Jonathan Vaughters said he was disappointed to see Bradley Wiggins leave his Garmin-Transitions team but admitted that in the end he could not stand in the way of the rider moving to Team Sky.



Wiggins had one year of a two-year deal with the American team still to run, but it had been apparent since the summer that Team Sky wanted to sign the rider and that the rider wanted the opportunity to join the team.



Vaughters told Cycling Weekly: “It obviously wasn’t the outcome we wanted. Brad is an exceptional athlete and talent and of course I’d rather have him on our team but that didn’t work out.”



Asked what sort of settlement Vaughters came to with Team Sky or Wiggins, the American was tight-lipped. “It was a settlement. I can’t disclose that. That’s pretty much all I can say.



“I didn’t really feel that putting my team or Brad through a long legal battle was really the correct decision. We fought as long and as hard as we could on this issue without being destructive to the team, or cycling or Brad’s career. We did everything we could.”



Asked if Garmin had offered Wiggins better terms to stay with the team, Vaughters said: “We did everything that we could do to keep Brad.”



Vaughters wished Wiggins the best for his future career, but said he was disappointed the rider did not honour the two-year contract he signed last winter.



“Essentially I feel that when you make an agreement with anyone over anything, those agreements should be accepted,” Vaughters said. “I feel like that not only over contracts in cycling but, you know, over handshakes in life, or over agreements over who’s going to walk the dog.”



But Vaughters accepted the pull of a big British team was always going to prove too strong. “It was a kind of unique situation because you have the best cyclist in Britain, the most well-known cyclist in Britain, and a team that is trying to identify itself as Britain’s team. I understand Brad’s patriotic desire to join Team Sky.



“I understand Brad’s position. If Christian Vande Velde was on some foreign team and he finished fourth in the Tour, I’d hope he’d want to come to my team. It’s an understandable desire for Brad and Sky, I get that. I really like Brad as a person and as an athlete and I really get on with him.



“If we were to pull back 14 months in time, there were not 10 teams interested in signing Brad Wiggins. There were no teams - including Dave Brailsford’s - who were willing to pay Brad what I was willing to pay him.



“I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I wasn’t personally disappointed. A year ago I was the guy who reached out to him and gave him the place he wanted, the agreement he wanted and the freedom he wanted and it’s a bit of a bummer not to have him in 2010.



“There’s no way I am saying I did it, that I built him up, but I was one of the first people outside of British Cycling to recognise his talent beyond going round and round in circles really fast for 4,000 metres. I am happy he proved me right, and it’s always nice when your decisions are proved right. Hopefully next year one or two of my decisions will be proved right.”



MOVING ON

Vaughters said his focus was now fully on Garmin-Transitions but that there were no plans to bring in a new rider to replace Wiggins.



“Christian Vande Velde rode the Tour last year with seven broken bones and he finished eighth. If we step back and look at that, I think Christian was always going to be our GC rider for the 2010 Tour. I am busy building a team around him, making sure he has the support he needs.



“What we have lined up with Christian and Tyler Farrar and Dave Millar and Robbie Hunter, I think we have a really good team.



“I think Dave Zabriskie is going to be the big surprise in the 2010 Tour. If you look at it, every year we’ve been in the Tour we have had the surprise rider. First Christian then Brad, so right now I predict Zabriskie may surprise a few people.”



Vaughters also added that Wiggins’s move may have implications for the future if wealthy teams can prise riders away before their contracts are up.



“This is a broader topic but cycling may need to look at a more organised transfer system than we have. You know, cycling is growing up. It’s becoming a big professional sport and most other sports have an organised transfer system that is governed by the governing body.”

RELATED LINK

Wiggins signs four-year contract with Team Sky

What they said: Wiggins joins Team Sky press conference

The story of Team Sky – as it happens

 

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  • DAVID

    Wiggins should have seen out his contract with Garmin.

  • Toddy

    I guess it was inevitable, but I’m afraid no one except Johnathan Vaughters comes out of this mess smelling of roses. I fear Team Sky may not get a very friendly reception in the continental peloton, which
    could cost them dear in critical tactical situations in important races.

  • spinningmachine

    Bloody shame that,JV is a true gentleman and I can only wish him and the rest of his team a tremendously sucessful season………….but could this be the Karma gods giving a little back………George deseved the Maillot Jaune.

  • charlie roger

    I agree with the above sentiments. A contract should be honoured, mr Brailsford’s antics leave a nasty taste in the mouth.

  • paul

    It’s a good career move for Bradley Wiggins, no doubt, but i sincerely hope that this method of ‘poaching’ riders doesn’t set the precedent for future transfers.

  • Guy

    I get the distinct impression that Brailsford is making enemies on the continent.

  • Brendan Casey

    One man does not make a team, so Garmin will continue in the right vein without Wiggo. I think their biggest loss is Dr Lim to Shack.

    Like many others, I respect Vaughters totally, and I would have expected nothing else from him in his response.

    All that said, stop the sniping and bitching lads and lasses, settle down for an immense 2010 season and bring it on, I say.

  • neil duerden

    Irrefutable proof yet again that Murdoch’s millions override any notions of morality-witness the equally wrong tapping up of Ben Swift.

    I just hope Garmin were able to extract the maximum amount of money from Team Sky.

    Mr Brailsfords reputation is diminishing by the day in my humble view

  • bob mowat

    I can’t see Brad improove on 4th place while Alberto Lance & andy are still rideing.

  • storeysnotinfrance

    Vaughters is probably correct here in his final comment (as above) – cycling IS really growing (up) at long last and there will – in time – have to be a more organised and properly governed transfer system.

    That said, Garmin (and Vaughters) were always in a no-win situation… given that this has been ongoing for as long as it has, and, if they’d enforced the contract, then they’d simply have had a disgruntled employee (rider) who wouldn’t have been particularly motivated for 2010 – no matter what anyone publicly said. Its the same in any profession you care to name – people (employees) held to contract rarely perform which is why most companies operate the ‘gardening leave’ clause…

    The upside – it’s the right result for almost all concerned; Wiggo becomes the figurehead for Sky – and four years in which to deliver across a number of high profile platforms… Garmin can get on with 2010 and beyond without this transfer millstone hanging around their necks… Sky, finally, not only get their man but can, at long last, draw a line under what has been (in the public eye) truly shambolic pr for / by the team… and the man / woman in the British street can finally relate to the new British ‘super-team’ – since, no matter how brilliant E B-H / Gerrans / Flecha / J-L A, Arvesen etc etc are (and they are), they’re not ‘names’ per se to the viewer on the sofa – equals, the signing of Wiggo was about as much a must-have for Sky as makes no odds.

    The downside – in the ‘how to win friends and influence people’ stakes, certain within the Sky camp have quite a few lessons to learn… and, for the undoubted talent that is TL, with his Tour leadership aspirations to a degree shattered, only time will tell…

    And, finally, can the mod-meister deliver..? Can’t imagine anyone wishing anything other.

    NS

  • JKK

    What a thoroughly decent bloke Vaughters is.

    His attitude and response is very professional.

    Wiggins has been an a$$hole doing this to an organisation like Vaughters/Garmin.

    I wouldn’t have minded but SKY isn’t a British team anyway, how can it be with so many Foreign riders in it?

    Nope Wiggins has done wrong and it doesn’t matter how much Garmin were paid to allow him to leave.

    Wiggins is not an honourable person and has lot my support.