ANDERSON: Don’t give up on Cadel on the Tour
Cadel Evans punctures as saboteurs hit the Tour de France (Image: AFP / Fred Mons)
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The lead up to this year’s Tour de France has not disappointed, with its drama, gossip, and politics. These days, this is the rule rather than the exception.
I have had to deal with my own share of the same: personal scandals, team scandals, everything other than the race.
Really, there should be a cycling glossy at the supermarket aisle checkouts.
In Europe, particularly Belgium, where the fanaticism is strong, this is actually the case.
The pre-Tour preamble built to an unprecedented level this year, the focus not on the Tour itself but on Lance Armstrong.
Any rider or official associated with him and his teams has become tainted by the association. This is an appalling state of affairs.
The wheels of due process will slowly reveal the truth but we must be patient and pay attention to le Tour.
The 2012 Tour is well underway now and my hope is that Cadel will remain strong and pull back the time he has lost.
My fear is not that Wiggins is better, but that Froome and Porte are better than Cadel. They are, in their own right, general classification contenders.
Sky is dominating the race.
Pre-tour, it always looked to be the case: the strength of their support team is formidable.
As the Tour changes, the style of rider and team must change to satisfy the demands of this modern epic. We rarely see the teams and riders perform together until the Tour.
Cadel took an enormous risk with limited racing and there have been many changes to his team.
Wiggins, too, has raced little but his lieutenants have been doing the work, early season results revealing great strength and a cohesive approach.
I have wondered in previous articles if Sky were ambitious enough to put up a team that would pursue yellow and green.
The team to beat has always been Sky.
Ryder Hesjedal is now out of the tour; Nibali is showing strong form; Peter Sagan is quite simply an astonishing talent; and Cavendish has had bad luck.
Both green and yellow jerseys are being heavily contested.
Cadel is not out of this race by any means, but the question in my mind, from an Australian perspective, is: “why has Richie Porte not been selected for our Olympic team?”
For that matter, where is Renshaw? He remains one of the best lead out men/sprinters in the world.
There are some real and apparent problems in the Australian selection process. This is becoming almost as scandalous as the continuing Lance saga.
Token efforts have been made in appeasing an appalled cycling public after the last World championship selection process, but in my opinion, the team put forward to represent Australia in this year’s Olympics is second rate.
Richie and many others have arrived on the cycling circuit without the assistance of the AIS.
Is this the reason they are overlooked?
Orica-GreenEDGE have been riding with confidence in their first Tour, taking responsibility in some of the chases and fully committing to Matt Goss in the sprints.
He has been consistent with his top five results and the team have reappeared now that we are leaving the Alps. However, it is going to be difficult to get that win.
None of the breakaways have been successful, because the peloton has been controlling the race for their sprinters while Sky have controlled the race overall.
Cadel has been sitting pretty with his team and has been avoiding the carnage that litters the roads of the first week and I am still prepared to hope he can ride to victory.
The tour has a long way to go with the Pyrenees to come, he needs some luck but if there is a chance he will take it.
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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