Tony Martin critical of superteams and mergers
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tony Martin critical of superteams and mergers

by VeloNation Press at 5:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Believes joining of RadioShack and Leopard Trek is bad for the sport

Tony MartinOne day before lining out in the Elite time trial at cycling’s world championships, Tony Martin has given his thoughts on some of the teams he will be facing next year.

The German rider, who has beaten world champion Fabian Cancellara in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España time trials this year and is therefore a big favourite tomorrow, has said he is not in favour of the big superteams which are set to appear in 2012.

“I have something against such mergers because it almost always a team is disbanded and 50 people standing in the street,” he told “It’s a negative trend.”

Martin has good knowledge of the effects of a team stopping, considering that his current HTC Highroad team will cease to exist at the end of the season. Team owner Bob Stapleton was trying to secure a new sponsor for 2012 but was unable to do so.

Martin will move to the Omega Pharma-Quick Step squad, which essentially comes about because of the split between the two sponsors of the Omega Pharma-Lotto team. The first of those two sponsors will switch its backing to the Quick Step team, while the second will join up with bike manufacturer Ridley in 2012.

The same number of UCI ProTeam licences will exist and therefore there should not be significant redundancies.

In the case of the Leopard Trek and Radioshack teams, though, the latter will give up its licence and instead transfer its backing, some staff and some riders to the former. There will be redundancies, and while riders who had a contract extending into next year should still get paid, they face a big disruption to their careers unless they can find a place with another WorldTour team.

Staff members contracted on a year-to-year basis could find themselves without a job.

Martin doesn’t believe the situation is a fair one. He said that “the team with the largest budget is not always the most successful one,” and also expressed concern that a small number of dominant teams could make things boring for those watching the races.

He’s clearly referring to the planned Radioshack/Leopard Trek squad, but presumably also thinking of the BMC Racing Team, which is set to have the largest budget of all and will feature Cadel Evans, Philippe Gilbert, Thor Hushovd and others.

“We can only hope that they stumble over their money,” he said, referring to those throwing cash around.


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