Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Weekday Update: What the hell else is going on?

Since my time to write is limited, I have to pick and chose what to cover. Obviously with the Tour de l'Avenir going on, that is taking up the bulk of my attention. With a little spare time on my hands though, let's take a look back at a couple of the stories that have happened in the last week or so.

Hugh Carthy signs with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
In one of the more surprising transfer announcements, young British climber Hugh Carthy (Rapha-Condor JLT) has signed a two year deal with Pro Continental Caja Rural-Seguros RGA starting in 2015. In a deal apparently signed at the Circuito del Gexto, according to Biciciclismo, the tall drink of water (1.89 meters and just 63 kgs) from Preston, near Blackpool and the Irish Sea in the UK, has been a sensation this year at times. Carthy won the Tour de Korea and finished 2nd on two of the hardest climbing stages in the Tour of Japan to finish 6th overall. More recently, Carthy came over to race the USA Pro Confederation of Cyclists Colorado Challenge Monthly and while not being too adapt at high altitude, he was able to get in the final stage breakaway over Lookout Mountain and show himself off a bit.

On the outside, this move makes a bit of sense. Carthy is a pure climber and Caja Rural can offer him a calendar that will suit his needs better and could potential get him into the Vuelta a Espana if the cards lay out right. On the other hand, Caja Rural isn't exactly known for their development and Carthy is the only English-speaking rider to sign with Caja Rural since they re-incorporated in 2010. It will be interesting to see if he can handle the uptick in kilometers and a bigger, more frantic peloton. Another note in that article from above was that Caja Rural wanted young German sprinter Phil Bauhaus but he decided to remain at Stölting for 2015.

Perhaps an even more interesting story is the fact that Caja Rural could potentially lose their Pro Continental license. The full story is here with great reporting by ciclo21. Their bike sponsor, ViVelo, filed suit in a Bulgarian court alleging that Caja Rural never returned team bikes from 2012 and 2013, which apparently total to 1.33 million Euro, according to ViVelo. They also allege that their sponsor stickers were smaller on the team car than contracted and want 400 thousand Euro in damages for that. They are also pissed off about Luis Leon Sanchez using a BMC TM01 TT bike and putting some ViVelo stickers on it. Obviously, it would be hard for Caja Rural to repay 1.73 million euro back without killing the team and if this case persists, it could affect their money stream and their Pro Continental license.


-EFC-OPQS will have half of its name lopped off after Patrick Lefevere announced he will be pulling out support at the end of 2015. He cited that he was tired of investing money in a youth team when he wasn't keeping many of the home grown talent, who would go to Lotto-Belisol U23 or other teams. Well, Lefevere actually said that Kurt Van der Wouwer, Lotto U23 DS, poaches his talent. Lefevere has invested considerable personal monies into the team but now the EFC U23 structure as well as the Avia Crabbe junior team will need to find different sponsors for 2015 or face the ax. Lefevere was "forced" to create the Etixx team in 2013 after pressure from the UCI to have an official feeder team. It did seem redundant to have the two teams going concurrently but it is a bit sad to see such a storied program face an uncertain future.

-Jef Van Meirhaeghe escaped his breakaway companions including his Lotto-Belisol U23 teammate Frederick Frison in the final kilometers of the Belgian U23 Road Race Championship and was destined to take the biggest win of his career. He crested the final hill and even after some chain issues that saw him having to fix the chain manually on the move, he was able to hold off Bert Van Lerberghe by a bike length to take the championship. Van Lerberghe was disappointed in 2nd place as he always seems to be able to hit the top 5 but never take a big win.

-Jeremy Leveau took somewhat of a fluke win at the French U23 RR Championships last weekend after out-sprinting his 6 other breakaway companions that finished 18 seconds ahead of a speeding peloton led in by Marc Sarreau and Thomas Boudat. Hailing from Normandie, Leveau's dad and brother were both professionals for a little bit and while the VC Rouen rider has won a couple of races this year, he has never won anything of this caliber.

-Mathieu van der Poel has eschewed a U23-based calendar for one that suits his BKCP-Powerplus team. Not that it matters to much as van der Poel won the overall of the Baltic Chain Tour after hitting the podium on 4 out of 5 stages including a solo win on the 4th stage. Fellow U23 Phil Bauhaus won the final stage sprint ahead of Orica-GreenEdge sprinter Aidis Kruopis, who probably won't be World Tour for too much longer.

-Lampre stagiaire Ilya Koshevoy won his 5th race of the season at the GP Chianti Colline d'Elsa. Colline means hills and Koshevoy used his climbing skills that got him that Lampre deal to just away with 5 kilometers left in the race and won with 22 seconds on Mirco Maestri and 29 seconds on Paolo Toto.

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