TRANSFER ANALYSIS #3: As teams hire, fire and sort their rosters, ‘Super-Team’ Jumbo-Visma gets stronger, and Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux, who punched way above their weight look poised for a solid season ahead. Spencer Martin looks at this week’s team shuffle news…
Transfers at Jumbo-Visma and Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
In the third installment of the Weekly Transfer Analysis, I’ve selected two more interesting teams that are undergoing divergent transfer seasons. The sport’s current super team, Jumbo-Visma, has continued to strengthen their squad with yet another well-considered and aggressive transfer season, while 2022’s surprise overperformer, Intermarché, has struggled to both retain existing and recruit new talent.
Chaves with EF for two more years
An update on last week’s post is that EF Education has re-signed Esteban Chaves with a two-year contract extension, or that he already had a three-year contract according to EF manager Jonathan Vaughters. While the 32-year-old Chaves appears unable to recapture the peak form that propelled him to an Il Lombardia victory and two grand tour podiums during the 2016 season, he still represents a unique climbing talent who can get results and UCI points on parcours far above his pay grade. This is a great decision from both EF, who gets a talented rider on a budget contract, and Chaves, who gets two more seasons in a program that has seen him partly recapture his form and show flashes of his former self.
More big wins in 2023 for the men in yellow
- Notable new signings: Wilco Kelderman (Bora), Dylan van Baarle (Ineos), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain), Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), Thomas Gloag (Trinity)
- Notable departing riders: Tom Dumoulin (retired), Mike Teunissen (Intermarché), Chris Harper (BikeExchange), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto), David Dekker (Arkéa)
- Notable unsigned riders: N/A
- Roster spots remaining: 1 (neo-pro/rookie only)
- Pro Cycling Stats Points In/Out: +1304
Van Baarle and Kelderman will race with Jumbo-Visma in 2023
The good news for the Dutch superteam is that they have strengthened their squad over the off-season and are currently sitting in 3rd place in terms of net Pro Cycling Stats (PCS) points added over this off-season, the bad news, at least for the rest of sport, is that the team who houses one of cycling’s most talented riders (Wout van Aert), won the sport’s biggest race (Tour de France), the UCI points title, and the race win title in 2022, continues to get stronger. While they’ve lost former superstar Tom Dumoulin and extremely talented/versatile riders like Mike Teunissen, they have continued to add riders who can bolster both their GC and one-day teams with Wilco Kelderman and Dylan van Baarle.
- The team’s headline additions, Wilco Kelderman and most recent Paris-Roubaix winner Dylan van Baarle add serious talent and depth to an already talented and deep team. The 31-year-old Kelderman’s move likely signals he has given up his role as a true team GC leader and that he is planning to slot into the next phase of his career as a highly-paid domestique. Meanwhile, Van Baarle is uniquely positioned as a rider who can act as a viable second leader behind Wout van Aert in the one-day classics while also delivering extremely valuable domestic work in a grand tour.
- Van Baarle’s arrival means the Jumbo now has two one-day riders, Van Aert and Van Baarle, who can win one-day classics and grand tour stages while also serving as both flatland and mountain domestiques in a grand tour. This gives the team an advantage over their GC rivals like UAE since they have multiple riders who can serve more than one role in a grand tour team.
- Unfortunately for their competition, the talent influx doesn’t stop with Van Baarle, with the Slovenian veteran Jan Tratnik adding even more versatility and support across both hilly one-days and grand tours, and the extremely hig-upside 24-year-old Attila Valter coming over from FDJ as a potential future star for the team.
- The loss of Dumoulin, due to his past successes as a leader, dominates the team’s off-season on paper, but, in practice, he hadn’t contributed much to the team since his mini-retirement back in 2021 and the team will be able to easily replace his contribution from their extremely deep bench.
- Both Mike Teunissen and Pascal Eenkhoorn are extremely talented riders capable of offering work as domestiques and the ability to win races in their own right, but the deep nature of Jumbo’s roster meant that I never felt they could truly find their niche and hit their stride. Their respective new squads, Intermarché and Lotto, will offer much more ideal situations for both to truly reach their full potential.
Mike Teunissen from Jumbo to Intermarché
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Materiaux
- Notable new signings: Rui Costa (UAE), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo), Lilian Calmejane (AG2R), Dion Smith (BikeExchange)
- Notable departing riders: Alexander Kristoff (One-X), Jan Hirt (Lotto), Quinten Hermans (Alpecin)
- Notable unsigned riders: Domenico Pozzovivo, Jan Bakelants
- Roster spots remaining: 2
- Pro Cycling Stats Points In/Out: -2231
More to come from Biniam Girmay
The scrappy Belgian squad outperformed their pre-season BTP NET projections with an incredibly impressive season that saw them compete, and win, across a wide range of events with an extremely aggressive style of racing and a mix of previously unknown young talent (Biniam Girmay, Quinten Hermans) and somewhat forgotten veterans (Alexander Kristoff, Louis Meintjes). The 2022 team makeup, which seemed like an odd hodgepodge mix 12 months ago, proved to be extremely potent throughout the season, however, the program doesn’t appear to have kept up its momentum this off-season, with its deficit of 2,231 PCS points underlining this struggle.
- Mike Teunissen is a fantastic addition to Jumbo. As mentioned above, his former team did n’t have the elbow room to allow him to race for himself on too many occasions, but he could flourish as a one-day and stage-hunting co-leader with Biniam Girmay.
- Rui Costa brings veteran experience to the team, but with the 36-year-old former World Champion winless over the last two seasons, he will most likely fill a mentor/support role. The 29-year-old Lilian Calmejane has multiple grand tour stage wins to his name, but the fact that he is without a win since 2019 means he is more of a restoration project than a sure thing. 29-year-old New Zealander Dion Smith is more consistent at big one-day races than many would assume, but can’t be counted on for a large volume of wins and UCI points.
- While the team has failed to bring on a large volume of talent so far, they have lost their 1st (Alexander Kristoff), 5th (Quinten Hermans), and 6th (Jan Hirt) highest-producing riders from 2022.
- The 35-year-old Kristoff might have been consistent during his time with the team, but going home to Norway with Uno-X is a natural step towards finishing his career. What will sting is the losing the 31-year-old Hirt, who is a supremely talented climber and stage hunter, and the 27-year-old Hermans, who emerged as a massive talent in 2022 with a 2nd place finish at Liège-Bastogne – Liège.
- The hole left by these departures leaves Intermarché in a desperate enough situation where a late pickup of the currently teamless Nairo Quintana (see below) could start to seem like a solid option.
- In terms of unsigned riders, parting ways with the 36-year-old Jan Bakelants likely makes sense, but, even at 39-year-olds old, Domenico Pozzovivo still represents great value due to his ability to rack up UCI points while riding into a top ten overall Giro d’Italia finish without little-to-no support.
- Teams that outperform their talent level as Intermarché did in 2022 usually experience a reversion to the mean the following season, but with such a poor transfer season and having experienced an exodus of production, a crash back to earth is now even more likely for the Cinderella squad in 2023.
The loss of Hirt (and Pasqualon) might hurt
Free Agent Update: Cavendish to Ineos Rumors & Quintana Struggling to Find a Home For 2023
For yet another week, the two big stories when it comes to unsigned free-agent riders are the veterans Mark Cavendish and Nairo Quintana. With Cavendish’s preferred landing spot of B&B Hotels looking more and more likely as they continue to miss deadlines for 2023 sponsor commitments and team registration, it is becoming clear that if the 37-year-old sprinter wants one more shot at breaking the Tour de France stage win record he will have to find another team willing to take on his substantial salary, as well as roster and schedule demands (some sort of leadout support and a Tour de France starting spot).
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Back to Ineos for ‘Cav’?
This makes his former home of Ineos, who, after striking out on an off-season acquisition of Remco Evenepoel, appears to have turned their eye to Cavendish as a potential option, since the British sprinter’s push for Eddy Merckx’s Tour stage win record would give the squad a wave of media attention at home and distract from the fact that despite their sport-leading budget, they don’t have a roster capable of challenging for the overall Tour title.
Cavendish only need one more Tour stage win for the record
While Cavendish appears to have multiple options for 2023, the strange case of Nairo Quintana’s missing team continues to roll on. After being booted out of his Arkéa–Samsic team following a disqualification from the 2022 Tour de France due to a positive test for the painkiller tramadol, the 32-year-old six-time grand tour podium finisher appears to be struggling to find a viable team for 2023.
Will we see ‘Nairoman’ fly in 2023?
This struggle was underlined after Quintana gave a strange and scattered interview this past week while back home in Colombia that suggested he did not have a ride locked down for the quickly upcoming season and where he floated the idea of returning to his former Movistar team, despite Quintana leaving the team on poor terms at the end of the 2019 season and there is no available roster spots on the Spanish outfit. Providing yet another challenge for a potential Quintana to Movistar move is the fact that former lead Arkea director Yvan Ledanois, who has been publicly critical of Quintana, has moved over to a management position at Movistar in the off-season, which adds yet another seemingly insurmountable hurdle for a Quintana return. With available roster spots quickly disappearing and the remaining ones at a premium, Quintana can’t afford to be too picky if he wants to ride again at the top level in 2023.
Chaves has a team for 2023 – Quintana….
# Spencer Martin is the author of the cycling-analysis newsletter Beyond the peloton that breaks down the nuances of each race and answers big picture questions surrounding team and rider performance. Sign up now to get full access to all the available content and race breakdowns. #