≡ Menu

Cian’s Contract Chaos

A top Belgian talent trying to leave their team and move to a squad famous for grand tour success? No, not Remco Evenepoel’s summer saga trying to swap Soudal-Quickstep for Ineos but Cian Uijtdebroeks. The 20 year old announced he is moving to Jumbo-Visma for next year but Bora-hansgrohe say he’s under contract and going nowhere. Cycling’s governing body the UCI has yet to have have its say but as we’ll see it’s bound to be involved too.

It makes for a spicy custody battle with a ring of farce but there are wider issues for the sport here too as we see more and more long term contracts, and increasingly more cases of riders getting out of them.

On Saturday Jumbo-Visma announced they’d signed Cian Uijtdebroeks, a surprise as Uijtdebroeks has a contract with Bora-hansgrohe for 2024. Yet we’re seeing more riders break contracts to change teams, call it the “Paradox of Long Contracts” where the longer the deal, the more likely it is to get broken. Only today we’ve got confirmation that Mark Padun is leaving EF Education for Corratec-Selle Italia, despite notionally having a year left with the US team.

Uijtdebroeks move is a surprise but not a shock. He’d voiced dissatisfaction, whether frustration of team tactics in the Vuelta, or a rant about the team’s bikes at the GP des Nations. There was talk of several teams being interested, then suddenly Jumbo-Visma landed him.

Reading the news, the idea of a smooth transfer was banked and thoughts turned to how Bora-hansgrohe might have invested in Uijtdebroeks as a junior and nurtured his debut but pro sport has little room for sentimentality. Presumably the rider and Jumbo-Visma paid some kind of fee to buy out the contract. Jumbo-Visma is the destination team but this means issues too, after all if Uijtdebroeks resented joint-leadership at the Vuelta, the Dutch team is top heavy, and bursting with young talent including peers like Johannes Staune-Mittet who Uijtdebroeks beat in the 2022 Tour de l’Avenir. A wider thought was also about the state of the sport with one top squad getting even stronger.

Only all this turned out to be a triple jump of leaps of imagination because Bora-hansgrohe issued a statement to say Uijtdebroeks is still under contract for next year. Prior assumptions of a regular off-season transfer weren’t too naive, relying on the idea that top teams, an established rider agency and a big name wouldn’t conduct a transfer and go to announcement until it was all clear. And nevermind the theory, we’d seen the practice with Primož Roglič going in the other direction weeks ago, a deal that had the equivalent of a Telemark landing.

The UCI rulebook is clear: transfers from one team to another require the old team and the new team to agree terms, and for the Professional Cycling Council, a UCI committee, to check these and rubberstamp the transfer before the season starts. You can see a cropped version of the rulebook screengrabbed, see rule 2.15.121 for this standard path.

The actual version of events is more like Uijtdebroeks and his agent – A&J Allsports, who handle things for Pogačar among others – wanted out of the contract and declared he was free on 1 December. On what grounds we don’t know, his contract’s not public. If he was out of Bora-hansgrohe then on this basis there would be no transfer as Uijtdebroeks was effectively unemployed and on the market for any team wanting to sign him and therefore no Bora-blessing was required. However, hold those horses as under the UCI rules it still needs the permission of the Professional Cycling Council. Rule 2.15.123 makes clear, the text highlighted in blue above, that the UCI not only has to be informed, it has to give authorisation.

Bora-hansgrohe are contesting things. Uijtdebroeks had a year left on his contract and this matters even if he’s found a break clause because the UCI rules say the scheduled term matters. Bora-hansgrohe are reported to be seeking a million Euro compensation payment; Jumbo-Visma may not have this spare.

Uijtdebroeks’ agent writes the contract “has been terminated” which sounds final… but the very next sentence says “legal proceedings already have been initiated by Cian” which reads like the initiation rather than the resolution of matters. It also says the UCI is “aware” but doesn’t say it’s approved the move.

It’s spicy to see two teams in a custody conflict. This is itself notable, bordering on farcical as you’d have imagined that Jumbo-Visma would have put in a courtesy call to Bora-hansgrohe HQ; after all they ought to have them in their recent callers list given the by-the-book transfer of Primož Roglič.

There are wider effects. Contract security matters, just as riders with long deals value the security, teams need secure the services of their top “assets” too and have some visibility for the medium term here for their budget and planning. There can’t be too much asymmetry here where riders can unilaterally break deals. Once upon a time Alessandro Petacchi – pictured – considered retiring mid-season in order to be unemployed and so available for a miraculous comeback weeks later with a new team but this loophole was closed precisely to stop teams poaching riders mid-season. Yes there can be break clauses to allow riders to move and there’s more than the UCI rulebook here as civil rights and employmennt laws obviously let people change employer but this is underpinned by compensation for breaking the contract.

Conclusion
Uijtdebroeks is now the subject of a tug of war between two teams. It’s not a great look for either but if they’ve got egg on their faces Uijtdebroeks’s agent has some explaining to do if he’s behind the move and hadn’t squared off all sides including the UCI with the governing body bound to investigate too.

Bora-hansgrohe will try and seek compensation and from the sounds of things Jumbo-Visma only signed Uijtdebroeks because he was available on a “free transfer”, had they had to pay up front to buy him out of a contract they might not have signed him. Bora-hansgrohe have a dilemma, try to enforce Uijtdebroeks’s contract and keep a frustrated rider on their books for a year before he inevitably leaves, or hold out for a compensation payment… which could require all sides to sit down and work things out much like a plain old transfer.

The UCI’s transfer process works because it’s simple, requiring both teams to agree and the UCI to verify this. Breaking this such that a rider leaves a team mid-contract in order to become free for another team is harder, we don’t know the small print at work but in principle it’s an unusual move. It’s not the first though, more and more riders are breaking contracts to move and a share of these will go to litigation like we saw with, say, Wout van Aert between 2019 and 2021. If more longer contracts mean they’re broken more often, it means more litigation, more compensation and the gradual push to a rider transfer market.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • BC Monday, 11 December 2023, 2:10 pm

    An unfortunate turn of events. BUT at the end of the day money talks.
    Let’s hope Uijtdebroeks has the legs to do the talking on the road.

  • THT Monday, 11 December 2023, 3:13 pm

    That’s a very helpful post, thank you. I was initially wondering why Jumbo-Visma hadn’t learned from the farce with Soudal, apparently scoring another PR own goal here. However, the situation is clearly more complex. Having said that, I am still not sure how Uijtdebroeks would fit in their roster.

  • Alan Cote Monday, 11 December 2023, 3:37 pm

    Props for the continued great writing on this site —

    “Primož Roglič going in the other direction weeks ago, a deal that had the equivalent of a Telemark landing.”

    • Pete Monday, 11 December 2023, 10:25 pm

      I liked: “…after all they ought to have them in their recent callers list…”

  • The Other Craig Monday, 11 December 2023, 4:05 pm

    Another example of amateur hour in the pro peloton. I can’t understand why these situations happen in cycling when it seems pretty obvious that a football-style transfer policy would work just fine. I can only assume that Cian’s agent saw a perceived flaw in his contract and thought they could get away with an early exit, but if he’s wrong this could drag on for a while and ultimately be worse for Cian than staying around through next August. Either way, it’s a bad look for all involved.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 11 December 2023, 4:17 pm

      We haven’t had much of a transfer market because typically a rider was often no more than a year away from being free on the market; and there are only a few teams around rather than a deep market of hundreds of football clubs around the world. But with these longer contracts it’s starting to become a thing, gradually precedents are being set. We’ve seen mid-season free deals like Rohan Dennis and Arnaud Démare, and negotiations, clashes even, for cases like Van Aert, Bernal, Sosa, Rodriguez and more which are slowly shaping things. Here comes a big piece of case law… and as you hint, a possible communications/PR case study too.

      • The Other Craig Monday, 11 December 2023, 9:49 pm

        I know the market is smaller, but there is promotion/relegation, and I would love to see the smaller teams rewarded for good recruitment. A small team could build up a war chest from transfers, then go all out for promotion. Of course, there’s no big Champions League or tv money at the end of the rainbow…

        • stevhanti Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 11:41 am

          That’s basically the Gianni Savio business plan no?

    • 24 Heures du Mans Monday, 11 December 2023, 8:40 pm

      Exactly! It constantly amazes me just how amateur the sport is, and almost stuck in the previous century.
      The more money that comes into the sport (and hopefully stays that way) then a football style transfer system is the way to go. And a different date for signings to join their new team – say from 1st November.

      • Larry T Wednesday, 13 December 2023, 11:44 am

        24 Heures du Mans – some of us enjoy the sport BECAUSE it’s “almost stuck in the previous century”. Meanwhile, please explain how more money coming into the sport will improve things unless you’re cashing the fatter checks? Examples? All I can think of is the many, many times I’ve read stuff like “…then a bunch of money came in and the sport was…” which is usually followed by words like ruined, spoiled, etc.

        • Anonymous Thursday, 14 December 2023, 12:20 am

          Thank goodness cycling has administration who are determined to keep ensuring the “…then a bunch of money came in and the sport was…” scenario is dealt with by prevention rather than cure

  • BC Monday, 11 December 2023, 5:00 pm

    The legals professionals view in Wielerflitsts if allowed to link. In English.

    https://www.wielerflits.nl/nieuws/professor-sportrecht-uci-kan-overstap-cian-uijtdebroeks-niet-beletten/

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 11 December 2023, 5:19 pm

      Fine to share, and it makes the point that in the event of a transfer both sides agree and the UCI gives final approval, as happened with say, Roglič, Démare or Padun (hopefully, assuming so etc).

      But I’d also look at the screengrab of rules in the text above as this is not this kind of standard transfer right now, it’s breaking a contract and then moving. This can be done too and as the professor says can require some kind of mediation/arbitration/litigation to resolve but I’d add the UCI can get involve here. One question is whether the UCI has validated the move, from the agent’s post on Instagram it only says the governing body has been made aware.

  • BC Monday, 11 December 2023, 5:10 pm

    Apologizes. That was me above.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 10:08 am

      Noted and amended the name above

  • rob md Monday, 11 December 2023, 5:17 pm

    From what I’ve read, there’s some mind games and “positioning” going on here. Bora want a million Euros, but is that just an opening bid? If Bora say they must have a million Euros, would someone like Ineos step in if Visma can not raise the money?
    I think there’s a poker game going on here, but for everyone’s sake (and especially Cian’s) let’s hope it’s sorted out quickly.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 11 December 2023, 5:28 pm

      Yes, let’s hope he can race. And we can set out two outline scenarios here. The UCI may or may not have him as a provisional rider for Visma in 2024 as of today. But this has to be settled by 31 December:
      – if the UCI approve and he is listed as a Visma rider for 2024 then he’s free to race, but with procedures going on on the background
      – if the UCI haven’t approved then he stays a Bora rider, possibly not being above to move until August, and procedures go on in the background

      Either way he should be able to race with which team remains to be seen and this is where things get awkward, he’s not happy with Bora and they won’t be delighted with him. Hopefully his agent is now earning their fee to smooth out a deal.

      • DaveRides Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 2:25 am

        The ‘provisional registration’ part of the UCI process seems amateurish and an invitation to abuse.

        A better way forward for the future might be to remove that, and replace it with an absolute requirement that a rider registered with a particular team for a particular season will not have any form of registration with a different team commenced by the UCI until the team they are leaving has released them.

        Also, a smaller Contract Recognition subcommittee of the PCC should be ruling on things like this. Get it done quickly and cleanly, like the FIA Contract Recognition Board did with last year’s dispute between Alpine and McLaren where the hearing was resolved in 45 minutes.

        Also, the PCC seems

      • stevhanti Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 11:44 am

        Where does the start of the season actually lie in this case? As INRNG has stated on a few occasions the start of the 20XY season happens in Nov 20XY-1 or thereabouts, which seems confirmed by the 2024 race calendar up on the UCI.ch website that includes a couple of races still this year.

        • DaveRides Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 2:55 pm

          The season, for World Ranking purposes, starts/ends in late October, after the Road World Championships and the last race of the WorldTour are all complete.

          Rider contracts run from 1 January to 31 December.

          Another layer on top of this is that agreements for riders to transfer from one Professional team (UCI WorldTeam or UCI ProTeam) to another can only be “concluded” between 1 August and 31 December, with transfers effective 1 January allowed for the whole of the transfer period and immediate in-season transfers (subject to mutual agreement by all parties) allowed for the first couple of weeks.

          • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 2:57 pm

            That’s right, the 31 December date matters for registration. Normally the CU transfer has to be done by then and the UCI has said it expects the rules to be followed.

          • DaveRides Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 3:52 pm

            And that is why they have the ‘provisional registration’ part in the regulations, to cover both the necessary dates for rider registration as well as allowing for the possibility of a dispute not being resolved in time.

            I think the language around the provisional registration needs to be tightened to avoid being taken as an invitation to abuse, but it still needs to be there in some form to prevent the system collapsing.

  • Mad Black Monday, 11 December 2023, 6:01 pm

    Thank you! That provided the background missing from all other reporting on the matter. Greatly appreciate your thoughts also.

    • Larry T Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 8:28 am

      +1 I’d been waiting for an explanation of what seems a great silly-season saga. If I’m not mistaken the agents here are guys who’d have me counting my fingers after shaking their hands while maybe the rider involved is (or on his way) to needing a larger-sized helmet? He complained about Big-S bikes? How dare he!!! Perhaps BORA didn’t consider him enough of a big star to just “have bikes made” for him? And as Mr. INRNG notes, how big a fish will he be on a team with the pasty Dane and Pout VanAert if they manage to land him? Meanwhile he’s training in a blank jersey as if he’s going to Israel’s “past their sell-by date” squad!

      • stevhanti Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 11:46 am

        Don’t be so harsh on Israel (the squad), they have some exciting talents too and I think this past year they have taken a more sustainable route to recognition and succes than simply buying waning stars in the hope they’ll shine strong one more time.

        • Larry T Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 12:33 pm

          I dislike the guy bankrolling this team, so being harsh on them comes easily.
          And when he comments on risks the team might face with “What are we supposed to do? Cower? We’re just going to go about our daily business.” while at the same time issuing anonymous kits for his riders, not-to-forget his whining about what a waste-of-money his star rider is….I think he deserves the harshness. A fool and his money….

          • stevhanti Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 2:39 pm

            That’s not incorrect, my POV concerns strictly the cycling/racing side of things.

          • Larry T Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 2:49 pm

            I won’t hold my breath waiting for results though other than Il Frullatore I have no issues with the poor schmucks who find themselves with a clown like Adams for a boss. Even with Frullatore it’s hard to say they shouldn’t take and cash chex from this guy as long as he’s willing to write ’em and they can’t find a gig somewhere else. Fools and their money…

  • DJW Monday, 11 December 2023, 6:14 pm

    His agent must have persuaded him there’s a hole in the contract which can be exploited, and which is both lucrative for the rider and his agent. I’m traditional enough to think that not only the letter but also the spirit of a contract should be respected. Also, without the Jumbo millions how can Visma afford such a strategy which seems to imply both a generous rider salary, agent’s commission and payoff for the former team?

    • rob md Monday, 11 December 2023, 7:20 pm

      Roglic had 1 more year on his contract so maybe Visma have some extra money tucked away somewhere.

      • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 10:15 am

        Going by L’Equipe today, Bora paid a €3.7 million transfer fee for Roglič [eyebrows raise, jaws drop].

        Jumbo-Visma in return could have a transfer fee to pay if things go to some kind of mediation but, still citing L’Equipe, the mooted €1m is way in excess of Uijtdebroeks’ salary*. It’s interesting to see the fee based off rider salary rather than a sort of auction-to-highest-bidder price.

        * reported elsewhere to be €100k.

        • rob md Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 11:39 am

          So does Bora feel that they paid too much for Roglic (he is 35 next year) and the 1 million Euros wanted by Bora for Cian is some sort of attempt to recoup some money?

          Now the media is getting used by one and all with the leak of some bullying and online shenanigans apparently during the Vuelta at Bora. If true, then Roglic is going to have a hard time getting all he wants and the team up to scratch.

        • DJW Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 11:42 am

          If correct €3,7m is an astonishing transfer fee for a 34 year old rider currently ranked below Pogacar, Vingergaard and Evenepoel. Add two years salary of maybe €3m per annum, agents fees…, and Visma must have needed him off the payroll to compensate for Jumbo’s missing millions.

          Roglic is good, but still!

        • THT Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 1:12 pm

          If Uijtdebroeks’ salary is indeed €100k, then it might be understandable why he and his agent (and Jumbo-Visma) could believe that his market value must be higher. Still, he is 20, and he had one more year on his current contract. To me it doesn’t seem wise to use a crowbar in such circumstances, and his long-term career prospects might suffer if he is perceived as a prima donna, unless he starts delivering really big results. Surely, a team would be willing to negotiate a new (extended) contract with a higher salary if a promising young rider is on a relatively low salary. Didn’t that happen in Evenepoel’s case? I can’t imagine that such negotiations didn’t happen prior to Uijtdebroeks signing with Jumbo-Visma.

          • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 1:29 pm

            From reading several pieces, a synthesis is that he could have stayed for a year more but he’d made noises against the team and it was accepted, not with delight, that he might go elsewhere for a transfer deal rather than renew for longer on a revised deal. But (his agent) trying to break the deal so he can move on a free transfer has upset things.

    • stevhanti Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 9:40 am

      Probably they can’t. This has a lot of potential for a very painful ending for some of the involved parties. Either BORA ends up being exposed in court as some sort of hyper-toxic work environment or Visma (& Cian) end up exposed as opportunists.
      I read somewhere that UCI should approve the transfer before the start of the season? I don’t know what the exact cut-off date would be and if there are maybe some loopholes but it means in any case that there is not a lot of time left. Is there a realistic worst-case scenario in which Cian simply isn’t allowed to ride for the forseeable time?

      • DaveRides Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 3:38 pm

        > I read somewhere that UCI should approve the transfer before the start of the season? I don’t know what the exact cut-off date would be …

        The date would most likely be 31 December, as new rider contracts take effect on 1 January as per the Road chapter of the UCI Regulations.

        However, that’s not strictly necessary as the regulations allow for the UCI to provisionally register Cian with Visma before then with that registration to be confirmed once the dispute is fully resolved.

        > Is there a realistic worst-case scenario in which Cian simply isn’t allowed to ride for the forseeable time?

        The answer is practically yes, and it could even be for the whole 2024 season (contract season up to 31 December 2024) if nobody backs down and legal action can’t result in the issue being forced.

        Hypothetically speaking, let’s say that Bora decide to select Cian for the Tour Down Under in January. Cian would obviously not turn up at the airport for two reasons – the first being that he has been provisionally registered as a Visma rider, the second being that he would have the backup option of trying to goad Bora into firing him for not completing team duties (the same reason he is a no-show at Bora’s training camp and attending Visma’s training camp instead) so he becomes available to Visma as an unsigned rider.

        Bora would have to let that slide and select him for another race a few weeks later, where the whole process would repeat.

        The process could then repeat with Bora selecting him for a race every few weeks (but no gap longer than 6 weeks, the minimum needed to not give the rider a free release) and refusing to release him for any national team duties, then fire him during October to save a couple of months worth of salary.

        We saw this in the women’s ranks a couple of years ago when Lorena Wiebes attempted to transfer from for a bigger salary outside of the transfer period. It effectively resulted in her sitting out over half the season (the teams agreed a transfer when the in-season transfer period opened) in an attempt to goad her existing team into firing her so her new team could then pick her up as an unsigned rider rather than waiting for a transfer period.

  • 150 Watts Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 2:35 am

    I think WeetBix may have jumped the gun here … he is neither old enough nor done enough for this sort of thing.

    • oldDAVE Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 12:45 pm

      I’m not convinced by this.

      In old cycling yes maybe, but cycling has changed dramatically in the last five years.

      It’s quite clear and obvious who are the generational talents right now, and yes everyone follows unexpected paths but following Pogacar’s first Vuelta and Remco’s early exploits we knew clearly they were special. Similar with Vin’s famous amateur climbing record that secured him the deal at Jumbo. In truth it’s now quite clear that if you’re hitting a specific bracket of W/Kg over a particular time period on a climb at a young age you’re likely a Tour De France winning calibre. It’s just one reason riders have suddenly got younger which is the proof of the argument even if it’s no guarantee.

      Cian is in the bracket. Even in old money finishing top 10 at the Vuelta at age 20 would be a serious alarm to his talent.

      As far as I see – Cian and Ayuso are the only riders in the near future truly capable of matching Vin and Pog at the TDF, this is a good investment by Visma, he is old enough and he has shown enough. It’s now up to Remco to show he’s in V/P’s league and Roglic to throw the dice one last time in the hope a bit of luck helps him grab the triple crown. Outside of these six at the Tour De France I can only see possibly Sepp Kuss and Rodriguez at Ineos being close.

      Then you have the next tier who if everything goes right and they get a lot of luck might crash a party or two, either on a single stage of top5 at the Tour now or in the coming years – Jorgensen, Tao, Gaudu, Almeida, Hindley, Martinez, Skjelmose, Gall, Jay Vine or Brandon McNulty.

      And then the final bracket of riders who just will not win against the best but are great riders who you expect to be consistent enough to finish top10 – Yatesx2, Carapaz, Thomas, Quintana, Bilbao, Mas, Bardet and Guillaume Martin.

      Leaving Bernal and Pidcock as the wildcards who I expect won’t be there or thereabouts but could be.

  • The GCW / Strictley Amateur Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 4:41 am

    Does anyone, or do We know the contract?

    Is it possible Bora-hansgrohe broke contract agreements and Cian Uijtdebroeks wants and has a way out?

  • Kirky Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 8:57 am

    Well four parties know the details of his contract. The rider, his agent, the team Bora Hansgrohe and the UCI. Usually nobody releases details on contracts which is why there is so much speculation on riders salaries for example. I would be very interested on Cian’s salary/team payments as it would help in assessing the value of riders and teams. As Inrng mentioned there are requirements for all rider contracts specified by the UCI which are available on the UCI.Ch website.

  • oldDAVE Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 12:21 pm

    Great post. Love this.

    Two take aways from the seasons last few months:

    Jumbo-Visma doing everything in their power to destroy goodwill of cycling fans by jumping into Quickstep, looking to upturn broadcast hierarchy and now Cian… there’s always more to every story but on a surface public relations level they’re really cashing their chips from Sepp Kuss’ Vuetla win.

    Cian beat Remco at Vuelta, Remco’s failed to finish two of the four grand tours he’s raced, winning one against a weakened field and bonking to an outside Top10 finish in the other. Cian’s raced one grand tour at 20 and finished top10 against the stiffest competition as well as top10 in every one week race he entered last year. Both a clearly brilliant riders and stupid to really compare at this point but against current competition my money’s on Cian to be the bigger grand tour rider in future. So maybe this is all worth the pain for Visma.

  • oldDAVE Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 12:55 pm

    Just to re emphasise how much I enjoyed this post thank you.

    I didn’t know re Padun and have been wondering what happened to him after the rumours and Dauphine wins. He looked on course for the top with those kind of performances and then disappeared completely.

    Similar to Michael Storer who I still don’t understand where he’s gone?

    Also didn’t know Pog and Cian share a management company. Interesting. Thank you.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 12:59 pm

      Padun was always an erratic rider, he’s had issues with his diet and talked about an eating disorder even during easier times (his family is from Donetsk). Storer is joining Tudor Pro Cycling where I think he’ll prove a good signing, he took a while to find his feet at Groupama-FDJ after his Vuelta success with DSM but came good last summer.

      I often wonder why so many riders share the same agent, it seems unusual to have someone represent you who is also working on behalf of an arch rival.

      • oldDAVE Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 3:14 pm

        Just speaking from the point of view of another industry that involves agents, a field I know well –

        There aren’t many people with the talent, energy and crucially infrastructure to be viable as a genuine agent/agency. The legal costs alone and specialism of it mean that the only way a business can run is by having a large client list which can facilitate the overheads. A small pool of clients would just make the up front costs near unfeasible and after this it just becomes a chicken and egg story…

        ie new agents need to learn so join bigger companies with the infrastructure, which means those companies grow, their reputations grow, the possibilities they can offer clients outside of their industries grow and they become the one stop shops which leaves either the smaller companies with bad agents who aren’t worth dealing with or ex-big company agents who are a lottery as to whether they’ll succeed or fail. The problem is the skillset of energy, contacts etc needed to be a good agent does not necessarily overlap with those of running a business, so it’s a risk for any client to go down this route unless they really believe in their representation.

        Then it just becomes a simple question of who you trust, and it’s usually the big company with the reputation, which just becomes another factor in why there just isn’t a huge amount of space for multiple companies with genuine specialisms or specialist departments in any sporting or creative industry as the costs of running the business are too high.

        That then means (in my experience) you end up with a lot of competitors represented by the same people. To be honest though, those people are not the ones riding the bikes and it’s relatively easy to stay objective when all you’re trying to do is secure someone their best contract, so you get the best pay day – the biggest conflict of interests is usually one client just more successful and getting more time and support because of this as opposed to genuine dodgy dealings holding back one client.

        • Andrew Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 11:28 pm

          Very interesting. Thanks.

  • Ferdi Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 1:50 pm

    What makes you think that “presumably the rider and Jumbo-Visma paid some kind of fee to buy out the contract”? If they really had, we would know by now, no?

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 2:07 pm

      That was my thought on reading the news, that Jumbo had sprung Uijtdebroeks out of his contract. But as the next paragraph says, it was a leap of imagination and an assumption that things had gone smoothly.

  • Watts Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 2:47 pm

    Can any of you guys explain to me why Cian Uijtdebroeks is dissatisfied with his TT bike? The same model which won the rainbow stripes this year?

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 2:58 pm

      He wasn’t happy with his position and he had a problem with a shifter in the GP des Nations and said he was pushing out a lot of power but not going as fast as he wanted. Still it’s pretty much taboo to blame the bike in pro cycling.

      • Watts Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 3:32 pm

        It’s hard to tell if he is too snowflake like or if there really is a problem from the team’s end. In that way he would fit better at Jumbo who seem to look specifically at each rider, and finding a way even with the difficult ones to produce top performances.

      • Larry T Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 5:23 pm

        “Still it’s pretty much taboo to blame the bike in pro cycling.”
        Someone forgot to remind Il Frullatore! 🙂

        • Ferdi Wednesday, 13 December 2023, 12:12 pm

          Cazzo di bici!

    • NB Thursday, 14 December 2023, 4:02 pm

      He had a mechanical with his number 1 bike and the spare was set up incorrectly, which led to him having a moan about it after finishing 4 minutes down, he then goes on to talk about the work they need to do in the winter to improve things and talks positively of his program and treatment at Bora (last couple of paragraphs), which doesn’t tally up at all with what has been quoted recently.

      “After ten kilometres my shifter came loose and I was immediately changed bikes. But the spare bike turned out to be completely out of order. I came here to learn. Then it would be nice if my bikes were in order…” Uijtdebroeks told Het Nieuwsblad in frustration.”

      source (hope this is ok as it was months ago) https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/cian-uijtdebroeks-frustrated-with-bora-hansgrohe-after-bike-problems/

      • Larry T Friday, 15 December 2023, 4:33 pm

        Looked at the linked article, thanks. Odd that this kid’s setup, which appears to be pretty much like what another Big-S rider used to finish just 13 seconds behind the winner in that chrono is so terrible in his opinion. Says his gizmo tells him he has the power but somehow not the speed. The more I read about this kid the more I believe the “head-case” opinions floating around about him. But he’ll make Evenepoel look better, right?

  • Gazelle CM Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 3:22 pm

    Couple of extra info’s from blogs etc.
    Wout van Aert is still awaiting the results of a higher court concerning his transfer.( more than 4 years ago).
    Apparently Cian was not much liked at Bora Hans Grohe, aproaching nutrition differently, complaining about his tt bike. Within Bora it is rumoured there was a whatsapp group of riders excluding Cian. ( mentioned by Thijs Zonneveld).

    • Greg Wednesday, 13 December 2023, 8:21 am

      And by “infos” you mean a couple of rumours and hearsay without any proof at the moment.

      • stevhanti Thursday, 14 December 2023, 10:46 am

        The WvA thing is common knowldege and that Cian wwanted to do things differently from other rithers/staff int he team has been confirmed in the press by two DSs: B. Eisel and JP Heyndrickx.

        • George Thursday, 14 December 2023, 11:03 am

          However Bernie Eisel has firmly denied the bullying allegations.

          • rob md Friday, 15 December 2023, 2:26 pm

            Rolf Aldag has confirmed in a roundabout way, that Cian is “challenging” and is not Mr Popular with members of the team.
            The quicker that Bora and Visma meet up and hash out a deal, then better for all.

  • Larry T Tuesday, 12 December 2023, 5:35 pm

    Went back and reviewed: http://inrng.com/2014/01/rider-agent-baden-cooke-chris-horner/
    Some things never change! The funniest bit was the comment that included this gem: “Horner has never even smelled like a whiff of a cheat and that’s that.” 🙂

    • Watts Wednesday, 13 December 2023, 10:21 am

      That is so surreal, it seems like just yesterday. How time flies!

  • Cascarinho Wednesday, 13 December 2023, 7:42 pm

    Visma are harder and harder to like for cycling fans, but apparently also for some riders and managers of other teams… I wonder if there can be some consequences for them in the next season. At least four teams now ought to be angry at them, and they can be left alone when it comes to ride in the front of the peloton — but after all they proved all season they didn’t need so much help to succeed.

    • Larry T Thursday, 14 December 2023, 8:46 am

      Yep, if they’re not careful they’re gonna take the place of SKYNEOS in ways they don’t like. This Plugge fellow seems easy to dislike while nobody much likes a team who hogs all the GT wins.
      Meanwhile, the silly-season-saga continues with more reports of bullying to justify the guy bailing on the last year of his contract? What’s next, the chamois in his shorts wasn’t soft enough?
      IMHO Bora should probably be glad someone is taking the kid off-their-hands, even if they don’t get a million euros from his new employer!

  • NB Thursday, 14 December 2023, 4:12 pm

    This is feeling like so many of those football sagas when an agent decides they need to move on a player to generate themselves some income.

    Mid October – Straight after a terrible result mainly due to mechanical mishaps, positive and talking about the next season and building on the recent performances.
    Mid December – A very different tone (with an allegedly new agent, can’t remember where I read this) and anonymous sources making allegations to support this new tone after the sledgehammer tactic has seemingly failed.

  • Richard S Friday, 15 December 2023, 11:33 am

    Two points. I found the little bit about Padun potentially more interesting than another story about a spoilt young Belgian talent. It can’t be a coincidence that Belgium is the only place where cycling approaches football levels of popularity, and it’s seemingly only their that you get these football player type behaviours.
    Also, should I be pronouncing this guy as ‘Kian Ooter-Brooks’?!

Next post:

Previous post: