The surprising change from Marc Hirschi to Team Emirates leaves open questions. “Blue Sport” looks for answers in conversation with cycling expert Henri Gammenthaler.
It’s a transfer hammer out of nowhere: Marc Hirschi turns his back on his Sunweb team and joins the UAE Team Emirates with immediate effect. The separation comes unexpectedly after an outstanding sporting season and despite an ongoing contract – also for cycling expert Henri Gammenthaler: “Of course, the surprise is big. And a lot is still kept secret. “
So far, one waits in vain for a detailed statement from Hirschi himself. Manager Fabian Cancellara suggests with a few statements that the Bernese no longer felt comfortable in the German team: “It’s important to me that an athlete can work in an environment that challenges and encourages at the same time. And I know that he will find that in the new team, ”said the four-time time trial world champion.
“These are all excuses – over Hirschi’s head”
Cancellara also feeds speculation that strict rules in Team Sunweb (new DSM) could be the primary reason for the premature separation. According to Gammenthaler, however, this is doubtful. «These are all excuses – over Hirschi’s head. I’m afraid he doesn’t even know what to do anymore, ”said the man from Zurich in an interview with“ blue Sport ”.
Henri GammenthalerImage: zVg
Henri Gammenthaler analyzes the cycling events for “blue Sport”. The man from Zurich was once a driver himself, later a TV and radio expert and commentator on the Tour de Suisse.
Gammenthaler can rather imagine that the separation came about not least at the request of the previous employer. It is always said that every driver in the Sunweb team can act for himself. But: «That’s not true. There is also a strategy behind it. And if you don’t stick to these, you’re out, ”says Gammenthaler, pointing out that Hirschi also drove on his own every now and then.
Apart from Hirschi’s personal motives, about which one can only speculate at the moment, the matter is not a sure-fire success for Gammenthalers anyway. Above all, he sees the following sources of danger:
If Hirschi’s old employer’s rules were actually too strict, “he could have ended up at the wrong address,” says Gammehtaler. Similar authoritarian structures prevailed in Team Emirates – “at least”. «Hirschi has to do exactly what the sports director says there. And then there is the fact that he is on the same team as the high-flyer of the last Tour de France, ”notes Gammenthaler. Hirschi will be teammate of Tadej Pogacar, the winner of last year’s tour, as well as Rui Costa, three-time winner of the Tour de Suisse, Diego Ulissi, an Italian stage hunter, and the Polish climbing specialist Rafal Majka.
Pogacar and compatriot Roglic dominated the competition at last year’s Tour of France at will, so that doubts arose not only among the cycling experts. There were also doping rumors about the Ticino team leader at Team Emirates, Mauro Gianetti, during his active career, which is why his team does not enjoy the best reputation in the scene. “He is washed by all hands,” says Gammenthaler and believes: “Hirschi either becomes unscrupulous or he resigns. But I’m afraid he’ll be born, he doesn’t know what he’s getting into. “
For Gammenthaler, this also means that Hirschi has to queue at least at the beginning. “He’ll have a completely subordinate role. He will be number three behind Pogacar and Roglic, ”he believes and can imagine that Hirschi would also have to take on the role of the“ water carrier ”at times. Would Hirschi be content with such a role? Gammenthaler warns: “If the water carrier goes against the rules, he ends up in the ditch …”
In addition, the change to the top team comes too early for Gammenthalers – to be compared with a football talent who is aiming for the leap abroad too quickly. «Professional cycling will stop at nothing. It’s about so much coal, “says Gammenthaler, referring to the concluded contract negotiations. At the same time, he fears that the talented Swiss will approach the adventure with false hopes. Because one thing is clear: “He never has the same freedoms as before.”