The North American peloton* will be undergoing some major changes after the 2008 season. The potential loss of two big teams could produce a sea change of sorts, flooding the market with top talent. Cyclingnews' Mark Zalewski gives a 'State of the Peloton' report, including who is staying, who could be going and who might be growing because of it. In part two of this three-part feature, he looks at the mid-level teams that are surviving.
Also see part one, and check back for part three: the up and comers.
Moving down the NRC team rankings for the rest of the US peloton, the opportunities afforded to them with the amount of talent on the table ranges from a chance to step-up to the big leagues to the schadenfreude of a "Got Milk" commercial. Riders may be available but budgets do not magically increase just because of this. As well, teams often say they prefer to stay loyal to their own riders and maintain a strong and cohesive team core. Whether or not this is true or merely a result of not having a big enough budget to sign additional talent is a trade secret.
Take for example the Colavita-Sutter Home team, which sits third in the NRC rankings. Team owner John Profaci has been around long enough to see situations like this in the past. "After being in this for a few years now I don't enjoy the recruiting that goes on in August. I basically resigned the whole team and if there is room for a new player, great. But I am happy with the teamwork and morale we have now. I need to stick my guns and stick to my squad. We are very excited and they work great together."
Still the chance to fill a gap in the team is always a thought. "We are missing an overall GC and a time trialist, that is no secret there. I used to get e-mails, but no top names have come my way so far. If one comes our way I would be happy to take that call."
Read the full feature.