Froome’s agent Carera confirms eight teams are interested in Vuelta star
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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Froome’s agent Carera confirms eight teams are interested in Vuelta star

by Shane Stokes at 9:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Will negotiate with Sky and others this weekend

Chris FroomeThe unexpectedly strong Vuelta a España of Chris Froome has utterly turned things around for the rider, who headed into the race unsure if Sky Procycling was going to extend his contract but is now being chased by eight teams.

Speaking to VeloNation today, Froome’s agent Alex Carera spoke about the explosion of interest in the Kenya-born Briton, who sits just 13 seconds off the red jersey of race leader with four stages remaining.

“I can confirm that during the Vuelta, I have seen a lot of proposals from the most important teams in the world,” he said. “Garmin-Cervelo, Saxo Bank, Ag2r, Skil Shimano, Movistar, Lampre, Astana and Sky are all interested.

“The situation is completely different as to when he started the Vuelta now, as his results are very important. He has worked very well for his leader, for Wiggins, and now at this moment he in second place in the Vuelta, only 13 seconds from the red jersey.”

Froome’s was clearly secondary to Wiggins earlier in the race, as evidenced by the team’s requirement that he ride for the older Briton despite being in the red jersey. He had overtaken the team leader with a stronger time trial and held a gap of twelve seconds over Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek) and twenty seconds over Wiggins heading into stage eleven to Estación de Montaña Manzaneda.

However that advantage turned into a deficit after the team asked him to work in the finale, dragging the bunch along prior to Wiggins’ big push for the line. Froome lost 27 seconds that day and dropped to second overall, seven seconds back.

That’s partly responsible for the overall time he has lost to Cobo, who finished in the Wiggins group, and so too his work for Wiggins on the Angliru, where the Spaniard made his big move. Froome eventually got the green light to ride his own race when Wiggins was dropped near the summit, but by then Cobo was too far ahead.

He went head to head with the Spaniard yesterday and beat him to the finish, winning the stage and gaining a total of nine seconds. All this has acted to increase his profile and attractiveness to teams, and in turn his worth. Carera says that there are other elements, too.

“The value of the rider is composed of different factors. Of course the first is the results, because when the rider has results, he has also the points,” he said. “The second factor is the image, because of course there are some riders with good results but no image because in the past they had a doping case. The third factor is the age…when a rider is younger, it is very important. At the moment, Chris doesn’t know his possibilities, doesn’t know his body as he’s just 26. In the future he can have more results, particularly as it is the first time he is at this level.

“The fourth factor to consider is language, as for Chris there are no problem with the UK teams, the Spanish teams, the French teams, the Italian teams. He speaks four languages…he talks English of course, lives in Monaco and so speaks French, but can speak Spanish because he knows Italian well. That increases his possibilities.”

Sky Procycling is clearly now aware of the rider’s potential, and also knows that the points he earns from his strong Vuelta a España will go to another team if he signs for them. That makes their desire to keep him on board stronger but, equally, his successful race has driven up his price. There’s clearly a lot to discuss when things are being finalised.

“As of this moment, he has not chosen the team for 2012,” said Carera. “I will go the Vuelta next weekend, Saturday and Sunday. He has a meeting with Dave Brailsford during the weekend. I will also meet other team managers as there are many who have sent me proposals.

“I understand that the result is a great surprise for his team. Of course Sky has a good team and a very important sponsor. I understand that the big boss of the team wants him to sign next year with Sky. But of course I’ll know more after the meeting with Dave Brailsford.”
 

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