EDIT: Now with Poll Power!
Hi there. You might remember me from such transfer-related posts as RadioShack and J-Rod to Katusha. In this post I'll try to figure out the significance of Daniel Moreno transferring to *Lotto. Good? Bad? Boring? Let's get to the bottom of this.
On the surface, this is one odd transfer. Moreno says he doesn't speak the same language his new teammates speak. *Lotto is also, ahem, not known for stage racing prowess, which is Moreno's main ability. If Evans had stayed at *Lotto this might have been a good transfer as Moreno has been a good domestique for Valverde the last couple of years, but Evans flew to coop. As it stands now, *Lotto's GC hopefuls are Van den Broeck, Lloyd, De Greef, Moreno, and a whole lot of empty space. None of these guys is a top tier Grand Tour hopeful; all of them would be having a great grand Tour if they finished in the top 10.
So I guess that for Moreno, who is in the prime of his career at age 28, he finally gets a chance to ride for himself at the Vuelta and that overrides the cultural difference on his new team?
I'm fishing here obviously. But as a domestique for Valverde at Caisse d'Epargne, he's done well. He was 11th overall this year at the Vuelta and the previous few years he's finished 12th, 12th, and 36th (in his Vuelta debut). And he wasn't the main domestique for Valverde either; J-Rod was. So I can imagine that he would like a better shot at the podium than what C d'E would give him.
Looking a little deeper, one sees that he's decidedly mediocre as a chronoman. But who knows? Being a domestique in a Grand Tour can skew results. Maybe his 2nd place finish at the Chihuahua opening prologue is a glimpse of his latent ability that he hasn't shown otherwise. Probably not though; but again maybe he's never practiced it and this winter he'll try to up his time trialing skills.
As a climber, he's good, even as a domestique. For evidence I cite last year's Vuelta where he finished 10th and 13th on the lethal Angrilu/Invierno combo. Again, not quite as good as J-Rod, but pretty good.
So I end this where I started with lots of questions, and I haven't even gone into his more-mediocre-than-one-might-expect results for smaller stage races, this year;'s 2nd place @ Poland excepted. This is one odd transfer. It's hard to believe that this transfer will result in a Vuelta podium, but it's not out of the question either. Anyone care to shine some light here? Bueller? Bueller?