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  1. #1
    Upgrading my engine DXchulo's Avatar
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    Do pro teams do anything special (besides offer big money) to attract riders to their teams? If I were a promising young rider, I think my deciding factors might look like this (feel free to add or rearrange):

    1. Money- obvious
    2. Role- more attractive to be team leader vs. sprint specialist/climbing specialist
    3. Quality of Team- Then again, it would be rough as a team leader without good coaches and teammates.
    4. Location- It would be nice to ride for an American team, but I'm not as patriotic as a lot of guys.
    5. Team History- You want to make sure that big check will cash.

    I'm sure there are other factors involved here. In basketball, teams try to lure players by having nice locker rooms with TVs and video games, fancy practice facilities, the best private jets, and so on. Teams are pretty competitive in trying to have the best of these things. Do pro cycling teams try to have the best bus and following cars or something like that? I was reading a book and a certain rider was saying how he had to stay in crappy little hotels in France. Why don't teams have big huge tour buses like rock stars? Maybe these would be too expensive? Or maybe a tour bus wouldn't make much better of a room than a tiny French Hotel.

    And here are two more questions:

    1. Historically, which team has been #1 in signing the best free agents?
    2. Do you think riders care about what bike a certain team rides? My gut tells me no since these are guys with pride/ego in abundance who think they can win on any bike.

  2. #2
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    One thing you have to remember is that in certain popular US ball-sports, the teams are simply franchise operations of a larger organisation. That changes the recruiting dynamics somewhat. In my eyes, it also changes the sport. For instance, I regard a baseball game as a show... an act... improv theatre at best.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  3. #3
    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    The question is then how do you actually get on a pro team then? I mean you hear of promissing young riders but there are people out there in cat 1 at 25 - 26 years of age. I understand that becoming pro is basically signing a contract but are their drafts, etc like in other sports? How does one get known for pro teams, win or do well in big races?

    If I wanted to be pro I would be happy to even get on a team first time around... then worry about signing bonuses etc.
    Just your average club rider... :)

  4. #4
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Pro teams have no trouble learning about up-and-comers.
    Remember that in all but a handful of US races, the pros are racing WITH the top amateurs. So every race is a real-live audition for the Amateur riders.

    Conversations take place EVERYwhere at all times of the year. For example, riders and team directors will be talking about 2006 at the 2005 Tour de Georgia in April.

    Aside from offering money, the Pro teams don't have to sweeten the deal. There is so much competition for a spot on a Pro team that the Amateur riders aren't in the position to make too many demands.
    I promise: nobody is going to turn down a Pro team offer because of which bikes they're riding.

    I know of several top level riders who NEVER got the offer to ride with a Pro team because they were either a head case or just difficult to live with. Remember, these guys live closer than a married couple. Chemistry means a lot.

  5. #5
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    Pro team directors are always looking for new young talent and pay attention to who's doing well in amateur races. They'll take notice of a rider who's placing well in races and if they feel like he/she has potential, may invite the rider to hang out with the team and see how it goes.

    By the way, here's a great story about how one guy ended up riding for Cofidis:

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=3002
    i may have overreacted

  6. #6
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    Traditionally, France, Belgium and Italy were the places to race and be noticed by Pro teams. Spain and Holland can be added to the list nowadays. Many top amateur teams have links, formal and informal, to particular pro squads and promising guys often ride as guests on pro teams, at the end of the season. Results in international competition and in classic stage and one-day encounters, will bring riders from distant countries or unfashionable teams to a wider public attention; the 'mondialisation' of the sport means it is harder for the local hero to advance, at the expense of the truly gifted outsider, as once was common. Not that it isn't still tough to be the American, Bosnian or Azherbaijani in rural France, being worked over by the local combines and living in a cave.................

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gustaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by my58vw
    The question is then how do you actually get on a pro team then? I mean you hear of promissing young riders but there are people out there in cat 1 at 25 - 26 years of age. I understand that becoming pro is basically signing a contract but are their drafts, etc like in other sports? How does one get known for pro teams, win or do well in big races?

    If I wanted to be pro I would be happy to even get on a team first time around... then worry about signing bonuses etc.
    As stated before, Pros race with Amateurs a lot. The team I am on has an Elite team of 6 riders that travel around to various NRC races. In the past few years like 8 of our riders have signed pro contracts

  8. #8
    Upgrading my engine DXchulo's Avatar
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    I know nobody would turn down a pro contract, and with multiple offers it would all come down to money, but what about when guys switch teams? Do they do this just for a bigger contract or a bigger role or what? All in all, though, it seems like riders are pretty loyal to their teams in comparison to other sports. Is this just loyalty (team A gave me my dream contract so I'm never leaving them) or is it a sort of unwritten rule for one team to not try to lure another team's riders away?

    What's the length of a typical contract?

  9. #9
    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    Basically speaking, become cat 1, race in big races and hopefully win... that gets you a pro contract...

    On that note can you be too old to sign a pro contract? For example someone who starts racing at 18, 20, 23 etc and takes 3 or so years to get to cat1?
    Just your average club rider... :)

  10. #10
    Lance Hater Laggard's Avatar
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    but what about when guys switch teams? Do they do this just for a bigger contract or a bigger role or what?
    They may switch teams for either reason. Sometimes you'll have a good rider who's basically doing nothing but riding support for someone like Lance or Jan. They may go to another team where they may actually have a chance to ride for themselves. Or sometimes riders just to feel at home with the team. It can be tough to be the only Italian rider on a Dutch team.

    On that note can you be too old to sign a pro contract? For example someone who starts racing at 18, 20, 23 etc and takes 3 or so years to get to cat1?
    There was a European rider who was a factory worker until he quit and decided to try bike racing at the age of 27. He turned out to be a strong rider and got a place on a top flight pro team. I wish I could remember his name. This was in the 80s. Don d probably knows.
    i may have overreacted

  11. #11
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    Ludo Dirxysens (wrong spelling for sure).Still riding strong @ 41 years old @ the highest level!Too many people are way too worried about what it takes or how to become a pro.No secret,win big races or at least attack.There is no truer sport than cycling,the other guy was right in saying every race is an open audition! No padding stats,ect...in a race you either have it or not!

  12. #12
    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    I am not particularly worried about it, just interested in it...
    Just your average club rider... :)

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