Right after the Tour de France screeches to a halt in Paris, the transfer season starts. During the Tour we are teased with tidbits of information of where riders might end up. Rumors were rampant about the two hottest properties on the market: Alberto Contador and the Schleck Brothers (I know technically the two brother would mean the three hottest markets – but you get the point). Not only are athlete transfer news filling column inches but also any possible new team sponsors pique our interest. Will a small co-sponsor step up and replace the title sponsor? Will a cycling fan boy with money to burn finance a team. I sure hope so!
Bjarne Riis, the manager of the Saxo Bank squad had called a press conference earlier this week. He announced a surprise as shocking as the finale of the Bachelorette – Saxo Bank didn’t want to break up after all and had accepted the Final Rose (if you don’t know what this means ask your wife or girlfriend – she knows). While Riis was holding a press conference, Contador in his trademark laid-back style, released a statement sating he was joining Saxo Bank in 2011. Talk about a public relations downer! The most sought after signature in cycling and he does a mass e-mailing! Come on now! To me this was a missed opportunity to take the sport of cycling up a notch.
If Alberto had asked me what to do I would have taken a page out of the ESPN – LeBron James Decision special. Instead of Jim Gray I’d either have myself or Bob Roll sit across from El Pistolero as he divulged the information we were all on the edge of our seats waiting for.
Bob Roll: (Gesticulating wildly, the yellow Road ID bracelet a blur) So what’s new? How was your summer?
Alberto Contador: Well I won the Tour de France. Again.
Roll: What did you expect?
Contador: With Vino I hoped to win the Tour again but have a much easier time. Almost like a riding vacation. However there are somethings you can’t control – like Vino attacking me in stage 12 or having a día muy malo during the final time trial.
Roll: So how many people know your decision right now?
Contador: Mike Sinyard, the guys who paints my “El Pistolero” symbol on my bikes, of course my agent/brother, the guy who I buy my tapas from, the baristas at my favorite Starbucks, and my pigeon breeder.
Bob Roll: So Alberto what’s your answer to the question that everyone wants to know – what’s your decision?
Contador: Oh gosh, this is tough…Next year I’m going to take my talents to Saxo Bank/SunGard.
Roll: Saxo Bank/SunGard. This was the conclusion you woke up with this morning? Why?
Contador: I think this is going to give me the best opportunities to continue winning the Tour de France for three, four, five years. Not only to just win the Tour de France multiple times but win the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta in the same year. The Schlecks are gone and Riis needed someone to replace them. I also have a personal deal with Specialized for several bikes with bad ass paint jobs so that was hard to turn down. One thing I learned from Lance is that when I ebay those rigs they are worth mucho dinero!
Roll: How do you explain this to the people in Kazakhstan?
Contador: It’s hard to explain to them because, well they don’t speak any language I’m familiar with. But there will always be a piece of El Pistolero with the people of Mongolia.
Roll: You mean Kazakhstan?
Contador: Yeah, sure, whatever. (Fade to black…)
Unfortunately as we all know it didn’t go down like that. But I’m throwing it out there to any pro who wants to make a splashy transfer announcement – I have a Ustream account and we could fire up my video camera at any moment.