FGR #37 Wrap

Will Fabian Cancellara stay with Bjarne Riis?

It is, perhaps, a mark of the this time of year that Padraig’s post about rim tape should garner more interest and passion than an open debate about the transfer market. It seems our minds have wandered away from the pros and onto the very serious subject of how to best ride the end of the summer (except for you Aussie and South American readers, of course).

Sophrosune brought up an excellent question, a topic for another Group Ride, which is, “What constitutes success for a pro team?”

Looking at recent transfers, it’s hard for me to believe that Riis Racing won’t succeed next year. Master Bjarne has replaced a Tour de France runner up with a winner, and, thus far anyway, retained last year’s Paris-Roubaix/Ronde von Flanderen winner. Does he have the two top riders in the peloton? I would say so.

Ryderider brought up Liquigas, which I failed to mention in my Group Ride intro, though the Italian squad boasts Basso, Nibali, Kreuzier, Kiserlovski and Sagan. One gets the distinct impression that, organized properly around a designated leader, they have the team to take a grand tour. Having lost Francesco Chicchi to Quick Step, they only have Daniele Bennati for the sprints, which will pull some wins off the table. You have to ask though, will winning the Giro be enough for Liquigas in 2011? Or do they need to make a serious assault on the Tour, given they have nothing for the Classics?

Omega Pharma – Lotto is the other team that sticks out for me. Living in QuickStep’s shadow for the last few seasons, things looked bad for Belgium’s other team when Cadel Evans left, but Phillipe Gilbert has kept their profile high with stellar end of season riding, and now they’ve signed Andrei Greipel who will, undoubtedly, add to their win total, and give them a proper presence at any grand tour they run him in.

The Spanish teams, Movistar and Geox,are the big question marks. What will money do for Spanish cycling? If Team Sky is any indication, not much, but their results may vary.

And now…back to rim strips!

Image: John Pierce, Photosport International

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  1. Champs

    It seems like there is always money for Spanish teams, if not from Spain. The smartest things those Spaniards did is not coalesce around a quasi-national team like Astana, Sky, Euskaltel, and Katusha (arguably among others). How different would the UCI world rankings be if Contador, Rodriguez, and your choice of Sanchez were on the same team?

    The French, on the other hand, should think about doing just that. The market for French teams is exaggerated because they have such a good shot at getting into the Tour, and it dilutes their quality. The sponsors give their vote of confidence in domestic teams by spending many of their Euros elsewhere.

  2. cboas

    Movistar is not such a question mark as AC has effectively said that when they can afford his price tag, he will make the switch. The spaniards on Movistar will ride for AC come July 2012, just as they did as Caisse D’espargne. My example? Gutierrez handing AC waterbottles on L’Tourmale (sp?).

    AC is the new Indurain. He is a spanish hero in country that forgets is economic troubles through sport. B.Riis is just jumping on the opportunity to ride the train while he can.

  3. ben

    Liquigas has a decent shot at winning 2 (2!) grand tours this year if Nibali can pull it out in the Vuelta. Is going after TDF necessary for their success next year if they can win 2/3 of the Grand Tours (assuming they’re in the mix for Giro and Vuelta again)?
    TDF is EVERYTHING in the US, but Liquigas is Italian and I’m guessing their sponsors and Italians in general are pretty happy w/ the neon-green and blue this year. Of course they are riding American bikes…which is weird.

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