Surprisingly many found the decision to boot Geox as something unexpected. Rumours circled for days that the team had been told by Prudhomme that they would not get a slot.
People from Gerard Vroomen to "John Smith" wrote on twitter that this was unexpected. Vroomen's word here: "In the past Gianetti came in with a crap team. With a good he doesn't". Now that might be possible, but that's where the main problem is: Geox hasn't got the team. Well, they have Sastre and Menchov but that is not enough. And the problem might just as well be Gianetti.
I believe Sastre's and Menchov's arrows point downwards. Sastre peaked with a superb win in 2008, but hasn't really furfilled his or anyone else's expectations since. Menchov did the same in the Giro but has not been seen in front of the peloton after that.
ASO and Prudhomme are known to letting new teams, especially French teams, get their chance, and we also have to consider that ASO still is a "French" organisation. That said, Saur-Sojasun is an exciting team with Jérôme Coppel, French cycling's hope as the star. I, for what is worth, welcome ASO's decision. Not many these days are paying attention to the new riders and give cycling a new beginning.
Anyone remember the dark Tour of 2008 with Saunier-Duval riders Ricco and Piepoli? And who was the Team Manager for Saunier-Duval you say? Correct, that was Mauro Gianetti. After a couple of name changes from Saunier-Duval to Fuji-Servetto and Fotoon-Servetto, where Gianetti got his Tour-ticket because of his Pro Tour-status and old rules. With Geox - that was not the case.
I said earlier this week that the element of the team manager was to consider and perhaps this was a political message, but probably the elements added together made Prudhomme and co make their decision. Two great riders, possibly with their career peak behind them and not to popular in France, a Team Manager with a past (not that he was involved in doping - I didn't say that or intended to) versus a new exciting French team with French cycling's hope? Go figure.
Well, we all know the outcome. The riders on Geox will focus on the Giro and the Vuelta, so things are not all black.
I believe cycling need some new faces who can put their mark on the races and for the time being, Prudhomme makes sure that's a possibility.