Cycling transfers for 2016 – and do you care?

For the last few days, one of the feeds on my homepage seems to have been stuck presenting the headline ‘Cancellara chooses not to use disc brakes in 2016′. Perhaps the world is trying to remind me that not everyone who enjoys cycling shares my interests.

For me, the sport’s about the psychology, the physiology and the geography, whereas for others, it’s seemingly about bike components. While I’m as interested in the specifics of riders’ bikes as I am in what brush Michelangelo used to paint the Sistine Chapel, there are plenty of articles out there to indicate other people are captivated by the technology. Those people may even constitute the majority.

Then there’s transfer news. I’m still not sure where I stand on that. Cycling’s fundamentally about individuals, so to some extent it doesn’t really matter what clothes they wear (assuming no-one goes truly off piste with clown shoes or a thick woolly jumper or something). But at the same time, it is a team sport, so the make-up of each team affects the racing.

Maybe the answer is not to dwell on transfers, but just list them – the major ones anyway.

  • Mikel Landa – Astana to Sky. Best climber in the Giro moves to the team that won the Tour.
  • Michal Kwiatkowski – Etixx-Quick Step to Sky. Could the former world champion bring the British team that elusive Monument?
  • Marcel Kittel – Giant-Alpecin to Etixx-Quick Step. It all went wrong for the German last year, but he’s replacing Mark Cavendish as Etixx’s main sprinter.
  • Mark Cavendish – Etixx-Quick Step to Dimension Data. His new team’s what was MTN Qhubeka, the joyous African team that mostly comprises almost-sprinters and lead-out men. At least he’ll have support.
  • Carlos Betancur – AG2R to Movistar. Can the Spanish team stop him eating so many sandwiches and somehow get the most out of him?
  • Dan Martin – Cannondale-Garmin to Etixx-Quick Step. An upgrade from Rigoberto Uran?
  • Rigoberto Uran – Etixx-Quick Step to Cannondale-Garmin. An upgrade from Dan Martin?
  • Richie Porte – Sky to BMC. A chance to race against Chris Froome at the Tour?
  • Dan Moreno – Katusha to Movistar. Spaniard finally moves out from Joaquim Rodriguez’s shadow… and into Alejandro Valverde’s.
  • Ryder Hesjedal – Cannondale-Garmin to Trek. Former Giro champion changes teams. Nothing much to say about this really.
  • Laurens Ten Dam – LottoNL-Jumbo to Giant-Alpecin. One of our favourite riders moves from being one of several Grand Tour contenders on a team to being all but unsupported within a team of sprinters.

Those who found their way here via my cricket site, King Cricket, may also be interested to know what’s going on with Matt Prior’s ONE Pro team, who have moved up a level and will be appearing in a few of the bigger races this year.

Their most recognisable recruits have been ‘British’ veteran, Kristian House (who apparently lives quite near me and records his rapid times up hills on Strava) and Matt Goss, who is mostly famous for not winning things and for sharing a name with the guy out of Bros.

Here endeth the transfers. The Tour Down Under starts on January 16.