Monday Musette – 5 Questions

2010 Vuelta Espana - Rodriquez, Anton, and Nibali Finish Stage 8

Fotoreporter Sirotti

1. With Igor Anton, Joaquin Rodriguez, and Vincenzo Nibali a mere two seconds apart from one another and the next-closest rider another 40-seconds back, has this year’s Vuelta already been reduced to a three-caballo race?  And of the three, who has the best chance to win?

2. Do Radio Shack’s new recruits (and the ominous lack of one more) indicate dire straits for the American squad?

3. And what of Team Schleck/Luxembourg?  They’re riding Treks in 2011, does a merger Radio Shack beckon?  Would that make the most sense for both programs?

4. With Katusha signing an agreement with Focus for 2011, where will Ridley go?  Can the company afford not to have bikes under one of the world’s best teams?

5. Why is BMC talking about getting Cadel Evans more support in the mountains?  Is a continued focus on grand tour success the best thing for the Australian’s career?

What are thoughts?  Share your comments below–and if celebrating, enjoy your Labor Day!

And come back tomorrow for the first of our Two Part 2010-2011 Cyclocross Season Preview.  Erik is back this year to tell you everything you need to know about the US and International cyclocross scenes.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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10 Responses to Monday Musette – 5 Questions

  1. cthulhu says:

    1. It’s hard to see somebody else challenging them after the crash last weekend. I say Nibali takes it because I think he is the best in the time trial.

    2. I don’t think they are in problems, but they are seriously lacking some clear profile and ergo some clear goals/vision for next season/the future.

    3. I don’t see this since they applied for a ProTour license. If a merger was the plan I guess they wouldn’t have applied for one.

    4. Word is Ridley, the former bike sponsor of Katusha, is willing to be the new main sponsor for the Team Milram if van Gerwen succeeds to pull a Co-Sponsor.

    5. Because I think that is Cadels last motivation/drive out there.

    • Whit says:

      1. Agreed–I think Nibali’s the best candidate for the overall.
      2. That’s a great way to put it–they need a vision for where they want to be. But with rumors of Radio shack leaving after 2011, a long-term plan might be tough to find.
      3. True, but I’m sure the UCI would let them combine licenses–especially if it made room for one more program with the $$$ to pay for the license.
      4. That’s a new one–where did you hear that?
      5. That’s too bad–I still say he could be unstoppable if he focused on hilly classics and week-long stage races like the Dauphiné.

      Thanks Cthulhu! Always appreciate your comments!

  2. cthulhu says:

    I just wanted to add some additions.

    to 3. Yes, Whit, the UCI wouldn’t stop them and if they somehow could manage to get the money two times as you indicated they would be very happy, but I think the Luxembourg based thing is very important to the Schleck brothers and that could be the problem.

    to 4. And van Gerwen additionally secures a ProTour license.

    I heard it today on my training ride. Somebody with connections to some Milram riders said that is what might happen. Let’s go into speculation mode:
    1- Van Gerwen says he is still in talks some are still vague some some are more concrete, though nothing is done ’til it is signed. This might be Ridley saying yes but only with a co sponsor who is not yet found.
    2- Although with Terpstra one of their top riders already left, neither Ciolek, Gerdemann nor Wegmann have announced were they will be riding next year, though van Gerwen claims to know what they will be doing but it is not his duty to inform the public. Maybe they too believe there will be a continuation of the team and have resigned? Maybe with backup plans if a Cosponsor isn’t found?
    3- Van Gerwen said he will keep the base in Dortmund running even if he doesn’t get a ProTour team/license for 2011 so he can start in 2012 again. Might be a sign if the Ridley story is true that they even are willing to wait a year longer if van Gerwen should find something for next year.
    But this is pure speculation how the current situation might support that rumor.
    Also, always great to read you blog Whit, keep it up.

    • Whit says:

      Great speculation! Any chance you would like write a little piece about it for Pavé? I’d be happy to edit, add some photos, and post your thoughts.

      Let me know–would love to have you on board! Feel free to email me at:

  3. michael says:

    i think you may be writing off Xavier Tondo a little too quickly what with 2 more weeks left and his known climbing abilities. If Sastre decides to play for the team and work for Tondo it could make things very interesting.

  4. Adam says:

    Seems that Tschopp and Co. arrival at BMC could be for any number of strengths and reasons. For Tschopp, the first is that he is Swiss, and that’s a big plus when Andy Rhys is writing the checks (he was on Phonak). His strength and savvy in the Giro break on the penultimate stage indicates he might be the type to go for stages light up a few more mountain stages, a repeat performance at this Vuelta would go a long way to confirming that.

    Moinard seems like a guy who can work in the mountains and get into breaks. I’m not sure his mountains jersey at P-N wasn’t more than a lucky vein of form, his past performances don’t indicate to me that he’ll keep developing. However, being out of the spotlight of being a Frenchman capable of the top 20 on a French team, a move to BMC could free him from a lot of pressure (maybe the same thing will happen to Remi di Gregario at Astana).

    Santaromita is someone that has a few more years to develop into a great climber, and maybe start taking hilly stage races seriously, there’s no better place to dig deep than on the front. After his Coppi-Bartali win, you would think he would have been on the Liquigas Giro team…

    Importantly for Evans, everything that builds up his confidence seems to bolster his performances. Call these transfers whatever you want in the public forum. They’ll make Cadel smile a bit, and give him a few more degrees of the panache that eluded his earlier racing career, a positive atmosphere is a warm blanket for him, and save for GT overall, he’s really come alive this year. His riding has garnered a lot of positive attention for the team and it seems to be without the drama that plagued his Lotto years. For BMC, I think the transfers make a lot of sense for continuing to develop a team that’s capable of riding uphill – whether Cadel is comfortably riding their slipstream remains to be seen.

    • Whit says:

      Terrific analysis, Adam. I agree with your sentiments. Maybe they’re developing the team first with Cadel as place-holder for another future captain? Thanks!

  5. graeme c says:

    Hi Whit, seeing how you raised the Cadel question can I ask one of my own. I know it is retrospective but …….

    With what Jurgen Van den Broek achieved late last year and in this year’s TdeF, is it realistic for Cadel to continue with the “lack of support” mantra? Or is VdB’s style so different from Cadel’s they could never be compatible?

    That said who out there would make a really good domestique for VdB?

    • Whit says:

      Hi Graeme!
      A terrific question! I never bought the lack of support excuse–that said, he did have McEwen to contend with for a few years, something that hurt his team’s ability to offer him it’s undivided energies. I just don’t see Cadel as a grand tour contender.

      As for VDB2, I’d love to have seen the team signed someone like Maxime Monfort to support their new star–but he’s already headed to Team Schleck, apparently. The big question for Omega now is how much will they let new signee Andre Greipel’s desires get in the way of VDB2’s bid for the podium in 2011?

      Thanks for reading–and the terrific question!

  6. Pingback: Monday Musette – Weekend Wrap-Up « Pavé

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