Thursday, 2 June 2011

Signatures required

Two of the big signatures that are up for grabs this year are Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish (not forgetting that current Belgian favourite Gilbert us up for grabs too). Both are big stars, one just really starting his career, and the other looking for a new lease of life beyond the age of 30.

So where will Tom go. This I think is a pretty tough one to call and not many teams scream out as being obvious. Quick Step will have first dibs and his relationship with key members of staff could signal a return signature. The likelihood if he does is that he'd finish his career there. BMC have been rumoured, but they seem to be connected to everyone at the moment. Boonen is reported to like Americans and American Teams (he was a Neo Pro at USPS) & would rejoin him with Hincapie (after 10 years). My gut reaction is that if he doesn't stay at Quick Step my punt would be Saxo. Since the depart of Fabian (& many others) to LEOPARD Trek they are lacking a real Classics leader. I know Nuyens had a great Flanders, but adding more firepower would offer a repeat chance of victory for the Team. Also Riis is renowned for reigniting riders careers when the embers are still flickering.

So to Cavendish and who will vie for his signature. Many will think that the SKY gig is a done deal, whereas I think it's the least likely destination for the Manx Missile. Staying at HTC would require some bridge building to make sure their star rider stays. I reckon it'll be a challenge as there is a lot of stuff that needs to be resolved. My top tip would go to BMC who seem to have a large cheque book. They were in the running for Fabian Cancellara's signature last year, supposedly offering a crazy amount of money (double LEOPARD) but he opted to stay with his 'band of brothers'. So cash won't be a problem for them. Instrumental in making the switch maybe the decision to reunite with old team makes, and especially Hincapie who has a key figure in Cavendish taking the San Remo win as he was Shepherded to the Poggio by the veteran rider. I do agree with certain commentators that he'd take Renshaw 'the fastest leadout man in the peloton' with him as a package deal

I'm sure that Cav would like the Impec technology, although from what I hear from the Specialized camp is that if he does go they'd better make a good aero bike (& quickly) as Mark has fallen for the Venge in a big way.

Wherever these riders go I'm sure it will be a busy period around the Tour de France, as officially they can't speak to Teams outside of their own until then. If you've any thoughts on where they, and the likes of other stars like Gilbert, Pozatto and others pop your response in the comments section below.

Posted via email from Sprinting for Signs's posterous

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