A lot of the moves in the cycling offseason reflect the ambition and the commitment teams are willing to make in order to be competitive in the upcoming season. While a large number of moves and changes will be due to the pandemic and the adverse effect on financial resources such as sponsors, others will be simply down to decisions that put teams in a better position to challenge on the biggest stages of the tour season. A few teams are already taking a bow before the official start of the season, as sponsorship opportunities and money dry up, but a few more are fine-tuning for what they expect to be an open season. For punters, this is all the kind of news to encourage a few bold decisions, especially as online betting in California becomes more interesting.
The Alpecin-Fenix team is looking to have a very solid 2021 season, and are building around Belgian ace, Mathieu van der Poel. the team aims to have more options that could make all the difference in the big races, especially in the Tour de Flanders back in Mathieu’s home country. The team is adding Jasper Philipsen from the UAE Team Emirates, to provide more sprint options. Alpecin-Fenix is poised to have a big year and a good shot at the big events, after securing participation in the main races and the Tour de France. Silvan Diller is also making the move from AG2R to join Alpecin-Fenix, adding to their incredible group of sprinters. This shows more than anything the plan for both AG2R and Alpecin-Fenix, giving a glimpse of their strategies for the upcoming season. A very capable rider who is very familiar with the Classics, he should fit right in with the Alpecin-Fenix team and next to Van Der Poel.
Total Direct Energie
Pierre Latour is moving to Total Direct Energie and will be looking to be the main focus as they look to challenge for ProTour spots in 2021. The Total Direct Energie team is sparing no expenses to make sure they have a fighting chance, and the biggest losers will most likely be the AG2R team, who have now lost both Latour and Romain Bardet, opting instead for more experienced Classics riders. Another snag for the Total Direct Energie team is Edvald Boasson Hagen, whom they are getting from NTT Pro Cycling, given the team’s sponsorships woes. Hagen had a very strong 2020 season and is looking to make more leaps and become more of a central figure for Total Direct Energie. Another name joining the ranks is Chris Lawless, which should come as a little surprise because English riders rarely move over to the French teams. Making the switch from Ineos Grenadiers, Lawless will be joining an ambitious team with lots of potential for the 2021 season and beyond.