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TdF Rest Day: Open thread

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Lazy day for us, a busy day for managers, agent and riders at the Tour. Expect the news and rumors to trickle out today about transfers and assorted stuff. First news of the day is a happy one......

Apparently the future of Belkin is secure. De Telegraaf are reporting on a deal with the dutch lottery Lotto (just as the Belgian one......that might cause a bit of confusion) and a company called BrandLoyalty that currently sponsors a team of Dutch speedskaters, multiple Olympic champion Sven Kramer most notably. Apparently some sort of collaboration will be in place with the cycling and speedskating being brought together under one roof. More details are likely to come out during the day.

It seems that while it secures the teams future it will not cover the full budget of a World Tour team (or at least not a top level one) so the team are still looking to bring aboard a major co-sponsor. Current bike sponsor Bianchi who are quite keen on remaining in the World Tour peloton might be one likely candidate if they have that money to throw around.

An interesting bit in this is Sven Kramer, the speedskating phenom who has long been rumored to want to try his strengths in cycling as well. This may open up some possibilities for that perhaps. As for other stars, Belkin look certain to lose some of their current big names. Mollema and Boom are said to be on the move already and there are rumors of Kelderman moving on as well. This may look like a bit too heavy a power-drain but the team are also said to be having some issues with a few people being on ridiculously generous contracts since the Rabo days and this may be a good time to lighten some of that load and start fresh. Fortunately there seems to be a never ending flow of talents out of the Netherlands so they might be ok even if they lose a name or two and if the Alonso team fails to emerge (weren't they supposed to announce themselves to the world today btw?) then there will be plenty of reasonably priced riders on the market this fall. Especially since Riis/Oleg have shut their purse in protest against the steep pay demands of riders looking to capitalize on Tinkov's self-stated desire to own the best team in the world.

So what else does the rest day bring....?