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2013-2014 Domestic scene/transfers

jimycooperjimycooper Posts: 740
edited June 2014 in Pro race
I know there's a forum for general transfers but thought we could open one up for the UK scene which looks as hectic as ever with the usual roundabout of riders.

Unfortunately we've got UK Youth shutting down along with the recent news about sigma although 'taking a year out', with the news coming extremely late which is disappointing to see and makes it pretty tough for the riders to find contracts.

http://cqranking.com/men/asp/gen/transfers.asp

The maddest move must by Blythe's move to the newly continental NFTO. Massive step down at 24yrs old. I know his progress has stagnated recently but find it hard to imagine that he had no pro-conti offers. Have heard NFTO are throwing massive cash in though...

All the squads seemed to have strengthened;
Hawkins and Scully to Madion-Genesis
Blythe and the Downings to NFTO
Briggs and Opie to Rapha
Wilkinson and Barker to Raleigh

To me rapha have come out on top, proven crit winners and some incredibly talented light boys in Cuming, Handley and Moses but it's always hard to tell who'll have to momentum come the season with the domestic scene.

Thoughts?
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  • I'd agree, Rapha look good (admittedly they're my favourite team anyway, I really like John Herety's outlook and management)

    NFTO could be a bit all fur and no knickers

    As for what happened with Blythe...hmm...think he was on his last chance only because Pip and Sciandri had spoken up for him. Then out goes Lelangue and now Pieper's in charge...a bit more professionalism being applied to the way the team's run. Because its been playtime fontaine there...and Blythe doesnt have the best track record when it comes to self-discipline and cracking on with the hard yards
  • lyn1lyn1 Posts: 261
    It looks like a few new guys have come in for 2014 while a few others from this year have moved on. But predominantly it's musical chairs. The focusing of resources in fewer UCI teams may strengthen individual squads and the overall standard may be a touch up on this year, but still down on 2012….but that shouldn’t stop the hype :D
    In 2012 Endura brought in a model that no team could replicate in 2013 and I doubt any of the 2014 squads could get close to. Endura had such quality and strength in depth that they could run a dual UK and Foreign programme simultaneously, and furthermore, frequently win races on both fronts.
    This year the UCI teams spent a very high percentage of their time riding in the UK. When they did venture abroad to UCI races, in many cases the races were barely better than the Premiers. Hopefully, they will be able to put together better programmes for 2014 and expose their stronger riders to better competition, which in turn, should aid their development and gain them greater exposure with a view to stepping up a level...difficult though that will be in the current climate.
    Finally, I would reserve the term “incredibly talented” for those at the sharp end of Grand Tours.
  • lyn, how much of the strategy re the domestic teams racing outside the UK, is down to the depth in strength of their respective squads vs management decisions re race programmes vs budget?

    Reason I ask is that Rapha scored a fantastic win at Tour of Korea with Cuming, and I know Herety sets aside a decent budget for overseas races, and for Nov-Jan warm weather training over in Oz, and racing the Oz crits and the Sun Tour in Jan.

    Is it a question of the type of riders he has, or having a bigger budget to do this? or just that he puts a higher value on overseas racing and training in his budget than the other teams?
  • ProssPross Posts: 26,040
    I wouldn't be surprised to see NFTO go even higher in a few years. The team owner (who is riding for the team himself) certainly seems to have the finances. I believe that, as well as other businesses, he owns Swift bikes now that the team will be riding next season (they were on Cippos this year). This season below UCI level the team were provided with race and training bikes (possibly time trial bikes but not sure of that), plenty of kit, powermeters and overseas training camps. On top of that they were paid a decent amount too on the basis there's no point in providing a load of kit and then not putting the rider in a position where he can afford to train properly. The team manager was surprised when he found out how little kit some of the riders in the home based continental teams were being provided with.

    As well as Blythe and the Downings they have also signed Jon Mould from UK Youth, Dale Appleby from Metaltek? and Sam Harrison 100% ME.
  • lyn1lyn1 Posts: 261
    lyn, how much of the strategy re the domestic teams racing outside the UK, is down to the depth in strength of their respective squads vs management decisions re race programmes vs budget?

    Reason I ask is that Rapha scored a fantastic win at Tour of Korea with Cuming, and I know Herety sets aside a decent budget for overseas races, and for Nov-Jan warm weather training over in Oz, and racing the Oz crits and the Sun Tour in Jan.

    Is it a question of the type of riders he has, or having a bigger budget to do this? or just that he puts a higher value on overseas racing and training in his budget than the other teams?

    Probably a function of all these plus access problems. Many of the foreign .2 races appear to take one UK Conti team plus the Academy. Endura benefitted from their strength in that they ranked 2nd on the fictitious ranking, which gave automatic entry to many races (top 3 of the ranking). I think all the 2014 teams will struggle to make top 10 particularly with the number of WT and PC riders dropping into Conti level teams and bringing points with them.
    RCJLT were not the main focus of my comment as they did have a broader programme. Some of the others appeared to be restricted in squad quality, emphasised British sponsors and had limited budgets. If that's the case and results in little overseas exposure, one wonders why they bothered getting UCI registration, other than "guaranteed" entry to London Classic and TOB? I would have thought some of the ambitious Aus/NZ riders who come here see it as a conduit to Europe and must be disappointed when they realise much of their focus will be on non UCI races in the UK because the team has a limited overseas programme.
  • That certainly seems to be the case with most Aussies/Kiwis, Lachlan Norris and Mark O'Brien just two examples from this season at Raleigh. Luckily Norris has picked up a contract with Drapac for next season and O'Brien with Huon Genesys.
  • Blythe is a notorious alienator. Thrown off the academy, slept with all of his best mate's girlfriends, probably just rubbed BMC up the wrong way, rather than 'not being good enough.'


    Whoa, hold up there - Shagger Blythe??
  • I think next year will be a good one to watch the UK scene with lots of good riders moving teams, NFTO are going to be hard to beat with the Downings and Blythe but not sure they have the depth to try race lots in Europe or even do the Ras and still be at the sharp end in Tour Series and Prems, but you can be sure any race Russ or Blythe go to they will be a favourite. Madison have added some strength to their line up and if these other riders can help Bibby get results he is capable of they will be up there, they have Tobyn who seems to get forgotten about alot but don't think there was any more consistent rider in the Tour series that didn't win one. It will be interesting to see where the likes of Marcin, Pete Williams, Rob Partridge, Steve Lampier end up, could be some amateur teams with very strong riders in
  • poppitpoppit Posts: 926
    No IG Sigma Sport team next year.
    Eddy Merckx EMX-3
    Dolan L'Etape
    Cougar Zero Uno
    Genesis Core 50
    Planet X TOR
  • lyn1lyn1 Posts: 261
    I think next year will be a good one to watch the UK scene with lots of good riders moving teams, NFTO are going to be hard to beat with the Downings and Blythe but not sure they have the depth to try race lots in Europe or even do the Ras and still be at the sharp end in Tour Series and Prems, but you can be sure any race Russ or Blythe go to they will be a favourite. Madison have added some strength to their line up and if these other riders can help Bibby get results he is capable of they will be up there, they have Tobyn who seems to get forgotten about alot but don't think there was any more consistent rider in the Tour series that didn't win one. It will be interesting to see where the likes of Marcin, Pete Williams, Rob Partridge, Steve Lampier end up, could be some amateur teams with very strong riders in


    Maybe you have identified a way forward there. When you remove the 17 WT/PC Pros who can only do 3 races in the UK anyway, is there enough talent left, even allowing for foreign imports, to justify about 60-70 paid contracts? Every time another team declares they are going Conti it is seen as a positive, but is it, particularly if it is not sustainable? If there were only 2-3 strong UCI Conti teams (plus the Academy) with the remainder being amateur/semi pro, the cost for those sponsors would be significantly reduced and may provide more interest and longevity. They would however, still get good exposure as these teams would still get into the reconstituted Premiers, Tour Series and Elite Circuit Series. The stronger UCI teams could ride their better guys in Europe with development riders focusing more (but not exclusively) on the UK to avoid crushing the teams of amateurs/semi pros. I guess my issue is.....is the UK scene (ignoring the top 17) over-professionalised given the talent pool?
  • ProssPross Posts: 26,040
    Given the talent that has started coming through the BC system I'd say the UK is under-professionalised if anything in terms of teams and races. Partly this is down to the track emphasis but also there is a lack of opportunity for UK riders who don't fit into the academy system. The route is almost entirely BC then on to Sky. Luckily some riders such as Martin and Blythe have managed to do it the old way. The problem is you need enough UCI races in the UK to encourage UCI Pro Conti teams or sponsors who are prepared to back a team to race mainly outside the country. The problem with the UK pro scene has always been that it is reliant on lots of small teams with a few bigger teams that can dominate domestic racing (every bike shop seems to have a couple of sponsored riders these days!). It would be far better to have 100 'pro' riders spread over 7 or 8 strong teams that 3 strong teams and a load of squads of 5 riders or less.

    That said, compared to the 90s the pro scene is thriving. It just needs more than a diet of crits with a smattering of road races - there needs to be a National A or UCI level race pretty much every week.

    Hadn't realised Sigma were stopping, I recently found out one of their riders is in my village (when I thought he was a fraud on Strava as I didn't recognise his name and he was taking a load of Strava segments of very good racing cyclists!).
  • Ed-tronEd-tron Posts: 165
    Not sure if mentioned, but Cycling Weekly said Blythe had one year left on his contract with BMC, but NFTO bought him out of it.

    Perhaps that means the Blythe move is a combination of BMC pulling up their socks, NFTO having some cash, and Blyth taking the option to jump before being pushed later.

    Edit. Relating to the professionalism chat, I see (via Twitter) after her recent UHC contract, Hannah Barnes has been able to quit her waitressing job.
  • mfinmfin Posts: 6,724
    New teams based on 'buying their way in from nowhere' is ok, but it can built on nothing of substance really but just an abundance of cash. It's easy to spin a concept of 'development' one way or another as we're used to the management speak in lots of sports, it doesn't mean it will actually have evolved on the merit of gradually built results and a natural pace of upward evolution though. There's often treading of toes and all sorts, but buying your way in can create a great start-point, but that is in truth sometimes what it really is. Older style values and principals sometimes aren't there.

    Interesting to see how Rapha and Raleigh do this year though.
  • ocdupalaisocdupalais Posts: 3,809
    mfin wrote:
    New teams based on 'buying their way in from nowhere' is ok, but it can built on nothing of substance really but just an abundance of cash. It's easy to spin a concept of 'development' one way or another as we're used to the management speak in lots of sports, it doesn't mean it will actually have evolved on the merit of gradually built results and a natural pace of upward evolution though. There's often treading of toes and all sorts, but buying your way in can create a great start-point, but that is in truth sometimes what it really is. Older style values and principals sometimes aren't there.

    Apparently, "you can't buy class". This is why they invented PR and marketing...
  • Coach HCoach H Posts: 1,092
    Pross wrote:
    The problem with the UK pro scene has always been that it is reliant on lots of small teams with a few bigger teams that can dominate domestic racing (every bike shop seems to have a couple of sponsored riders these days!). It would be far better to have 100 'pro' riders spread over 7 or 8 strong teams that 3 strong teams and a load of squads of 5 riders or less.

    That said, compared to the 90s the pro scene is thriving. It just needs more than a diet of crits with a smattering of road races - there needs to be a National A or UCI level race pretty much every week.

    This must be 'continuous improvement' as in the 80's, apart from Raleigh Banana and a couple of others, it was all two man teams and single 'Privateers'. Come the Kellogs Tour where a 5 man team was the minimum there was the strange situation of the the 2 man teams hiring 3 Privateers for the duration and then releasing them again. Itwas generally a nightmare for teamwork only made to work by the overall collegate culture that existed at the time.

    The progression may be slow and, outside of BC/Sky, still not really provide a feeder environment for World Tour but it is progress from the wonderfully insular days of the 80's
    Coach H. (Dont ask me for training advice - 'It's not about the bike')
  • ocdupalaisocdupalais Posts: 3,809
    Coach H wrote:
    The progression may be slow and, outside of BC/Sky, still not really provide a feeder environment for World Tour but it is progress from the wonderfully insular days of the 80's


    Since the last Tour visit in 2007:
    The World's number 1 rated nation on the track,
    home to the top rated pro team...
    2 x Tour winners, men + women + junior RR World champs, multiple Olympic champs on the road (let alone track)...
    Live Tour coverage on non-satellite TV
    A magazine TV show about all things bike...
    Massive rise in number of cyclists and journeys made by bike...


    If, after the 2014 Tour visit, we can't fill that gaping void of domestic racing/sponsorship, we should be taken out and shot.
    And when I say "we" I mean "them"...
  • Hence why our local pro is still looking, Mr Lampier.
  • i heard motorpoint were coming back, so hopefully Steve will get something, ironic after arguably his best year it is the year he ends up with nothing. But then you look at Marcin who won the Ras without a team. Still to hear who is in this new KTM team that said. I think the UK needs to put on more races that bring foreign teams in, think how many UK guys go to France and Belgium to race yet how many French and Belgian riders come to the UK. People keep talking about how good shape british cycling is with Sky doing so well and GB winning so much at the olympics but when your national road race series doesn't even have 10 rounds i don't think you can claim that.
  • 100% agree with your last sentence.
  • ProssPross Posts: 26,040
    Yep. I'd love to know what bureaucracy the French have to go through to hold races on the road with rolling closures. Unfortunately many of the old Star Trophy / Premier Calendar races have folded due to the costs of running them safely. It should be right at the top of BC's agenda as we'll never get a thriving top flight domestic race scene otherwise. Add to that very few of the Elite riders are truly professional - many are lucky to get a race bike, one set of kit and their entries paid. To me, a professional cyclist is one that gets paid to race a bike. Does anyone know (outside of Pro Tour / Pro Conti riders) roughly how many UK cyclists fall into that category?
  • ocdupalaisocdupalais Posts: 3,809
    Pross wrote:
    Yep. I'd love to know what bureaucracy the French have to go through to hold races on the road with rolling closures. Unfortunately many of the old Star Trophy / Premier Calendar races have folded due to the costs of running them safely. It should be right at the top of BC's agenda as we'll never get a thriving top flight domestic race scene otherwise.

    There has to be the impetus on a political level along with some joined up thinking, innit...
    When you think the vast majority of British Cycling funding comes from government purse, where's the encouragement of local authorities, police, etc, to work out their issues and enable that "difficult middle area" of racing (more than town centre crits; not quite Tour of Britain) to develop?
    I imagine that this is a obstacle that BC have been bashing their collective heads against for decades...
  • Pross wrote:
    Yep. I'd love to know what bureaucracy the French have to go through to hold races on the road with rolling closures. Unfortunately many of the old Star Trophy / Premier Calendar races have folded due to the costs of running them safely. It should be right at the top of BC's agenda as we'll never get a thriving top flight domestic race scene otherwise. Add to that very few of the Elite riders are truly professional - many are lucky to get a race bike, one set of kit and their entries paid. To me, a professional cyclist is one that gets paid to race a bike. Does anyone know (outside of Pro Tour / Pro Conti riders) roughly how many UK cyclists fall into that category?


    I think most of the top UK conti riders get15-25k, rumours of blythe and russ downing being on mega bucks too. There was a bit of a debate on twitter last week with Tim Kennaugh, Ant McCrossen and a few others as to at what stage you can call yourself pro, some were saying if you ride for a conti team, others we saying it depended how much you earn...
  • lyn1lyn1 Posts: 261
    Pross wrote:
    Yep. I'd love to know what bureaucracy the French have to go through to hold races on the road with rolling closures. Unfortunately many of the old Star Trophy / Premier Calendar races have folded due to the costs of running them safely. It should be right at the top of BC's agenda as we'll never get a thriving top flight domestic race scene otherwise. Add to that very few of the Elite riders are truly professional - many are lucky to get a race bike, one set of kit and their entries paid. To me, a professional cyclist is one that gets paid to race a bike. Does anyone know (outside of Pro Tour / Pro Conti riders) roughly how many UK cyclists fall into that category?


    I think most of the top UK conti riders get15-25k, rumours of blythe and russ downing being on mega bucks too. There was a bit of a debate on twitter last week with Tim Kennaugh, Ant McCrossen and a few others as to at what stage you can call yourself pro, some were saying if you ride for a conti team, others we saying it depended how much you earn...

    I reckon if you can earn enough to just get by then you're pro. Some guys on top amateur (non-UCI) teams in the UK get about 6-10k, which I would consider enough to call yourself 'pro.'

    If its 6-10k for non UCI and 15-25k for better Conti then it sounds like there has been wage inflation but cannot see why. The standard is likely to be down a touch on 2012 and the market is in decline, so excess supply should logically lead to prices falling. No wonder sponsors are disappearing. A number of Endura riders who are now Pro Conti and were winning Tour Series, Premiers and Elite Circuit Race series last year were right at the bottom end of that Conti range and they were supposed to be some of the better paid in the UK. If some of these current Conti lads ever become good enough to move up a level they may find themselves on less money :wink: Given the number of experienced WT and PC riders having to drop to Conti level, you could probably have picked some of them up for minimum wage and built much stronger teams, although I do not suppose they would be happy doing shed loads of British crits.
  • ProssPross Posts: 26,040
    I was told by someone recruiting riders that he was amazed that some sponsored riders approaching him only got the loan of one bike plus one or two sets of kit. I think they had to pay for anything above that but possibly with a discount. Every bike shop seems to have someone riding for them these days. For me a professional cyclist is one whose main income comes from racing a bike.
  • tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 16,056
    Believe that a farther shore
    Is reachable from here.
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    And cures and healing wells
  • http://www.velouk.net/2014/01/08/interv ... o-cycling/

    Interesting interview with Blythe explaining his return to the domestic scene.
    I guess he'll have to clean up next year (which would make for dull viewing) to get straight back up to world tour or pro conti squad, and if he doesn't then he may get stuck in the rut of British domestic conti teams for a couple years

    weird one
  • jimycooper wrote:
    http://www.velouk.net/2014/01/08/interview-adam-blythe-nfto-pro-cycling/

    Interesting interview with Blythe explaining his return to the domestic scene.
    I guess he'll have to clean up next year (which would make for dull viewing) to get straight back up to world tour or pro conti squad, and if he doesn't then he may get stuck in the rut of British domestic conti teams for a couple years

    weird one


    Hmm. Whenever I read a Larry Hickmott interview, it always reads like its been written by a 15 year old for a fanzine.

    But I digress.
  • gpreevesgpreeves Posts: 454
    jimycooper wrote:
    http://www.velouk.net/2014/01/08/interview-adam-blythe-nfto-pro-cycling/

    Interesting interview with Blythe explaining his return to the domestic scene.
    I guess he'll have to clean up next year (which would make for dull viewing) to get straight back up to world tour or pro conti squad, and if he doesn't then he may get stuck in the rut of British domestic conti teams for a couple years

    weird one

    Thanks for posting, I hope that doesn't happen.

    I haven't seen a great deal of him since he got into the Canc/Boonen/Flecha group on an echelons stage in Qatar in 2012. It'd be great to see him back in such good company very soon.
  • MartinGTMartinGT Posts: 475
    i heard motorpoint were coming back, so hopefully Steve will get something, ironic after arguably his best year it is the year he ends up with nothing. But then you look at Marcin who won the Ras without a team. Still to hear who is in this new KTM team that said. I think the UK needs to put on more races that bring foreign teams in, think how many UK guys go to France and Belgium to race yet how many French and Belgian riders come to the UK. People keep talking about how good shape british cycling is with Sky doing so well and GB winning so much at the olympics but when your national road race series doesn't even have 10 rounds i don't think you can claim that.

    BC concentrate on two things

    Gold Medals
    Yellow Jersey via Sky.

    They keep doing well on these, they keep getting the lottery money.

    The domestic scene is a joke and I have 'spoken' with Stef Wyman a couple of times on Twitter about it. They couldn't give a rats ring about the domestic scene. Its a nightmare trying to get a race organised, getting information from BC etc, its a nightmare, a total amateurish setup.

    The RR National Champs at Stanfordham and the shocking one at Amplethorpe highlight this. Both great courses, but poor facilities etc for the spectators. The National Champs at Pendle were great. Cant comment on Glasgow as I didn't attend, however I am assuming that was decent too given it was a try out for the Commonwealth games.

    The Premier Calender is shrinking year on year, its a sad state of affairs.
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