Cycling

Offseason Capsule: Trek Hopes for Greater Splashes Will Require Luck and Endurance

With my second offseason assessment, I wish to flip to Trek-Segafredo, the American outfit with the Italian core recognized finest for its efforts within the northern classics, of late. I assume I’m desiring to hunt across the muddled center of biking, and primarily based on loosely-sourced price range data from 2021, Trek are proper there, or perhaps a bit low down the listing. Of late, one may marvel if they’re getting bang for his or her buck, though once you see the bucks and evaluate their outcomes to equally located groups on the lads’s aspect, it’s not so unhealthy. Then add within the work of their girls’s staff, and issues begin wanting fairly constructive.

Trek-Segafredo seem to be they’ve an extended historical past, however they’re the outgrowth of the short-lived Leopard Schleck/Cancellara self-importance venture that then merged with the final vestiges of the Bruyneel post-Radio Shack staff. The Shack then left, and Trek purchased the license, refreshed issues a bit, introduced on the Italian espresso mega-producers Segafredo, and have been working beneath this id ever since 2016.

74th Tour of Spain 2019 - Stage 3

Luca Guercilena and Kiel Reijnen
Picture by Tim de Waele/Getty Photographs

Common supervisor Luca Guercilena is the widespread thread that traces again to the Leopard days, and his work as a director in biking started with Mapei and the early-aughts Fast Step groups, which explains the outfit’s knack for the Classics. Guercilena was not a professional himself, an exception within the biking administration world, however his success within the sport may be very respectable. So when he introduced final August that he was with lymphoma and wanted to step away from the game for an indefinite time, the game responded with an outpouring of affection and assist. There have been no latest updates within the media, that I can discover, so for now we simply hope he’s on the street to restoration.

I wouldn’t overreact and name this a brand new period, nonetheless; the GM position is just not precisely the micromanager for each side of racing, and Trek will proceed to depend on a big, skilled workers from round Europe, together with Kim Andersen, who has been with the venture for the reason that starting and was initially the highest man earlier than buying and selling locations with Guercilena when Staff Schleck (aka Flavio Becca) offered the license. So when it comes to management, I’d say that Trek are persevering with on their path, counting on continued regular challenges within the classics and hoping for some greater breakthroughs within the mountains… and if the lads don’t ship, they’re a safer wager to hit the heights on the ladies’s aspect.

118th Paris-Roubaix 2021 - Men’s Eilte

Picture by Tim de Waele/Getty Photographs

What We Thought and Obtained Final 12 months

Like I stated with Bora, we didn’t do capsules final 12 months, however in all probability would have puzzled the place the stage race wins have been going to come back from. We additionally would have put some critical expectations on the Classics staff, which continued to characteristic perennial favorites Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven together with an affordable supporting forged. We would have made a snarky comment about their Tour de France hopes leaping ship with Richie Porte’s departure, as if his third general inserting in 2020 have been one thing to financial institution on from 12 months to 12 months (it isn’t).

We obtained… about what you may moderately count on? If you happen to suppose all Monuments are created equally, as they most definitely don’t in Stuyven’s native Belgium, then you might hail his breakthrough win at Milano-Sanremo because the redeeming win that’s barely eluded him during the last six years. Pedersen’s win at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne added to the sense that this was a robust classics season, and Stuyven had to enter a deep, darkish tunnel of ache to scratch out a best-ever fourth in De Ronde. From there, the wins fizzled out a bit, with one big exception — No, not Vincenzo Nibali’s win on the Giro di Sicilia, the place one wonders who would have the temerity to assault him — no, it was on the Tour de France, the place Bauke Mollema continued to increase his profession legacy nicely previous expectations with a solo victory on stage 14, his first breakthrough at Le Tour since 2017. The ladies lifted the group’s spirits all 12 months, primarily via Elisa Longo Borghini and Elizabeth Deignan, who served up book-end wins on the Trofeo Binda and Paris-Roubaix with loads of different high ends in between.

In order that’s what life can appear to be within the muddled center, even on the lower-budgeted finish of issues. Pirelli are approaching board for 2022 as a serious sponsor, and with the lack of Nibali plus few costly signings for this 12 months, they might be in place to strike it large within the subsequent switch market. However they’ve retained their cornerstones and are relying on guys trending upward for a giant 12 months in 2022.

1st Paris-Roubaix 2021 - Women’s Elite

Picture by Tim de Waele/Getty Photographs

FSA DS Rating

Trek have been exterior the highest 10 on the Podium Cafe rankings and ninth general on the extra inclusive CQRanking, that means they have been a bit higher in races or race placings we don’t hassle scoring. [Their women’s team were a clear second overall in both compilations.]

Stuyven ranked nineteenth general, tops for TFS on the lads’s aspect. Longo Borghini was third for the women.

Observe: from this level ahead, I’m simply specializing in the lads’s staff. I point out the ladies’s squad as a part of the organizational overview, since Trek have prioritized their girls’s racing and achieved good success, which I’m certain is a serious level of satisfaction for everybody there. However persevering with to drill down on this publish, it’s rather a lot cleaner to take a look at the lads’s squad, notably since my experience on the ladies’s aspect is… not nice.

112th Milano-Sanremo 2021

Picture by Tim de Waele/Getty Photographs

Prime Three Highlights

  1. Stuyven wins Milano Sanremo. Typically you don’t get the Monument you need, however fairly the Monument you deserve?
  2. Mollema takes Tour stage. That was their purpose from the beginning, levels, and so they chased it day after day, lastly breaking via after two weeks.
  3. Nibali leaves Trek in type at Sicilia Tour. I may have gone with extra of an oncoming story in Quinn Simmons taking the Tour de Wallonie, however Nibali is an all-time biking star and his win on house soil is likely to be one in all his final. So let’s simply nod our caps to the Shark another time.

104th Giro d’Italia 2021 - Stage 16

Picture by Sara Cavallini/Getty Photographs

Backside Three Lowlights

  1. Pedersen’s misplaced season. I assume he crashed rather a lot. Like all 12 months. Hopefully it simply makes him stronger.
  2. The demise of the Giro squad. It began with Nibali’s coaching crash in April which barely left him time to prepare for the Giro d’Italia, not to mention strive for the win. Then Giulio Ciccone obtained sizzling and located himself in precise rivalry, solely to begin hitting the deck himself and going house after stage 18. The malocchio was in full impact final spring.
  3. Reaching a bit, however I’ll say Stuyven’s worlds marketing campaign. Not that a lot was anticipated, however the Belgian nationwide staff constructed itself across the fortunes of Wout Van Aert, who wasn’t on kind that day, leaving one to marvel what may need been had they centered extra on the probabilities of Leuven native Stuyven, who ended up fourth, a/okay/a 3rd within the bunch end behind Alaphilippe.

94th UCI Road World Championships 2021 - Men U23 Road Race

Baroncini
Picture by Tim de Waele/Getty Photographs

Comings and Goings for 2022

Departures: Vincenzo and Antonio Nibali, Ryan Mullen, Niklas Eg. Just a few retirements.

Incoming: A lot of regular execs like Dario Cataldo, Tony Gallopin, Simon Pellaud, Markus Hoelgaard, and Antwan Tolhoek. As for youthful riders, there are U23 world champ Filippo Baroncini, Daan Hoole and Asbjorn Hellemose, all high skills (and simply possibly belying my earlier remark about not making a giant switch splash for 2022).

So What Occurs Subsequent?

Issues ought to be in an excellent place for 2022, though maybe solely marginally higher than final 12 months, and counting on affordable damage luck to even match their 2021 output, not to mention exceed it. The ceiling is rising with the younger expertise approaching board, however they won’t contribute a lot instantly.

Pedersen and Stuyven stay centered on the Classics and dealing in tandem to place a dent within the appreciable armor of the Van Aert-van der Poel duo which are atop everybody’s listing of favorites. It’s a good battle now, with the 2 ‘crossers having the pedigree to dominate however Pedersen, the previous world champion and runner up in Flanders, plus the perfect-for-P-R Stuyven, able to pounce. Possibly one of many children — Hoole or Simmons or Jakob Egholm — add some further punch to their cobbles squad. Simmons struggled in his first go-round, as one does at age 20 in races that favor veteran hardmen, however his breakthrough in Wallonia may push his confidence to the subsequent degree. Large issues are anticipated of Hoole, particularly within the time trials, however his dimension makes him a valued asset in Paris-Roubaix. Egholm is a proficient Dane whose first two years have been scrambled by the pandemic, so we shouldn’t rush to guage his middling outcomes. They gained’t fairly be on Fast Step’s degree when it comes to depth, however Trek can be a high 5 squad in Flanders this spring.

The identical can’t be stated for his or her grand tour ambitions, as former winner Nibali follows former third-place Porte as ex-Trekkers. That leaves solely Mollema and Cataldo as recognized entities, each on the down slope of their careers. The hope although is that Ciccone is able to take the subsequent large step, with one full and two truncated Giri in his legs, plus the 2019 Tour the place he wore yellow for 3 days. The Abruzzese matched Giro winner Bernal on house soil on the stage to Rocca di Cambio, climbing into fourth general, earlier than making an attempt for better glory, attacking two levels later however failing to make it stick, steadily conceding extra time till crashes put him out of the race. It’s onerous to take a look at that and pronounce him able to make a giant splash this 12 months in his Giro-Tour program, but when every part comes collectively and the Giro isn’t dominated by the massive skills within the sport, he may seize a podium there, then go stage-hunting with Mollema and Pedersen within the Tour (which, Pedersen is fast to notice, begins in Copenhagen).

81st Skoda-Tour De Luxembourg 2021 - Stage 4

Skjelmose
Picture by Bas Czerwinski/Getty Photographs

After that, a victory can be indicators of improvement from their many younger riders. Along with the incoming skills, there’s Antonio Tiberi, a climber and time triallist within the Nibali mildew if not in something near his accomplishments, a given on the younger age of 20 years. There’s Mattias Skjelmose, one other Dane, solely 21 and having flashed his appreciable expertise by taking sixth general on the UAE Tour and fifteenth within the Tour de Romandie — two huge outcomes at that stage of his improvement. Marc Brustenga, one other incoming rider, is a notable classics expertise from Catalunya. Juan Pedro Lopez, solely 24, has a thirteenth place on the Vuelta and appears just like the sort of regular rider who can construct towards some helpful placings.

General, the staff is deep in veteran expertise from the center vary of the game, however quick on top-flight winners after Pedersen and Stuyven, one thing they hope the brand new children can flip round. Which will occur, however big leaps from Skjelmose, Baroncini, Hellemose or Tiberi in 2022 is a bit an excessive amount of to count on. Their objectives for 2022 undoubtedly embody, in no order, good well being for Guercilena, large seasons from their classics leaders, and regular enchancment within the youthful guys. That would have them pondering greater in 2023.

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