Ed’s 2018 Transfer Low Down!
Rider Transfers: In the last month the cycling World has been awash with rumor and the inevitable new rider contracts. Ed Hood takes a look at twelve moves and gives it the good, bad or indifferent vote. Will the 2018 jerseys fit well or is the grass just greener on the other side?
Money and hair cuts – Marcel Kittel
The English Soccer League ‘transfer window’ closes at 11:00 pm tonight, Thursday; the last we heard some 1.2 billion, yes ‘billion’ was due to change hands – and all for dives and dodgy haircuts. . .
Meanwhile the cycling transfer market has been buzzing – but nowhere near the sums of money those poor chaps who sometimes have to play TWICE in a week attract.
PEZ takes a look at a dozen of the moves which have caught our eye and judges if it’s good (+), bad (-) or makes little difference (=) to the two wheeled status quo.
Warren Barguil leaves Team Sunweb, joins Fortuneo-Oscaro: On the face of it, a strange one, just as he finds himself again he drops a division but given that he’s a ‘mountain’ man whose win come from breaks over the cols where team support can only go so far perhaps it’s not surprising. However the move underlines the fact that he doesn’t see himself as a GC man – in TTT’s and echelons he’s at an immediate disadvantage with Fortuneo. But perhaps he’ll just be happier at a team where his native tongue is spoken around the dinner table? (+ ?).
Barguil happier speaking French?
Jack Bauer leaves Quick-Step Floors, joins Orica-Scott: Big, strong, reliable, unselfish, simpatico – any team would want the Kiwi. But as a Kiwi the Aussie outfit is a good fit and whilst Quick-Step Floors supremo, Patrick Lefevere will be sorry to let him go, the Belgian Maestro has to keep one eye firmly on the war chest contents; there are not as many doubloons in there for 2018 campaigns as there have been in years gone by. (=).
Jack Bauer – A Kiwi in an Oz team
Egan Bernal leaves Androni, joins Team Sky: Bernal has been on the PEZ radar since last year when he won the Tour of Bihor in Romania for Gianni Savio’s Pro Conti, Androni squad; with top 10’s in the Coppi Bartali and Tour of the Alps, capped by a dominant win in the Tour de l’Avenir this year it was a certainty the World Tour would snap him up. We’re not certain that Sky is the best ‘fit’ but like AC/DC said; ‘Listen to the Money Talk.’ (=).
A big step up to Sky from Androni
Silvan Dillier leaves BMC, joins AG2R-La Mondiale: With a win in the Route du Sud, a Giro stage and his national road race champs it’s been a wonderful season for the track man turned roadie. Swiss rider, Swiss team, great fit – that was before they didn’t give him a ride in his home tour that is. . . AG2R should be a good home for him and one where he’ll have a fair measure of freedom. (+).
More autonomy for Silvan Dillier
Marcel Kittel leaves Quick-Step Floors, joins Katusha-Alpecin: Lefevere’s Euros couldn’t match the Russian team’s Roubles, end of story – the big German may plead otherwise, but that’s the bottom line. For the World Tour teams the Tour is the biggest stage and they crave wins in ‘the hexagon’ – Marcel can deliver but can he handle the Russian mentality? We have our doubts. And what’s that? ‘But Lefevere still has Gaviria and Viviani.’ Of course he does. (-).
More wins in 2018 for the fast German adonis
Mikel Landa leaves Team Sky, joins Movistar: Whilst PEZ cycling sage and commentator Viktor reckons that just about every transfer is about money – or desperation – this one isn’t just about the moolah. Landa wants to win a Grand Tour and whilst Sky gave him the opportunity in the Giro last year it was compromised by illness; this year he’s back with a bang. A stage and king of the mountains in the Giro – where he was third two years ago – fourth in the Tour and overall winner with two stages in the Vuelta Ciclista a Burgos. He could just be the man to keep Froome on four Tour wins. The ‘but’ is that his best Grand Tour performances have not been as a team leader, the pressure wasn’t on him. We watch with interest. (+ ?).
Mikel Landa back in Spain
Chris Lawless leaves Axeon, joins Team Sky: We didn’t tell you about this one – but with the ZLM Tour, a stage in Beauce, second to power house Steve Cummings in the National Road Race Championships and then a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir – the young Brit is ready to move up. And whilst Sky doesn’t have the best rep for bringing through young English speaking riders, if you were a young Anglo and got the opportunity to pull on that black jersey, along with a big bucks contract, would you turn it down? Me neither. (+).
Sky’s the limit for Chris Lawless
Dan Martin leaves Quick-Step Floors to join UAE Team Emirates: The UAE lose Meintjes but gain Martin, good for them but we’re not so sure it’s the best for Dan – albeit his bank balance will be looking very healthy, we’re sure. Sixth in the Tour even after a horror crash he has the potential to be on the podium – but whilst Quick-Step could give him little help up in the thin air of the Alps and Pyrenees, there’s no finer squad than the Belgian one when the echelons form and it all gets physical. On the plus side for him, team rider nonpareil, Rory Sutherland joins the oil team too, Martin could wish for no finer man at his side. Another we watch with interest (+ ?).
A good move for the Irishman?
Louis Meintjes leaves UAE Team Emirates to join Dimension Data: The slim South African returns ‘home’ to Doug Ryder’s Dimension Data African squad. The money to net Cav came from Deloite’s – Meintjes’ probably from a big South African company? Whilst he’s been twice top 10 in Le Tour we wonder what happened to the aggressive young man who was second in the U23 Worlds in Florence? We’d be so happy to slip his dossier out of our ‘just difficult to drop’ file – but he is only 25 years-old and will be the undoubted leader with his new team. (+ ?).
Louis Meintjes back to his South African roots
Pavel Sivakov leaves BMC Development to join Team Sky: Not that Sky are buying up all of the best young talent, you understand? He won the overall classifications in the Ronde de l’Isard, Baby Giro, Giro della Valle d’Aosta, plus stage nine in the Tour de L’Avenir – more than good enough palmarès to set the World Tour cheque books waving. Multi millionaire Andy Rhis of BMC isn’t known for his stinginess but even he can’t compete with Rupert Murdoch and the young French/Russian sensation wears black for 2018, not red. (+).
Pavel Sivakov another young Sky recruit
Matteo Trentin leaves Quick-Step Floors to join Orica-Scott: Currently ‘on fire’ at the Vuelta with two stage wins, the affable Italian was ‘in with the bricks’ at the Belgian team, or so we thought. We don’t know his new contract value and whilst it’s likely to be more than his Quick Step one, perhaps not significantly so? What’s of more importance is his freedom as the Aussie team’s ‘man’ for the Classics – he was always going to be supporting Gilbert and Terpstra in the flooring team. A move which helps us look forward to the 2018 spring classics already. (+).
Vuelta’17 points leader – Matteo Trentin
Elia Viviani leaves Sky to join Quick-Step Floors: Two stages in Austria, Hamburg, two stages in Poitou Charentes and Ouest France Plouay – you could say that the Italian flyer is going well right now? We first spotted him in the Grenoble Six Day several years ago when he was posting times within spitting distance of the best French specialist track sprinters. Apparently disenchanted by Sky’s refusal to give him a ride in the Grand Tours, Sir David Brailsford’s loss is Patrick Lefevere’s gain. Quick and getting quicker we look forward to seeing him in the Giro next year as part of a team which has no peer when it comes to setting up fast men to win races. (+).
The Quick-Step lead-out train should net Viviani more victories
# 2018? Bring it on! (+). #
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.