Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why signing Kocjan makes little sense

Now, first off, I'm not even going to pretend I know how the UCI's points system works (does anyone?). But obviously if you're going to sign riders with points on the UCI's Europe Tour ranking to help you gain a new WorldTour licence, you might as well sign riders with a lot of points. That much seems obvious. And that's why signing Jure Kocjan doesn't really add up.

As I've pointed out earlier, and which Joseba Iturria points out in a brilliant article in today's GARA, signing foreigners doesn't seem like the best option if you want to convince the governing body's Licence Commission to hand Euskaltel another year at cycling's top table at the expense of other (and often stronger results-wise) teams. Being 'unique' and representing something totally different to the other teams (representing a country and a people i.e.) is Euskaltel's strongest card.

Signing foreigners with fewer points than Basques on the Europe Tour therefore seems a tad odd. As of August the 25th., Slovenian Kocjan had 86 points to his name. That's less than Cofidis' Egoitz García (pictured above), who's got 100, and 26-year-old Víctor de la Parte of Vitoria and Greek team Tableware, who's amassed 102. Even erstwhile Euskaltel rider Iker Camaño, now 33, has accumulated 77 points. Why signing Kocjan instead of locals is therefore beyond me.

De la Parte rode on the amateur circuit up until this spring before rejoining the professional ranks with the mediocre SP Tableware outfit in early May, and would be easy to pick up for the Euskaltel bosses if they were interested. Still only 26, despite seeming to have been around for ages, he would be a decent acquisition. García, who was not contacted by Madariaga et al. when his contract at Caja Rural was up last year, penned a two-year deal with Cofidis and has gone on to enjoy a stellar campaign. While they would have to come up with a few euro to get him out of his current contract as it still has a year to run, coughing up a small sum in compensation would likely be worth it, as Iturria also said.

Iker Camaño has been linked with a return to Euskaltel, but as of yet there's been no more than rumours. Another former Euskaltel stalwart, Aitor Galdós over at Caja Rural, also has a decent chunk of points to his name (54), while 23-year-old Orbea fast-man Jon Aberasturi has 30 and would naturally come for free.

24-year-old Jon Pardo, who's riding for French outfit Entente Sud Gascogne, has 24 points, while Garikoitz Bravo, who crashed out of the Volta a Portugal last week, has seven. Neither would have said 'no' to an Euskaltel offer, obviously.

As Fran Reyes so cleverly has worked out, Euskaltel desperately need a sizeable injection of points if they wish to remain in the WorldTour. Staying exclusively Basque might be the only way if average Eastern Europeans is the only alternative.

Photo: www.bhbikes.com


Stephen said...

Is this a done deal then?

Kristof said...

As far as I know he hasn't signed yet. Could the three years contract of Nieve yet be confirmed?

Magnus said...

No, the Kocjan-reports were a bit premature. Still negotiating.

Nieve is not yet confirmed, but Galdeano has said in an interview that he's set for 2013. He'll stay.

Anonymous said...

Kocjan has a few points in 2012, but also his points in 2011 will count for the rider values of 2013.

Anonymous said...

Jes Kaocjan has more points, ... but more inportant, he is winning.


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