ANDERSON: Giro becoming a better race than Tour de France
Italy's Ivan Basso pedals during the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia, from Limone sul Garda to Falzes - Pfalzen, Italy. (AP Photo/Daniele Badolato)
With the Giro and Tour of California behind us, we really should reflect on how lucky we are.
I do try not to reminisce, but it is almost inconceivable that my first experiences relating to international cycling were gleaned from magazines and books in the local library.
Prime time allocations on the networks are given to cycle sport.
Despite our howls of protest, the commercial networks are paying attention and the sponsors are far happier with a commercial outcome.
That aside, the news pieces and highlight packages have been excellent.
Couple all this with Orica GreenEdge’s backstage pass: if you are such a dedicated fan, you can be as close to being in the peleton without having to crème up your chamois.
Heinrich Haussler was a remarkably consistent performer in the Tour of California against the ever-dominant Peter Sagan.
He is possibly peaking at the right time in his quest for selection as an Australian rider in our Olympic team and he should not be overlooked by Green-aligned selectors.
I have harped on this before.
In my opinion, management, coaches or any other member of the GreenEdge staff should not be on the National Selection Committee.
There are far too many very good Australian riders who are more noticeable by their omission from national teams for us to consider that nepotism does not play a hand here.
Michael Matthews, although always in the mix, hasn’t continued the rise that was expected given his credentials at sub-protour level.
I may sound harsh, but if he is going to mix it with the big boys, he really has to sit at the front.
Inexperience may have caught him halfway down the food chain in the mix for the line, but a nasty crash should teach him that, inevitably, that was not the place to be.
I suspect he is a fast learner and we will see more of him.
Currently, Mark Renshaw has proven that being the fastest leadout man to the world’s best sprinter doesn’t necessarily equate to winning.
However, I keep hoping to see him edging out all the contenders of the 2000 kilowatt club. It may be just a matter of time for Renshaw, but if you included him with Haussler, Goss and some of the young guns, like Michael Mathews, the Olympic road squad would look strong.
Let’s not see the same old formulae applied to the selection of our road team.
And the next question: who is directing?
There have been a number of blunders at recent Olympic races, but whether this has come from the team director or the riders themselves, I’m not sure.
Back to the tour of California, where we saw GreenEdge’s Cam Meyer having his first foray as a GC rider.
Despite grooming as a future potential team leader for Greenedge, we did not see him at the top of the leaderboard.
At the Giro, Matthew Goss did well with one stage win.
How many times did he finish behind the Manx man. What can you do?
The Giro is becoming a far better race than the stage-managed Tour de France and it was disappointing that GreenEdge did not really have a crack at supporting or grooming a rider for GC.
GreenEdge did confirm at inception that they don’t have General Classification aspirations this year, but no Aussies made it through to week three of the Giro.
This is clearly an area for development.
As the circus heads to the Dauphine, a great tour prelude, I am really wondering what will be the outcome of this year’s tour. Despite the organization’s best efforts for an exciting race, and harking back to my previous articles, I wonder now if the tour is more about the directors than the riders.
Surely a new jersey should be designed.
Possibly Platinum for the winning director/strategist.
It goes without saying these roles are very important but given the amount of discussion on the relationships between directors, riders, the media and the Le Tour organizations own expectations for the event, I suspect it could all become a farce this year.
Andy and Frank are emotional as Anderson and Bruyneel bat it out. Cadel, well, who knows. Nobody has seen him and his emotional state is always a concern.
A banned Contador has become a vegetarian. We won’t see him and he is upset about the donut regime.
The Giro was almost a relief, a beautiful old school win.
A fresh face, no expectations, a new way to manage a team and riders.
Alan Peiper is a man of my time and perhaps I should look at putting my money on him for the Platinum jersey.
Phil Anderson, a former Australian professional racing cyclist and the first non-European to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, writes an exclusive column for The Roar.
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