Transfer confirmations are a case of noting where the rider is going and ignoring everything else. Because, despite paragraphs of quotes, they’re not really adding anything. Happy and excited to join the team? Goes without saying. Proud to help this particular sponsor? Well, duh.
I suspect very little ever printed in transfer press releases actually comes out of a rider’s mouth: nobody, not even accountants or cycling journalists, talks so mundanely in real life. It needs to be bland, PR-ese patter to satisfy rider, sponsor and team alike. To paraphrase Ronan Keating, they say it best when they say nothing at all.
And so, the real reasons for moving from one team to another – money, ambition, internal politics, personal rivalry – are understandably hidden.
Well, no longer. We’ve taken the liberty of reading between the lines and deciphering what the riders really mean. Bear in mind that every quote used has been only slightly tweaked from genuine press releases received during the 2015 season.
Transferring rider: “I’m really proud that this team is giving me the chance be part of something special.”
Translation: “I’m in the last-chance saloon and this underwhelming offer is the only one I had. I’ve taken a 70 per cent pay-cut to move here.”
Transferring rider: “I already had some contact with this WorldTour team in the spring. I had a good feeling at the first meeting because my expectations and their vision matched.”
Translation: “They sealed my contract in March and that’s why my results nosedived afterwards. I was kicking my heels and calculating whether the new deal would give me enough for a Lamborghini.”
Transferring rider: “Personally, one of the biggest incentives for joining is helping this sponsor.”
Translation: “Look, I’ll gamely plug whatever pregnancy kit/piece of flooring/insurance company I am contractually obliged to do, just don’t make me pose like an idiot while doing it. It’s degrading and will probably have a negative effect on sales.”
Transferring rider: “Having raced with some of the riders in the past, I’m sure we’ll gel well together.”
Translation: “I didn’t realise those disruptive guys were on the team till now. Oh, the flashbacks: selfish racing, petty arguments at the dinner table and daily atrocious Europop on the team bus.”
Transferring rider: “I’m thrilled about this change of scenery. It’s what I needed.”
Translation: “I’m thrilled about the size of this contract. It’s what I wanted.”
Renewing rider: “I’ve said many times that I’ve always seen my future in the colours of this team, so it was easy to sign this new contract.”
Translation: “I’m stuck with this bunch of no-hopers because nobody responded to my numerous come-and-get-me pleas. Was sixth overall at the Route du Sud not enough?” [Disclaimer: this is no reflection on Movistar’s Enrique Sanz, who was indeed sixth at Route du Sud – Ed]
Neo-pro signing for 2016: “I like stage races and mountains. My goal in the future will be to do my best there.”
Translation: “For the tenth time, please don’t blood me as a makeweight at Paris-Roubaix. A fat Belgian will use me as a crash landing mat and prematurely end my promising career.”
Cyclists in ads. Let’s start with Peter Sagan’s sticky bottle for Slovak Telekom.
A classic of the genre.
A young Tom Boonen in this Quick Step turn. If someone jumped out of the TV into my living room, I certainly wouldn’t be dancing with them.