With transfer season approaching and teams disappearing, the dwindling number of races become very important for riders who will be looking for rides next year. Tour of Ireland and Eneco tour should have a more than a few riders desperate to impress-especially if they aren't doing the Vuelta. Rabobank are sending a strong team and a lot of sprinters will be present-including some JJ Haedo vs McEwen show downs. Schumacher will not be there to defend, nor Hincapie to avenge last years results.
Tour of Ireland has some heavy hitters-CSC is sending both the Schelck brothers. As usual Irish stage races have a heavy American presence and Navigators,Colavita, and Team Slipstream will all be there. Hard not to view this as a race between T-Mobile and CSC, but anything can happen on the road.
Slipstream is making moves and the domestic core of this team has got to be nervous about their job security. Millar,Backstedt,Vandevelde, and Zabriskie? Is the team really getting built around Millar for stage races? V and Z might be solid for the super domestique category and at least they have UCI points, but can Vaughters get them to a level that CSC hasn't??
In other transfer news, Hincapie to T-Mobile is up first. Probably a good move for him if he is getting a big paycheck, but as far as results??? Transfer to T-Mobile has equalled career over or wasted year for many before him...... And what does T-Mobile get? A savvy tactically astute veteran? NO. A no-excuses winner? NO. A handful of 3rds and 4ths and a lot of complaining? YES!
Ballan getting courted by AG2R???? Please don't do it. Ballan has had the breakout season of his career and deserves a good contract on a good team. Will there be anyone from AG2R with him at critical points in the one day classics when it counts?
Risky move if it happens. Lampre should pay up and keep him. The core of Ballan, Bennati, and Napolitano have gotten them most of their wins. Maybe the will try and build the team more around Cunego, but that seems risky based on what they accomplished this year.
With at least 2 teams departing and 2 other teams more or less dead in the water, that is going to leave a lot or riders looking for work. Maybe a very easy way to ease out some questionable riders? I hope so.
Outside of a handful of one day races in Italy that is about it until the Vuelta and the Worlds.
In non-cycling doping news SI.com is breaking some Baseball steroids news that could be major. I wonder how people will react if "scores" of names are published and will MLB take the kind of aggressive action cycling has?