ANDERSON: Cycling overload with Giro and Tour of California
Cavendish vs Goss - Cav holds the upper hand in the Green jersey stakes - if he wants it Image: Graeme Watson
After a week of this year’s Giro d’Italia, and the Tour of California, cycling fans Australia wide are getting to work late and tired. It’s great.
At the Giro, Mark Cavendish has proved to be unbeatable in the field sprints. He has been able to replicate the awesome skill of his HTC lead-out train to his new team and the results are there for all to see.
Doubt is always present when there is a reshuffle of jerseys and team affiliations but the Manx-man seems to have taken that winning confidence with him and this would suggest he is able to organize his riders just the way he wants. Cavendish has proven to be an awesome practitioner in both sprinting and leading a sprint team.
Le Tour will be a challenge for the British team as it is rare that a team sets its sights on more than one jersey.
Besides their sprinter, Team Sky have Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and let’s not forget our own Richie Porte who are all able to challenge for the general classification top spot. Team Sky are really issuing a challenge as the team to watch in this year’s tour as they vie for both the yellow and green overall jersey’s.
The ever strong Richie Porte has begun the season strongly proving to be Wiggins’ greatest asset when he was isolated in the hills of both the Paris-Nice and Tour of Romandie.
Should Wiggins faulter, as he has in the past, then I believe Richie is more than capable of stepping up to the plate. A professional rider like Richie Porte has to sacrifice his own ambitions in a team like Sky. It is the ultimate sacrifice but part of a team’s strength and proving to be one of Sky’s keystones.
Richie has to earn his loyalty and the respect he deserves will come, when he needs it. Should Cadel falter, BMC must certainly plan to fill his shoes as Sky must do with Wiggins. Richie could be faced with the mantle of leadership. Ready or not – that’s racing.
As easy as it is for many to comment and criticise I believe that unless you have been a professional rider, understanding the dynamics of a team and the sacrifice of a rider is impossible.
I may seem like a harsh critic at times but there is so much more than nationalities and professional allegiances at stake here. The interpersonal relationships within a team can have a huge impact on results.
Let’s not forget Cadel’s emotional outbursts in previous tours, his numerous team changes and the enormous pressure he has put himself under in this year with his limited racing. How will the Schlecks fare at this year’s Tour without the support of their director Kim Andersen and under the harsh leadership of Brunel.
Let us also look at GreenEDGE; Goss has been earning his keep showing to have been consistently competitive in the Tour of Turkey and now at the Giro. The team have been doing well to position Goss at the pointy end in the final kilometer. Despite their best efforts in Italy, it has been Cav’s Sky Team controlling the flatter stages as the race approaches the hillier second half of this three week event.
As the finishes are approached, Sky are able to ride at such a high tempo, no-one can step out of the line and each day solo breaks are controlled.
At this point of the race, GreenEDGE has been doing an epic job of finding their way to the front in the closing kilometres at the right time. We are seeing this in the Tour of California as well. If it’s a field sprint, you don’t wish to be seen until the final 200 metres however to win against the likes of Cavendish GreenEDGE needs to do more than just be there, you need to be there with very strong kick to finish it off.
Hopefully this is the IP that Robbie McEwen is bringing to the team and with time will drill into the team the methodology required to win. There is always a certain madness to a sprint and I have been involved in my fair share but it is the hard work that produces the consistent results.
Of course I must speak of GreenEDGE, and their new sponsor Orica. It could only have been expected that should there be a new Australian based sponsor that it would have to have come from the resources sector.
Congratulations to the GreenEDGE management for achieving this goal as the team will now at least have financial certainty for a little longer.
Hopefully the legacy of Orica-GreenEDGE will assist in the image of this Mining Service and explosives company. The resources sector via Santos have been involved as a title sponsor of the TdU for a couple of years now but it is good to see more of this lucrative industry’s profits filter down to sports and other sectors of the community. Hopefully others will follow.
Phil Anderson Cycling Tours
Phil Anderson Cycling Tours offers tours to the European Cycling Season including the Grand Races of Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana. In 2012, Phil added to his offering the famous Spring Classics that eluded him for so many years. Phil also organises custom tours around Australia as well as special 'once-in-a-lifetime' experiences with the legend himself.
To find out more visit Phil Anderson Cycling Tours.
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