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Posts Tagged ‘GreenEdge’

The overall top 3 for the Tour is virtually locked in after the Pyrenees, with the likely result of the final time trial being to simply confirm the dominance of the two Sky boys, and shuffle a few of the lower places.  Prior to that, we have a 221km stage that nominally should be a sprint stage, but likely sprint teams will need to be motivated to control things  as it is a very tough day in the saddle.  Exhaustion for those who are already exhausted.

Firstly, such a long stage at such a late point is tough, and secondly, the profile (and knowing the area from races I’ve been to in previous years) is almost NEVER flat.  This is a total headwreck of a day – it is mentally exhausting to be constantly up and down little rollers, and in and out of corners.  Riders need to concentrate all day to avoid crashes and be in the right place at the right time

Translation: it wouldn’t be a surprise if the break stays away!  The responsibility will largely rest on the Orica GreenEdge boys as they haven’t been working on the front of the bunch for the past few days (unlike the Lotto, Liquigas and Sky lads, who have all been working hard for their various GC men).

I’m hoping they do the job, and Gossy delivers on the line.  He’s in good form, but hasn’t quite bopped a win yet.  Tonight is his night!  Followed by Cav then Greipel.

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Ok.  We’ve had our rest day, complete with (seemingly) obligatory drug bust, and we’re ready to dive into the final, defining week.  More on Frank’s positive later.

Now we see if the hard racing that has been inflicted upon the peloton has had any effect on Team Sky.  It certainly showed with the break staying away and Fedrigo winning the stage over Christian “VDV” Vandevelde (DAMN I wanted to see him win one!) before the rest.  If there was a stage that had “sprinter” written all over it, that was it, but Sky were in energy conservation mode, Lotto had drilled themselves into a deep hole two stages earlier for Greipel’s third win and have to look aftter VDB tonight; leaving GreenEdge with a lot of work a long way out.  Unsurprisingly, they chose to not chase.

The last time Wiggo was in this situation (although racing for 3rd, not 1st) was in 2009 when he eventually lost a lot of time to the Schlecks and Contador, and a little time to Lance on a tough mountain stage.  He had VDV doing amazing work then, and Froomey to do the job now, and we shall see if he’s been softened up by Nibali, Cadel, et  al, or if he’s still got more in the tank.   Seeing how meticulous Sky have been, you can only assume that he will come through this stage with flying colours.

The hope from Nibali and Cadel is that it is too hard to maintain amazing form for three weeeks of racing, and so Wiggo will be on the wane while they are both on the improve.  They thus will hope to make today intensely hard, with the expectation that even if he defends well today, he will be that much deeper in the hole tomorrow on an even tougher stage, and they will get the time they need then.

The big question will be if they crack Wiggo early, does Froomey go with the leaders, or stick with Wiggo.  I think it’ll be a moot point as Wiggo is on song, but if it were to happen, I reckon Froomey would have to leave Wiggo behind.

That’s for tomorrow – today, I’m on Nibali from VDB from Evans.

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We’ve had a full week since the mad dog sprinters have had a chance to shine, and I would be astonished if we had to wait another day to see them

Sagan singing an opera at Gossy (thanks to Bettini photos)

all go head to head for the win. That is not to say that the sprinters have kept quiet: we’ve had Gossy be relegated for deviating from his line against Sagan (tough 50:50 decision); Sagan dragging Nibali up the road in an attack on the Sky Supertrain (bike racing brilliance); Ty Farrar suffering from multiple wounds and hopefully recovering enough to bop a win (hardman); and Cav keeping his mouth shut. Weird.

A break will skip away, Sky will let them clear on out of Dodge, then Lotto and GreenEdge will control the peloton to bring things back together for another crack at line honours.

Gossy will be that fired up after pumping Sagan twice in a day, yet losing points in the race for the Green that I reckon he’s the man for the win today. Second to be Greipel, third Cav.

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A Superb Start

If perfection is a 10/10, and the attainment of perfection is impossible, then GreenEdge have had a 9/10 first month of racing.  They have won both the road and TT Australian jerseys for the year, and have won the overall on their first ProTour race.  Simon Gerrans is top of the UCI World Rankings, and GreenEdge are 3rd (for full lists, go to http://www.uci.ch/templates/BUILTIN-NOFRAMES/Template3/layout.asp?MenuId=MjExMw&LangId=1 ).

They controlled the final stage of racing at the Tour Down Under with panache, even sending Cam Meyer up the road in the final 10km, briefly threatening to derail the sprint trains, and thus ensured that Gerrans remained in front of Valverde on the overall.  Gerro upon winning the TDU

Cam’s heroics aside, the sprinters did have the final say for the week in South Australia, and Greipel did what Greipel does best.  He monstered the field with a dominant sprinting display.  One can only hope that he can take some of that form to European races where he can go head to head with Cav and Ty Farrar and we get to see kickarse sprint battles between the three of them and Gossy.

February is a quiet month as far as the World Tour calendar is concerned, with the next race that points are available being Paris-Nice in March.  There are other races, such as Qatar & Oman on, as well as Langkawi, but this is a period where teams will be scrabbling around a little looking for places to race their riders, and riders will be trying to get the necessary miles in their legs to prep for the Spring Classics while staying healthy and not falling off in the sketchy conditions that Europe in February can throw at them.

My second year at Garmin was a shocker for exactly this in February – we had fractured collarbones, ribs and even shoulder blades to deal with on top of regular ailments like colds and flu.  The gods didn’t smile on us that year, let’s hope they’re smiling on the peloton this time around.

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