Jérémy Roy: “Which logo does the manufacturer put on our next year’s jersey?”
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jérémy Roy: “Which logo does the manufacturer put on our next year’s jersey?”

by Ben Atkins at 12:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
French rider impatient to know if FDJ will retain its place in the WorldTour for 2013

jeremy royThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed just eight teams for the 2013 WorldTour, and Jérémy Roy (FDJ) is one rider that’s beginning to get impatient with the uncertainty of it all. The 29-year-old Frenchman, famous for his long aggressive breakaways, went on the attack again in his column in French sportspaper l’Equipe, where he bemoans the delay, and criticises the WorldTour itself.

With eleven teams chasing the remaining ten spots, FDJ is rumoured to have held on to its place, with Saxo-Tinkoff and Argos-Shimano rumoured to be fighting over the final spot. The fact that Roy’s team is not yet able to finalise its kit design for 2012, however, illustrates the uncertainty that the team faces.

“It’s only a fabric detail, but it reveals the vagueness of the situation,” he wrote. “Which logo does the manufacture put on our next year’s jersey? WorldTour or Pro Continental?

“We are at December 5th and FDJ still doesn’t know which division it will be in, in a few weeks. It’s a bit ridiculous and very restrictive. The team is built up as though we were staying in the elite, with 30 riders, but with no assurance of which calendar they will be part of.”

Last year, the UCI had confirmed all but two of the 18 WorldTour teams on November 21st - with RadioShack-Nissan and GreenEdge facing a longer wait as paperwork was finalised - but, this time, the majority of teams will have to wait until December 10th before they know for sure.

“How can you prepare a race programme when you don’t know if you’ll be participation in the Tour Down Under the next month?” Roy asked.

“The license commission met on November 26th, and it may be necessary to wait until the end of the week to find out who stays in the WorldTour; Argos, Lotto, Saxo-Tinkoff, FDJ?”

While Roy recognises the need for a ranking system in cycling, he questions the side effect of teams signing riders purely for points; with success in the Asian and African Tours earning lesser riders a place at the top level that they are unable to live up to.

“I’m not criticising the fact that there jeremy royis a hierarchy in the peloton, related to sporting results, but the system is biased by several factors,” Roy opined. “The points earned in the season should stay with the team, and not with the riders. We find ourselves in a situation where teams are recruiting riders ‘by points’ and forgetting about the sporting criteria. We’ve seen an Iranian arrive at AG2R, a Moroccan and a Greek at Euskaltel, but most of these riders are not up to WorldTour level and don’t ride the biggest races.”

Amir Zargari (the Iranian rider) - having brought his points to AG2R La Mondiale, and helping secure its 2012 WorldTour spot - rode very few races in 2012, with his sole appearance in the WorldTour seeing him fail to finish the Volta a Catalunya in March; he has not been offered a place in the French team’s 2013 roster.

This year - as it relaxes its ‘Basques-only’ recruitment policy - Euskaltel has signed Greek rider Ioannis Tamouridis, who was one of the highest placed in the 2012 Europe Tour not already signed to a big team, and Moroccan Tarik Chaoufi, who won the Africa Tour. Whether or not either of them will ride more of a season than Zargari remains to be seen.

“Globally, the scoring system is badly done,” Roy adds. “Only the top ten of a big Classic score points, the overall classifications are overvalued in comparison to stage wins, and the importance of teammates is completely forgotten.”

FDJ dropped out of the WorldTour in 2011, before bouncing back again in 2012; despite a tough season, which saw just four victories in the top level races - coming through Arthur Vichot’s stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, Thibaut Pinot and Pierrick Fédrigo’s Tour de France stages, and Arnaud Démare’s win in the Vattenfall Cyclassics - Roy feels that his team is there on merit.

“This should not detract from the balance sheet of FDJ,” he writes. “It was not a glorious WorldTour, but the team was informally ranked 16th in sporting value, before the latest wave of exotic transfers. Now what are the criteria for the commission? The team as a whole? The prestige of the leader? The weight of the sponsor? Ethics? I don’t know. Nobody really knows.

“FDJ has not tried to play the system. The philosophy is the same, with the confidence in young people and hard work of teammates.”

With so little understanding of the WorldTour ranking, and with only riders on WorldTour teams earning points in WorldTour races, it is another classification - very similar to the one previously used by the UCI - that most riders look to, Roy says.

“What is a shame is that the WorldTour classification is not even an evaluation of a hierarchy of rider,” he writes. “A leader like Thomas Voeckler doesn’t even appear, and a minority of races is included. Remembering the UCI classification - which worked like the ATP classification - the guys in the peloton look more to CQRanking.com; it shows that France is not as bad as it looks, and FDJ is worthy if its place in the elite.”

FDJ, and the other ten teams looking to fill the remaining ten WorldTour spots, will find out on Monday, December 10th, if they will be dining at cycling’s top table next year.


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