Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Transfer Talk

The Tour de France is always a key moment in the world of transfer gossip with riders regularly cutting deals during the race. Come the end of the race and things become even more serious with many of the big names considering the end of the Tour as the end of their competitive year - add to that the fact that many riders out of contract at the end of the year will be fighting hard to put in a performance between now and September and of course the rumour mill gets into full swing. Here's a quick look at the rumours so far...

The Schlecks
It's no rumour that the Schlecks will once again ride together next year at the newly formed Trek team next year but Franks ban is up and he was supposed to compete at this years Vuelta, only Flavio Becca has made an offer for Frank to ride the remainder of the season with RadioShack, but its an offer Schleck and his lawyer describe as "he made what he believed to be an offer but which we do not feel to be fair. For us, this proposal is not one. We can not consider it. That is where we are at the moment.” That doesn't sound promising and Frank says himself he could see out the remainder of the season with another team - he's open to offers but who will take him?...

Bradley Wiggins
It's no secret that Wiggo and Froome are no longer best of friends - in fact the relationship remains pretty icy and with Froome look set to be Sky's number 1 priority in coming seasons is it time Wiggins looked for a ride elsewhere? No doubt seeing both riders go head to head at next years Tour would be a remarkable thing, but Wiggins wages are going to be costly, so who has the money? OPQS could bite but I'm not sure Cavendish would be too happy while BMC seems to be the graveyard for ex Tour winners and World Champs...

Laurens ten Dam
Along with Mollema, ten Dam has had a remarkable Tour and both will go on to ride the Vuelta which should make for some interesting stages. Problem is ten Dam's contract with Belkin comes to a close at the end of the season and nothing is so far set in stone. There are even rumours he might ride for Sky next year and with some high-science backing ten Dam could become quite a prospect and a very decent purchase. Beware though, Astana look to be quite interested too...

Dayer Quintana
Recognise the name? Of course, but this isn't Nairo, instead it's his 22 year old younger brother and it looks like he's done a deal to join Movistar next year. An accomplished team this year with thanks to Costa, Quintana, Valverde and a host of strong domestiques, their Sky'esq scientific approach appears to be paying off. If one man can challenge Froome in years to come it's Nairo Quintana and if his brother is anywhere near as talented then they could become a force to be reckoned with and really pull a stunt on Froome. It would be like the Schlecks only far more dangerous...

Tom Slagter
The 24 years old Dutchman has made his mark this year with victory overall in the Tour Down Under. He can climb, he can ride the classics and he's super aggressive - a real prospect for the future. He's currently with Belkin but looks set to spend next year with Garmin-Sharp and it could be a career defining move. A decent team for a decent rider with growing stage race ambitions.

Rigoberto Uran
Sky's tip for the Vuelta and one of a number of Colombians on the march through the pro-ranks is off to OPQS next year as their chief Grand Tour prospects capable of putting up a fight in the hilly classics too. I'm not so sure it's a good move for Uran with a team currently built around a sprinter but rumour is it's the cheque book doing the talking. Time will tell.

Alessandro Petacchi
The ageing sprinter returns to the top flight next year with OPQS with one purpose - Leading out Cavendish. It nearly came to fruition earlier this year but red tape got in the way. Will be good to see him at the pointy end again and his wealth of experience should come in handy for the Manxman.

Mark Renshaw
The Pelotons worst kept secret? Probably. He's not made it as a sprinter for Belkin (and neither has Theo Bos) and so it's back to being the world best lead-out man for the worlds best sprinter. Renshaw will find himself leading Mark Cavendish on the Champs next year with OPQS.

So far so good, there looks to be some interesting moves being made and cards being played. As the season rolls on so will the rumours and I'll begin the official 2013 Transfer talk series...

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