Teams & Riders Transfers and Rumours 2020-2021

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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.
it would take injury before they'd give Lopez leadership of the Vuelta. The way the team is, it's likely they send Lopez to the Giro and then the Tour. Mas and Soler to the Tour then Vuelta and Valverde likely goes just to la Vuelta. Yes, my guess is Lopez, Mas, Soler all go to the Tour.
 
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.
López pro wins:
  • Vuelta a Burgos HTF at Valle del Sol in 2015
  • Tour de San Luís MTF at Sierra de los Comechingones in 2016 (16km @ 7,8% MTF, beating Quintana)
  • Cameron Highlands MTF at Tour de Langkawi in 2016
  • Tour de Suisse GC in 2016 (after being 2nd to Rettenbachferner, 12,4km @ 10,5%, and 4th over Albulapass to La Punt)
  • Milano-Torino one-day race in 2016 (4,9km @ 9,1% HTF/MTF)
  • Kitzbüheler Horn MTF at Österreichrundfahrt 2017 (7,4km @ 11,7% MTF)
  • Lagunas de Neila MTF at Vuelta a Burgos 2017 (yea, from the crappy side, 14km @ 5,5% MTF, beating Mas and Landa)
  • Cálar Alto MTF at the Vuelta a España 2017 (17,2km @ 5,6% MTF)
  • Sierra Nevada MTF at the Vuelta a España 2017 (climbing El Purche before the gradual side on the A-395)
  • Tour of Oman MTF at Jebel al-Akhdar in 2018 (5,7km @ 10,5% MTF)
  • Tour of the Alps MTF at Alpe di Pampeago in 2018 (7,8km @ 9,9% MTF)
  • Picón Blanco MTF at the Vuelta a Burgos in 2018 (8,6km @ 9,1% MTF)
  • Tour Colombia GC in 2019 (never lower than 4th in a selective stage)
  • Volta a Catalunya MTF at La Molina in 2019
  • Volta a Catalunya GC in 2019 (won stage to La Molina and 5th in VallTer2000 stage)
  • Volta ao Algarve HTF at Alto do Malhão in 2020
  • Tour de France MTF at Col de la Loze in 2020 (28km @ 6,5% MTF, queen stage)
Mas pro wins:
  • Vuelta al País Vasco MTF at Arrate in 2018 (7,2km @ 6,9% "MTF", though that's a bit misleading, there's 4km at about 10% in that)
  • Hammer Series Limburg in 2018 (LOL, this should count as a minus win)
  • Vuelta a España MTF at Santuari de Canolich in 2018 (8km @ 8,1% MTF)
  • Tour of Guangxi HTF at Nongla in 2019
  • Tour of Guangxi GC in 2019
Enric Mas is a great young rider, but he's 11 months younger than Supermán, and look at the difference in the number and calibre of victories. Crossing the line 1st on any given stage is already an important skill and is of great benefit to sponsors. Plus, if López' GC bid fails (even if he's never finished a GT lower than 8th), he can probably do something through stage wins or the GPM to salvage the race, like Nairito has managed for them before with his Tour de France stages at Col de Portet and Valloire. Mas hasn't really shown that capability to date.
 
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López pro wins:
  • Vuelta a Burgos HTF at Valle del Sol in 2015
  • Tour de San Luís MTF at Sierra de los Comechingones in 2016 (16km @ 7,8% MTF, beating Quintana)
  • Cameron Highlands MTF at Tour de Langkawi in 2016
  • Tour de Suisse GC in 2016 (after being 2nd to Rettenbachferner, 12,4km @ 10,5%, and 4th over Albulapass to La Punt)
  • Milano-Torino one-day race in 2016 (4,9km @ 9,1% HTF/MTF)
  • Kitzbüheler Horn MTF at Österreichrundfahrt 2017 (7,4km @ 11,7% MTF)
  • Lagunas de Neila MTF at Vuelta a Burgos 2017 (yea, from the crappy side, 14km @ 5,5% MTF, beating Mas and Landa)
  • Cálar Alto MTF at the Vuelta a España 2017 (17,2km @ 5,6% MTF)
  • Sierra Nevada MTF at the Vuelta a España 2017 (climbing El Purche before the gradual side on the A-395)
  • Tour of Oman MTF at Jebel al-Akhdar in 2018 (5,7km @ 10,5% MTF)
  • Tour of the Alps MTF at Alpe di Pampeago in 2018 (7,8km @ 9,9% MTF)
  • Picón Blanco MTF at the Vuelta a Burgos in 2018 (8,6km @ 9,1% MTF)
  • Tour Colombia GC in 2019 (never lower than 4th in a selective stage)
  • Volta a Catalunya MTF at La Molina in 2019
  • Volta a Catalunya GC in 2019 (won stage to La Molina and 5th in VallTer2000 stage)
  • Volta ao Algarve HTF at Alto do Malhão in 2020
  • Tour de France MTF at Col de la Loze in 2020 (28km @ 6,5% MTF, queen stage)
Mas pro wins:
  • Vuelta al País Vasco MTF at Arrate in 2018 (7,2km @ 6,9% "MTF", though that's a bit misleading, there's 4km at about 10% in that)
  • Hammer Series Limburg in 2018 (LOL, this should count as a minus win)
  • Vuelta a España MTF at Santuari de Canolich in 2018 (8km @ 8,1% MTF)
  • Tour of Guangxi HTF at Nongla in 2019
  • Tour of Guangxi GC in 2019
Enric Mas is a great young rider, but he's 11 months younger than Supermán, and look at the difference in the number and calibre of victories. If López' GC bid fails, he can probably do something to salvage the race, like Nairito has managed for them before with his Tour de France stages at Col de Portet and Valloire. Mas hasn't really shown that capability to date.
So Mas has three wins? ;)
 
You all also forgetting that he spent his first two pro seasons racing for Quickstep, which last I checked isn't really a GC team and doesn't really have the ability to support a GC rider.
I think Quickstep can support a rider well enough, unless compared to Ineos or Jumbo. Of course they did focus on their sprinter then. But they sure would have given him all the support had they believed in him. You can say about PL what you want, he's an **, but he knows what he's doing. Had he believed in Mas as a genuine contender for a GT win I guess he would have supported him better.
 
I think Quickstep can support a rider well enough, unless compared to Ineos or Jumbo. Of course they did focus on their sprinter then. But they sure would have given him all the support had they believed in him. You can say about PL what you want, he's an **, but he knows what he's doing. Had he believed in Mas as a genuine contender for a GT win I guess he would have supported him better.
The problem with that is Mas only ever went to the 2019 Tour for DQS as a possible GC rider and then Alaphilippe got the yellow jersey and Mas got sick. So there really wasn't ever a race he was going to as a true GC rider for them. One of the reasons he gave for switching teams was that he is a GC rider and needs to be on a GC team. Plus of course the entire he's Spanish and Movistar is Spanish and wanting to race with Valverde, etc.
 
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Looking back on Superman's race antics like slapping a spectator, trolling the race for the white jersey at Giro, and his tendency to crash for stupid reasons, I can't wait for what he will have in store for us at Movistar. It's a match made in heaven - Superman will fly high, at least on twitter, and Movistar will continue to be the talk of the town after Nairito and Landa's exit. New season can't come soon enough.
 
They have two wins this season and have been overtaken in the team ranking by two pro teams. In my opinion they need Lopez for results, not for any quota or "we'll see how that works out".
Yeah, but 100% of those wins came from Spanish riders. They could have had Quintana's 5 wins as well but respectfully declined. Movistar waited until the end of the season to sign Lopez because they were afraid they might also be forced to take Lopez's 2 wins. Dodged a bullet.
 
You all also forgetting that he spent his first two pro seasons racing for Quickstep, which last I checked isn't really a GC team and doesn't really have the ability to support a GC rider.
Tbf, Quick step did a good job riding for Almeida in the Giro.

It's still a side that if Mas was there, would be able to go into a Giro or Vuelta with Mas, Almeida, Knox, Masnada, Asgreen, Stybar, Serry and Cattaneo. That's ignoring Evanepoel and Alaphilippe of course. He probably doesn't get a Tour shot at QS though with Evanepoel coming in and outside that, QS would likely go with Alaphilippe and the sprint train rather than Mas there.
 
Tbf, Quick step did a good job riding for Almeida in the Giro.

It's still a side that if Mas was there, would be able to go into a Giro or Vuelta with Mas, Almeida, Knox, Masnada, Asgreen, Stybar, Serry and Cattaneo. That's ignoring Evanepoel and Alaphilippe of course. He probably doesn't get a Tour shot at QS though with Evanepoel coming in and outside that, QS would likely go with Alaphilippe and the sprint train rather than Mas there.
That was also in the GT without as strong of teams as well. They did what they could. The Vuelta Mas got on the podium, they did what they could, but really didn't have much to support him with. Yes, Mas would never get a shot at the Tour with Evenpoel and Alaphilippe. He wanted to be able to race Tour/Vuelta for GC. DQS is more likely to go Alaphilippe and sprint train for the Tour so they can go stage hunting.


Yeah, but 100% of those wins came from Spanish riders. They could have had Quintana's 5 wins as well but respectfully declined. Movistar waited until the end of the season to sign Lopez because they were afraid they might also be forced to take Lopez's 2 wins. Dodged a bullet.
For a humor point, those two wins came from likely the most inconsistent rider on their team. On the other hand, it appears that rider might be finally realizing that he's not really a GC rider, but is more suited to stage hunting. Wonder if he may try for a KOM jersey at some point.
 
Lopez is a difficult rider to read for me. Honestly, if I have to choose one rider who has been the most intimidating on the climbs in the last 2-3 years, it's probably him. Really, there were periods of time, when I thought of him as the best climber in the World. But then after a couple of days, he struggled to make a top10 on a mountain stage. Strange, very inconsistent.
 
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This is an interesting debate, but I think the bottom line is that Movistar needed another Top 5 GC rider.

I rank Lopez, who is one of my favorite riders, equal to Mas, in the sense that both seem to be around a 5th place GT rider -- but Mas will get there in one way, and MAL in another way.

Talent wise, I think MAL is better but that's not the whole equation, obviously. Mas quietly had a great season this year and may have more headroom than I thought when he was on QS. Either way if you're a Movi fan this is great news. If each rides to his potential, the team could have two podium finishes next year.
 
Oct 31, 2018
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You all also forgetting that he spent his first two pro seasons racing for Quickstep, which last I checked isn't really a GC team and doesn't really have the ability to support a GC rider.
Meh, Pogacar also didn't have a great GC team.
Besides, the only podium in a grand tour Mas has done as of today was for QS in the Vuelta...
 
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Astana in 2021 :
31 riders
Fuglsang and Gregaard (Denmark)
Vlasov (Russia)
Lutsenko, Pronskiy V., Fedorov, Natarov, Gidich, Gruzdev, Zakharov, Brussenskiy, Stalnov, (KAZ)
Sanchez, Izagirre I., Izagirre G., Fraile, Aranburu, Romo, Rodriguez (SPA)
Battistella, Piccolo, Sobrero, Boaro, Martinelli, Felline (ITA)
Tejada, Contreras (COL)
Houle, Perry (CAN)
Kudus (ÉRIC)
De Bod (AFS)
Well, no surprises...
 
Astana are complete 31 riders

Lutsenko signs for another year.
Leaving are MAL, Bizhigtov, De Vreese, Fomynikh, Bohorquez

MAL is the loss they cant replace but the other 4 that have left have been replaced by better riders.
Do any of their additions rap as well as De Vreese, though?
 
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