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Re: Paris-Nice 2020
« on: March 09, 2020, 12:09 »
On the flip-side though, Quintana and Connor Swift had a very good day for #arkea.

Unfortunately for Swift the TDF this year mainly eschews these types of stages and no doubt the weather will be better by then, but he may still have earnt himself a spot in the squad as Quintana's wingman for what flatter stages there are.

(Warning, yearly anti - arkea rant coming up!  :P I am on vacation schedule!)
It started almost as a joking little quarrel between me and ... I think it was search? #arkea in it's previous packaging (#fortuneo) saw a few nordic riders pass through the team listing. They joined the team, and started to detoriate, not immediately - but after a while it was obvious they were all becoming worse through riding with that team. Over-focusing on weight for quite young riders is one part of the picture here. At the time,  the French riders on the team didn't really shine either,  and the best rider after Barguil, Pierre-Luc Perrichon,  has now left the team. He was good enough to win a few races on the French circuit and ride the Tour de France mostly in the peloton. Elie Gesbert another rider occasionally noticed. They didn't get any better, either.
Compared to the best continental team in Norway at the time, #joker, the results were worse (though they did race some races at a higher level) and the rider development bad. There has to be a common denominator for that,  and I think the team management is questionable when this goes on for years. Riders didn't win a contract with #arkea for the upcoming seaon, they were condemned to it.

I hope the arrival of Nairo and Bouhanni can change that. Nairo is probably more of a force himself than what has been reckoned with at Movistar, where he was a team player. At least most of the time  :P.  However, if the real management of a team is clueless, a couple of determined captains can do a lot on the road that they guys in the backseat office can't screw up every time they try. With a team leadership that is more effective when kept away from the riders, both Nairo and Nacer can improve things a lot. If the old management recongnize their limitations they, should focus on logistics,  handling contracts and sponsors.

Quintana and Bouhanni are the kind of riders that know how to build a team - at least Bouhanni does that.  At its best[1], the Bouhanni version of the Cofidis train could knock even the WT heavyweights off their tracks, and that was a remarkable achievement for a pro-conti squad. They scored more than a handful stage wins in the lesser Grand Tours (but none in the TdF). Then came a summer when things didn't work out, Bouhanni suffered a really really bad fall in Yorkshire (that must have ebeen close to career-ending, but probably also close to something even worse.) The new management at Cofidis found the team had turned into a Bohanni family-run enterprise, dind't like that and threw them all into the ice box. However, if it really was a Bouhanni-run business, it was a business that achieved results #fortuneo could only dream of.

Barguil can have some pretty good days on a bike but he is very inconsistent and now fully exposed as far from weatherproof -a nd what's more - he doesn't seem willing or able to be a team leader. There's a lot to be said about Bouhanni (many teams would not want to be seen with him as a leader, I guess...) but he is a leader, for better or worse ,and there aren't many like him (fortunately? ) in the pro team squads. It will be interesting to see if Viviani manages to stitch up the broken seams in the Cofidis jersey like Bohanni did, and indeed if they meet head to head I guess it's a special edition with more than one belt at stake.

Now I was being nice to them, wasn't I?  :angel

Back to Paris-Nice 2020..... Bordures day? please?
 1. for example Paris-Nice 2016, stage 4 Juliénas  ›  Romans-sur-Isère
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