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ANDERSON: GreenEDGE lack the edge as Europe heats up

Thomas de Gendt leads the Criterium du Dauphine after winning Stage 1 (AAP Image/Benjamin Macmahon)
Expert
13th April, 2012
6
1228 Reads

Cycling fans are busy at the moment watching The European Spring Classics. It is the season of the one-day races. Careers are made and teams are broken.

Simon Gerran’s win in Milan San Remo was fantastic, but it was against the odds, and GreenEDGE fans have had a quiet time in the classics since, despite some momentum being carried over into Spain with some team wins there.

Mention must be made once again of the women’s GreenEDGE team.

They are performing above all expectations and are currently dominating the early European season events.

During the tour of Flanders, the apparent GreenEDGE team leader, Sebastiaan Langeveld, crashed out when trying to move up the field.

We have all seen the pros jumping the bike paths, kerbs and traffic island in their quest for a place in the front of the field. I have done it myself.

But this time it didn’t work, and it looked once again like all the GreenEGGS were in this one basket. We didn’t see much of the boys in green after they were spotted chasing back an early break in the race.

The tour of Flanders organisers, of course, changed the finale of the race this year. A circuit is a much easier race to manage in terms of traffic, crowds and live broadcast. But to my mind, it was all a bit of a fizzer, and to be quite frank, it was a boring finish.

This is a pet event of my mine that I aspired to win on a number of occasions. Second twice.

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The Belgian fans madly chase the race from beginning to end, screaming around the country in cars to keep up with their favourite riders. Clearly the roads are madness, but this loss of tradition could have been minimised with a final exciting circuit that included the Koppenberg, the most famous and most difficult climb of the day.

The Springs Classics are truly the best one-day races you will ever see, and to see these changes occur with a view to improve TV ratings and to more readily facilitate traffic is a shame.

The race split on the Oude Kwaremont and the three leaders were never caught. Despite my boredom, it is apparent that Tom Boonen is on fire with a successive win in Paris-Roubaix.

After Milan San Remo, GreenEDGE had moved towards the top of the team standings, and advance publicity suggested there would be a strong focus on the European Classics.

I am not sure that the hilly classics to come will really be the team’s forté. Simon is always a dark horse, and to be watched in the hills, but the team will be protecting their assets against some very strong and well-built teams, like BMC, with Phillipe Gilbert yet to show some form.

We are all hoping for a good result in the Amstel and Liege-Bastogne-Liege to come.

On top of the Classics, I have been privileged enough to view some of the World Track Championships held in Melbourne. Fantastic racing.

And I do hope Pat McQuaid was there to see a great display of aggressive and tactical racing by all the female cyclists involved.

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I am looking forward to the day I can see the women on the road, racing the same stages as the men at the Tour Down Under, followed by the men later in the day.

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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