zinoviev letter

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Re: The Academy of Cycling
« Reply #210 on: February 22, 2017, 20:34 »
They've definitely benefited from the WT teams not being obliged to enter the new WT events, that almost nullifies the addition of the extra Belgian PCTs, and with the Italian teams + CCC being given the collective heave-ho, it does leave a few extra spots up for grabs.

However GW is the only pre-existing Belgian WT race so far where they have got an wildcard and it remains to be seen whether they can get one at E3 or the real biggie RVV. They are obviously in contention for them though, it could be they are fighting over one spot with Direct Energie and Aqua Blue.

They have invites to Omloop, Dwars Door, GW. Outside of the WT they are also invited to KBK. That's a very impressive list of races for a first year PCT outfit without any big (or even medium sized) names on the roster. Yes, other than GW they are non-compulsory for WT teams, but they are the sort of non-compulsory races that 15 or 16 WT teams go to. By contrast, in the Flanders classics, Aquablue got just an invite to Omloop. Direct Energie, one of the very strongest PCT teams and one with a leader who is a contender for some of these races, missed out on GW.

However the team end up doing on the road this year, whoever it was who was responsible for lobbying race organisers in Flanders has done an excellent job. On paper, they should have less to offer those races than really a lot of other PCT teams in terms of roster. Not because they are bad, but because they are a mixture of young guys stepping up to PCT and a sprinkling of experienced journeymen. In this portion of the season, they have a clean sweep of invites of a sort that only Low Countries teams and Cofidis have. Hats off!

I don't think they will get an RVV invite. If it was them v Aquablue then they would be favourites, given how invites to these races have gone so far, but I can't see Direct Energie being passed over for them in both GW and the RVV. But the mere fact that they are serious contenders for an RVV wildcard at this point is impressive. It will be interesting to see if they can get invites to big races in other parts of the world or if this will prove to be a Flandrian phenomenon only.

You are right about the exclusion of the Italians and CCC counterbalancing the growth in the number of Belgian teams, by the way. It is somewhat odd that they've got the cold shoulder.
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