Ed’s 2018 Transfer Low Down Part 2!
Rider Transfers: There has been so many rider transfers for the 2018 season that Ed Hood has had to make a second list of new contracts. Who’s hot and who’s not? And who will fit into their new team and flourish in a different environment.
Alexander Kristoff might be happier with UAE Team Emirates
Last week we had a look at 12 of the transfer market’s most interesting moves – time for another dozen: As with last week, we rank them for the rider (+) good, (-) bad, (=) makes little difference.
Ian Boswell leaves Team Sky to join Katusha-Alpecin: The strong American defects from the British team after five years to join the Russians. Never a big winner but a strong team man; like Cheryl Crow says, ‘A Change Would do you Good.’ (+).
Boswell off to Katusha-Alpecin
Sven Erik Bystrøm leaves Katusha-Alpecin to join UAE Team Emirates: Firstly, let’s wish the 2014 U23 World Champion a speedy recovery from the crash which recently put him out of the Vuelta. Second in his national championships was as good as it got for the young Norseman in 2017 – that jersey would have made it a special year. Hopefully not another year of anonymity for the man – but we have our doubts (=).
Sven Erik Bystrøm leaves Katusha-Alpecin, but stays with Alexander Kristoff
Alex Dowsett leaves Movistar to join Katusha-Alpecin: When Dowsett jumped ship on ‘home’ Team Sky to join Movistar for season 2013 we were impressed by his ambition. His Giro TT stage win that season boded well for the future – but that was as good as it got. He was close to a win in the Tour of Romandie prologue but all that season 2017 has to show for him is a TT win in the Circuit del Sarthe – not enough for the ‘Telephone Team’ to allow him to start a Grand Tour. The Russian team has promised him better opportunities; we hope it works out for the former world hour record holder. (=).
New team, same bike for Alex Dowsett
Nathan Haas leaves Dimension Data to join Katusha-Alpecin: The Aussie strong man always seemed to be ‘there’ in the spring but the palmarès show that fourth in the Amstel was his best result. He was also fourth in the Tour Down Under, perhaps the Russian team will allow him to forgo peaking that early and focus 100% on the hills and cobbles of the spring where he has real potential? (+?).
Haas, another Katusha-Alpecin signing for 2018
Kristoffer Halvorsen leaves Joker (Norwegian Continental team) and joins Team Sky: We have to make it clear that Sky have not bought up all of the U23 talent to continue their strangle hold on Grand Tour racing – just the winners of the Ronde de l’Isard, Valle d’Aosta and Baby Giro (Sivakov), the L’Avenir (Bernal) and in this case the current U23 world road race champion. OK, glad we’ve clarified that. Financially for the rider, short term, a fantastic jump in levels and salary – as for his long term development, perhaps another story . . . (+?).
Under 23 World champion Kristoffer Halvorsen to Sky
Peter Kennaugh leaves Team Sky to join Bora-hansgrohe: Here’s my Pete story: he’s just won a medal in the British Road Race Championships – a race he would win twice in the future – and I say; ‘congratulations Peter, any chance of a two minute chat please?’ He looks at me; ‘you misquoted what I said about Cav and I in the madison champs – so NO!’ Three years later, me again; ‘hi Peter, have you forgiven me yet?’ Peter; ‘NO!’ No Peter Kennaugh interviews from Ed then. A good move for him we think with more freedom and the Russians won’t understand most of his sweary words and won’t get upset with him like they do at Sky. (+).
Ed Hood’s mate, Peter Kennaugh
Alexander Kristoff leaves Katusha-Alpecin to join UAE Team Emirates: Is he just sick of appearing in those tacky shampoo TV commercials or have the team Tsars declared ‘nyhet !’? It’s like Allan Peiper said, when a team signs you on big bucks it’s not for what you’ve already won, it’s for what they expect you to win. Ride London and the European Championships are hardly shabby races BUT they are not Grand Tour stages or Classics – and that’s where the big publicity is to be found. But with Ferrari, Guardini and Swift at his disposal the Oil Boys could have a train to be reckoned with for the former Primavera winner? (+?).
New team and a new start for Kristoff
Michael Mørkøv leaves Katusha Alpecin to join Quick-Step Floors: Sleek, fast, clever and able to win anything from the World Madison Championship to a Vuelta stage and his Danish National Road Championship, he’s the consummate pro. The Belgian team will be a much more simpatico home for the man from Copenhagen than the Russian team with its reputation for ‘language cliques.’ He’ll be a high value card to play in Quick-Step’s finale hands for Messrs. Gaviria and Viviani. (+).
Top lead-out man for Quick-Step Floors – Michael Mørkøv
Domenico Pozzovivo leaves AG2R-La Mondiale to join Bahrain-Merida: Just like the song says, he’s ‘Always There’ but doesn’t actually win much – a Tour de Suisse stage excepted. We don’t see that changing in 2018 albeit Bahrain will be happy to see their colors top 10 in the biggest races. And whilst few people manage to look as bad as Chris Froome on a road bicycle, the little Italian pulls it off – and let’s not even mention time trial bikes. (=).
Pozzovivo to be Nibali’s right hand man?
Tom-Jelte Slagter leaves Cannondale-Drapac to join Dimension Data: Nice timing by the Dutchman as Cannondale slide into the twilight zone. ‘There and thereabouts’ sums the man up – albeit he won a stage in the Tour of Austria; he’ll be a solid, consistent asset for Meintjes. (=).
Tom-Jelte Slagter – A solid team man
Edward Theuns leaves Trek to join Sunweb: Last season was compromised by injury but this year the quick Belgian’s Northern races potential is glowing through with podiums in a De Panne stage, the cult Halle-Ingooigem; a stage win in the Blinckbank Tour but perhaps most telling – a top 10 at Roubaix. We look forward to keeping a close eye on this young man next season and have a feeling that he could just bloom. (+).
More success for the recovered Edward Theuns
Louis Vervaeke leaves Lotto Soudal to go to Sunweb: The young Belgian perhaps hasn’t yet lived up to his U23 potential where one of his big successes was a stage in the Tour de L’Avenir – and whilst this season started very promisingly in the Mallorcan races it hasn’t fizzed. Perhaps another man who for whom perhaps change will do good – a nice new jersey, different training and fresh faces around the dinner table can often work wonders? (+?).
Team change might be the answer for Louis Vervaeke
It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,500 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.