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[PCT] Podium Ambition
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Posted on 26-01-2022 10:38
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TheManxMissile wrote:
The Great Big "Goddamn Legend, National Hero and Cult Icon" Post

Martin "The Goddamn Legend, National Hero and Cult Icon" Grashev. For the 32 year old Bulgarian to finish in the Top20 of a World Championship is absolutely incredible! Completely justifies bringing the worlds to Bulgaria and really puts the full stop on what has been a long long project.

All the way from Boeing-Bulgaria Bicycling newbies, cobbles defined my team and Grashev was more than excellent support to Geraint Thomas (also now departing the squad, more on the "King of Herning" soon) and to Burghardt and to Altur. Guiding all of them to exceptional results.

The 2015 E3 Prijs, defeating Vanspeybrouck in a one-vs-one, was an absolute career highlight and he only major win. But my word what a win! Only a handful of classics men can say they beat Pieter, Summerhill and Boonen in a fair race, Martin Grashev is on that unique list alongside the company of Sam Bewley!


He has also claimed a National Title for himself, but on African Cobbles (yes that's a whole unique category i've decided) he made himself known. Completely bucking the trend to finish on the podium in multiple years of the GP Kigali, as well as single handedly trying to prevent relegation in the Tour de Faso 2014 (i hope it was 2014...). Martin Grashev, he will never be celebrated like Pate or Kagestad or the MG legends like Cunego or Schleck. But he is without question one of the finest bike riders around.
If no-one claims your legendary skills in transfers we will bring you back as a DS to tutor the next generation of unique talents.

Martin we, the people of the MG, your loyal supporters for 7 years, and you country men on home soil, salute you!


After days of speculation in the end we've decided to give him a new home and will link up with familiar faces. And my team is inviting you as well as every other manager if they want on the official roster presentation and banquet, which will be held at a mythical place, located in the Eifel Mountains.
@mre - You can keep the climbers, i'll take the less common Spanish sprinters and classics men, easy Pfft

@red - Fun is always the aim!

@ivan - I spotted that signing (as well as Robov). Hopefully Martin can still provide some special moments for you!
The Great Big "Rainbow Jersey" Post

We already signed the World Champion to a new 100k contract. Now we have a special Rainbow Jersey ready to be worn!





Barbados will be worn by Darren Matthews on the road, and Kristin Vanderpool in the trials.
The Antiguan double for Jyme Bridges.
Maple Leaf to adorn the shoulders of AC in the time trials.
The Rainbow Jersey on the back on Queen Le Court on the road.

Very special work as always by the_hoyle, just look at the detailing on the shorts! I legitimately think we're the best looking team in the peloton.



Great looking kit for you this season Smile
@hillis - the_hoyle as always nailed it in the design! I just give him bright colors and freedom to get creative. We're the counter-culture team, got to keep bringing the fun!

The Great Big "Quick Filler" Post

Pretty much as it sounds, just a quick filler in between big posts. First up, a reminder you can find our transfers summary on the previous page.

Marcos "Altoro" Altur
We finally found a nickname for our classics leader! We also found a +1 CB stat down the back of the sofa. This makes the Spaniard an 82CB for the new season. Marcos was a fairly regular Top10 rider last season but this investment should make that more automatic at an HC/C1 level and keep him competitive at the PTHC/PT level.
Add the bonus support of fellow Iberians Jon Ander Insausti (77CB) and Ramone Domene (76CB), and a now max power Wolverine (77CB), we bring a strong cobbles set up that is arguably our best ever.

Why train Altur and not Ewan? If we target FA over transfers we'd have been able to make the money for an 84SP. But Ewan has already proved, over the last few years, to be amongst the best of the best every time he riders. No longer U25 eligible his points total will take a hit this season and to give us dual-leaders in Altur made the most sense.
Plus we can train Ewan for the next three years, no rush as we balance out the other areas of the team.

Triple Wild
We wanted to try and get a Grand Tour space, specifically the Tour. Not for XP reasons, but to give Ewan a deserved shot at the Green Jersey. We tanked the GT's hard last season in PT, because there is very little reward to be had there as a flat focused team. Without RD cost he could have been a real option.

Still, we picked up an invite to Milan-San Remo. Eyes firmly on a Top10 there in the sprint friendly Monument.
We also slide into Moscow GP, another sprint fest targeting a Top5. And the East Midlands (Rutland) Classic for Altur to shine and go for the Top10. The XP is a nice bonus but we didn't need them. This is just for the fun and pride.
We'll be back to the PT in a couple of years once we refresh the squad a bit more, until then we'll try and play spoiler!

Goals will come shortly. We've seen others posting them, although with Race Planning still ongoing we're holding back for another week or so.
Mid-season updates? We've not done a lot of these for the last few years. But the plan is to do a couple. Hopefully we'll have a lot of wins to celebrate, but we're also looking at some scout reports for future talents we'd like to see next season.
Plus we will be keeping score in races we're up against Grashev & Thomas.

Stick around and enjoy this season with us! Lots of good sponsor content coming up. Just like the now delayed "Dune" is coming to IMAX screens next Spring #ad



TheManxMissile wrote:
The Great Big "Once, Twice, Three Times A King" Post

Geraint Thomas became the Million Dollar Man. He was our teams first ever leader and is just about still our Best Rider, although the Pocket Rocket will definitely pass him this coming year. G has definied this squad since it's inception and to not have the Brit on the team leaves a strange hole in our identity.

The percentage of MG riders who have ever won a race is tiny. The number that have won the same race twice, even smaller. To win one race three times, only the absolute very best of the absolute very best can claim the feat.
Yes, i'm shouting loundly that G is one of the MG's all-time absolute very best of the absolute very best!

Sorry... did i say three times? Of course i mean Four. Four Times a Champion. At this point you can count the number of riders to acheive this on your hands alone.

GP Herning, that well known northern classic. The Danish cobbles have been dominated by Geraint Thomas. Way way way back in 2009 Geraint won solo ahead of Magnus Backstedt (seriously, go back and look at the names in this race, the MG was very very different thing). But that wasn't for us, so who really cares too much.

I'm here to talk about 2016, 2017 and 2018. The hat-trick! Honestly this just gets more an more impressive for G, the list of hat-trick champions is tiny.

2016 - Outsprinting the great Summerhill, and 9 others, by a clear two bike lengths in the rain.
2017 - Outsprinting the surprise Daniel, and 13 others, by a clear five bike lengths after Burghardt played perfect attacking foil.
2018 - Outsprinting Van Kiersbulck, and 10 others, by a clear five bike lengths.




There's a pattern there, but that's what Thomas was always best at. Hang in over the bumps and kill with his finishing speed. When paired with the powerhouse Burghardt this was a dangerous combo that helps promote us to the PT.
And that's not counting our 2016 CT season where G took a further three victories at that level, to finish 6th in the Individual Ranking.

Geraint Thomas was a superstar for us. An absolute hero. One of the best classics riders year in and year out, despite not being a great climber. He has left the team physically, but we will always carry G in our hearts!
The moment no-one claims him in transfers he'll be joining us as a DS. But maybe, just maybe, the Welshman has one final burst of speed in his legs!


Don't worry my team will definitely take care of him that he will enjoy one last season or two before he retires. Grin
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tst.png i.imgur.com/XZ5vU9L.png
@Tinxia - Herning is available for him this season, no pressure Wink

The Great Big "At This Point Is It Really Going Big?" Post

Every year we go max on Goal points. And every year we fail our goals pretty consistently. Can't really say "Go Big, Or Go Home" when it's our standard procedure year on year.... So here's our goals for the season... go big or go home!

Barbados Cycling Festival - Win
Tour of the Battenkill - Win
Riga-Jurmala GP - Win
Stage Wins - 10
Team Standings - Win

"Home" race in Barbados has been good to Ewan since it's inception, so we're back to try and win it again. Not managed it yet, but we're always close! Plus we always want to back Darren Matthews, hugely underrated and loveable rider along with one of two women in Kristin Vanderpool.

Battenkill... we couldn't quite decide exactly which cobbled race to pick as an Altur goal, so we picked this one. Time will tell if it was the right call or not, but we are quietly confident the improve support from Wolverine could make this work.

Riga-Jurmala because of course we needed a Flat Classic Goal. The 83-81-80-79 train will be out in force (not for the only time this season). Maybe a surprise to see us taget the Latvian event over something closer to our sponsor home, but when have we ever been sensible?

10 Stage Wins can go either way. We're in a lot of flat races with a lot of sprint options. Cataford can shock and we'll have a raft of free-role riders when it's not a sprint. Given we've never won more than 5 stages in a year f*ck knows why we pick this... Oh right, it's only 3 goal points and we have to stay under the limit.

Win the Rankings. I mean, if you have to take a rankings goal you have to go for the ultimate level of it! Although as long as we don't relegate we're happy. Honestly we're just up for a fight in any way possible...



I like the mentality, was going to say 'go big or go home' but remembered that is your motto. Ewan is one of my favorite sprinters irl so I'll be cheering for him (and you) as well in the MG Wink
The Great Big "Early Crisis Talks" Post

A season that held so much promise is rapidly descending into one of the MG's all time flops. There are positives to hold onto in this early running, Ewan getting himself an excellent result in La Primavera and Ricki getting a win in South East Asia. But other than that it's been awful. Not just a lack of wins, but we are rarely in the fight for them, too often barely scraping the Top10!

Talks are already underway with sponsors on what will happen if the team does relegate, and the odds on that are shortening faster than we can sprint. Certainly it seems the futures of every rider are hanging by a thread - with the notable exception of Darren Matthews, Kristin Vanderpool and Kim Le Court.

We await the next rankings update to get a better view of the picture, but if performances don't start turning around the future of this team might be confirm rather fast as sponsors flee for the hills.
Luckily we're not short on Mount Gay Rum to drown our sorrows. #spon #ad



Looks like you're having even worse luck and AI treatment than I am Frown

Hopefully you manage to stay up, as Ewan certainly doesn't belong in CT!


"I am a cyclist, I may not be the best, but that is what I strive to be. I may never get there, but I will never quit trying." - Tadej Pogańćar
I can only say good luck as it appears luck rather than planning or good riders is what you need!
Manager of Renault Classic [ICL]
Manager of Kraftwerk Man Machine [Man Game]
The Great Big "Sponsors Ahead Of Time" Post

As the season rolls into it's closing stages our PCT status is all but assured, barring some wild swing of results, although lets be honest with this season i wouldn't totally count it out.

But with relative security known the backroom team have been working away on deciding the route forwards. Safe to say that Marcos Altur and his Spanish friends have not worked out this season. We maintain he is the MG's worst ever training spend vs results.
As such Movistar are bailing at speed after just one-season. What does this mean for our Spanish riders? Look, we've invested far far too much into Marcos to release him. However if we can use him to fun significant Wolverine training (we're feeling claws might work) then who knows.
Less positive futures for Aberasturi, Domene and Insausti with the team but they were never long term hopes anyway.
Woolworths are also over and out, after a solid two years.

So who's new? Caribbean Tourism Organization, a.k.a OneCaribbean / Caribbean, will join. The continued strong rides and recognition of Darren Matthews, Kristin Vanderpool, Jyme Bridges, as well as the teams work in establishing Barbados as a major yearly race are just too big an opportunity to pass up. They, along with the other major sponsors: IMAX, MCB, Mount Gay Rum, will be our 4 primary sponsors.

We will also make the first change to our NC Sponsorship programme in many many years. Whooshh Innovations will no longer be our NC sponsor. Instead we will be supporting Sea Turtle Conservation, so a turtle jersey instead of a fish jersey.

See y'all soon for the end of year wrap up!




Interested to see what happens with Marcos Altur Pfft

Also good to see that the Caribbean focus is still strong Smile


"I am a cyclist, I may not be the best, but that is what I strive to be. I may never get there, but I will never quit trying." - Tadej Pogańćar
redordead wrote:
Interested to see what happens with Marcos Altur Pfft

Also good to see that the Caribbean focus is still strong Smile

That post made far more sense before Battenkill Pfft But who knows, maybe there's a way we can get Wolverine to the top tier of classics men and keep Altur.

It's nice to be bringing back a bit more Nation/Region focus after a few years without. And our last focus of Bulgaria was successful enough to get to the PT and host a World Championship. So watch out for the 2026 Worlds in St. Kitts & Nevis, with an Agnuillan Tour winner!
You can always come home to us Altur. :lol:
The Great Big "Maybe the Curse is Over?" Post

Barbados Cycling Festival - Win - FAIL 9th
Tour of the Battenkill - Win - CLOSE 2nd
Riga-Jurmala GP - Win - FAIL 14th
Stage Wins - 10 - FAIL 6 wins
Team Standings - Win - FAIL 16th-20th

To provide yet further proof we just hit bad luck in a cursed year, here's the results of our Goals. Not only did we miss in Barbados and Riga, we missed by historically bad proportions in those races.
We had to rely on an ITT win from Altur and wild Lawless win in Canada to post 6 wins, a long way short of the 10 we wanted. Counting the times we were passed in the final few hundred meters, we could have smashed this.
Weirdly despite our constant assertion Altur is the MG's Worst Ever Training Sped, he actually earned us some Goal points with the close miss in the late-season Battenkill. I mean, it's still a huge net-loss vs the cost of the 82CB, but a sign we are now clear of the curse?

That's the bright light we carry forwards. Already a double NC for AC in Canada. Some return on Goals. PCT survival by a comfortable margin. New sponsors. The future is not as dark as it might have been. 2021, the Curse-Free season!



how can you have so much bad luck with Ewan
Ouch on the goals Sad

While I epic failed on most of mine I at least managed to score one. We both relied on our leaders and they both let us down Rolling Eyes

At least we both get another chance next year though Pfft


"I am a cyclist, I may not be the best, but that is what I strive to be. I may never get there, but I will never quit trying." - Tadej Pogańćar
Good luck
@withoutnonsense - Ewan will bounce back, and can't wait to see you join the game shortly in the CT Wink

@redordead - I think i've only ever hit 2 or 3 Goals in 8 seasons :lol: Thinking i might just pick some of the mountain stage races as Goals, because i can fail those races anyway!

The Great Big "the_hoyle's Done It Again" Pots

The uber-talented Rovers fan yet again was on kit duties for us. The HTC-Highroad inspired look returns, with our new sponsors in place and some minor work on the placements. Frankly we adore this kit and y'all can expect to see it for many more years to come.

There'll bee a full sponsor update/intro shortly as we go through and update the first posts for the new season. Although obviously we can't comment on renewals for the time being, as always we dropped enough hints in the season to figure out who's leaving and who's getting massive pay cut!

So please enjoy the fine work below! To be displayed proudly by the Podium Ambition men & women. Including the Canadian Double NC winner Alex Cataford, Antiguan Double NC winner Jyme Bridges, Mauritian Double NC winener Kim Le Court, Barbadian RR winner Darren Matthews & Barbadian TT winner Krisitin Vanderpool.




(no gif, y'all just need to focus on the beauty in pink)
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