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  • Samaway

    I’m sure there are several factors involved, but based on MTN’s signings this year they seem to be moving quite far from their niche as “the African team.” I can’t say that I blame Meintjas at all, but just my two cents.

    • dllm

      He will regret that! Look at the kits, Enve wheels, Cervelo bikes, much cooler than Merida :)

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    • Dave

      The proportion of their riders from African nations (11 of 25 = 44%) in their 2016 squad is just short of half, 11 of 25 or 44% to be precise. That’s a pretty good mix, because they need a certain level of quality to maintain a viable presence in the elite ranks and securing slots in major races where they can show off their African rider.

      It’s also not bad compared to teams like Orica and Sky, which both make a big deal about being the Aussie/British team but only have 39% and 27% home riders respectively –

      • Samaway

        Very true that they need riders with UCI points to maintain their rank. It’s just odd to to hear the narrative of “the African team” winning a stage of the TDF with Steve Cummings, for example — it’s as if colonial paternalism isn’t very far away…

        • Dave

          Europeans working for the African team would be reverse colonialism, wouldn’t it?

          • Samaway

            If what we’re talking about is an “African team” that needs European riders in order to be viable in the top-tier professional ranks (for UCI points, sponsors, and so on), I would describe the relationship as a kind of institutionalized paternalism. This doesn’t mean that the intentions of riders, coaches, staff, etc, aren’t well-meaning, simply that the “rules of the game” are structured in a way that privileges European countries/riders/teams. (I’m not attempting to be aggressive or anything, just find the structure of the sport–and this problem isn’t unique to cycling, I might add–to be quite political.)

            • Dave

              How do you propose that the African riders develop the culture needed to gain a foothold in the elite ranks if they are not riding alongside other riders already in the elite ranks?

              Chasing the expertise of people already at the top level happens in all sports, including those where countries outside of Western Europe dominate. Cricket is a good example which provides a good balance (or a good Ballance in the case of one Zimbabwean wicketkeeper-batsman) for cycling – the last time England won the Ashes without relying on African players was back in 1981.

              • Samaway

                That’s exactly what the IMF and World Bank tell developing countries — follow our lead (and, by the way, there are no viable alternatives) and eventually you’ll be self sufficient. Problem is, the institutions are designed to maintain an imbalance. I would suggest that case of cycling is similar.

                Don’t know anything about cricket, so sorry I can’t offer much of a response. Perhaps it’s an alternative example, though I wouldn’t expect the process I’ve outlined to be totalizing by any means.

  • MattF

    Treacherous behaviour, particularly as no reason for the change was provided. I wouldn’t be doing him any future favours.

    • Dave

      That’s the way it goes once you start rolling with the big boys,
      something I hope Doug Ryder will come to recognise as an educational

      I commend Meintjes for not going public with his reasons, that’s something which would have helped nobody.

      It should be pretty obvious to work out why though – his future is as a GC rider, so he’d be better off going to a team with better GC firepower than MTN can offer. If he was going to Etixx or Lotto-Soudal it would be a bit more baffling, but Lampre-Merida is a good team who will set him up well for some success in the mid-level races – and hopefully a good apprenticeship for a GC leadership role at one of the top flight teams like BMC or even Sky.

  • James Drake

    Without knowing all the facts of the case any speculation on behalf of readers is exactly that. What motivates a rider to move from conti to pro team? Money? Stature? Opportunity for more racing? Certainly with the signings that Ryder was making the team was taking a more sprinter-friendly and less climber/stage racer friendly. Add to that probably deeper pockets at Pro level team and for me it is (speculatively speaking) obvious why Meintjes might have moved, just as star managers move from company to company.. Sometimes it’s the only way to make a significant change in salary, or experience, or position. Having said that Ryder is structuring MTN/Qhubeka and soon to be Team DiData into a sort of Cervelo Test Team. He’s got some of their riders and DS’s, as well as the Cervelo Bikes, and I applaud him for that and wanting to develop home-grown talent on top of that. If he can capture the team spirit of the Cervelo Test Team then I’m sure 2016 will be a big season for him and his riders.

    • Samaway

      Thought I read somewhere that Cervelo was stepping away for next year?

  • Derek Maher

    Nothing new in the sharks swallowing up the minnows when it comes to pro racing and sports in general.
    Big budget teams buy success and they are always on the lookout for a talented rider who has been developed by the poorer teams.
    Its a hard school.


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