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[PCT] Xero Racing '19 | Presentation
AbhishekLFC wrote:
A great flurry of signings to close out the transfer window. Great pickup with Higuita and some intriguing stagiares as well. Grmay should serve you well as a domestique. You've taken a big step towards promotion with this transfer window imo Grin

Thanks! Yeah interested in all four stagiaires and will think on their future a lot this season I suppose. Sadly overpaid for Higuita but hopefully he can be a great rider for us in the future. And looking forward to having Grmay, crucial pickup for us this window to have a lieutenant and also second climber for race clashes.

As said to Croatia I'm not sure about promotion but will agree that whilst progress may not be huge, I believe the further building of the core and transition to younger leaders and riders is a step towards a brighter future!
I really really like Higuita! Apart from that I'm not the biggest fan of the signings, Florez, Chen and Sunnatov are nice but have a long way to go, and the others are domestiques really. Will be interesting to see how you'll level up all your talents...
Congrats on Higuita. Was hoping to sign him, but decided he wasnt worth it once he was nearing 200k. I think Huynh would be best trained in prologue, but I had also planned to train up his hill stat too, when he was with us.
@Croatia - Yeah Higuita is very cool Grin I'm not 100% happy with how my last few days went either. Not having any problems in planning with my full contract talents but obviously most stagiaires except Huynh won't get up.

@valverde - Cheers! Yeah Higuita went way too high but I had the money there and did it Pfft Huynh is interesting, Track-Sprint is very nice in terms of his SPR and RES combined with 69HI, but the prologue gain to 75 isn't quite worth it. Another reason I like that less is his 71FL, as a 3rd-4th man in the train probably I would probably like more FL. 75ACC isn't great either. But still with the RES interesting to consider that still against the punchy sprint/baroudeur type.

Training Camp

For the first time in our team's history we have saved money during transfers to invest in our current riders, with one of our leaders attending a special training programme in the off-season. It was a much-needed training for our squad and one we have wanted to invest in for a while now. It's time to re-meet:


George Bennett
28 | Maxed | 135,000
Bennett at 80 MO could very well be interesting to follow!
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Damnnnn strong Kiwi!!!
He only really lacks the TT skills now. With that REC he'd be very solid in Grand Tours.
About time! But really cool stuff! Smile

Who said you needed Meintjes? Pfft Just a few more years training TT and you'll be there! Wink

In all seriousness, he should be a nice sleeper option for the less well attended races

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@whitejersey - Yeah I hope he can become a more prominent rider in his niche of races and provide some entertainment Grin

@tsmoha - Yihaa indeed! Must say your reaction was the one I was most looking forward to seeing Grin And I guess you can contain the jealousy of another 80+ Oceanic rider existing due to your own awesome training this off-season Pfft

@Jakstar - Cool

@valverde - Yeah it's a shame I didn't have the money when he was a bit younger to turn him into a more rounded stage racer, at 28 I'm not sure if I'll take him further now. But I do love his MO/HI and you're right that some TT would complete the package Grin Thankfully I can avoid TT-heavy stuff with him. Hopefully before he declines we get to see him in a GT or two Pfft

@SotD - Haha, about time indeed! Thanks Smile

@ryant - Oh I still need Meintjes very much Wink

And yeah I'm hoping his calendar is the right one to make use of other people's planning and his own skills, but that's what everyone wants anyway so maybe I've totally failed Grin Luckily since he already did so well in those events last year with 350+ points and 78MO, 80MO should lift him up even higher!
The much awaited boost to the home hero Grin Bennett should be great with his update this season. Looking forward to following your team and riding alongside in the peloton.
Nice to see George finally get the training we all wanted to see, hopefully this really helps both him and your squad
@Abhishek - There's been a lot of desire to do it from my side and also other managers cheering for it, so it's cool to finally give our Kiwi the boost he deserves! Yeah hoping he can step up his MO/HI game from competing in 5-7th to pushing those top guys for the podiums, but it depends a lot on startlists. Thanks a lot, as always can't wait to ride alongside you, especially now our leaders will clash a little bit less Pfft

@sammy - Yeah it was much needed in this squad and much wanted in this team, so I share your hope that this is an important training!

We've never been good with goals. Year 1 was mixed, we took goals either easy (Top 10 Giro del Capo) or stupid yet cheap (Stage Win Herald Sun Tour) and got mixed results. Year 2 we went for the full 23 and absolutely nailed Win Gisborne GP, and crushed Top 5 San Luis with the GC win. Year 3 we were too embarrassed to reveal our goals and still are - suffice to say they were built around our cobbled masterplan... yeah. However this year, despite the unambitious cost, we are at least hopeful of achieving them all, because for once they were set for a squad we already had instead of the riders we planned to get!

[C1] Win Chrono d'Arenberg

A race we stupidly didn't even attend last year, we hope Mekseb Debesay will be amongst the favourites, if not the outright favourite, for this cobbled chrono event, and so it was a no-brainer for the win goal, given it is the only classic or stage race we had a chance of winning with our pre-transfers squad (and still is). And best of all, even if Debesay falters we expect Shaun Nick Bester is a solid top 5-10 possibility who could potentially back him up on a huge day. We know that's technically revealing our squad for this race already, but it's hard not to!

[HC] Top 5 Tour of Ukraine

A risk perhaps, but after Stanislau Bazhkou's huge overperformance in the Chernyk stage on his way to a podium here last year we couldn't not back him to achieve that (or even just a top 5) again in his specialty of the hill stage race. If he can limit losses (or even better just straight up beat the top puncheurs as he did last year) on Stage 2 this should be a very real possibility for us.

[PTHC] Top 5 Volta a Portugal

Another one that we surprisingly already achieved last year after George Bennett rebounded from a difficult first 9 days by being part of the grand GC escape group on Stage 10 which ultimately made up the top GC rankings, with himself in 5th. In that case with his altitude training camp under his belt and hopefully a better opening week in the hills, this should be easy peasy?

[HC] Top 5 Tour of California

Our debut at this race, it'll be a very tough one for George Bennett in what is sure to be a big field. We're hopeful but also acknowledge this might be the least likely - but who knows? We know he can handle the hills better than a lot of stage racers so he could either make gains there or otherwise hope that said stage racers are scared off!

Top 10 Team Standings
A slightly ambitious rankings goal but it only made sense to look upwards a few positions. In such an open PCT field we have no idea if we can do it or not but we suspect it would require every leader to fire on all cylinders and that we are better off aiming to be the best of the bottom half again. We are hoping to have an enjoyable and fruitful season with no relegation fear (for now) and next to no promotion hopes. Maybe we're feeling so good because we just took a look at our squad's stats in 2021...

Official 2019 Team Presentation

It was an up and down fourth transfer season at Xero with some sad departures and bright arrivals. We'll deal with the departures at a later date but the losses of Velits, van der Sande and Roux left the team with some big holes to plug. Luckily the conversion of the team to one with an average age of 25 which was still competitive, exciting and within our focus nations was exactly our plans for this season, even if it wasn't exactly the riders we planned on.

Overall the wider full-time squad (including loan-outs) is 70% from our focus nations, which is very successful in our book. The average age decrease to one which has an average of 8 years left at their peak is especially pleasing with a strong core of U25 riders developing alongside a group of entirely under 30 leaders. And as for competitive and exciting, well, let's take a look...

2019 Official Squad

Shaun NickBester72687273747170747171716972
MorneV. Niekerk74616676727371646167716475
Arvidde Kleijn69597160686974667372616367

Than TungHuynh65596665677157607069746768

Loaned Out:

The 2021 Core

S. N.Bester72687273747170747171716972
MorneV. Niekerk76626778737572646167726477
Arvidde Kleijn70617560717176667475646467
Than TungHuynh68627366747460607376807069

Manager's Thoughts

We don't have quite time for the normal look at each section but in a rather pretentious way it makes sense not to. Although we will still have recurring squads for each terrain, a lot of our riders aim to score in the half-spaces between the terrains, the hybrid races. Rowe and Houle specialise in flat classics and reduced sprints from cobbles and hills respectively and both have solid TT skills they'll each get the chance to use during the year. Debesay is a cobbled rider first and foremost but is at ease in hilly-cobbled classics, tough flat classics and cobbled or even hilly stage races, as well as breakaways. Bennett will once again aim to avoid the top stage racers for most of his calendar by racing the "MO/HI" races. Bazhkou is for the hilly stage races. All of our main leaders bar Dyrnes will expect to score best outside of the traditional races of their terrains.

The aim for this transfers was a transition to a younger squad that was still competitive enough at least to the level of last year to not worry about relegation. Whilst not every goal within the plan was achieved we have a lot to be happy with and on the surface level that was achieved, although with how open this division is and how reliant we are on hybrid scoring, it would be premature to rule out relegation before the first race begins!

Really I have no idea where the team will end up but I think in the big picture I'm happy with what we did and where we're going and I think we'll have a very entertaining season this year. Bring it on!
Predictions so far seem really undecided on your team, judging by your leaders I'm guessing planning will make a big difference to your season, hopefully it's enough to stay up as your prediction for 2021 has lots of depth in it if you can just survive this year to be able to keep your core together.
sammyt93 wrote:
Predictions so far seem really undecided on your team, judging by your leaders I'm guessing planning will make a big difference to your season, hopefully it's enough to stay up as your prediction for 2021 has lots of depth in it if you can just survive this year to be able to keep your core together.

Everywhere from 8th-25th. A broad spread Pfft

Everyone saying planning will have a big effect is making me super nervous about what I planned Grin Indeed I hope my riders can do enough to stay up especially with the core I've built coming through soon, they should have enough about them but if Houle and Rowe aren't firing it's a slippery slope!
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [PCT] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3

The team are pleased to announce the full race schedule for 2019. Schedules for leaders will be revealed at a later date whilst the full squads will be released month-by-month as usual.
10/1 Down Under ClassicHCRecap
14/1-19/1 Tour Down UnderHCRecap
28/1-29/1 Tour of East JavaPTHCRecap
31/1 Clasique Pico BasileC1Recap
5/2-8/2 Tour of the Middle EastHCRecap
6/2 Omloop Het NieuwsbladPTHCRecap
8/2 Gent - WevelgemC1Recap
8/2-12/2 Tour de SlovenieHCRecap
18/2-23/2 Volta a CatalunyaC1Recap
2/3-5/3 KBC De Panne TourC1Recap
10/3 Le SamynC1Recap
20/3 Strade BianchePTHCRecap
28/3-31/3 Jelajah SKLC1Recap
30/3 Kuurne-Bruxelles-KuurneHCRecap
1/4-7/4 Tour of CaliforniaHCRecap
13/4-15/4 Tour of UkraineHCRecap
20/4-23/4 Tour of CyprusC1Recap
29/4 Veenendaal - VeenendaalHCRecap
29/4 Lisbon ClassicHCRecap
1/5-5/5 Cheshire Cycling TourHCRecap
2/5-7/5 Tour of RomandieC1Recap
9/5 Chrono d'ArenbergC1Recap
12/5-14/5 Scandinavian Open Road RacePTHCRecap
25/5 Frankfurt - EschbornC1Recap
27/5-31/5 Tour of NorwayPTHCRecap
1/6-6/6 Tour of JapanC1Recap
3/6 Malopolski WycsigC1Recap
5/6 GP KigaliHCRecap
10/6-15/6 Post Danmark RundtHCRecap
18/6-23/6 Tour of South AfricaC1Recap
1/7-8/7 Tour de San LuisC2Recap
20/7 Kenya Mountain ClassicHCRecap
26/7-29/7 Tour of BeijingHCRecap
4/8 Macskako KerekparversenyC1Recap
7/8-13/8 Int. Osterreich RundfahrtHCRecap
11/8-21/8 Volta a PortugalPTHCRecap
17/8-21/8 Baltic Chain TourC1Recap
1/9 Paris - ToursPTHCRecap
1/9-5/9 Tour of BritainC1Recap
27/9 Rheden GPPTHCRecap
27/9 Tour of the BattenkillPTHCRecap
1/10 Tour du MarocPTHCRecap
3/10 GP LuganoHCRecap
3/10 Giro dell'EmeliaHCRecap
12/10-15/10 SAA Tour d'AfriqueHCRecap
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