Are there too many chiefs?

by jimmythecuckoo   November 2, 2009  

Brits on Tour

I am starting to wonder a little about the shape of the pro cycling peloton in 2010. Especially the composition of teams for the Tour de France...

With the latest news that Cadel Evans has made the move to Team BMC we are now in the position where there appears to be too many team leaders spread out across the peloton to get all of them into the big races.

Here is a brief summary of teams and leaders...if you were the ASO, who would you leave at home in July?

Team Sky - Edvald Boasson Hagen

Garmin/Slipstream - Bradley Wiggins*/Christian Van de Velde

Lotto- Philippe Gilbert

Team BMC - Cadel Evans

Saxo Bank - Andy Schleck/Frank Schleck

Cervelo Test Team - Carlos Sastre, Thor Hushovd

Columbia HTC - Tony Martin, Mark Cavendish

Milram - Gerald Giolek, Linus Gerdemann

Radio Shack - Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Gert Steegmans

BBox - Thomas Voeckler, Pierrick Fedrigo

Rabobank - Denis Menchov

Vacansoleil - Jonnie Hoogerland/Roman Feillu/Brice Feillu

Lampre - Damiano Cunego

Footon/Fuji - Juan Jose Cobo

Caisse D'Eparnge - Alessandro Valverde (maybe)

Liquigas - Ivan Basso, Roman Kreuziger, Franco Pellizotti

Quick Step - Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel

Ag2R - Nicolas Roche, Cyril Dessel

Katusha - Pippo Pozzato

Francais Des Jeux - Remi Di Gregario

Euskatel - Sammy Sanchez

Cofidis - Aimal Moinard

Astana - Alberto Contador

Skil- Shimano - Albert Timmer (regular readers will know why!!)

Saur-Sojasun - Agribtubel replacement... leader tbc.

 

* not confirmed

So in reality there are five of those teams on the list that are going to miss out as well as any others I might have missed. It is interesting that the weakest team leaders on that list are clearly in the French teams but you can't see them all being cut by the organisers.

Depending on the rules with pro-tour (remember that!) teams having to be invited we could see some big names watching the race on TV next July.

If I were picking on the current list I would cut Lampre, Katusha and Milram... but after that it would be a struggle... anyone want to speculate with me?

One thing that is also clear is that Columbia wouldn't be safe in a free choice and nor would Team Sky.

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I think Columbia would be safe cos they've got Cavendish and the green jersey competition and those first sprinting stages are important for building excitement before the GC competition gets going.

If Astana lose Contador - I could see them being cut, the team without him doesn't look that strong + ASO have got the readymade Vino excuse.

Footon/Fuji… Skil Shimano (sorry Albert) or, without a bigger name, Team Sky? How come you haven't gone for at least the first two of those three?

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4155 posts]
2nd November 2009 - 17:21

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Cadel going to BMC really has put the cat amongst the pigeons on this.

Will they really not invite BMC and not have the rainbow jersey in the TdF? I doubt it.

Controversial, but I do wonder if Sky might miss out. At the moment they are a good young team but without a true GC contender they look a little light.

othello's picture

posted by othello [297 posts]
3rd November 2009 - 11:49

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I agree, Sky are not a definite by any means.

Footon hardly covered themselves with glory in their Saunier days did they? but as with Astana I am wondering if they could be rehabilitated by going to the tour.

Skil didnt really add much to the race this year (apart from a stack in the TTT) but they were scandal free and (all joking aside) a couple of aggressive breaks from Albert, including being in the winning move to Mont Ventoux, could see them admitted again.

What's the point of having them in 2009 to learn about the race if they are going to be dropped the next year? If they are a good reliable sponsor with riders of good track record they should be picked above new teams.

In my opinion Smile

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1291 posts]
3rd November 2009 - 15:35

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The good thing going for Sky is they are a global brand, and are seriously good at marketing their product. The TdF organisers will value that, and the exposure for their other race sponsors. It might just tip the balance in their favour, even though they have been warned they need to show good early season form.

othello's picture

posted by othello [297 posts]
3rd November 2009 - 17:23

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It still seems odd to me that they are going to be marketing a product that you can't actually watch on Sky - at least not in the UK.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4155 posts]
3rd November 2009 - 17:59

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tony_farrelly wrote:
It still seems odd to me that they are going to be marketing a product that you can't actually watch on Sky - at least not in the UK.

Ah, but they have the next best (maybe even better) thing - free advertising on a competitor's channel - whether that be the BBC, Eurosport, or ITV.

Saw it mentioned in some marketing mag that it made sense from Sky's point of view because it raises their profile within the sport right now without having to shell out on rights, and they'll be happy with that for now.

It seems that in the last couple of years, the Sky Sports business plan has gone from trying to cover all kinds of sports to focusing on ones where they believe they can dominate coverage - I would be very surprised if in the medium to long term, they didn't go for cycling in a big way.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8405 posts]
3rd November 2009 - 19:17

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hmm… yeah ASO are pussycats they know very well the value of what they've got. Track cycling is an olympic discipline - the olympics are a listed event so the biggest track races will always be on the beeb. In the unlikely event that the big races weren't on British Eurosport they would be instantly available for free from a wide variety of other sources… they already are. So that leaves stuff like the ToB… the business plan for which relies on as many people as possible eyeballing the race not just for the teams but for all the various health bodies and local authorities that put up the money, stick that on pay per view and it's dead. Which leaves what?

So they've got free advertising to cycling fans watching the BBC or Eurosport of what? The fact that they can't watch cycling on Sky?

I think some marketing types don't know their arse from their elbow. Big Grin

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4155 posts]
3rd November 2009 - 23:24

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I can agree with the last sentence Big Grin

Fact is, there's no point Sky investing in sports they currently cover - so eg for Champions League or FAPL, most of the live coverage is on Sky, no point in them sponsoring that.

So sponsorship instead goes to a sport where they have little or no coverage and gets Sky brand in front of other channels' audiences.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8405 posts]
4th November 2009 - 7:56

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Are there any sports fans in any of the territories in which Sky operates that aren't already aware of Sky?

I'm sure you are right about why they are doing it just don't think it's a very bright strategy. I don't think they will be buying up any rights any time soon either, and if they do, according to this marketing strategy, it'd be curtains for the team surely?

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4155 posts]
4th November 2009 - 8:07

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Did you see how the Sky trade team was branded at the track worlds? Sky+HD. That tells a little side story to their marketing push.

Sky are desperate to push their HD service as they have spent a bloody fortune rolling out the infrastructure. Yet the take-up has been slow (but is growing). They want existing users to upgrade along with new users coming in.

othello's picture

posted by othello [297 posts]
4th November 2009 - 11:12

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