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L'arri

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The fish and bowl conundrum: stepping up to big teams
« on: February 10, 2015, 08:18 »
Adam Blythe's rollercoaster ride through the ranks has piqued my interest ...

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/blythe-thriving-with-orica-greenedge

... It's not exactly a new topic, the importance for riders of a team in terms of size, level and culture, but Blythe's case provides some interesting illustrations.



When one interviews for a job in the real world, one rarely knows how the experience of working there will play out, but it seems somehow less important than it does to cyclists, who must face greater competition for places and a limited career span, so they necessarily aim high and think in the short-term.

Struggling with sudden anonymity

Blythe claims to have had a Joni Mitchell moment at BMC, in which he came to realise only later that his promising Lotto experience had been particularly good. Works for Adam Hansen there but not all reports of Lotto have been positive. Either way, Blythe was going places under Sergeant's wing.

So the dollar signs or the glitz dazzle your eyes and you get a leg up to a big, well-funded team. It must be demoralising to ride for a big team and just hang on the 'phone for pack filler assignments for sh*t small races. Rather like zero-hour contracts, with your motivation and future CV prospects trickling away.

The weight of expectations

Getting stuck with a low priority label on a big team is not the only bad hand at the table.



Look at Oscar Gatto. Recent refugee of the Cannondale-Garmin WT fusion, he seemed unable to shoulder the big responsibilities in the shadow of Sagan but just two seasons ago he was bossing Vini Fantini's Classics campaigns and won big at Dwars door Vlaanderen. Now he's back with silver fox Savio. Not exactly hitting the skids but one pedal stroke closer to starting over.

There are plenty of examples out there where either of these situations happened. Can you think of some? Do you see other difficulties associated with making that big step up?
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  • Cycling is a Europe thing only and I only watch from Omloop on cause I am cool and sh*t
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    just some guy

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    Blythe is a great one and I expect him to do well under Whitey and Haymen ( the classic ds while riding ;) ) and I think he would have done well under Peiper at BMC but under the old system it was all too much look at Gilbert as an example


    One that I think we are in the season of watching to see of there is a rise ( indications there is ) is Moreno Moser. The new Moser the next big thing then 0 and worse . Seems that the Garmin 4.0 might just be the place I am hoping
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  • Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

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  • Capt_Cavman

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    I think there is always a risk changing teams for any rider irrespective of career trajectory, Simon Gerrans' move to Sky for example. This is probably compounded when a relatively young rider is moved into a different, maybe starring, role at his new team. It's always interesting to see which racehorses turn out to be donkeys.

    Of course, if we admit that this can happen, are we then forced to be less cynical when donkeys switch teams and become racehorses?
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  • L'arri

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    I think there is always a risk changing teams for any rider irrespective of career trajectory, Simon Gerrans' move to Sky for example. This is probably compounded when a relatively young rider is moved into a different, maybe starring, role at his new team. It's always interesting to see which racehorses turn out to be donkeys.

    Of course, if we admit that this can happen, are we then forced to be less cynical when donkeys switch teams and become racehorses?

    Gerrans is a good example but, now I reflect on it, didn't he have a severe injury during his time at Sky?

    One might say similar of Michael Rogers, but there I think we step adroitly into the question that you ended with.

    The Dark Side is an amplifier but there are surely lots of other cultural factors at play, especially if the Dark Side is crossed into with such ubiquity anyway.
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  • froome19

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    I am particularly interested in how Lars Petter Nordaug will fare this year.

    His story is an interesting one. His final season with Sky was a successful one topped by his GP Montreal victory. However, at that point Sky were at their zenith and had spent most of the season juggling between Cavendish and Wiggins with a bit of added Froome. He made the superficially sensible decision to move away to Belkin where his upwards trajectory never materialised and if anything he declined. tocu

    So what went wrong there? That was the season where nearly everything Sky touched turned to gold. Sky doesn't seem to bit the right team for a rider with his abilities, but you never really know. He has never been a massive talent, but his performances at Belkin did reflect a dip from his performances at Sky, even though he should have been entering the peak of his career. Anyways, he could have just had one strong year, before hitting his regular stride, but it will definitely be interesting to see how he goes this year.
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    L'arri

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    I am particularly interested in how Lars Petter Nordaug will fare this year.

    His story is an interesting one. His final season with Sky was a successful one topped by his GP Montreal victory. However, at that point Sky were at their zenith and had spent most of the season juggling between Cavendish and Wiggins with a bit of added Froome. He made the superficially sensible decision to move away to Belkin where his upwards trajectory never materialised and if anything he declined. tocu

    So what went wrong there? That was the season where nearly everything Sky touched turned to gold. Sky doesn't seem to bit the right team for a rider with his abilities, but you never really know. He has never been a massive talent, but his performances at Belkin did reflect a dip from his performances at Sky, even though he should have been entering the peak of his career. Anyways, he could have just had one strong year, before hitting his regular stride, but it will definitely be interesting to see how he goes this year.

    Nordhaug went to Belkin is what went wrong. It was not a step up because there was a team that just doesn't make an objective out of winning. I don't know whether it was the slumbering ease of the annual Rabo lucre, as reliable as a rest day BB, or the ill-advised latter day focus on Dutch-only mediocrity, but post-scandal Belkin was a rudderless ship.

    Nordhaug was one of those who had finally learned how to profit from Sky's professionalisation coupled with its nigh-on criminal one-day blindness. He got no more support from Belkin for his campaigns than Sky gave him with a much diminished Gerrans and an unripe Uran, but - GTs aside - at least with the latter national interests didn't have the undivided attention of management.
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