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BMC said to be up for all 3 of the year's standout riders to date, Sagan pencilled in for 2015; Spartacus to join Trek venture?...

With transfers in cycling unable to be made official until 1 August, speculation reaches a crescendo during the Tour de France – but the Giro is when it starts building and reports from Italy today link early 2013’s three star riders, Peter Sagan, Chris Froome and Fabian Cancellara, with high-profile moves. BMC Racing is said to be interested in all three.

Spring saw Sagan win his first Classic, Gent Wevelgem, and a spectacular run of results included second place at two Monuments, Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders.

La Gazzetta dello Sport says that puts a €4 million-plus annual salary within his reach, and while Lampre-Merida are said to have made an approach, it puts BMC Racing forward as his most likely destination, but not until 2015.

By that date, you’d imagine either Thor Hushovd or Alessandro Ballan, if not both the former world champions, to have moved on.

With Ivan Basso’s star on the wane and Vincenzo Nibali having departed for Astana at the end of last season, Cannondale are likely to put up a fight – but with Liquigas having ended its sponsorship in 2012, do they have the money?

With RadioShack pulling out of the sport at the end of the year, the man who beat Sagan at Flanders, and then won Paris-Roubaix a week later, Fabian Cancellara, is also at the centre of a rumoured move, perhaps to Swiss Professional Continental outfit IAM, perhaps to BMC.

The Gazzetta, which points out that IAM is still in its infancy and BMC a team that doesn’t attract Cancellara himself, puts forward a third possibility – that Trek will, like BMC and Cannondale, enter the game as headline sponsor itself.

With question marks over the future of RadioShack Leopard, a project built around the Schelck brothers, the rumour is that Trek would guarantee its continuation through a five-year sponsorship, with Luca Guercilena as manager and Cancellara its star rider before moving into a management role at the end of his career.

That brings us to Team Sky, an outfit where, if reports are to be believed, there’s enough dietrologia – the Italian conspiracy theory that events are shaped by unseen hands behind the scenes – going on that it would surely win the approval of controversial former prime minister Giulio Andreotti, who died this week.

While speculation before the Giro surrounded whether Bradley Wiggins was planning to break with supposed team orders during the forthcoming Tour de France and seek to defend his title in earnest rather than support Chris Froome, yesterday the Gazzetta floated the theory that Wiggins himself faced a threat to his own leadership at the Giro in the shape of the Colombian pair of Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao.

It’s a claim that merits some examination, and the pair certainly have more pedigree at the Giro than Wiggins does – both finished in the top ten last season with Uran taking the young rider’s jersey, and each appears better suited to the Giro’s climbs and their specific demands.

There’s little doubt both are potential Grand Tour winners in the future, and the question is, how long will they be prepared to play a supporting role at Sky? Not long, reckons the Gazzetta, which links both with a move to Omega Pharma-Quick Step. That in itself raises another question – how happy would Mark Cavendish be in a team with a credible GC challenger?

If both are unsettled at Sky, their mood won’t have been helped by the confirmation yesterday that Richie Porte’s contract has been extended. The Australian is another former winner of the white jersey at the Giro, and in March succeeded Wiggins as winner of Paris-Nice.

Given his age, and late developer as he is, it would be very unusual if Wiggins were still challenging for victory at a race such as the Tour beyond three years’ time. Porte increasingly looks like he is being groomed as someone who will lead Sky in Grand Tours, who could perhaps target the Giro while Froome aims for the Tour, or vice-versa. That’s bound to leave the Colombians feeling left out in the cold.

So what about Froome? Unlike Wiggins, he has youth on his side, but his future at Sky may depend on what happens in July. Publicly, Sir Dave Brailsford has said Froome is the designated leader, and that’s the end of it. There’s a widespread feeling though that Wiggins isn’t on message. If what many see as a simmering rivalry boils over during the Tour, Brailsford will find it impossible to keep both happy, and will have to make a choice.

If he doesn’t back Froome, then that could pave the way for the rider to leave Sky, and again it’s BMC Racing that the Gazzetta believes could head the queue, although it acknowledges that such a move could ignite tension with Tejay van Garderen, seen as the team’s successor to Cadel Evans as a GC challenger.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

21 comments

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Ghedebrav [1098 posts] 2 years ago
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Even with Cadel on the wane (though he's been in fine fettle so far in the Giro), BMC are almost a case-study of the too-many-chiefs syndrome. Adding Sagan, Froome and Cancellara, or even just one of these, would take the cake.

Personally, I'd love to see Spartacus wind up his career with IAM, though a Trek works team is an interesting idea.

More interesting still is what'll happen to Sky's two Colombians. If they come close to keeping up with Wiggins on Saturday's TT, well...

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johnnymitch [2 posts] 2 years ago
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"With transfers in cycling unable to be made official until 1 August, speculation reaches a crescendo during the Tour de France – but the Giro is when it starts building and reports from Italy today link early 2012’s three star riders, Peter Sagan, Chris Froome and Fabian Cancellara, with high-profile moves."

... Err we're in 2013

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Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 2 years ago
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johnnymitch wrote:

... Err we're in 2013

Ahem. Cheers.

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kitkat [313 posts] 2 years ago
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Cancellera for Sky to sort classics out for them?  1

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joc [58 posts] 2 years ago
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kitkat wrote:

Cancellera for Sky to sort classics out for them?  1

was thinking that myself  39

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ratattat [52 posts] 2 years ago
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Cant see Brailsford backing Froome for the TDF when he knows hes off to another team

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stumps [3187 posts] 2 years ago
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Load of bollocks if you ask me. Froome will still be at Sky next season after winning the tour and Brailsford will kove heaven and earth to keep him. Uran will probably be away but Henao will still be there.

As for Wiggins, one more season next year (go for the Vuelta and have a treble) then its a ds post with the team for him.

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paulmac [10 posts] 2 years ago
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I think one of the two colombians will be allowed to go the la vuelta GC this autumn to help keep them happy

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stumps [3187 posts] 2 years ago
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paulmac wrote:

I think one of the two colombians will be allowed to go the la vuelta GC this autumn to help keep them happy

Both imho, see who's got the best legs and take it from there.

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 2 years ago
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ratattat wrote:

Cant see Brailsford backing Froome for the TDF when he knows hes off to another team

That's what I thought.

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 2 years ago
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I must say from what I have read about BMC as a team and even as a company, I kind of feel like it's 'hat's off to them' but I just wish I liked their bikes!

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step-hent [718 posts] 2 years ago
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Cancellara to Sky has been mooted before - they've certainly got cash, and could give him a great team in support, plus he could teach some of the less experienced riders the craft of the classics.

Or maybe he'll go to Cannondale to replace Sagan?

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 2 years ago
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Any news on which bikes Sky will ride next year?

There was lots of talk they'd move to Spesh last year but then a 1 year Pinarello deal was signed. Just wondered if I'd missed any contract extension or anything?

Could we see a Sky / Trek link up if Fabian moves there?

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 2 years ago
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Ghedebrav wrote:

BMC are almost a case-study of the too-many-chiefs syndrome.

Reading the article, it feels to me like the entire peloton has too many chiefs. Everyone wants to be the star, no-one's willing to be the domestique.

I wonder whether it's due to increasingly consistent lifestyles/training etc (and less doping) leading to ever-smaller gaps between the top guys and the rest?

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 2 years ago
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The only reason I could see Sagan moving is for money reasons, at the moment, he says jump and Cannondale say how high.

Froome, I'd love to see him move and get a real chance, with Porte signing for another two years, I dare say he'll get a chance at something.

Cancellara I thought had already agreed terms to move to IAM for 2014...

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drheaton [3318 posts] 2 years ago
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Uran and Henao are still fairly young, they've got time on their side at Sky and time to develop into better riders. Is joining a weaker GC team and having a shot at a grand tour now worth giving up on the prospect of being the chosen rider at a stronger team two or three years down the line?

That's what they'll have to weigh up I guess.

Personally I see Wiggins having another year as a GC contender then easing off a little bit and taking on a different challege. So Porte, Froome, Wiggins for the Giro, Tour, Vuelta next year (in that order I reckon) then Uran/Henao moving up the pecking order and taking on the Vuelta/Giro in years to come while Froome looks to win multiple tours.

If Uran/Henao moved to OPQS then the only Grand Tour they'd get a shot at would be the Vuelta anyway as Cavendish would surely remain the focus for the Giro/Tour for the next few years.

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msw [113 posts] 2 years ago
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RE: the Colombians and Porte, Sky seem quite good at giving their second-string riders leadership opportunities in smaller stage races like the Volta ao Algarve (plus Classics in Henao's case), while Porte gets to go for races at the next step up like Paris-Nice. It's not like they never get a chance to lead or win, there's life outside the Grand Tours - of course we don't know if they see it that way.

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 2 years ago
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What about JTL? Where would he fit in?

Although I like Uran's style so it would be a shame to see him leave Sky.

Going back to my bike comments - if trek followed suit and became a headline sponsor, could you see Spesh doing the same? They were toyed in the past when (iirc) Saxo bank looked to pull the plug.

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Ghedebrav [1098 posts] 2 years ago
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Can't imagine JTL will go anywhere. He's been finding his WorldTour feet, and given his age (albeit as a late bloomer) I'm not sure he will realistically push for more than DS-ing in grand tours and leading shorter tours - perhaps Paris-Nice next year or two would be a solid goal?

I'm not saying he's not an excellent rider, but if he did move it would most likely be a to a pro-conti team like NetApp, where he'd be a bigger dog than at Sky. If I was him though I'd be delighted simply to be where I am!

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 2 years ago
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I just wondered if he'd take a more prominent role if either Uran or Henao moved.

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Ghedebrav [1098 posts] 2 years ago
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On the idea of Trek becoming a headline sponsor a la BMC, I think this would only be good for the sport. The weird impermanance of the team names/sponsors, not to mention their obscurity, is (I reckon anyway) a significant barrier to newbies already grappling with the basics of bicycle road racing.

The equivalent of motorsport 'works' teams would be a welcome simplification, and hopefully also give a bit of stability from season to season too.