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Re: Mens' transfers and Rumors 2019-20
« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2019, 15:13 »
Yes, I failed to mention the extraordinary talent drain that Movistar are currently in the midst of. All the more reason you'd think they'd desperately want to hold onto Carapaz!

Not to mention, wouldn't the departure of their marque riders mean that extra funds would be availibale to throw at Carapaz as a nice enticement to stay? And if Valverde remains, what better mentor could a rising, Spanish-speaking star hope to encounter? Alejandro—besides any opinions one may have about him—has to be considered one of the most seasoned, accomplished and enduring riders in the history of the sport. How could that possibly compare with riding in the shadow of Froome?

Ineos seem to be so systematically recruiting and developing new riders now, that I think part of the equation is not known to the public and may be something we can only speculate about: you write “riding in the shadow of Froome” - but Team Ineos will know better than we do how long their current rank of star riders will last. Froome is one, but Thomas perhaps the better example. He has been more outspoken on the sacrifices he needs to make to get in shape for racing GC, principally on the nutrition and lifestyle side. I don’t believe he’ll carry on with that for another 5 years, to put it that way. Froome seems less bothered by the diets, but we don’t know how his body copes with so many years racing on top level. There cannot be many riders like Valverde, and now even the #rainbow man appears to be slightly fading. Froome has arguably been racing at an even higher level, and from what I gather the cumulative stress to the system from racing at top level over many years is seen as more important than age for the prediction of athlete decline. There are large indivual differences (Hi Alejandro!  ;) ), but even Froome has a treshold for how many years he can be a top level GC rider.  Wiggins said that when he quit racing, he had the bone density of a 65-year old woman and osteoporosis symptoms. Racing at this level doesn’t seem particularly healthy and hopefully all the individuals involved have a large say in the decision concerning when enough is enough.

Brailsford is clever, so when he was informed that the Sky sponsorship was coming to an end, he secured his most valuable assets by extending contracts with Thomas and Froome. Having banked that, his team could negotiate new sponsors, with an excellent track record in terms of results, and almost guaranteed future success, as it was secure that the key components of their past victories would still be present. Many teams face a crumble, if not a crunch,  at the time when they need a new main sponsor, but #sky not only evaded that, they made it an opportunity - and their new contract with Ineos is supposedly not just as good as the old one they had with Sky, it is much better, and the team has an even bigger budget now.

Like it or not, that is sponsorship transition masterclass there, well played.

So what if they did all this, while at the same time being seriously concerned that maybe Thomas can’t take another year, or at least not two more years of this? What if they have test results showing that despite looking more relaxed about the extreme diets, Froome’s bone density is plummeting and he might have to call it quits sooner than he would like to because in the next crash he will break every bone?
In that case, top priority for continuation of the business would be recruiting and developing future stars, more than propping up the current top stars with more domestiques to make sure they win yet another year. In the first race with the #ineos jersey you could not see Froome carried on a gold chair across the Yorkshire countryside. He was put to work as a road captain and performed very well in that role (what could you expect, really...) setting up the attacks that left #riwal Kamp asphyxiated while #ineos Lawless came back to win the GC.

There is a change in the way the team deals with the young riders they recruit now. They get a lot more chances to ride for their own results now than they did around 2010-2012. At that time, top talent riders like Edvald Boasson Hagen was brought in apparently for the sole purpose of being locomotives in the Sky train. Team leadership roles was really pre-defined, and not up for discussion. EBH´s number of wins per season declined through his time with Sky, reflecting not just that the team didn´t give him opportunities (in fact they did, at some occasions) but that his program was such that his ability to win was also dwindling. You have to train very hard to become Tim de Clerq, and to achieve that, the ability to finish like Peter Sagan is usually sacrificed. 

The Yates twins didn´t sign for Sky, they wanted to be captains, not domestiques - but realized or feared that the Sky programme would train them only as domestiques. Later,  at some point (last year?) I think the team realized that they don´t get good future captains from signing young talent to work as domestiques. Now it is different. This year #ineos is often the youngest squad on the road. In fact not just youngest, but youngest by a wide margin too, and their captains are young as well. The giro team was extreme, with papa Chris Knees and the youngsters - and despite lacking Bernal, it highlighted Pavel Sivakov as an up-and-coming GC captain with a brilliant 3-week performance in his first GC. A clear sporting success in the development perspective, although it hardly qualifies as a commercial success for the sponsors.

All the top talent that Sky/Ineos have been stocking up over the past few years, have one thing (or rather, don´t have one thing) in common. They´re not British, not even by colonial heritage British. Right now it looks like they are aiming to become a major player in Spanish speaking South America. This may or may not be a problem, depending on their sponsor/owner: Do they want to use their investment in the team to improve their standing in the UK or do they invest in the team for publicity to support global growth, or both?

From what the team is doing, it appears to be principally global growth that is the objective: they hire riders from all over the world, if only they are good enough. However, I think they have money for that, and then some. «Then some» as in somewhere they´ve piled two big mountains of cash marked «For Simon»  and «For Adam», just because what really seems to be missing in their plans are the next generation British GC winners (make that Tour de France GC winners, nothing else really matters).

I´ll take it as far as to speculating that in the contract negotiations with Ineos someone might have said: «if you throw in an extra 20 million or so we will see what we can do about getting the Yates twins to sign on for 2021.» Unless either 1) another British young rider appears as the next big thing 2) Mitchelton gets more sponsors with deeper pockets, I think the question is «when» not «if» the brothers will join Sky. If anything, they seem like more of a match now then they were when they shocked the British cycling establishment, by not joining Sky in the first place.
(Concerning that possible even younger GC rider from the UK «next big thing» - could possibly be Hugh Carthy(?) the only one seen racing 3 weeks with consistency, isn´t he? The rest of the best of the younger British riders seem to have a more of a taste for the classics (and CX) rather than 3 week tours, climbing and the GC, isn´t that right? )

Final comment on Carapaz - from what I read he was very underpaid at Movistar, and they refused to increase his salary before he won the Giro. This may come as a consequence of winning the giro while actually being 4th on the pecking order in a team with a quite hierarchical structure (I think that makes it a very unusual win actually.) 

If this is true, then if there wasn´t an agent suggesting that he can get maybe 10 times more paid elsewhere, that agent wouldn´t be doing his job! Money is important in professional sports! A South American family man will not look primarily to his sporting chances, but to his income chances and his family, and how he can best secure their future. In South America, a professional athlete is a professional first and and athlete second. One of the things that really surprised me when I lived there, was just how quickly the public opinion on a young soccer player would turn, if they did not secure a contract (and: a contract that wasn´t just good for them, but for the family.) They were immediately put on a list of irresponsible playboys, talented maybe, but good for nothing, really.  (You could almost be sure all daughters were informed they shouldn´t bring a such man into the family.) They are cool with people entering professional sports - if and only if it is a good deal for them and can support the (extended) family. Then they are heroes, but the prospect of one year without much income makes them despiccable, unresponsible idiots. There´s a work ethic behind this, and also the lacking of safety nets that makes it possible and acceptable for first-world people to be less economically productive for longer phases in our lives, I think.

This is why I am pretty convinced that if offered a large salary increase elsewhere, Richard would sign. It would be the only responsible thing to do.

You can´t really blame Ineos for being opportunistic here - a good buy is a good buy and they are running a business. However, the noise level can also just be a result of an agent that is working hard to persuade Movistar to pony up more cash for keeping Carapaz. That would also be a responsible tactic, the company can definetly afford it, and the team is reportedly not having to pay for Quintana in the future. Maybe they have already been busy for a while, trying to make increased space for Richard on their salary lists, and that is why Quintana is leasing? At Arkea he will fade, like all others that enter that team, but his income will be better than at Movistar.

I am so far actually less convinced that Carapaz is going to #ineos than that Simon and Adam Yates eventually  will go there. Let´s see how the negotiations  go.       :)
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  • « Last Edit: June 05, 2019, 15:28 by t-72 »


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