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Leadbelly

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Re: The Academy of Cycling
« Reply #450 on: July 15, 2019, 13:52 »
Израильская Академия Велоспорта?

You may remember earlier in the year that I posted a VeloNews interview with Sylvan Adams. It was about his big wish for the team to ride the TDF in 2020. He saw three avenues down which this could happen. I think a fourth has come on the scene and if anything it has the best chance of happening, but more on that later.

His three options (in order of preference):

#1 Automatic Wildcard (but no UCI confirmation yet on this!)

Basically finish as one of the top-two PCT teams in the new combined UCI rankings chart. This is what having the massive team, riding loads of races and lots of quick guys is all about, but it's just not happening. There has been an improvement point-wise from last year, but they're still a fair bit behind the top echelon. Maybe with a great end of season they could nab the third spot which has a pretty good prize in itself.

#2 A Big Name Signing

A marquee signing big enough for ASO to feel they have to give the team one of their wildcards. However there have been zero rumours about big names joining the team. Quintana is rumoured to drop down to PCT with Arkea, so something like that might have been possible. It's difficult to think though of anyone else available....Barguil(?), but his relationship with Arkea seems on a better footing after his Nats win.

#3 Merge/Buy Out An Existing WT Team

When he did this interview the talked about target was of course Sky, but several months down the line it's now about Katusha (or other unnamed teams according to some reports!). This would at a stroke guarantee them the TDF spot (no messing about with wildcards), but the big problem is about the team's identity. Is it Katusha? Is it the Geeeeeeeks? I've talked about Mr Burns' softball team in the past, but you can swap in the ship of Theseus or your grandfather's axe if you like.

Okay #1 is not going to happen, zero rumours about #2 and while #3 is being talked about it does have drawbacks. This brings us to....

#4 A Normal Wildcard

There are some variables which could stymie this. Katusha continuing in some form and either Androni or Corendon winning an automatic wildcard. If both of those happen it will be very difficult to achieve the target, but if just one happens or neither then there is plenty of room for optimism I think. Being better than a weakened Wanty (Martin ------> Cofidis) might be enough or in a best case scenario, being better than Vital Concept!

As I said in the transfer thread, Hofstetter and Offredo strike me as more #4 signings, so that's what I think they're going for.
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