Early Start on Transfer Rumor Season
The silly season lasts all year long.
Just a quick Tour de France update - the Dauphiné has started and while we only have the prologue completed as I write this, not surprisingly Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins finished a mere one-second behind Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge). Of course another Tour de France favorite, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) finished within spitting distance - six-seconds behind.
Although the prologue doesn't do much more than set the general classification, it does give a bit of an insight into how Wiggo is riding, as well as a bit of an insight into the fitness status of his rivals. Stage 4's individual time trial will be a stage to watch as will the remaining three stages in the mountains.
By next Sunday I expect the winner is either going to be Wiggins or Evans. From that point on there will be crazy, mad predictions of who will win the Tour de France 2012. Let's not forget the Olympics begin afterwards and Le Grand Boucle with all eyes on whomever wins the Green Jersey.
Along with the educated guesses of who will win the Tour there's also another yearly tradition that happens - transfer rumors.
The UCI states that the transfer period starts August 1st to October 20th. Seems simple enough doesn't it? A rider can only be signed between those two dates. But hold on, there's more legalize as the Inrng blog points out.
From the UCI rule book regarding transfers, "For the purposes of this article ‘recruit' shall be deemed to mean concluding a contract with a rider to ride for the UCI ProTeam or license applicant's team, including situations where the rider in question is already under contract to the same UCI ProTeam or license applicant at the moment of that recruitment, e.g. in the case of the renewal of an existing contract."
Mr. Inrng points out a rider can have transfer discussions at any time of the year with any team - just not sign a legally binding contract until August 1st.
How this very pre-season transfer subject was raised was La Gazzetta Dello Sport reporting that Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Cannondale had signed a contract with Astana for the 2013 season. At times the European press loves to jump the gun on these types of rumors and I doubt that there's a legally binding contract that states Nibali is going to Astana, but I do believe he will be transferring. I think at this point Nibali has been given a "promise ring" of Astana's intentions for 2013 and perhaps even longer.
This is way ahead of the UCI's transfer window and much before the Tour de France - the unofficial kick-off date of transfer rumors. And there is a ripple effect of what happens next. As I wrote last week, Astana's current Golden Boy, Roman Kreuziger, has not had the season management had hoped (and got paid for). He won a stage in the Giro d'Italia, but he was on a lot of people's short list as a potential GC winner. As a result the rumor mill started kicking in and