Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
Every year after the Tour de France the PRO team transfer talk fires up and speculation runs rampid. UCI regulations forbid teams and riders to discuss transfers until September 1. Rule 2.15.125 states “Riders and UCI ProTeams may not, before 1 September, reveal that they are involved in negotiations about renewal of their contracts or transfers.” I don’t know why they even bother with this silly rule because we already have it all figured out. The only rule everyone should obey is CT 2.4.12: “never believe anything you hear until after September“.
Below Jamie Jowett cuts to the chase, gives us his TIPS, and tells us everything we need to know.
Cycling Pro Team’s Trades – What Do I Do With My Saxo Bank Jersey Now?!
by Jamie Jowett
There’s more to-ing and fro-ing amongst the Pro Tour teams right now than a Swingers’ party. It’s almost easier to say who hasn’t left their team already.
Anyway, here’s what I know, what you may already know, and what even the riders don’t know…
The Schlecks have officially left Saxo Bank for Team Luxembourg. Details about the new team are sketchy, but seeing as Luxembourg’s national exports consist largely of untraceable companies and even less traceable bank accounts, that’s not unusual.
It is rumoured Andy and Frank have ‘back-up’ contracts signed with Radio Shack if Team Luxembourg doesn’t get a Pro Tour Licence. Kind of like the way Andy chats up the better looking podium girl first, then the other one just in case…
Italian shoe company Geox has taken over Footon Servetto. Their first big signing is Carlos Sastre, who said, “At the moment I’m enjoying riding more than ever, as I’ve discovered the fighting rider cyclist that’s always been inside me”. Yeh, whatever Tyson.
Teammate Thor Hoshovd meanwhile gave Sastre a nice slap on Velonation saying, “He hasn’t really done crap for the last two years”. Ouch.
Thankfully Geox are kicking in (sorry) most of the €6million a year budget, because the team’s total prize money from the Tour was €1,499. Let’s hope they use that budget to get new kit, because Footon’s is the world’s worst sporting kit since the 1980’s Brisbane Bears growling koala jumper.
Andre Greipel has left HTC Columbia, and in a nice gesture Mark Cavendish offered to pack his bags and call him a taxi. Joining Omega Pharma Lotto, Greipel said, “I’m looking forward to winning some more sheiss-small races and watching the big ones on TV again”.
Damiano Cunego is supposedly a target of either Geox or Liquigas, assuming Lampre can’t keep him. Lampre have signed Michele Scarponi, who sounds like a mafia Wise Guy, maybe that’s what they’re hoping will keep ‘The Little Prince’?
Bjarne Riis won the quinella by landing the Specialized Sunguard sponsorship and signing Contador. I really hope Contador has a clause in his contract banning him from doing You Tube clips mid-Tour. I think I vomited in my mouth watching that ‘apology’ to Andy Schleck. As a sign-on bonus Contador received a Paris Hilton handbag to carry around his two little puppies Hernandez and Navarro, who left Astana to follow him.
With the demise of Saxo Bank as team sponsor, Fabian Cancellara is none too happy with the cold shoulder from Riis, he could do lot worse than heading to BMC as Hincapie departs. Someone, who may or may not have been Cancellara, said to Cycling Tips, “For sure, Spartacus’ legs do all talking, but Bjarne give Spartacus donut. Spartacus no like donuts, but Spartacus no like BMC either, frame too small for battery”.
Rabobank signed Matti Breschel from Saxo Bank, who said, ”I feel it is time to try something new, to get some hair on the chest”. You just can’t make this stuff up, I tell you.
Just like this year’s Tour when he took 3rd without making a move, Denis Menchov is waiting for offers to join Katusha, or Geox, or Astana. If I hear Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen call him the ‘silent assassin’ one more time l’ll throw up. Care factor zero for me wherever he goes.
36 year old Alexander Vinokourov showed Astana his commitment by signing a new contract in blood, well he had in a bag in his pocket so why not? Joining Astana from Liquigas is Roman Kreuziger, a future Tour winner I reckon.
Euskatel-Euskadi re-signed Sammy Sanchez but axed some guy whose name is a triple word score. I can’t type their Basque riders’ names here anyway because they crash my spell-check.
Wanna-be Pro team Vacansoleil signed Stijn Devolder from Quickstep as well as drug cheat Riccardo Ricco. I thought we’d seen the back of his “oohh, look at me I’m a Cobra..ssss” victory salute when he won stages in the 2008 Giro and Tour with his veins full of CERA/EPO. The hyper-arrogant Italian climber is the Kyle Sandilands of Pro cycling, maybe the UCI can stamp his biological passport ‘invalid for entry’?
Skil Shimano signed Thomas Frohlinger, not on the basis of his previous 3rd in a Tour stage, but because he promised them all Milky Bars from Team Milram, which has folded. Skil re-signed Koen de Kort and Mitch Docker, unfortunately they get paid in Bunnings vouchers and Koen has resorted to appearing in videos for Cycling Tips. Hey, he’s young and needed the money, ok?!
AG2R re-signed Nicholas Roche, and also signed Sebastian Hinault. I assume they are now also offering contracts to anyone vaguely related to Miguel Indurain and Greg LeMond too.
So, with all this trading amongst the Pro Teams, tell us which 9 riders would you pick in your Tour Dream Team?