Monday Shorts

Cassani: Italy’s gain, TV’s loss – Cyclocross as a winter sport – Fixing the CX contract season – Two weeks to the TDU – Is Cognizant the new sponsor for Argos-Shimano?

Davide Cassani has been named as the new Italian national coach. The appointment is always treated as a big deal in Italy and concludes a saga of public commentary via La Gazzetta Dello Sport on the contenders before incumbent Paolo Bettini had even resigned and concluded with the blessing of dapper legend Alfredo Martini, the coach for over 20 years. You almost expected white smoke to waft from the chimney on Martini’s house. Habemus selector.

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Start the New Year in November

Sometimes you can look at big topics like calendar reform or concepts like “truth and reconciliation”. But here’s a small practical problem that can be easily fixed.

Rider contracts run from 1 January to 31 December and the timing has some absurd consequences.

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The Back Door

There’s plenty of news of rider transfers with several teams making a series of announcements, signing new riders to strengthen the team. It’s exciting and it’s the future.

But what of the others, the riders who are not making the headlines, those who are likely to be out of contract? They’ll quietly leave the sport by the back door.

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Will Joaquim Rodriguez Stay or Go?

Joaquim Rodriguez new team

…and where could he go?

With the Katusha team struggling for a licence Joaquim Rodriguez and his agent Angel Edo have been shopping around for a new team. Rodriguez agreed new terms with the Russian team at the end of last season but these were based on the premise of riding in World Tour. He has stated his prime target for 2013 is the Tour de France.

Rider contracts are like collarbones, they’re easily broken in the right circumstances. And Katusha not being a registered UCI team can mean a clean break clause. So will Rodriguez go and if so, where can he land?

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Out of Contract, In For A Surprise?

Linus Gerdemann

As the year end approaches many riders are “out of contract” for 2013, the pro cycling euphemism for facing unemployment. Several riders have expressed surprise after their current team decided not to offer them a new contract for 2013 and they’re left scrambling for a new job. But with the new year fast approaching there’s not much time to get a spot, yet alone bargain for a good deal.

Only under the rules there should be no surprises as riders are supposed to be told by teams what is going on well before the season ends. Either the letter went missing in the post or the team didn’t follow the rules but mechanisms exist to prevent this. This post is just a short note to explain the workings behind this.

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Sunday Shorts

Gianni Meersman

Gianni Meersman had a great start to the season, proving a useful finisher with a stage win in Paris-Nice for example. Now he’s leaving Lotto-Belisol, exploiting a break clause in his contract if the squad does not make it into the World Tour for 2013. The team seem to think they will and as set out during the week on here, his ranking points count for the squad on the 20 October deadline. Now he’s gone the team get to keep his points whilst the licence is decided but are liable for a giant fine, from 10,000 to 500,000 Swiss Francs (about the same sum in US dollars) under UCI rules. Ouch.

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Job Opportunities

The wrong side of thirty? Not as fast as you once were? Felt strong in some big races this year? But you’ve not been offered a new contract. It’s got to hurt, you were always in the service of the team, carrying bottles, punching a hole in the wind for someone else and often there when the team got a result. So what do you do?

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Vincenzo Nibali’s Contract Saga

Nibali Liquigas

A short note to observe the contract position of Vincenzo Nibali. The rider known as “The Shark of Messina” has a contract with his Liquigas team that expires at the end of the year and he and his agent are busy trying to get the best deal by looking at other teams.

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Valuing a rider: past performance vs. future prospects

Visit a stockmarket and you’ll soon learn the value of a company tends to be based on expectations of its future performance. The on-screen prices flash and change as tiny pieces of information, as well as big news, have their effect on the valuation of a stock.

On screen stock prices... or is that a race profiles or maybe a power curve there?

A stockmarket isn’t the only place where assets are traded. In the world of pro cycling a team owner will regard riders as assets. Some teams do this openly, for others managers it’s more of a subconscious calculation.

Either way, teams need to put a value on a rider in order to decide whether to hire him. There are various factors at play. Obviously a star rider has a high price but this is based on expectations about his ability to win future races more than his stock of past wins. In addition, can the rider contribute to the team, whether in riding or via other means, from leadership to a sense of humour? Will the rider bring additional sponsors? Will the the rider keep away from scandal?

Past performance is a guide to the future
So far all these questions involve the future tense, they are about what the rider might offer once they’ve been signed. It’s like stockmarket assessing the outlook for, say, Nestlé or General Motors. It’s not so much what has happened in the past but how things will turn out in the future, what will happen to sales and profits. But there’s a new factor at play in cycling that is not about the future but the past: ranking points.

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GreenEdge – the trail goes cold

You might remember the suggestions on The Inner Ring that new Aussie team Green Edge Cycling might have been resorting to the use of secret pre-contracts with riders. Time for an update. I’ve been in contact with the team’s backers and this has been denied in clear terms. But in public the riders linked to … Read more