segunda-feira, 26 de novembro de 2012

Argos or Saxo?

According to the latest news, these two teams are fighting for the last WorlTour spot. The first 15 teams on the WorldTour ranking plus FDJ and Lotto-Bellisol seem to have their licenses secured. So the UCI has to decide if Argos Shimano gets the license or if the Saxo-Tinkoff, as is now name, gets it.

If we look at ranking, Argos-Shimano should be in the WorldTour next year, because they're 16th and Saxo is only 20th. So there is no discussion in that matter.

But should we look only to the ranking? I think not. I think that the quality of each team's riders and the ability of each team to go to every race on the WorldTour calendar with a possibilty of winning should be the decisive criteria in which team gets the license. And, to me, Saxo is a far better team than Argos.

Saxo-Tinkoff has the best rider in the world, Alberto Contador who is able to fight for any general classification of any race in the world. Look at this year's Eneco Tour, which didn't suit Contador, and he still  placed 4th. So with spaniard you have a rider who will target four or five WorldTour races and fight for the win in all of them.  But, Saxo isn't only Contador. They also have Kreuziguer, Nicolas Roche, very good GC riders, and Matti Breschel, who will fight for the classics. Other good riders are Daniele Bennati, Oliver Zaugg and Rafal Majka, who did a fantastic job for Contador on the Vuelta and seems that he will be the leader in next year's Giro.

In the other hand, Argos-Shimano has John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel. Two very good sprinters, with Degenkolb being also a quality rider for the Classics. Marcel Kittel seems only to be a sprinter. None of the other riders have the quality, I think, to have a impact on the hard races of calendar. They have young riders with a lot of potential, but those normally take some time to develop and don't have much to say in their first years, unless they're superstars like Peter Sagan. Argos will concentrate mainly on the sprints and classics of Flanders. In a race like Vuelta a Pais Vasco what will they add to the race?

So, to me there's no question that Saxo should get a WorldTour license, and Argos should lose out. But with the quality of the roster of Argos, they don't have to worry. They'll get invites to the races where they can animate the race. What are your thoughts?

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