Who’s moving where for 2013? #1

From the sublime to the ridiculous, sporting transfer gossip offers no end of opportunities for speculation and distraction. Suffice to say, cycling is no different. This weekly column will bring you up to speed with the latest, greatest (and downright absurd) cycling rumours for your own examination and contemplation.

Joaquim Rodriguez – Katusha to terminate contract?

Image courtesy of Katusha

According to reports in Spain, Joaquim Rodriguez’s future at Katusha is uncertain, and is considering at a contract termination unless he is offered terms which he feels reflects his achievements this season. It is believed that Purito is unhappy with the deal being offered by the Katusha management, with his representative Angel Edo stating new terms must have ‘better economic conditions’ and last until 2015. Source (in Spanish)

With such quotes being attributed to his agent, there’s clearly some fire beneath all of this smoke. But with Purito having had such a strong season – possibly the best of his career – alongside already having a contract for 2013, it is unlikely we will see him leaving Katusha in the near future. The behaviour of his manager smacks of classic bargaining, trying to squeeze every last penny out of the management for his client’s new deal. Needless to say, Katusha would be daft to let their only true Grand Tour contender leave, and their management aren’t exactly strapped for cash.

Pippo Pozzato – Farnese Vini to Katusha or Movistar?

Image courtesy of Farnese Vini

Pippo Pozzato’s step down from Katusha to Farnese Vini-Selle Italia prior to the start of this season came as something of a surprise. He remains only 31-years old, and his podium and top ten at the Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Milan-San Remo respectively this season demonstrates he’s still a rider capable of winning the biggest Classics. Now he is being linked with a move back to the top flight with a return to Katusha or Spanish outfit Movistar. Source (in Spanish)

I’d certainly rate a move to one of these teams as likely for a rider who is simply too good to ride for a Pro-Continental team. The question is, which one? Pozzato has prior experience at Katusha, and it is possibly they who are better suited for supporting him in the northern Classics. However, should he want a change of scenery, Movistar would be a very interesting switch.

Jack Bobridge – Orica-GreenEDGE to Rabobank?

Image courtesy of Orica-GreenEDGE

It is being reported that the talented 23-year old Australian Jack Bobridge is attracting the attention of Rabobank. The talented time-trialist was the Australian national champion in his preferred discipline last year, and could replace compatriot Michael Matthews at the Dutch outfit, with the sprinter heading the other way to the Aussie-backed squad for 2013. Source (in Dutch)

It’s certainly an interesting rumour, but isn’t necessarily likely. Bobridge is believed to have signed a two-year contract at GreenEDGE which extends into next season, and could prove to be a stumbling block. However, Bobridge – who was heralded as a huge talent when at Garmin a couple of seasons ago – has had a relatively quiet campaign, and may be growing frustrated.

Marzio Bruseghin – Movistar to Saxo Bank?

Image courtesy of Movistar

Italian veteran Marzio Bruseghin is reportedly attracting the interest of the Saxo Bank team and, more specifically, Alberto Contador. The 2012 Vuelta winner has apparently requested that Bruseghin be signed, despite being 38 years old. He is nevertheless excellent on the climbs, finishing 14th in last year’s Vuelta, and 17th in this year’s Giro d’Italia – a race in which he won a stage and finished on the podium in 2008. Source (in Danish)

Bruseghin would be a help in the mountains for a team who are short on good climbing domestiques. Alberto Contador’s struggle at last year’s Tour de France was largely as a result of having a weak team, while he was also often isolated in the recent Vuelta. Bruseghin’s signature would sit alongside Nicolas Roche’s as one which could be the difference between winning and losing a Grand Tour.

Happy Birthday to Cipo: The Comeback Kid

Mario Cipollini is 45 years young today.

‘Cipo’ is on the comeback trail again. It’s been recently reported that he’s looking to lend his wealth of experience – a palmares longer than his abundant locks – to Farnese Vini’s sprinter, Andrea Guardini, and even lead his sprint train. Nothing’s been reported on what Oscar Gatto, whose job is to lead the train thinks, although Pippo Pozzato’s been quite loquacious. In addition, Mario’s going to be a guinea pig, as opposed to a lion, tiger or whichever animal all those silly outfits were supposed to represent, for some sports scientists studying the effect of the passage of time on the performance of elite athletes.

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Igor Anton pozik urtebetetzea

Birthday boy (image courtesy of Euskaltel-Euskadi website)

Igor Anton pozik urtebetetzea 29an nahian.

That’s me wishing birthday boy Igor Anton “Happy Birthday” in Basque. Yes the boy from Galdakao in Vizcaya, celebrates his 29th birthday today. So please raise a glass of txakoli and pass around the pintxos to the man nicknamed ‘Fuji’. No, it’s not a comment on his exuberant use of hair gel, it’s a reference to the bike he had as youngster where he racked up 13 victories before passing through the ranks of the Euskaltel feeder squad and into the main team.

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