before (yes, I referred to Marcus Pettersson as in the Pittsburgh Penguins #28, because the team effectively didn't know how much cap space they would have for him that year, but because he was RFA, they agreed to basically give him a one-year, lowball offer contract for below his market value, on the understanding that the following year when the team had more salary to play with, his contract would be extended to turn it into the contract they originally wanted to offer him, so they effectively gave him the 6-year, $21m contract he was looking for, split across 1 year at $1m because the team was tight on salary, then a new 5 year deal at $4m/year) similar to a two-way contract in the NHL, it pays at different levels based on what role he has. He is currently under contract to Abarcá until 2024, but only as a rider until end 2021. Therefore, as they don't know how much budgetary wiggle room they will have at end 2021, because of a) sponsorship budget being affected by the pandemic etc., and b) how much money owed to Valverde being unclear, my thinking was that MAL might not be seeing the kind of salary he was hoping for being bandied around the market as a lot of teams are either happy with their leadership or their sponsors are feeling the squeeze, and if you're taking a wage you feel you could be worth more than, a team like Movistar having the flexibility to offer one year with "extension salary TBD" is more attractive than being tied down to a salary you agreed while injured for, say, four years - especially what would be hoped to be peak years.
 
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Lopez definitely has a great nickname. He could become the 2nd leader, but he'll never be the top leader there. I don't think he cares about that after sharing leadership at Astana. I can't remember him complaining about that.
Supermán is less than a year older than Mas and has double the number of GT podiums and double the number of GT top 10s as well as two major mountainous stage race titles and the queen stage of the Tour. Mas might be the intended future leader, but there's realistically no reason López shouldn't expect to be at least the joint leader unless he's more badly injured than we think.
 
Lopez is a worse time trialer than Mas, that's clear, and that's about it. The only reason why for instance they should send Mas instead of Lopez to the Tour next year. In terms of climbing I believe more in Lopez than in Mas.

If Movistar should still insist on backing Spanish riders over a better Colombian one (which I don't think they will), they deserve to become a pro team.
 
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Valverde's contract is structured for review at end 2021. He has what is, in effect, to continue my analogy from before (yes, I referred to Marcus Pettersson as in the Pittsburgh Penguins #28, because the team effectively didn't know how much cap space they would have for him that year, but because he was RFA, they agreed to basically give him a one-year, lowball offer contract for below his market value, on the understanding that the following year when the team had more salary to play with, his contract would be extended to turn it into the contract they originally wanted to offer him, so they effectively gave him the 6-year, $21m contract he was looking for, split across 1 year at $1m because the team was tight on salary, then a new 5 year deal at $4m/year) similar to a two-way contract in the NHL, it pays at different levels based on what role he has. He is currently under contract to Abarcá until 2024, but only as a rider until end 2021. Therefore, as they don't know how much budgetary wiggle room they will have at end 2021, because of a) sponsorship budget being affected by the pandemic etc., and b) how much money owed to Valverde being unclear, my thinking was that MAL might not be seeing the kind of salary he was hoping for being bandied around the market as a lot of teams are either happy with their leadership or their sponsors are feeling the squeeze, and if you're taking a wage you feel you could be worth more than, a team like Movistar having the flexibility to offer one year with "extension salary TBD" is more attractive than being tied down to a salary you agreed while injured for, say, four years - especially what would be hoped to be peak years.
One other note on this. The contract with Movistar as the sponsor ends at the end of the 2021 season. Even if they re-up, it could be at lower numbers or they could even lower or eliminate the number of Colombian riders they want on the team as well. If you want to look at it that way signing Lopez could also be nothing more than filling the required quota of Colombian riders required by contract.
 
One other note on this. The contract with Movistar as the sponsor ends at the end of the 2021 season. Even if they re-up, it could be at lower numbers or they could even lower or eliminate the number of Colombian riders they want on the team as well. If you want to look at it that way signing Lopez could also be nothing more than filling the required quota of Colombian riders required by contract.
I wonder why you rate Lopez so low?
 
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I wonder why you rate Lopez so low?
I'm not convinced he's a good fit there, especially after his comments last year. Yes he did apologize. Lopez would be able to have full leadership of the Giro if he wants that. At best co leadership of the Tour. He won't get Vuelta leadership. Movistar is all but obligated to have a Spaniards as the Vuelta leader.
 
Lopez is a worse time trialer than Mas, that's clear, and that's about it. The only reason why for instance they should send Mas instead of Lopez to the Tour next year. In terms of climbing I believe more in Lopez than in Mas.

If Movistar should still insist on backing Spanish riders over a better Colombian one (which I don't think they will), they deserve to become a pro team.
TBF this is really a myth that arose out of the team becoming stupidly top-heavy when they made room for Landa and lost a bunch of their key all-terrain riders like the Izagirre brothers, Jesús Herrada, Rubén Plaza etc.. They spent plenty of time riding for Nairito, even in the Vuelta where they brought him as leader on multiple occasions. And even when they were on the outs with him and intra-team relationships had been damaged, they still called Soler back to work for him giving up a stage win in the 2019 Vuelta. And though he's not Colombian, they still were happy to have Mikel Landa drop his own ambitions and work to defend Richard Carapaz in the 2019 Giro, even though at that point they still had plenty of chance to come to agreement with the Basque going forward, and the Ecuadorian had already pretty much gone to Ineos in a fait accompli.
One other note on this. The contract with Movistar as the sponsor ends at the end of the 2021 season. Even if they re-up, it could be at lower numbers or they could even lower or eliminate the number of Colombian riders they want on the team as well. If you want to look at it that way signing Lopez could also be nothing more than filling the required quota of Colombian riders required by contract.
I would doubt that it's nothing more than that, on the basis that even if he's coming at below market value Miguel Ángel López is not coming for cheap off the back of winning the queen stage in the Tour de France and being 26 years old so at what should be approaching peak. They may have made the call to bring another Colombian in, but they could have signed, say, Hernán Aguirre, Nelson Soto or Aldemar Reyes if they just needed somebody with a bit of pro experience who had the right flag next to their name, or they could have promoted Dani Méndez from Kern Pharma. Hell, if all they wanted was a warm body with the right flag they could just have re-upped Bananito. Instead they went after the biggest name Colombian free agent there was, so there's clearly an interest in the results side of it too.

Signing him on a one-year deal to see if he's a fit does reek a bit of the flyer they took on José Rujano in 2008, but to be honest, Rujano was fine for the price paid for him, and three years removed from the promise he showed. Superman is infinitely more proven and more consistent than Hulk, with similar best-case-scenario outcomes and a far, far, far greater chance of achieving that upside.
 
TBF this is really a myth that arose out of the team becoming stupidly top-heavy when they made room for Landa and lost a bunch of their key all-terrain riders like the Izagirre brothers, Jesús Herrada, Rubén Plaza etc.. They spent plenty of time riding for Nairito, even in the Vuelta where they brought him as leader on multiple occasions. And even when they were on the outs with him and intra-team relationships had been damaged, they still called Soler back to work for him giving up a stage win in the 2019 Vuelta. And though he's not Colombian, they still were happy to have Mikel Landa drop his own ambitions and work to defend Richard Carapaz in the 2019 Giro, even though at that point they still had plenty of chance to come to agreement with the Basque going forward, and the Ecuadorian had already pretty much gone to Ineos in a fait accompli.

I would doubt that it's nothing more than that, on the basis that even if he's coming at below market value Miguel Ángel López is not coming for cheap off the back of winning the queen stage in the Tour de France and being 26 years old so at what should be approaching peak. They may have made the call to bring another Colombian in, but they could have signed, say, Hernán Aguirre, Nelson Soto or Aldemar Reyes if they just needed somebody with a bit of pro experience who had the right flag next to their name, or they could have promoted Dani Méndez from Kern Pharma. Hell, if all they wanted was a warm body with the right flag they could just have re-upped Bananito. Instead they went after the biggest name Colombian free agent there was, so there's clearly an interest in the results side of it too.

Signing him on a one-year deal to see if he's a fit does reek a bit of the flyer they took on José Rujano in 2008, but to be honest, Rujano was fine for the price paid for him, and three years removed from the promise he showed. Superman is infinitely more proven and more consistent than Hulk, with similar best-case-scenario outcomes and a far, far, far greater chance of achieving that upside.
I think even they have had enough of Betancur. However. I'm sure his 1 year contract for 2020 was exactly that. The 1 year contract to me says they aren't convinced he's right for them. I think we'd be kidding ourselves if the quota didn't play a small role in this signing. I suspect because it's a 1 year deal it's a combination of reasons which include those reasons.
 
Lopez is a worse time trialer than Mas, that's clear, and that's about it. The only reason why for instance they should send Mas instead of Lopez to the Tour next year. In terms of climbing I believe more in Lopez than in Mas.

If Movistar should still insist on backing Spanish riders over a better Colombian one (which I don't think they will), they deserve to become a pro team.
I don't think it's clear at all that he is a worse time trialer. His ride in Algarve didn't happen by accident.
 
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:(

Just realised something... Lopez is not joining Bora. He's not going to become 'Supermann'...
Yeah. Disappointing performance from Bora on the transfer market.

It had started well with Keldermann but then they missed Zimmermann, Wackermann and now Supermann.
It's a clear mannifestation of their poor transfer strategy.
They will have to sign Manfred Mann to make up for it.
 
I'm not convinced he's a good fit there, especially after his comments last year. Yes he did apologize. Lopez would be able to have full leadership of the Giro if he wants that. At best co leadership of the Tour. He won't get Vuelta leadership. Movistar is all but obligated to have a Spaniards as the Vuelta leader.
While to most intents and purposes this has some truth to it, there is every chance Supermán could get co-leadership of the Vuelta, especially if the team is happy with him and he's meshed with the team and contracts are all sorted. The team doesn't have much of an issue with having non-Spaniards lead the Vuelta even if they might prefer a home favourite targeting their home race.

I've gone back through the annals of the Vuelta since 1980 to find the Abarcá lineups, and while for the first 20 years or so it is clear that they are led by a Spaniard every time, be it Ángel Arroyo, Julián Gorospe, Pedro Delgado, Miguel Indurain or Abraham Olano, they had absolutely no qualm making a former Vuelta winner in Alex Zülle the leader in 1999 and 2000. You could potentially argue that Menchov was an on-paper co-leader with Mancebo in 2004, but it's hard to say. In the mid-2000s the team had a bit of a run of Russian talents for reasons lost to the sands of time. In 2007 Pereiro faltered early and the team threw its weight behind its two Russians - Vladimir Karpets had an insane year that year, and Vladimir Efimkin won the Lagos de Covadonga stage from the breakaway in week 1 and held on to his high GC position from there on in. But from 2005 basically you're into the Valverde era at the team, and he enters as at least a co-leader in pretty much all of the editions since, save for the ones where he was suspended or injured.

However, the team is a Spanish team that until the coming of the ProTour in 2005 never really had to look that far beyond its borders to find leaders, and if there had been injuries or illnesses I don't think much would have stopped the team working behind, say, Armand de las Cuevas in the mid-90s or Piepoli in the early 00s. Since he broke out for the team in 2012-13, Nairo Quintana went to the Vuelta every year from 2014 to 2019, save for 2017, and he at least co-led every time. In 2016 he was the sole leader, because that was the year Valverde tried to do all three GTs. On three occasions (2010, 2011 and 2017) the team has gone into the race with no fixed leader, and Carapaz was supposed to be a co-leader before he got injured going against team orders in a crit.

Really, though the team prefers to have a Spaniard at the forefront in the Vuelta, they are more interested in making sure that they, as the pre-eminent Spanish team, are at the forefront of the Vuelta, and if they don't have a Spaniard who's going to be there they really don't mind it being somebody from elsewhere. If they think Miguel Ángel López is their best bet for a GC tilt at the race, say if Mas gets injured or something, then they will go into the Vuelta with Miguel Ángel López as their leader.
 
Nov 6, 2020
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Lopez and Mas have done GC in the same GT twice. Mas has finished higher both times, not sure why you would rate Lopez higher. Mas even came out of lockdown in terrible condition and still managed to beat him.
 
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