The explosion of moving vans and trash piles on the sides of the street here in Boston can mean only one thing—it’s Transfer Day! Now riders are free to discuss their contracts for the upcoming season!
The prevalent theme seems to be the Columbia-HTC firesale, which shouldn’t be all that big a surprise. Cav is young and apparently not slower, which means if you’d like a shot at the sprints or even some of the flatter classics, your best bet is elsewhere.
Thus the departure of Marcus Burghardt (tipped yesterday by Alessandro Ballan) to BMC. If the squad really is acquiring Kroon and Hincapie as well, they’ll be a force to the reckoned with in the classics next spring.
Columbia’s success may also have hastened the departure of Edvald Boassen Hagen, who, to the surprise of no one, will end up at Team Sky, with fellow Norweigans Kurt Asle Arvesen and Lars Petter Nordhaug. The former may be getting up there in years, but anyone dismissing Grand Tour stages as “easy” and “nice” has a spot on my squad anytime. Aussie Simon Gerrans, who also seems to have a knack for Grand Tour stages, will be joining the Norweigans as well.
There are still rumors that Brad Wiggins is going to Sky as well, but seem to be just as many reports to the contrary (“Team Sky still looking for team leader for Grand Tours”). It’s beyond me why Wiggins, who finally broke through as a top Tour contender after years of struggling on the road, would leave the team that helped him break through.
At any rate, Garmin hasn’t exactly hedged their bets with their 2010 acquisitions—Fredrik Kessiakoff, the 27-year-old neo-pro, could have the potential to be refined into a contender, but the recent palmares of new signing Johan VanSummeren includes little more than running over an errant cat (who, I’m glad to report, ran safely clear after the collision).
On the other end of the sterling/shady scale, Team Katusha looked to power up its squad with all-rounder Kim Kirchen. Katusha had to do without Robbie McEwen much of the year, but nonetheless managed a respectable ratio of wins to doping positives. Still, here’s to hoping they do better in 2010.