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Not gonna write much here, I'm from Denmark (in case the "DK" didn't point that out), and I'm a huge cycling fan.

I've decided to run something that I guess resembles a blog on here, about cycling, naturally.

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:2014, France is back on the podium - but what about the future?]]
A 17-year long curse was broken by Jean-Christophe Peraud and Thibaut Pinot, as both riders ended up on the podium of the 2014 edition of TourDeFrance. To top it off, another French rider, Romain Bardet, came within two seconds of top 5 - after a flat tire on the final time trial.

While Peraud is getting old, he's 37, the two younger riders look like talented riders who can challenge for the Tour title one day, but there's more to it than what things look like. What would be good for French cycling? More riders on foreign teams. For years, it has been a rarity to see French riders on foreign teams. Right now, a total of eight French riders can be found on foreign World Tour teams, and three on Pro-Continental teams. I know that there are three French teams on the World Tour and another two Professional continental teams, one of which probably won't be called up for races on the World Tour outside of France, and there should be plenty of opportunity for being challenged on a high level. French riders have been challenged on a high level in several years, so it's more about the training. French riders have been a dominant force in youth cycling for years, but haven't quite been able to step up to the challenge on the highest level. So what's the deal?

The curse hasn't been good for French cycling, this has led to French riders getting too much hype really early in their career. An example could be Thibaut Pinot's Tour in 2013. Pinot finished 10th in 2012, along with an impressive stage win. In 2013 he, at the age of 23, received tons of hype and failed in a tragically spectacular way to perform, being disappointingly low in the GC before withdrawing from the race. He later, under considerably less pressure, took home a 7th place in the Vuelta - proving that he does in fact have the potential, even after a huge disappointment. In 2014, he managed to take home a very impressive third through consistent and strong riding in the mountains as well as a decent time trial at the end of the race.

Now, to the disappointment of French cycling fans, here comes my verdict, and you'll probably hate me for this: Pinot or Bardet won't improve much in the rest their careers, unless they change something now.

We've seen way too often that French riders, on French teams, peak very early and stay at the same level for the rest of their career. The closest thing one can come to an aversion of this fact are Thomas Voeckler, who had one of his best seasons in 2011, at 32, as well as Peraud who became a professional road racing cyclist at 32 (at that point, he was holding the French national time trial championship), and had his best season this year.

When looking at one of the most successful French riders in recent years, Sylvain Chavanel, he had his best years on the Belgian Omega-Pharma [=QuickStep=][[note]]Only known as [=QuickStep=] between 2008 and 2011[[/note]] team, which he represented between 2009 and 2013. Another example of a French rider making the unconventional move of a career on a non-French team is Laurent Jalabert, who won La Vuelta in 95 (most recent French grand tour winner), and several semi-classics. He had those victories on first a Spanish, then a Danish team. I can't recall any other French rider with the potential to make it big on foreign teams in recent years[[note]]except Barguil, more about him later[[/note]]. In conclusion: If a French rider wants success, he should go to a foreign team.

So what is it that French teams should do, if they want to win Le Tour with one of their own riders? Better training methods. French riders will, especially on the World Tour, be consistently matched against the very best in the world. However, there have always been teams that were ahead on training and organization. Some examples could be the Danish Team CSC / [=CSC-Saxo Bank=][[note]]Now Tinkoff-Saxo, and while they're still doing well, others have caught up[[/note]], American-German [=HTC-HighRoad=] and British Team Sky. French teams simply haven't been that organized and their training methods have been behind most teams. The solution to that could be to hire foreign ''directur sportifs'' and/or hiring experienced, intelligent foreign riders with experience from the high end teams on that point, as well as foreign riders for internal competition. [=AG2R=] are doing the latter, and are doing it well. If the French teams can look a outside their own bubble when it comes to hiring riers, I believe that two of the three French World Tour teams will be regular powerhouses in world cycling. In all fairness, [=AG2R=] are hiring strong foreign riders (particularly Betancur and Pozzovivo) to compete with their own, and I'm sure it has helped in the development of their own guys, as well as the current string of great results. They need to keep that up.

In regards to talent, France has plenty of young, talented riders. While classics specialists are generally a bit hard to determine, as experience is extremely important in such races. When it comes to sprinters and grand tour riders, a few names come to mind. We all know Thibaut Pinot, great climber with a decent time trial and Romain Bardet, who has the climbing ability, but lacks the time trial and ability to last three weeks. Warren Barguil is a bit more of an unknown rider, who I hope to see try to run for the GC in La Vuelta this year. I have no expectations to this guy beyond top 10, depending on which riders will be in the race, but it will still be interesting to see the rider who won two stages last year, from breakaways, try to climb with the best. If Giant-Shimano are as good at developing GC riders as they are at developing sprinters/classics specialists who can do well in a sprint, Barguil (and Craddock, but this is about French riders) is at the right place.

When it comes to sprinters, there are three extremely talented riders, who all have taken part in Le Tour. Demare is the current French champion, Bouhanni won three stages at the Giro an Coquard finished second in the points classification. Bouhanni is looking for a new team, and I cross my fingers hoping that he won't be going to Cofidis, as he's too damn good not to be on a World Tour team. But it's his career. He can take a step back in his career if he wants, but it would be a shame (unless Cofidis gets promoted, then it's another story, as it won't be a step down, but not an optimal move either). Taking Bouhanni's style into account, he doesn't need much of a sprint train, preferring to be led out by other sprinters, he'd be a great fit for almost any team. Demare appears to be more dependent on a sprint train, but he has also shown some potential in the cobbles races. Coquard seems like a sprinter with great potential, but I'd like to see him more before I make definitive statements about him - other than him having potential for something big, and that he's a fine track rider too.

France do have riders with potential for great results, but will they develop or stand still. I believe that it depends on their teams. Is Barguil willing to stay patient, and can Giant-Shimano develop GC riders? Will the French teams take a more international outlook on this? If we can answer yes to both questions, the future of French cycling looks bright on all points. If not, there could be another 17 years before we see a French rider on a grand tour podium.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Silly season]]
This part of my blog will be updated until 2015 World Tour starts, as things can change.

In cycling, teams are allowed to reveal which contracts they have signed for the coming season on the 1st August, and officially, negotiations with riders from other World Tour teams (and maybe pro continental) are allowed from July. As today is the first day where we'll know about the big transfers, I'll have a look at some selected transfers and rumors, as well as commenting them:

'''Transfers (2014-2015):'''

''Nacer Bouhanni ([=FDJ.fr=] -> Cofidis):''
This transfer can be seen from two angles, and I will look at it from both. The first is the possibility that Cofidis gets promoted. If that happens, then Cofidis is a World Tour team is this transfer is a quarter step forward, as Bouhanni will now be the absolute first choice sprinter on the team, instead of battling Demare for said position. It won't be much of a step forward, as I still don't believe that French teams is what's best for French riders, but it won't be such a stupid transfer after all, as he will still be on the World Tour. It's realistic to see the team get promoted, as there will be loads of value points on the team (leaders of the teams Europe Tour + Bouhanni's points). Since Cofidis didn't promote, Bouhanni has taken a step down that he really didn't need. Another French rider staying on French teams, despite the fact that it's obviously bad for his career. Moron.

''Lars Boom (Belkin -> Astana):''
This is a transfer I consider brilliant for both parties. For Astana it's a great transfer, because they lack power in the cobbled classics. While Westra, Fuglsang and Nibali did show a surprising amount of power on the cobbles in Le Tour, it's still a point where the team is weak. Enter Boom, the winner of the cobbled stage in Le Tour (with Fuglsang second and Nibali third), and a rider with huge potential, who has been overshadowed by Vanmarcke. Astana needed a captain for the cobbles classics, and Boom needed a team where he could fill that role.

''Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural -> Astana):''
I find this transfer to be one of those that can go both ways. Sanchez' strength is attacking and hilly routes, as well as time trials, and he's extremely good at it. As such, he's always a contender for at least some of the one week stage races. In bigger stage races, he's known for always being on the attack and has won stages in every edition of Le Tour from 2008 to 2012, with the exception of 2010, where he tried out as a GC contender and finished 10th. His attack happy mentality can be great for the team when they don't have to control the race, and his skillset makes him a wildcard in several one day races. Astana doesn't exactly lack GC riders (Nibali, Fuglsang, Aru, Kangert, Scarponi), where the two-three first mentioned GC riders, along with Gasparotto and Iglinsky[[note]]nope, busted for doping[[/note]] are contenders at hilly classics too. Is Sanchez can find his place in the team, it will be great for all involved parties, if not, let's just say that it could very well be the reason it's a one year contract.

''Magnus Cort (Cult Energy -> [=Orica-GreenEdge=]):''
I know this transfer doesn't quite have the same star quality as the three before mentioned. However, Cort ''is''[[note]]finished 3rd[[/note]] the leading rider on the individual Europe Tour, and the leading under-23 rider in the world[[note]]Riders on contract with World Tour teams are not counted in U/23 rankings[[/note]]. This is another transfer I have high thoughts of. Cort's riding style is quite a bit like Gerrans, and they've signed him as being the future in the Ardennes classics, as well as other hilly races. He's a good finisher, not quite a sprinter, but his sprint from a smaller group is still deadly. He's coming to a team that isn't afraid to give young riders a chance to get their own results, which is probably what he's looking for. Almost every World Tour team wanted Cort (very talented and he has a boatload of value points to bring to his new team), but I believe he made the right choice.

''Rohan Dennis (Garmin -> BMC):''
I did not see that coming and certainly not under these conditions, since he transfers on the 4th of August, which is very unusual for a transfer between World Tour teams. The talented Australian allrounder must have done something serious for Garmin not to want him around for the remainder of the season. A very strong time trialist and a good climber too, the future looks bright for the Australian. Dennis would, based on abilities, be a great signing for any team, but he's only been given a contract until the end of 2015, so maybe there's something off about him.

''Bauke Mollema (Belkin -> Trek):''
Right now, Trek are on the hunt for a GC contender, and Mollema could very well be their guy. After two years where the Schleck brothers haven't done anything worthwhile, the two riders who the Trek (Then Leopard-Trek) team was initially built around, are on the way out, which clears up a lot of money on the salary budget. That money is going to be used on a GC contender. Mollema is in his mid-late 20's and has a 4th place in La Vuelta and a 6th place in Le Tour as his greatest achievements. Mollema is a really good climber, both on long and short climbs, and a fine time trialist. The Trek team are expecting him to step up a notch, but it looks like a good match for both parties. Belkin will probably try not to lose both Mollema and Kelderman during this silly season, as losing your two main GC guys is obviously a huge loss.

''Peter Sagan (Cannondale -> Tinkoff-Saxo):''
Sagan's contract is about to run out, and as such there will always be rumors about where he's going. Sagan is more or less an allrounder with the ability to compete with the best in almost any terrain except the high mountains. As such, he could be a really good fit on any team, including Tinkoff-Saxo which has never had focus on sprints. He's quite possibly the most technically skilled professional rider, he can sprint with the best, perform extremely well on the cobbles and is strong on hills, decent time trial, as well as quite possibly being the best in the world on descents. He lacks tactical ability, as shown in Le Tour this year, and working under Bjarne Riis - one of the greatest tacticians in the world - could improve him to becoming the rider with the ability to win literally anything except races with big mountains. One drawback with this transfer is that whichever team signs Peter Sagan would most likely also have to sign his older brother Juraj, who isn't much of a rider.

''Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky -> MTN Qhubeka):''
If you were to ask me which rider on the World Tour needs to find a new team the most, my answer would be this guy, and now he has found his team. I previously wrote about the rumors sending him to Tinkoff-Saxo, which obviously didn't happen. This is most likely due to Sagan's transfer to Tinkoff-Saxo, and certain Twitter comments by the team owner probably didn't help either. Instead, the African MTN-Qhubeka team picked up the strong Norwegian. Hagen is added to the team, primarily as a captain in the classics squad, as well a luxury team mate with the right to go for his own stages in stage races, and maybe even to teach the young African riders on the MTN team something about riding classics and stage races, as MTN has several young riders who need to learn from an experienced rider.

''Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo -> Sky):''
As a Tinkoff-Saxo sympathizer, this one hurts a bit. Roche isn't one of the top contenders for a grand tour, with his best result being the 5th place in the GC of La Vuelta in 2013. He achieved this result as the captain of a very strong team, which worked for him, and took a decisive couple of minutes, using lateral winds to split the pack and drop a few of his rivals in the GC. As a captain, he's a top 10 contender. That said, Roche is an excellent guy to have on the team, as he puts in a great effort to help the team, when he isn't in charge. He's rather strong in all terrains, especially hilly and mountainous, and has a decent time trial, making him a good rider to have on team time trials. He seems like a rider with potential to be a good road captain, and a good road captain is hard to find. Sky would be lucky to land him. Any team would.

''Leopold König ([=NetApp=] -> Sky):''
König has been out saying that at the end of his contract, he wants to transfer to a World Tour team, and it's no surprise that he got what he wished for. With a 9th plus stage win in La Vuelta (2013) and a 7th in Le Tour (2014), he has shown that he's capable of riding the 3-week races. He never really has bad days, and is a strong time trialist too. At 27, he can evolve into an even better rider too. As for Team Sky, what will they do now with the stage races. Froome is obviously going to be the captain for Le Tour, König is easily good enough for a captaincy in one of the two other grand tours, but Sky has got plenty of stage racing specialists. Aside from Froome, they have Porte, Wiggins, Sergio Henao, Roche and Nieve, while they have strong up and coming riders too (Sebastian Henao and maybe Kennaugh), he's going to compete for those two spots (though Seb Henao won't be a threat in the next 1-2 seasons). I'll put him at an advantage, due to consistency (Porte lacks this), time trialling ability (Nieve's weakness), not having a tough injury to recover from (Sergio Henao), and not trying to "redefine" himself as a rider (Wiggins is going for Olympic gold at the track in 2016), but he needs to perform from day one, to not become a luxury domestique. He might end up as a luxury domestique even if he performs, but for his sake, we can only hope that Sky has more sense than Astana.

[[/folder]]

to:

Not gonna write much here, I'm from Denmark (in case the "DK" didn't point that out), and I'm a huge cycling fan.

I've decided to run something that I guess resembles a blog on here, about cycling, naturally.

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:2014, France is back on the podium - but what about the future?]]
A 17-year long curse was broken by Jean-Christophe Peraud and Thibaut Pinot, as both riders ended up on the podium of the 2014 edition of TourDeFrance. To top it off, another French rider, Romain Bardet, came within two seconds of top 5 - after a flat tire on the final time trial.

While Peraud is getting old, he's 37, the two younger riders look like talented riders who can challenge for the Tour title one day, but there's more to it than what things look like. What would be good for French cycling? More riders on foreign teams. For years, it has been a rarity to see French riders on foreign teams. Right now, a total of eight French riders can be found on foreign World Tour teams, and three on Pro-Continental teams. I know that there are three French teams on the World Tour and another two Professional continental teams, one of which probably won't be called up for races on the World Tour outside of France, and there should be plenty of opportunity for being challenged on a high level. French riders have been challenged on a high level in several years, so it's more about the training. French riders have been a dominant force in youth cycling for years, but haven't quite been able to step up to the challenge on the highest level. So what's the deal?

The curse hasn't been good for French cycling, this has led to French riders getting too much hype really early in their career. An example could be Thibaut Pinot's Tour in 2013. Pinot finished 10th in 2012, along with an impressive stage win. In 2013 he, at the age of 23, received tons of hype and failed in a tragically spectacular way to perform, being disappointingly low in the GC before withdrawing from the race. He later, under considerably less pressure, took home a 7th place in the Vuelta - proving that he does in fact have the potential, even after a huge disappointment. In 2014, he managed to take home a very impressive third through consistent and strong riding in the mountains as well as a decent time trial at the end of the race.

Now, to the disappointment of French cycling fans, here comes my verdict, and you'll probably hate me for this: Pinot or Bardet won't improve much in the rest their careers, unless they change something now.

We've seen way too often that French riders, on French teams, peak very early and stay at the same level for the rest of their career. The closest thing one can come to an aversion of this fact are Thomas Voeckler, who had one of his best seasons in 2011, at 32, as well as Peraud who became a professional road racing cyclist at 32 (at that point, he was holding the French national time trial championship), and had his best season this year.

When looking at one of the most successful French riders in recent years, Sylvain Chavanel, he had his best years on the Belgian Omega-Pharma [=QuickStep=][[note]]Only known as [=QuickStep=] between 2008 and 2011[[/note]] team, which he represented between 2009 and 2013. Another example of a French rider making the unconventional move of a career on a non-French team is Laurent Jalabert, who won La Vuelta in 95 (most recent French grand tour winner), and several semi-classics. He had those victories on first a Spanish, then a Danish team. I can't recall any other French rider with the potential to make it big on foreign teams in recent years[[note]]except Barguil, more about him later[[/note]]. In conclusion: If a French rider wants success, he should go to a foreign team.

So what is it that French teams should do, if they want to win Le Tour with one of their own riders? Better training methods. French riders will, especially on the World Tour, be consistently matched against the very best in the world. However, there have always been teams that were ahead on training and organization. Some examples could be the Danish Team CSC / [=CSC-Saxo Bank=][[note]]Now Tinkoff-Saxo, and while they're still doing well, others have caught up[[/note]], American-German [=HTC-HighRoad=] and British Team Sky. French teams simply haven't been that organized and their training methods have been behind most teams. The solution to that could be to hire foreign ''directur sportifs'' and/or hiring experienced, intelligent foreign riders with experience from the high end teams on that point, as well as foreign riders for internal competition. [=AG2R=] are doing the latter, and are doing it well. If the French teams can look a outside their own bubble when it comes to hiring riers, I believe that two of the three French World Tour teams will be regular powerhouses in world cycling. In all fairness, [=AG2R=] are hiring strong foreign riders (particularly Betancur and Pozzovivo) to compete with their own, and I'm sure it has helped in the development of their own guys, as well as the current string of great results. They need to keep that up.

In regards to talent, France has plenty of young, talented riders. While classics specialists are generally a bit hard to determine, as experience is extremely important in such races. When it comes to sprinters and grand tour riders, a few names come to mind. We all know Thibaut Pinot, great climber with a decent time trial and Romain Bardet, who has the climbing ability, but lacks the time trial and ability to last three weeks. Warren Barguil is a bit more of an unknown rider, who I hope to see try to run for the GC in La Vuelta this year. I have no expectations to this guy beyond top 10, depending on which riders will be in the race, but it will still be interesting to see the rider who won two stages last year, from breakaways, try to climb with the best. If Giant-Shimano are as good at developing GC riders as they are at developing sprinters/classics specialists who can do well in a sprint, Barguil (and Craddock, but this is about French riders) is at the right place.

When it comes to sprinters, there are three extremely talented riders, who all have taken part in Le Tour. Demare is the current French champion, Bouhanni won three stages at the Giro an Coquard finished second in the points classification. Bouhanni is looking for a new team, and I cross my fingers hoping that he won't be going to Cofidis, as he's too damn good not to be on a World Tour team. But it's his career. He can take a step back in his career if he wants, but it would be a shame (unless Cofidis gets promoted, then it's another story, as it won't be a step down, but not an optimal move either). Taking Bouhanni's style into account, he doesn't need much of a sprint train, preferring to be led out by other sprinters, he'd be a great fit for almost any team. Demare appears to be more dependent on a sprint train, but he has also shown some potential in the cobbles races. Coquard seems like a sprinter with great potential, but I'd like to see him more before I make definitive statements about him - other than him having potential for something big, and that he's a fine track rider too.

France do have riders with potential for great results, but will they develop or stand still. I believe that it depends on their teams. Is Barguil willing to stay patient, and can Giant-Shimano develop GC riders? Will the French teams take a more international outlook on this? If we can answer yes to both questions, the future of French cycling looks bright on all points. If not, there could be another 17 years before we see a French rider on a grand tour podium.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Silly season]]
This part of my blog will be updated until 2015 World Tour starts, as things can change.

In cycling, teams are allowed to reveal which contracts they have signed for the coming season on the 1st August, and officially, negotiations with riders from other World Tour teams (and maybe pro continental) are allowed from July. As today is the first day where we'll know about the big transfers, I'll have a look at some selected transfers and rumors, as well as commenting them:

'''Transfers (2014-2015):'''

''Nacer Bouhanni ([=FDJ.fr=] -> Cofidis):''
This transfer can be seen from two angles, and I will look at it from both. The first is the possibility that Cofidis gets promoted. If that happens, then Cofidis is a World Tour team is this transfer is a quarter step forward, as Bouhanni will now be the absolute first choice sprinter on the team, instead of battling Demare for said position. It won't be much of a step forward, as I still don't believe that French teams is what's best for French riders, but it won't be such a stupid transfer after all, as he will still be on the World Tour. It's realistic to see the team get promoted, as there will be loads of value points on the team (leaders of the teams Europe Tour + Bouhanni's points). Since Cofidis didn't promote, Bouhanni has taken a step down that he really didn't need. Another French rider staying on French teams, despite the fact that it's obviously bad for his career. Moron.

''Lars Boom (Belkin -> Astana):''
This is a transfer I consider brilliant for both parties. For Astana it's a great transfer, because they lack power in the cobbled classics. While Westra, Fuglsang and Nibali did show a surprising amount of power on the cobbles in Le Tour, it's still a point where the team is weak. Enter Boom, the winner of the cobbled stage in Le Tour (with Fuglsang second and Nibali third), and a rider with huge potential, who has been overshadowed by Vanmarcke. Astana needed a captain for the cobbles classics, and Boom needed a team where he could fill that role.

''Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural -> Astana):''
I find this transfer to be one of those that can go both ways. Sanchez' strength is attacking and hilly routes, as well as time trials, and he's extremely good at it. As such, he's always a contender for at least some of the one week stage races. In bigger stage races, he's known for always being on the attack and has won stages in every edition of Le Tour from 2008 to 2012, with the exception of 2010, where he tried out as a GC contender and finished 10th. His attack happy mentality can be great for the team when they don't have to control the race, and his skillset makes him a wildcard in several one day races. Astana doesn't exactly lack GC riders (Nibali, Fuglsang, Aru, Kangert, Scarponi), where the two-three first mentioned GC riders, along with Gasparotto and Iglinsky[[note]]nope, busted for doping[[/note]] are contenders at hilly classics too. Is Sanchez can find his place in the team, it will be great for all involved parties, if not, let's just say that it could very well be the reason it's a one year contract.

''Magnus Cort (Cult Energy -> [=Orica-GreenEdge=]):''
I know this transfer doesn't quite have the same star quality as the three before mentioned. However, Cort ''is''[[note]]finished 3rd[[/note]] the leading rider on the individual Europe Tour, and the leading under-23 rider in the world[[note]]Riders on contract with World Tour teams are not counted in U/23 rankings[[/note]]. This is another transfer I have high thoughts of. Cort's riding style is quite a bit like Gerrans, and they've signed him as being the future in the Ardennes classics, as well as other hilly races. He's a good finisher, not quite a sprinter, but his sprint from a smaller group is still deadly. He's coming to a team that isn't afraid to give young riders a chance to get their own results, which is probably what he's looking for. Almost every World Tour team wanted Cort (very talented and he has a boatload of value points to bring to his new team), but I believe he made the right choice.

''Rohan Dennis (Garmin -> BMC):''
I did not see that coming and certainly not under these conditions, since he transfers on the 4th of August, which is very unusual for a transfer between World Tour teams. The talented Australian allrounder must have done something serious for Garmin not to want him around for the remainder of the season. A very strong time trialist and a good climber too, the future looks bright for the Australian. Dennis would, based on abilities, be a great signing for any team, but he's only been given a contract until the end of 2015, so maybe there's something off about him.

''Bauke Mollema (Belkin -> Trek):''
Right now, Trek are on the hunt for a GC contender, and Mollema could very well be their guy. After two years where the Schleck brothers haven't done anything worthwhile, the two riders who the Trek (Then Leopard-Trek) team was initially built around, are on the way out, which clears up a lot of money on the salary budget. That money is going to be used on a GC contender. Mollema is in his mid-late 20's and has a 4th place in La Vuelta and a 6th place in Le Tour as his greatest achievements. Mollema is a really good climber, both on long and short climbs, and a fine time trialist. The Trek team are expecting him to step up a notch, but it looks like a good match for both parties. Belkin will probably try not to lose both Mollema and Kelderman during this silly season, as losing your two main GC guys is obviously a huge loss.

''Peter Sagan (Cannondale -> Tinkoff-Saxo):''
Sagan's contract is about to run out, and as such there will always be rumors about where he's going. Sagan is more or less an allrounder with the ability to compete with the best in almost any terrain except the high mountains. As such, he could be a really good fit on any team, including Tinkoff-Saxo which has never had focus on sprints. He's quite possibly the most technically skilled professional rider, he can sprint with the best, perform extremely well on the cobbles and is strong on hills, decent time trial, as well as quite possibly being the best in the world on descents. He lacks tactical ability, as shown in Le Tour this year, and working under Bjarne Riis - one of the greatest tacticians in the world - could improve him to becoming the rider with the ability to win literally anything except races with big mountains. One drawback with this transfer is that whichever team signs Peter Sagan would most likely also have to sign his older brother Juraj, who isn't much of a rider.

''Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky -> MTN Qhubeka):''
If you were to ask me which rider on the World Tour needs to find a new team the most, my answer would be this guy, and now he has found his team. I previously wrote about the rumors sending him to Tinkoff-Saxo, which obviously didn't happen. This is most likely due to Sagan's transfer to Tinkoff-Saxo, and certain Twitter comments by the team owner probably didn't help either. Instead, the African MTN-Qhubeka team picked up the strong Norwegian. Hagen is added to the team, primarily as a captain in the classics squad, as well a luxury team mate with the right to go for his own stages in stage races, and maybe even to teach the young African riders on the MTN team something about riding classics and stage races, as MTN has several young riders who need to learn from an experienced rider.

''Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo -> Sky):''
As a Tinkoff-Saxo sympathizer, this one hurts a bit. Roche isn't one of the top contenders for a grand tour, with his best result being the 5th place in the GC of La Vuelta in 2013. He achieved this result as the captain of a very strong team, which worked for him, and took a decisive couple of minutes, using lateral winds to split the pack and drop a few of his rivals in the GC. As a captain, he's a top 10 contender. That said, Roche is an excellent guy to have on the team, as he puts in a great effort to help the team, when he isn't in charge. He's rather strong in all terrains, especially hilly and mountainous, and has a decent time trial, making him a good rider to have on team time trials. He seems like a rider with potential to be a good road captain, and a good road captain is hard to find. Sky would be lucky to land him. Any team would.

''Leopold König ([=NetApp=] -> Sky):''
König has been out saying that at the end of his contract, he wants to transfer to a World Tour team, and it's no surprise that he got what he wished for. With a 9th plus stage win in La Vuelta (2013) and a 7th in Le Tour (2014), he has shown that he's capable of riding the 3-week races. He never really has bad days, and is a strong time trialist too. At 27, he can evolve into an even better rider too. As for Team Sky, what will they do now with the stage races. Froome is obviously going to be the captain for Le Tour, König is easily good enough for a captaincy in one of the two other grand tours, but Sky has got plenty of stage racing specialists. Aside from Froome, they have Porte, Wiggins, Sergio Henao, Roche and Nieve, while they have strong up and coming riders too (Sebastian Henao and maybe Kennaugh), he's going to compete for those two spots (though Seb Henao won't be a threat in the next 1-2 seasons). I'll put him at an advantage, due to consistency (Porte lacks this), time trialling ability (Nieve's weakness), not having a tough injury to recover from (Sergio Henao), and not trying to "redefine" himself as a rider (Wiggins is going for Olympic gold at the track in 2016), but he needs to perform from day one, to not become a luxury domestique. He might end up as a luxury domestique even if he performs, but for his sake, we can only hope that Sky has more sense than Astana.

[[/folder]]
fan.


[[/folder]]

[[folder: The big four - battle for the tour]]
Tour De France this year is lining up to become one of the most exciting races in years. Last year, the excitement was spoiled by crashes and injuries to Froome and Contador, while Sky dominating the previous two years has made the race rather boring. This year, we can expect a battle between the four strongest riders in the world at this point: Nairo Quintana, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali. I would like to lead out by stating that I believe that Quintana will win, as I believe he's the strongest in the mountains. Now, as for the big four:

'''Vincenzo Nibali'''

Country: Italy

Team: Astana

Nibali is the most technically capable of the four riders, and proved last year that he's a surprisingly capable cobblestones rider, despite never having competed in a cobbled one-day race. Comparing his strength in the mountains to the remained of the four is difficult, as he hasn't been in direct competition against any of these riders in a Grand Tour (he ''has'' competed against them in smaller races, but Nibali isn't always the best in those, and it's not uncommon for his to give captaincy in such races to his lancer). Nibali has a rather aggressive riding style, which he'll need to win. He always performs well under bad weather conditions, and if a stage has a difficult technical descent at a late point, and that stage takes place on a rainy day, expect Nibali to attack and gain a lot of time.
Like all of the big favorites, Nibali has a strong team behind him. Riders like Westra and Boom can keep him out of trouble on the cobbles, as well has being generally strong on flat and hilly sections. On the flat sections, Nibalu will also be getting help from Grivko and maybe Lutsenko. On the climbs, Nibali has plenty of guys to cover his back, as the team has strong climbers such Aru, Scarponi and Landa, jack of all trades riders such as Fuglsang, Kangert, Taaramäe and Sanchez, with the former two being really good climbers. Aru, Scarponi and/or Fuglsang will take the role of TheLancer. Aru through his strength, Fuglsang through his versatility, tactical ability, intellect and experience, and Scarponi through a lot of the same factors as Fuglsang, especially experience. The team is, no matter the configuration, ready for just about any challenge the tour will throw at them, having plenty of power on the flats, in the mountains, on the cobbles, in the hills and on the TTT.

Expected team (partly based on procyclingstats.com): Nibali, Aru, Fuglsang, Scarponi, Kangert, Sanchez, Westra, Boom and Grivko


'''Alberto Contador'''

Country: Spain

Team: Tinkoff-Saxo

Alberto Contador is the most experienced of the four. Last year he crashed out of the Tour, but won La Vuelta. His team hasn't had a good season, which led to Bjarne Riis - the man who started and built the team - getting sacked. Contador has, in the moment this is being written (pre Giro) not made a podium in a World Tour stage race this season, finishing 5th and 4th in Tirreno and Catalunya respectively. That said, Contador is technically very capable and has a strong team behind him (well, all of the four do). The question about his team is: Is Sagan willing to act as a teammate on the cobbles? If the answer is yes, Contador's team is about as capable as Astana and Sky, with Sagan, Bodnar and Bennati (and maybe Breschel and Mørkøv too) to cover Contador on the cobbles. In the mountains, Contador will have Majka as his [[TheLancer lancer]] and Rogers as TheSmartGuy, with Kiserlovski and Paulinho to have his back in the mountains. For the flats, the team will bring Sagan, who will probably be doing his own thing, and Bodnar to help both Contador and Sagan. Bennati will come in as Contador's "bodyguard" on the flats, which is a role he covers amazingly well. For the ninth place on the team, I can think of several riders: Mørkøv, Breschel, Valgren and Kreuziger would all fit that role nicely, though if Oleg Tinkov wants a Russian in his team, he will get one. Kreuziger would be the man if Contador needs additional help in the mountains, Valgren and Mørkøv can help on the flats and Breschel would be an amazing helper on the cobbles (and flats as well). Personally, I believe that Breschel won't get the ninth spot, as the others would do better on the TTT. While I believe it could be problematic for the team to have two agendas, Sagan's and Contador's success, I think that there's a lot of power in this team, it's just about placing it right.

Expected team (partly based on procyclingstats.com): Contador, Majka, Kiserlovski, Paulinho, Rogers, Bennati, Sagan, Bodnar, Mørkøv























Alberto Contador is the most experienced of the four. Last year he crashed out of the Tour, but won La Vuelta. His team hasn't had a good season, which led to Bjarne Riis - the man who started and built the team - getting sacked. Contador has, in the moment this is being written (pre Giro) not made a podium in a stage race this season, finishing 5th and 4th in Tirreno and Catalunya respectively. That said, Contador is technically very capable and has a strong team behind him (well, all of the four do). The question about his team is: Is Sagan willing to act as a teammate on the cobbles? If the answer is yes, Contador's team is about as capable as Astana and Sky, with Sagan, Bodnar and Bennati (and maybe Breschel and Mørkøv too) to cover Contador on the cobbles. In the mountains, Contador will have Majka as his [[TheLancer lancer]] and Rogers as TheSmartGuy, with Kiserlovski and Paulinho to have his back in the mountains. For the flats, the team will bring Sagan, who will probably be doing his own thing, and Bodnar to help both Contador and Sagan. Bennati will come in as Contador's "bodyguard" on the flats, which is a role he covers amazingly well. For the ninth place on the team, I can think of several riders: Mørkøv, Breschel, Valgren and Kreuziger would all fit that role nicely, though if Oleg Tinkov wants a Russian in his team, he will get one. Kreuziger would be the man if Contador needs additional help in the mountains, Valgren and Mørkøv can help on the flats and Breschel would be an amazing helper on the cobbles (and flats as well). Personally, I believe that Breschel won't get the ninth spot, as the others would do better on the TTT. While I believe it could be problematic for the team to have two agendas, Sagan's and Contador's success, I think that there's a lot of power in this team, it's just about placing it right.

to:


Alberto Contador is the most experienced of the four. Last year he crashed out of the Tour, but won La Vuelta. His team hasn't had a good season, which led to Bjarne Riis - the man who started and built the team - getting sacked. Contador has, in the moment this is being written (pre Giro) not made a podium in a World Tour stage race this season, finishing 5th and 4th in Tirreno and Catalunya respectively. That said, Contador is technically very capable and has a strong team behind him (well, all of the four do). The question about his team is: Is Sagan willing to act as a teammate on the cobbles? If the answer is yes, Contador's team is about as capable as Astana and Sky, with Sagan, Bodnar and Bennati (and maybe Breschel and Mørkøv too) to cover Contador on the cobbles. In the mountains, Contador will have Majka as his [[TheLancer lancer]] and Rogers as TheSmartGuy, with Kiserlovski and Paulinho to have his back in the mountains. For the flats, the team will bring Sagan, who will probably be doing his own thing, and Bodnar to help both Contador and Sagan. Bennati will come in as Contador's "bodyguard" on the flats, which is a role he covers amazingly well. For the ninth place on the team, I can think of several riders: Mørkøv, Breschel, Valgren and Kreuziger would all fit that role nicely, though if Oleg Tinkov wants a Russian in his team, he will get one. Kreuziger would be the man if Contador needs additional help in the mountains, Valgren and Mørkøv can help on the flats and Breschel would be an amazing helper on the cobbles (and flats as well). Personally, I believe that Breschel won't get the ninth spot, as the others would do better on the TTT. While I believe it could be problematic for the team to have two agendas, Sagan's and Contador's success, I think that there's a lot of power in this team, it's just about placing it right.right.

Added DiffLines:

'''Alberto Contador'''
Country: Spain
Team: Tinkoff-Saxo
Alberto Contador is the most experienced of the four. Last year he crashed out of the Tour, but won La Vuelta. His team hasn't had a good season, which led to Bjarne Riis - the man who started and built the team - getting sacked. Contador has, in the moment this is being written (pre Giro) not made a podium in a stage race this season, finishing 5th and 4th in Tirreno and Catalunya respectively. That said, Contador is technically very capable and has a strong team behind him (well, all of the four do). The question about his team is: Is Sagan willing to act as a teammate on the cobbles? If the answer is yes, Contador's team is about as capable as Astana and Sky, with Sagan, Bodnar and Bennati (and maybe Breschel and Mørkøv too) to cover Contador on the cobbles. In the mountains, Contador will have Majka as his [[TheLancer lancer]] and Rogers as TheSmartGuy, with Kiserlovski and Paulinho to have his back in the mountains. For the flats, the team will bring Sagan, who will probably be doing his own thing, and Bodnar to help both Contador and Sagan. Bennati will come in as Contador's "bodyguard" on the flats, which is a role he covers amazingly well. For the ninth place on the team, I can think of several riders: Mørkøv, Breschel, Valgren and Kreuziger would all fit that role nicely, though if Oleg Tinkov wants a Russian in his team, he will get one. Kreuziger would be the man if Contador needs additional help in the mountains, Valgren and Mørkøv can help on the flats and Breschel would be an amazing helper on the cobbles (and flats as well). Personally, I believe that Breschel won't get the ninth spot, as the others would do better on the TTT. While I believe it could be problematic for the team to have two agendas, Sagan's and Contador's success, I think that there's a lot of power in this team, it's just about placing it right.
Expected team (partly based on procyclingstats.com): Contador, Majka, Kiserlovski, Paulinho, Rogers, Bennati, Sagan, Bodnar, Mørkøv


Tour De France this year is lining up to become one of the most exciting races in years. Last year, the excitement was spoiled by crashes and injuries to Froome and Contador, while Sky dominating the previous two years has made the race rather boring. This year, we can expect a battle between the four strongest riders in the world at this point: Nairo Quintana, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali. I would like to lead out by stating that I believe that Quintana will win, as I believe he's the strongest in the mountains.

to:

Tour De France this year is lining up to become one of the most exciting races in years. Last year, the excitement was spoiled by crashes and injuries to Froome and Contador, while Sky dominating the previous two years has made the race rather boring. This year, we can expect a battle between the four strongest riders in the world at this point: Nairo Quintana, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali. I would like to lead out by stating that I believe that Quintana will win, as I believe he's the strongest in the mountains. Now, as for the big four:

'''Vincenzo Nibali'''
Country: Italy
Team: Astana
Nibali is the most technically capable of the four riders, and proved last year that he's a surprisingly capable cobblestones rider, despite never having competed in a cobbled one-day race. Comparing his strength in the mountains to the remained of the four is difficult, as he hasn't been in direct competition against any of these riders in a Grand Tour (he ''has'' competed against them in smaller races, but Nibali isn't always the best in those, and it's not uncommon for his to give captaincy in such races to his lancer). Nibali has a rather aggressive riding style, which he'll need to win. He always performs well under bad weather conditions, and if a stage has a difficult technical descent at a late point, and that stage takes place on a rainy day, expect Nibali to attack and gain a lot of time.
Like all of the big favorites, Nibali has a strong team behind him. Riders like Westra and Boom can keep him out of trouble on the cobbles, as well has being generally strong on flat and hilly sections. On the flat sections, Nibalu will also be getting help from Grivko and maybe Lutsenko. On the climbs, Nibali has plenty of guys to cover his back, as the team has strong climbers such Aru, Scarponi and Landa, jack of all trades riders such as Fuglsang, Kangert, Taaramäe and Sanchez, with the former two being really good climbers. Aru, Scarponi and/or Fuglsang will take the role of TheLancer. Aru through his strength, Fuglsang through his versatility, tactical ability, intellect and experience, and Scarponi through a lot of the same factors as Fuglsang, especially experience. The team is, no matter the configuration, ready for just about any challenge the tour will throw at them, having plenty of power on the flats, in the mountains, on the cobbles, in the hills and on the TTT.
Expected team (partly based on procyclingstats.com): Nibali, Aru, Fuglsang, Scarponi, Kangert, Sanchez, Westra, Boom and Grivko

[[/folder]]


'''Transfers:'''

to:

'''Transfers:'''
'''Transfers (2014-2015):'''



[[folder:Cult Energy promoted]]
I consider this to be one of the best things to happen to Danish cycling for a very long time. Denmark has been one of the dominating nations on the youth scene of cycling in years, but our young guys have had trouble making it in the big league. The promotion of Cult Energy might be what changes that. Professional continental, second tier of professional cycling, teams have the possibility of competing in HC-level races, and getting wild cards to World Tour races. This promotion could lead to some of the best Danish talents going to this team instead of making making the jump straight from continental (3rd tier) to World Tour (1st tier). Making the move gradually could mean that Danish riders, and rider from Luxemburg too, as they're likely to get a co-sponsor from there, will have an easier time when they come to the world tour, something that might extend to other Scandinavian countries. The future of Danish cycling looks brighter than it has for a long time.[[/folder]]

[[folder: Vuelta recap part 1 - tops and flops]]
I know there's still an ITT left of this race, but it's less than 10km, and the only switches that can happen in top 10 - provided that nobody crashes/has a puncture is 6/7 and 9/10. I know who has impressed and who has been disappointing, so let's start on the low note, so we can end on a high one:

'''flops:'''

Carlos Betancur ([=AG2R La Mondiale=] / Colombia): Naming Betancur as a flop is one of the easiest things to do in this blog, as the best thing that can be said about him is "at least he completed". He has been totally anonymous in the race, finishing second from the bottom. While nobody, this troper included, expected him to be a GC contender due to arriving in bad form, I did expect to see him attacking at the later stages in the race, possibly with a stage win. He has shown ability to recover and stay strong for three weeks, but this guy simply isn't serious in training, which shows on his post Paris-Nice (early March) results. He's said to be several kilos overweight, and was out of Le Tour based on a viral infection. The difference is what he did after recovery, where he still wasn't serious. Compare and contrast Contador, the winner, who was training five days after an uncomplicated shin bone fracture took him out of Le Tour. Betancur needs to get his shit together and be more serious with his training, to not disappoint like this again.

Chris Anker Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo / Denmark): I know, the guy's a domestique, he's there to help his team. The problem is that he should have been able to do so at a much later point at the stages. He should be helping his team set a high pace when climbing the final mountain, instead he's nowhere to be seen - and he's easy to recognize. I'm not saying he should be the one to make a great result, I'm saying he should be able to be there for his team in the mountains, and he wasn't.

Fabian Cancellara (Trek / Switzerland): I admit it, I don't like Cancellara, and I've disliked him since his he left Saxo Bank in 2010, due to his unprofessional and childish behavior. I dislike riders who leave a race for reasons that aren't injury related or personally important (I will expand upon the latter later). If you aren't at a grand tour with an ambition to (at least) complete, you shouldn't be there in the first place. This of course means that I'm rather biased, but this is still Cancellara, expecting results or hard work from him is reasonable. He did do some work for his team's talented sprinter/classics rider, Jasper Stuyven, but he's spent too much time at the back end of the pack, and sending out complaints. Leaving the race in a way that implies that he never intended to complete the race is the final straw. He left Le Tour 2012 early to witness the birth of his child, and I have tons of respect for that. He didn't leave La Vuelta with the same noble goal, or with an injury. Maybe there wasn't anything left for him in the race, but he should help his damn team.

Esteban Chaves (ORICA-[=GreenEdge=] / Colombia): He's primarily here because he managed to build some expectations that he couldn't live up to. It's his first grand tour, and maybe this is a little harsh, but he started out well and fell out of the GC. Hard. A former winner of Tour de l'Avenir - young riders TDF - we know that he does have stage racing ability. I didn't expect him to win, but being an hour and 50 minutes behind simply isn't good enough as main GC guy on any team. Note that if he has crashed and been injured, this can be safely ignored.

'''top:'''

Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano / France): Another former Tour de l'Avenir winner, and one who has shown the skill, consistency, recovery and tenacity to do something great in a grand tour. Barguil has been amazing in the mountains, and shown great strength in the final week, even after a minor injury on the 17th stage. The future of French cycling looks great, and Barguil is the one I believe in the most. He needs to improve his TT skills, but it's shown that the Giant-Shimano team knows how to develop young riders, and it looks like they can bring GC riders to the big stage too.

Robert Gesink (Belkin / Netherlands): While I'd normally never include riders who don't complete in a list like this, I'm making an exception for Gesink. He left the race due to his wife having pregnancy complications. If there ever was a good reason to leave a race, that doesn't have anything to do with a injury, here it is. Before that, he was extremely consistent, showing his skills in the mountains and on the time trial. The mere fact that he recovered from a heart surgery to ride in a grand tour later the same year is impressive, and him being consistent and not having problems with pressure makes him look better that I've ever seen him. Regardless of results, my best wishes go the the Gesink family.

[[/folder]]



to:

[[folder:Cult Energy promoted]]
I consider
[[folder: The big four - battle for the tour]]
Tour De France
this year is lining up to be become one of the best things to happen to Danish cycling for a very long time. Denmark has been one of most exciting races in years. Last year, the excitement was spoiled by crashes and injuries to Froome and Contador, while Sky dominating nations on the youth scene of cycling in years, but our young guys have had trouble making it in previous two years has made the big league. The promotion of Cult Energy might be what changes that. Professional continental, second tier of professional cycling, teams have the possibility of competing in HC-level races, and getting wild cards to World Tour races. race rather boring. This promotion could lead to some of year, we can expect a battle between the best Danish talents going to this team instead of making making the jump straight from continental (3rd tier) to World Tour (1st tier). Making the move gradually could mean that Danish riders, and rider from Luxemburg too, as they're likely to get a co-sponsor from there, will have an easier time when they come to four strongest riders in the world tour, something that might extend to other Scandinavian countries. The future of Danish cycling looks brighter than it has for a long time.[[/folder]]

[[folder: Vuelta recap part 1 - tops and flops]]
I know there's still an ITT left of
at this race, but it's less than 10km, and the only switches that can happen in top 10 - provided that nobody crashes/has a puncture is 6/7 and 9/10. I know who has impressed and who has been disappointing, so let's start on the low note, so we can end on a high one:

'''flops:'''

Carlos Betancur ([=AG2R La Mondiale=] / Colombia): Naming Betancur as a flop is one of the easiest things to do in this blog, as the best thing that can be said about him is "at least he completed". He has been totally anonymous in the race, finishing second from the bottom. While nobody, this troper included, expected him to be a GC contender due to arriving in bad form, I did expect to see him attacking at the later stages in the race, possibly with a stage win. He has shown ability to recover and stay strong for three weeks, but this guy simply isn't serious in training, which shows on his post Paris-Nice (early March) results. He's said to be several kilos overweight, and was out of Le Tour based on a viral infection. The difference is what he did after recovery, where he still wasn't serious. Compare and contrast Contador, the winner, who was training five days after an uncomplicated shin bone fracture took him out of Le Tour. Betancur needs to get his shit together and be more serious with his training, to not disappoint like this again.

point: Nairo Quintana, Chris Anker Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo / Denmark): Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali. I know, the guy's a domestique, would like to lead out by stating that I believe that Quintana will win, as I believe he's there to help his team. The problem is that he should have been able to do so at a much later point at the stages. He should be helping his team set a high pace when climbing the final mountain, instead he's nowhere to be seen - and he's easy to recognize. I'm not saying he should be the one to make a great result, I'm saying he should be able to be there for his team strongest in the mountains, and he wasn't.

Fabian Cancellara (Trek / Switzerland): I admit it, I don't like Cancellara, and I've disliked him since his he left Saxo Bank in 2010, due to his unprofessional and childish behavior. I dislike riders who leave a race for reasons that aren't injury related or personally important (I will expand upon the latter later). If you aren't at a grand tour with an ambition to (at least) complete, you shouldn't be there in the first place. This of course means that I'm rather biased, but this is still Cancellara, expecting results or hard work from him is reasonable. He did do some work for his team's talented sprinter/classics rider, Jasper Stuyven, but he's spent too much time at the back end of the pack, and sending out complaints. Leaving the race in a way that implies that he never intended to complete the race is the final straw. He left Le Tour 2012 early to witness the birth of his child, and I have tons of respect for that. He didn't leave La Vuelta with the same noble goal, or with an injury. Maybe there wasn't anything left for him in the race, but he should help his damn team.

Esteban Chaves (ORICA-[=GreenEdge=] / Colombia): He's primarily here because he managed to build some expectations that he couldn't live up to. It's his first grand tour, and maybe this is a little harsh, but he started out well and fell out of the GC. Hard. A former winner of Tour de l'Avenir - young riders TDF - we know that he does have stage racing ability. I didn't expect him to win, but being an hour and 50 minutes behind simply isn't good enough as main GC guy on any team. Note that if he has crashed and been injured, this can be safely ignored.

'''top:'''

Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano / France): Another former Tour de l'Avenir winner, and one who has shown the skill, consistency, recovery and tenacity to do something great in a grand tour. Barguil has been amazing in the mountains, and shown great strength in the final week, even after a minor injury on the 17th stage. The future of French cycling looks great, and Barguil is the one I believe in the most. He needs to improve his TT skills, but it's shown that the Giant-Shimano team knows how to develop young riders, and it looks like they can bring GC riders to the big stage too.

Robert Gesink (Belkin / Netherlands): While I'd normally never include riders who don't complete in a list like this, I'm making an exception for Gesink. He left the race due to his wife having pregnancy complications. If there ever was a good reason to leave a race, that doesn't have anything to do with a injury, here it is. Before that, he was extremely consistent, showing his skills in the mountains and on the time trial. The mere fact that he recovered from a heart surgery to ride in a grand tour later the same year is impressive, and him being consistent and not having problems with pressure makes him look better that I've ever seen him. Regardless of results, my best wishes go the the Gesink family.

[[/folder]]


mountains.


König has been out saying that at the end of his contract, he wants to transfer to a World Tour team, and it's no surprise that he got what he wished for. With a 9th plus stage win in La Vuelta (2013) and a 7th in Le Tour (2014), he has shown that he's capable of riding the 3-week races. He never really has bad days, and is a strong time trialist too. At 27, he can evolve into an even better rider too. As for Team Sky, what will they do now with the stage races. Froome is obviously going to be the captain for Le Tour, König is easily good enough for a captaincy in one of the two other grand tours, but Sky has got plenty of stage racing specialists. Aside from Froome, they have Porte, Wiggins, Sergio Henao, Roche and Nieve, while they have strong up and coming riders too (Dombrowski, Sebastian Henao and maybe Kennaugh), he's going to compete for those two spots (though Seb Henao won't be a threat in the next 1-2 seasons). I'll put him at an advantage, due to consistency (Porte lacks this), time trialling ability (Nieve's weakness), not having a tough injury to recover from (Sergio Henao), and not trying to "redefine" himself as a rider (Wiggins is going for Olympic gold at the track in 2016), but he needs to perform from day one, to not become a luxury domestique. He might end up as a luxury domestique even if he performs, but for his sake, we can only hope that Sky has more sense than Astana.

to:

König has been out saying that at the end of his contract, he wants to transfer to a World Tour team, and it's no surprise that he got what he wished for. With a 9th plus stage win in La Vuelta (2013) and a 7th in Le Tour (2014), he has shown that he's capable of riding the 3-week races. He never really has bad days, and is a strong time trialist too. At 27, he can evolve into an even better rider too. As for Team Sky, what will they do now with the stage races. Froome is obviously going to be the captain for Le Tour, König is easily good enough for a captaincy in one of the two other grand tours, but Sky has got plenty of stage racing specialists. Aside from Froome, they have Porte, Wiggins, Sergio Henao, Roche and Nieve, while they have strong up and coming riders too (Dombrowski, Sebastian (Sebastian Henao and maybe Kennaugh), he's going to compete for those two spots (though Seb Henao won't be a threat in the next 1-2 seasons). I'll put him at an advantage, due to consistency (Porte lacks this), time trialling ability (Nieve's weakness), not having a tough injury to recover from (Sergio Henao), and not trying to "redefine" himself as a rider (Wiggins is going for Olympic gold at the track in 2016), but he needs to perform from day one, to not become a luxury domestique. He might end up as a luxury domestique even if he performs, but for his sake, we can only hope that Sky has more sense than Astana.


This transfer can be seen from two angles, and I will look at it from both. The first is the possibility that Cofidis gets promoted. If that happens, then Cofidis is a World Tour team is this transfer is a quarter step forward, as Bouhanni will now be the absolute first choice sprinter on the team, instead of battling Demare for said position. It won't be much of a step forward, as I still don't believe that French teams is what's best for French riders, but it won't be such a stupid transfer after all, as he will still be on the World Tour. It's realistic to see the team get promoted, as there will be loads of value points on the team (leaders of the teams Europe Tour + Bouhanni's points). If Cofidis doesn't promote, he has taken a step down. Yes, he's #1 on the team, but he could be that on a World Tour team too.

to:

This transfer can be seen from two angles, and I will look at it from both. The first is the possibility that Cofidis gets promoted. If that happens, then Cofidis is a World Tour team is this transfer is a quarter step forward, as Bouhanni will now be the absolute first choice sprinter on the team, instead of battling Demare for said position. It won't be much of a step forward, as I still don't believe that French teams is what's best for French riders, but it won't be such a stupid transfer after all, as he will still be on the World Tour. It's realistic to see the team get promoted, as there will be loads of value points on the team (leaders of the teams Europe Tour + Bouhanni's points). If Since Cofidis doesn't didn't promote, he Bouhanni has taken a step down. Yes, he's #1 on the team, but he could be down that he really didn't need. Another French rider staying on a World Tour team too.
French teams, despite the fact that it's obviously bad for his career. Moron.



I find this transfer to be one of those that can go both ways. Sanchez' strength is attacking and hilly routes, as well as time trials, and he's extremely good at it. As such, he's always a contender for at least some of the one week stage races. In bigger stage races, he's known for always being on the attack and has won stages in every edition of Le Tour from 2008 to 2012, with the exception of 2010, where he tried out as a GC contender and finished 10th. His attack happy mentality can be great for the team when they don't have to control the race, and his skillset makes him a wildcard in several one day races. Astana doesn't exactly lack GC riders (Nibali, Fuglsang, Aru, Kangert, Scarponi), where the two-three first mentioned GC riders, along with Gasparotto and Iglinsky are contenders at hilly classics too. Is Sanchez can find his place in the team, it will be great for all involved parties, if not, let's just say that it could very well be the reason it's a one year contract.

to:

I find this transfer to be one of those that can go both ways. Sanchez' strength is attacking and hilly routes, as well as time trials, and he's extremely good at it. As such, he's always a contender for at least some of the one week stage races. In bigger stage races, he's known for always being on the attack and has won stages in every edition of Le Tour from 2008 to 2012, with the exception of 2010, where he tried out as a GC contender and finished 10th. His attack happy mentality can be great for the team when they don't have to control the race, and his skillset makes him a wildcard in several one day races. Astana doesn't exactly lack GC riders (Nibali, Fuglsang, Aru, Kangert, Scarponi), where the two-three first mentioned GC riders, along with Gasparotto and Iglinsky Iglinsky[[note]]nope, busted for doping[[/note]] are contenders at hilly classics too. Is Sanchez can find his place in the team, it will be great for all involved parties, if not, let's just say that it could very well be the reason it's a one year contract.



I know this transfer doesn't quite have the same star quality as the three before mentioned. However, Cort ''is'' the leading rider on the individual Europe Tour, and the leading under-23 rider in the world[[note]]Riders on contract with World Tour teams are not counted in U/23 rankings[[/note]]. This is another transfer I have high thoughts of. Cort's riding style is quite a bit like Gerrans, and they've signed him as being the future in the Ardennes classics, as well as other hilly races. He's a good finisher, not quite a sprinter, but his sprint from a smaller group is still deadly. He's coming to a team that isn't afraid to give young riders a chance to get their own results, which is probably what he's looking for. Almost every World Tour team wanted Cort (very talented and he has a boatload of value points to bring to his new team), but I believe he made the right choice.

to:

I know this transfer doesn't quite have the same star quality as the three before mentioned. However, Cort ''is'' ''is''[[note]]finished 3rd[[/note]] the leading rider on the individual Europe Tour, and the leading under-23 rider in the world[[note]]Riders on contract with World Tour teams are not counted in U/23 rankings[[/note]]. This is another transfer I have high thoughts of. Cort's riding style is quite a bit like Gerrans, and they've signed him as being the future in the Ardennes classics, as well as other hilly races. He's a good finisher, not quite a sprinter, but his sprint from a smaller group is still deadly. He's coming to a team that isn't afraid to give young riders a chance to get their own results, which is probably what he's looking for. Almost every World Tour team wanted Cort (very talented and he has a boatload of value points to bring to his new team), but I believe he made the right choice.



König has been out saying that at the end of his contract, he wants to transfer to a World Tour team, and it's no surprise that he got what he wished for. With a 9th plus stage win in La Vuelta (2013) and a 7th in Le Tour (2014), he has shown that he's capable of riding the 3-week races. He never really has bad days, and is a strong time trialist too. At 27, he can evolve into an even better rider too. As for Team Sky, what will they do now with the stage races. Froome is obviously going to be the captain for Le Tour, König is easily good enough for a captaincy in one of the two other grand tours, but Sky has got plenty of stage racing specialists. Aside from Froome, they have Porte, Wiggins, Sergio Henao, Roche and Nieve, while they have strong up and coming riders too (Dombrowski, Sebastian Henao and maybe Kennaugh), he's going to compete for those two spots (though Dombrowski and Seb Henao won't be threats in the next 1-2 seasons). I'll put him at an advantage, due to consistency (Porte lacks this), time trialling ability (Nieve's weakness), not having a tough injury to recover from (Sergio Henao), and not trying to "redefine" himself as a rider (Wiggins is going for Olympic gold at the track in 2016), but he needs to perform from day one, to not become a luxury domestique. He might end up as a luxury domestique even if he performs, but for his sake, we can only hope that Sky has more sense than Astana.

'''Rumors:'''



''Andy Schleck (Trek -> Cult Energy):''
Cult Energy made it public that they will promote for the next season, which is one of the best things that has happened to Danish cycling in a very long time. Andy Schleck's career has taken a massive detour since mid-2012, but he's 29 years old, and if he can find motivation, he might have another good season or two in him. This is a lottery ticket if there ever was one, but it could pay off. I just hope this lottery ticket won't be too expensive.

to:

König has been out saying that at the end of his contract, he wants to transfer to a World Tour team, and it's no surprise that he got what he wished for. With a 9th plus stage win in La Vuelta (2013) and a 7th in Le Tour (2014), he has shown that he's capable of riding the 3-week races. He never really has bad days, and is a strong time trialist too. At 27, he can evolve into an even better rider too. As for Team Sky, what will they do now with the stage races. Froome is obviously going to be the captain for Le Tour, König is easily good enough for a captaincy in one of the two other grand tours, but Sky has got plenty of stage racing specialists. Aside from Froome, they have Porte, Wiggins, Sergio Henao, Roche and Nieve, while they have strong up and coming riders too (Dombrowski, Sebastian Henao and maybe Kennaugh), he's going to compete for those two spots (though Dombrowski and (though Seb Henao won't be threats a threat in the next 1-2 seasons). I'll put him at an advantage, due to consistency (Porte lacks this), time trialling ability (Nieve's weakness), not having a tough injury to recover from (Sergio Henao), and not trying to "redefine" himself as a rider (Wiggins is going for Olympic gold at the track in 2016), but he needs to perform from day one, to not become a luxury domestique. He might end up as a luxury domestique even if he performs, but for his sake, we can only hope that Sky has more sense than Astana.

'''Rumors:'''



''Andy Schleck (Trek -> Cult Energy):''
Cult Energy made it public that they will promote for the next season, which is one of the best things that has happened to Danish cycling in a very long time. Andy Schleck's career has taken a massive detour since mid-2012, but he's 29 years old, and if he can find motivation, he might have another good season or two in him. This is a lottery ticket if there ever was one, but it could pay off. I just hope this lottery ticket won't be too expensive.
Astana.


'''Rumors:'''



''Leopold König ([=NetApp=] -> Sky):''
König has been out saying that at the end of his contract, he wants to transfer to a World Tour team, and it's no surprise that he got what he wished for. With a 9th plus stage win in La Vuelta (2013) and a 7th in Le Tour (2014), he has shown that he's capable of riding the 3-week races. He never really has bad days, and is a strong time trialist too. At 27, he can evolve into an even better rider too. As for Team Sky, what will they do now with the stage races. Froome is obviously going to be the captain for Le Tour, König is easily good enough for a captaincy in one of the two other grand tours, but Sky has got plenty of stage racing specialists. Aside from Froome, they have Porte, Wiggins, Sergio Henao, Roche and Nieve, while they have strong up and coming riders too (Dombrowski, Sebastian Henao and maybe Kennaugh), he's going to compete for those two spots (though Dombrowski and Seb Henao won't be threats in the next 1-2 seasons). I'll put him at an advantage, due to consistency (Porte lacks this), time trialling ability (Nieve's weakness), not having a tough injury to recover from (Sergio Henao), and not trying to "redefine" himself as a rider (Wiggins is going for Olympic gold at the track in 2016), but he needs to perform from day one, to not become a luxury domestique. He might end up as a luxury domestique even if he performs, but for his sake, we can only hope that Sky has more sense than Astana.

'''Rumors:'''





TBC


I consider this to be one of the best things to happen to Danish cycling for a very long time. Denmark has been one of the dominating nations on the youth scene of cycling in years, but our young guys have had trouble making it in the big league. The promotion of Cult Energy might be what changes that. Professional continental, second tier of professional cycling, teams have the possibility of competing in HC-level races, and getting wild cards to World Tour races. This promotion could lead to some of the best Danish talents going to this team instead of making making the jump straight from continental (3rd tier) to World Tour (1st tier). Making the move gradually could mean that Danish riders, and rider from Luxemburg too, as they're likely to get a co-sponsor from there, will have an easier time when they come to the world tour, something that might extend to other Scandinavian countries. The future of Danish cycling looks brighter than it has for a long time.[[/folder]]

to:

I consider this to be one of the best things to happen to Danish cycling for a very long time. Denmark has been one of the dominating nations on the youth scene of cycling in years, but our young guys have had trouble making it in the big league. The promotion of Cult Energy might be what changes that. Professional continental, second tier of professional cycling, teams have the possibility of competing in HC-level races, and getting wild cards to World Tour races. This promotion could lead to some of the best Danish talents going to this team instead of making making the jump straight from continental (3rd tier) to World Tour (1st tier). Making the move gradually could mean that Danish riders, and rider from Luxemburg too, as they're likely to get a co-sponsor from there, will have an easier time when they come to the world tour, something that might extend to other Scandinavian countries. The future of Danish cycling looks brighter than it has for a long time.[[/folder]][[/folder]]

[[folder: Vuelta recap part 1 - tops and flops]]
I know there's still an ITT left of this race, but it's less than 10km, and the only switches that can happen in top 10 - provided that nobody crashes/has a puncture is 6/7 and 9/10. I know who has impressed and who has been disappointing, so let's start on the low note, so we can end on a high one:

'''flops:'''

Carlos Betancur ([=AG2R La Mondiale=] / Colombia): Naming Betancur as a flop is one of the easiest things to do in this blog, as the best thing that can be said about him is "at least he completed". He has been totally anonymous in the race, finishing second from the bottom. While nobody, this troper included, expected him to be a GC contender due to arriving in bad form, I did expect to see him attacking at the later stages in the race, possibly with a stage win. He has shown ability to recover and stay strong for three weeks, but this guy simply isn't serious in training, which shows on his post Paris-Nice (early March) results. He's said to be several kilos overweight, and was out of Le Tour based on a viral infection. The difference is what he did after recovery, where he still wasn't serious. Compare and contrast Contador, the winner, who was training five days after an uncomplicated shin bone fracture took him out of Le Tour. Betancur needs to get his shit together and be more serious with his training, to not disappoint like this again.

Chris Anker Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo / Denmark): I know, the guy's a domestique, he's there to help his team. The problem is that he should have been able to do so at a much later point at the stages. He should be helping his team set a high pace when climbing the final mountain, instead he's nowhere to be seen - and he's easy to recognize. I'm not saying he should be the one to make a great result, I'm saying he should be able to be there for his team in the mountains, and he wasn't.

Fabian Cancellara (Trek / Switzerland): I admit it, I don't like Cancellara, and I've disliked him since his he left Saxo Bank in 2010, due to his unprofessional and childish behavior. I dislike riders who leave a race for reasons that aren't injury related or personally important (I will expand upon the latter later). If you aren't at a grand tour with an ambition to (at least) complete, you shouldn't be there in the first place. This of course means that I'm rather biased, but this is still Cancellara, expecting results or hard work from him is reasonable. He did do some work for his team's talented sprinter/classics rider, Jasper Stuyven, but he's spent too much time at the back end of the pack, and sending out complaints. Leaving the race in a way that implies that he never intended to complete the race is the final straw. He left Le Tour 2012 early to witness the birth of his child, and I have tons of respect for that. He didn't leave La Vuelta with the same noble goal, or with an injury. Maybe there wasn't anything left for him in the race, but he should help his damn team.

Esteban Chaves (ORICA-[=GreenEdge=] / Colombia): He's primarily here because he managed to build some expectations that he couldn't live up to. It's his first grand tour, and maybe this is a little harsh, but he started out well and fell out of the GC. Hard. A former winner of Tour de l'Avenir - young riders TDF - we know that he does have stage racing ability. I didn't expect him to win, but being an hour and 50 minutes behind simply isn't good enough as main GC guy on any team. Note that if he has crashed and been injured, this can be safely ignored.

'''top:'''

Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano / France): Another former Tour de l'Avenir winner, and one who has shown the skill, consistency, recovery and tenacity to do something great in a grand tour. Barguil has been amazing in the mountains, and shown great strength in the final week, even after a minor injury on the 17th stage. The future of French cycling looks great, and Barguil is the one I believe in the most. He needs to improve his TT skills, but it's shown that the Giant-Shimano team knows how to develop young riders, and it looks like they can bring GC riders to the big stage too.

Robert Gesink (Belkin / Netherlands): While I'd normally never include riders who don't complete in a list like this, I'm making an exception for Gesink. He left the race due to his wife having pregnancy complications. If there ever was a good reason to leave a race, that doesn't have anything to do with a injury, here it is. Before that, he was extremely consistent, showing his skills in the mountains and on the time trial. The mere fact that he recovered from a heart surgery to ride in a grand tour later the same year is impressive, and him being consistent and not having problems with pressure makes him look better that I've ever seen him. Regardless of results, my best wishes go the the Gesink family.

TBC

[[/folder]]




I consider this to be one of the best things to happen to Danish cycling for a very long time. Denmark has been one of the dominating nations on the youth scene of cycling in years, but our young guys have had trouble making it in the big league. The promotion of Cult Energy might be what changes that. Professional continental, second tier of professional cycling, teams have the possibility of competing in HC-level races, and getting wild cards to World Tour races. This promotion could lead to some of the best Danish talents going to this team instead of making making the jump straight from continental (3rd tier) to World Tour (1st tier). Making the move gradually could mean that Danish riders, and rider from Luxemburg too, as they're likely to get a co-sponsor from there, will have an easier time when they come to the world tour, something that might extend to other Scandinavian countries. The future of Danish cycling looks brighter than it has for a long time.[[/folder]]

[[folder: Viva La Vuelta]]
Some time ago, a friend asked me why it was interesting to watch cycling. I was about to remind him that I had a past in the sport, but then I realized that I had a better answer ready. My friend had primarily watched Le Tour, which hadn't had any drama when it comes to the overall win (or the points jersey for that matter) since 2011. In 2014, cycling fans were unlucky to see Froome and Contador crash out, and Valverde performing at a level below what we expect from him, leading to a curb-stomp victory for Nibali. In 2013, Froome was too strong in the early stages of the race, Quintana was there to help Valverde, Rodriguez peaked too soon, Contador was terribly off form and Kreuziger was bound to help Contador. The 2012 Tour? Plain boring route, with an extremely high amount of ITT kilometres. La Vuelta is exciting to the very end.

TBC

[[/folder]]

to:

I consider this to be one of the best things to happen to Danish cycling for a very long time. Denmark has been one of the dominating nations on the youth scene of cycling in years, but our young guys have had trouble making it in the big league. The promotion of Cult Energy might be what changes that. Professional continental, second tier of professional cycling, teams have the possibility of competing in HC-level races, and getting wild cards to World Tour races. This promotion could lead to some of the best Danish talents going to this team instead of making making the jump straight from continental (3rd tier) to World Tour (1st tier). Making the move gradually could mean that Danish riders, and rider from Luxemburg too, as they're likely to get a co-sponsor from there, will have an easier time when they come to the world tour, something that might extend to other Scandinavian countries. The future of Danish cycling looks brighter than it has for a long time.[[/folder]]

[[folder: Viva La Vuelta]]
Some time ago, a friend asked me why it was interesting to watch cycling. I was about to remind him that I had a past in the sport, but then I realized that I had a better answer ready. My friend had primarily watched Le Tour, which hadn't had any drama when it comes to the overall win (or the points jersey for that matter) since 2011. In 2014, cycling fans were unlucky to see Froome and Contador crash out, and Valverde performing at a level below what we expect from him, leading to a curb-stomp victory for Nibali. In 2013, Froome was too strong in the early stages of the race, Quintana was there to help Valverde, Rodriguez peaked too soon, Contador was terribly off form and Kreuziger was bound to help Contador. The 2012 Tour? Plain boring route, with an extremely high amount of ITT kilometres. La Vuelta is exciting to the very end.

TBC

[[/folder]]


I consider this to be one of the best things to happen to Danish cycling for a very long time. Denmark has been one of the dominating nations on the youth scene of cycling in years, but our young guys have had trouble making it in the big league. The promotion of Cult Energy might be what changes that. Professional continental, second tier of professional cycling, teams have the possibility of competing in HC-level races, and getting wild cards to World Tour races. This promotion could lead to some of the best Danish talents going to this team instead of making making the jump straight from continental (3rd tier) to World Tour (1st tier). Making the move gradually could mean that Danish riders, and rider from Luxemburg too, as they're likely to get a co-sponsor from there, will have an easier time when they come to the world tour, something that might extend to other Scandinavian countries. The future of Danish cycling looks brighter than it has for a long time.

to:

I consider this to be one of the best things to happen to Danish cycling for a very long time. Denmark has been one of the dominating nations on the youth scene of cycling in years, but our young guys have had trouble making it in the big league. The promotion of Cult Energy might be what changes that. Professional continental, second tier of professional cycling, teams have the possibility of competing in HC-level races, and getting wild cards to World Tour races. This promotion could lead to some of the best Danish talents going to this team instead of making making the jump straight from continental (3rd tier) to World Tour (1st tier). Making the move gradually could mean that Danish riders, and rider from Luxemburg too, as they're likely to get a co-sponsor from there, will have an easier time when they come to the world tour, something that might extend to other Scandinavian countries. The future of Danish cycling looks brighter than it has for a long time.[[/folder]]

[[folder: Viva La Vuelta]]
Some time ago, a friend asked me why it was interesting to watch cycling. I was about to remind him that I had a past in the sport, but then I realized that I had a better answer ready. My friend had primarily watched Le Tour, which hadn't had any drama when it comes to the overall win (or the points jersey for that matter) since 2011. In 2014, cycling fans were unlucky to see Froome and Contador crash out, and Valverde performing at a level below what we expect from him, leading to a curb-stomp victory for Nibali. In 2013, Froome was too strong in the early stages of the race, Quintana was there to help Valverde, Rodriguez peaked too soon, Contador was terribly off form and Kreuziger was bound to help Contador. The 2012 Tour? Plain boring route, with an extremely high amount of ITT kilometres. La Vuelta is exciting to the very end.

TBC

[[/folder]]


[[/folder]]

to:

[[/folder]][[/folder]]

[[folder:Cult Energy promoted]]
I consider this to be one of the best things to happen to Danish cycling for a very long time. Denmark has been one of the dominating nations on the youth scene of cycling in years, but our young guys have had trouble making it in the big league. The promotion of Cult Energy might be what changes that. Professional continental, second tier of professional cycling, teams have the possibility of competing in HC-level races, and getting wild cards to World Tour races. This promotion could lead to some of the best Danish talents going to this team instead of making making the jump straight from continental (3rd tier) to World Tour (1st tier). Making the move gradually could mean that Danish riders, and rider from Luxemburg too, as they're likely to get a co-sponsor from there, will have an easier time when they come to the world tour, something that might extend to other Scandinavian countries. The future of Danish cycling looks brighter than it has for a long time.


As a Tinkoff-Saxo sympathizer, this one hurts a bit. Roche isn't one of the top contenders for a grand tour, with his best result being the 5th place in the GC of La Vuelta in 2013. He achieved this result as the captain of a very strong team, which worked for him, and took a decisive couple of minutes, using lateral winds to split the pack and drop a few of his rivals in the GC. As a captain, he's a top 10 contender. That said, Roche is an excellent guy to have on the team, as he puts in a great effort to help the team, when he isn't in charge. He's rather strong in all terrains, especially hilly and mountainous, and has a decent time trial, making him a good rider to have on team time trials. He seems like a rider with potential to be a good road captain, and a good road captain is hard to find. Sky would be lucky to land him.

to:

As a Tinkoff-Saxo sympathizer, this one hurts a bit. Roche isn't one of the top contenders for a grand tour, with his best result being the 5th place in the GC of La Vuelta in 2013. He achieved this result as the captain of a very strong team, which worked for him, and took a decisive couple of minutes, using lateral winds to split the pack and drop a few of his rivals in the GC. As a captain, he's a top 10 contender. That said, Roche is an excellent guy to have on the team, as he puts in a great effort to help the team, when he isn't in charge. He's rather strong in all terrains, especially hilly and mountainous, and has a decent time trial, making him a good rider to have on team time trials. He seems like a rider with potential to be a good road captain, and a good road captain is hard to find. Sky would be lucky to land him.
him. Any team would.

''Andy Schleck (Trek -> Cult Energy):''
Cult Energy made it public that they will promote for the next season, which is one of the best things that has happened to Danish cycling in a very long time. Andy Schleck's career has taken a massive detour since mid-2012, but he's 29 years old, and if he can find motivation, he might have another good season or two in him. This is a lottery ticket if there ever was one, but it could pay off. I just hope this lottery ticket won't be too expensive.


''Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky -> MTN Qhubeka):''
If you were to ask me which rider on the World Tour needs to find a new team the most, my answer would be this guy, and now he has found his team. I previously wrote about the rumors sending him to Tinkoff-Saxo, which obviously didn't happen. This is most likely due to Sagan's transfer to Tinkoff-Saxo, and certain Twitter comments by the team owner probably didn't help either. Instead, the African MTN-Qhubeka team picked up the strong Norwegian. Hagen is added to the team, primarily as a captain in the classics squad, as well a luxury team mate with the right to go for his own stages in stage races, and maybe even to teach the young African riders on the MTN team something about riding classics and stage races, as MTN has several young riders who need to learn from an experienced rider.



''Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky -> Tinkoff-Saxo):''
If you were to ask me which rider on the World Tour needs to find a new team the most, my answer would be this guy. He was signed, first by HTC, then by Sky as one of the biggest talents in the sport. In 2011, he won two stages at Le Tour and in 2012 he was instrumental in helping Wiggins achieve victory. He's also part of a Sky classics squad that has a lot of strong riders and no real leader, but overall he appears to have stopped improving as a rider since 2011, and this is why I believe he needs to move. Hagen is another allrounder, with a really good sprint and he's an exceptionally good time trialist too, as well as the technical ability to hold his own on cobbles and descents. He's a team player too, and he's known for giving it all to help his team in the grand tours, where he in 2012 spent most of the time in front of the peloton, setting the pace and keeping Wiggins out of trouble. To develop into the kind of rider who wins the big classics, I believe he needs a new team, and Tinkoff-Saxo needs someone who can either straight up compete in the classics or become that rider. That could be Hagen or Sagan, or maybe even both.

to:

''Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky ''Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo -> Tinkoff-Saxo):''
If you were to ask me which rider on the World Tour needs to find
Sky):''
As
a new team the most, my answer would be this guy. He was signed, first by HTC, then by Sky as one of the biggest talents in the sport. In 2011, he won two stages at Le Tour and in 2012 he was instrumental in helping Wiggins achieve victory. He's also part of a Sky classics squad that has a lot of strong riders and no real leader, but overall he appears to have stopped improving as a rider since 2011, and this is why I believe he needs to move. Hagen is another allrounder, with a really good sprint and he's an exceptionally good time trialist too, as well as the technical ability to hold his own on cobbles and descents. He's a team player too, and he's known for giving it all to help his team in the grand tours, where he in 2012 spent most of the time in front of the peloton, setting the pace and keeping Wiggins out of trouble. To develop into the kind of rider who wins the big classics, I believe he needs a new team, and Tinkoff-Saxo needs someone who can either straight up compete sympathizer, this one hurts a bit. Roche isn't one of the top contenders for a grand tour, with his best result being the 5th place in the classics or become that rider. GC of La Vuelta in 2013. He achieved this result as the captain of a very strong team, which worked for him, and took a decisive couple of minutes, using lateral winds to split the pack and drop a few of his rivals in the GC. As a captain, he's a top 10 contender. That could said, Roche is an excellent guy to have on the team, as he puts in a great effort to help the team, when he isn't in charge. He's rather strong in all terrains, especially hilly and mountainous, and has a decent time trial, making him a good rider to have on team time trials. He seems like a rider with potential to be Hagen or Sagan, or maybe even both.
a good road captain, and a good road captain is hard to find. Sky would be lucky to land him.

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