Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Tuesday Shorts: Tiernan-Locke On The Move, Roche Helping Contador? And A Very Angry Valverde...

It's been a busy day and not just in La Vuelta as riders continue to look for new deals and certain handshakes are made. Though things haven't been so friendly in Spain where Valverde and Movistar fell foul to some underhand Sky tactics. Here is a round-up of all the happenings today...

Jon Tiernan-Locke IS On The Move
It's been confirmed today that the Endura rider will NOT be riding for the continental team (or pro-continental, we are getting to that!) next year and will be making the step up to WorldTour stardom, though who with is still not 100% certain. I have been told by a reliable source that the move to Sky is a done deal though any announcement will not be made until after the Tour of Britain this year. Brian Smith (Endura team manager) gave away as much saying "What I know for a fact is that he has signed a letter of intent of signing with Team Sky" - Sky declined to comment as per their strict rules on discussing riders under contract elsewhere. Garmin have also been named as a team looking to sign the British talent.

Endura To Merge With Pro-Continental Squad
Having failed to secure the sponsorship needed to make the step up from Continental to Pro-Continental, Brian Smith's team look set to merge with a Pro-Continental team said to have ridden their first Grand Tour this year, minus of course Jon Tiernan-Locke. Though it's still speculation as to who the team is it is widely rumoured to be NetApp. Endura Director Jim McFarlane said “It’s quite possible but nothing is confirmed or finalised. You can expect to see something confirmed one way or another by the end of next week. I can’t say which team as there’s a confidentiality context as well. I can confirm that there are serious conversations that are well developed in that area.”

Alejandro Valverde Fuming Over Time Loss
When Sky Attacked in today's stage of La Vuelta just as Valverde hit the deck with 20km to go it did come across very unsporting - though it's something Valverde and his Movistar team have been blasted for doing themselves in the past. Valverde chased furiously to try to get back on as Sky put the hammer down at the front apparently unawares that he had crashed. Valverde crossed the line 55 seconds down, losing the leaders jersey and visibly upset - he rode straight round to the Sky bus where he politely confronted Sky riders and management, accusing them even of 'causing' the crash in which Valverde fell and then attacking at the head of the race, something which Sky have denied with team Sky Director (and former team-mate of Valverde) Nicholas Portal: “the race was open, we attacked and then this happens. We didn’t want it to happen that way. It’s a very difficult situation. I don’t think our riders were responsible for making Alejandro fall.”

Nico Roche Helping Future Team-Mate Contador?
Though we know Roche has decent climbing legs, he's never usually spotted riding off the front of Alberto Contador and Chris Froome in what is a very select group of climbers, though it's likely to be more than just good form - Roche recently signed a deal that will see him move from his current AG2R team to Saxobank-Tinkoff Bank for the 2013 season where he has already admitted he probably won't be taking as much of a leadership role and will likely ride the Tour as domestique to Contador. Today looked like some early service work for his future team leader and scenario's like this are not uncommon as we saw in the Olympic road race, though it does make the whole transfer system seem farcical as not only is Roche helping another team directly but the UCI ranking points he took today from a high finish will also carry over to SaxoBank-Tinkoff Bank next year rather than stay with current team AG2R - a points system that Roche himself described as 'Crazy' yesterday, now that's crazy...

Wiggins Will NOT Ride World TT Championships
Bradley Wiggins has opted out of riding the World Time Trial Championships this year which isn't greatly surprising as we see him take a break from riding and training whilst enjoying a holiday in Spain. I can't help but thinking it would have made his incredible season palmares look even better had he taken the title though, however Wiggins said he's comfortable in the knowledge that the Olympic TT title is the one everybody wants. Is that true Brad or is it just that Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara (who have been struggling with fitness and injuries all year) will be back to full fitness by the time the World TT comes around? After all, it would be a shame to see that unbeaten run of TT wins come to an end...

1 comment:

  1. Nice round up for those of us on the road and unable to follow cycling news. I've just caught up on your last few posts. Thanks. Keep up the good work.