Pro Cycling’s Mid-Season Transfer Window

Rohan Dennis will transfer from Garmin-Sharp to BMC effective immediately and ride the Vuelta. Teams, athletes, fans, and races win big if this becomes a trend.

Today INRNG writes:

There are two types of transfer. First there is a mid-season transfer window from 1-15 August and its rarely used. The main transfer is recruitment from one season to another. The rules say for any change of team between two seasons “the transfer period extends from 1 August to 31 December”

A few hours later CyclingNews’ Daniel Benson reported that Rohan Dennis will transfer from Garmin-Sharp to BMC immediately and ride the Vuelta.

This is great news for the following reasons:

  1. Good for athletes. Rohan Dennis rode the Tour de France in his debut year at the pro level. This year he missed both the Giro and Tour squads. If he stayed on Garmin-Sharp it is likely he would have also missed the Vuelta. Grand Tours are important for the continued development of riders. Rohan Dennis also now rides his next GT on the team that will be paying his salary for the next few years—a much better environment than riding for a team on an expiring contract.
  2. Good sign for the future of the sport. This case illustrates a level of cooperation/collaboration between teams (Garmin-Sharp and BMC) that is critical to achieving the big structural and economic reforms that team owners want. On twitter today INRNG said the UCI is “slowly exploring transfers.” The UCI is a large organization focused on many disciplines in addition to men’s pro road cycling. As much as is possible, the pro teams should lead on these matters. This case only concerns two teams, but let’s hope it is a sign that a larger group of teams will find ways to work together to achieve other aims, like a safety protocol for stage neutralization/cancellation/modification in the case of extreme weather or road conditions.
  3. Good for the teams involved. Garmin-Sharp saves the money it would have paid to Rohan Dennis ove the final 5 months of the year. It is possible there was also a fee paid from BMC to Garmin (if not in this case, it is surely possible for future deals). Garmin-Sharp can now build a Vuelta squad full of riders that will be on the team in 2015 and beyond—and they avoid leaving a supremely talented athlete at home while paying his salary. As for BMC, they immediately gain the services of an enormously talented rider for the Vuelta, and can begin developing him right away and integrate him into the team culture.
  4. Good for races and fans. For fans of BMC and Rohan Dennis, the Vuelta becomes a race not-to-be-missed.

Now imagine how much better the Vuelta would be if Bouhanni transferred from FDJ to Cofidis, Sagan from Cannondale to Tinkoff, and Mollema from Belkin to Trek.

  • Riders avoid lame duck scenarios in which they are left out of the biggest races, thereby stunting their development and denying them chances to get results at big races
  • Teams avoid paying salaries to benched riders
  • Cash-strapped teams can get some relief in the form of transfer fees
  • Teams send Vuelta squads that will better meet their needs for developing riders
  • Fans get to see exciting riders on the biggest stage instead of left at home
  • A frenzy of immediate transfers in the first week of August can become the cure for the post-TDF hangover, a way to keep cycling fans engaged in the dead period after the season’s biggest race