Five months have passed since Rohan Dennis abandoned the Tour de France in mysterious circumstances, climbing off the bike seemingly without cause during stage 12, the day before the race’s major time trial.
In this Budget week you would have to say that GreenEDGE has surpassed all “forward estimates” about what it would achieve in its debut season.
The first week of the Giro d’Italia has presented the team with yet another key milestone in its accession to the world stage.
From very early on the team said it was building a roster that it hoped could win classics and stages in Grand Tours. In March Simon Gerrans delivered the first piece of that pie with a win in the Milan San-Remo.
With the start of the Giro d’Italia this week, we would see how the team would stand up to the rigors of a grand tour.
The week started with a second place to Matt Goss when he was outsprinted by pace machine Mark Cavendish in Stage 2. Goss and the team were very frustrated especially after he had suffered a string of second place finishes in Turkey.
During the first week of the Giro, GreenEDGE team owner and founder Gerry Ryan has been travelling with the team car. He consoled Gossy by telling him to keep doing what he was doing and the win would come. Goss replied despondently “so will Christmas”.
Little did Goss know that Christmas would come within 24 hours in the very next stage of the Giro. In stage three GreenEDGE executed the plans of team director Matt White “to a T”. The lead out train dropping Gossy off in perfect position with three hundred meters to travel to the line.
The only rider capable to overcoming Goss in that position would have been his slayer in the previous stage, Cavendish. However, Goss was lucky to be ahead of a crash that brought down Cavendish (Team Sky) and Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing).
The GreenEDGE official team video showed how much the win meant to Goss, Ryan and the entire team. Matt White has the team working as a unit and sticking perfectly to instructions with four guys on the front with 1km to go.
The win was as much about the discipline the team showed in the final few kms of the race as it was about the speed of Goss at the end.
After the race White stated that the team now had seven Tour wins and had made a “dream start” in its first year, going on to say and, “If we don’t win another race for the season we will still be happy”.
While you can understand the sentiment they are probably comments that should be saved for the end of the season as White does not want any complacency to infect the team.
It is hard to say whether complacency played any part in the slightly disappointing 6th place that the team recorded in the team time-trial in Stage 4. The team had some bad luck with a puncture a but as White said after the race “that is cycling”.
Overall you would have to say it has been a good start to the Giro for the GreenEDGE boys. It is hard to argue with White; the team has already done more than we could have expected.
On the other hand, you are only as good as your last ride and the boys need to keep focus for the entirety of the tour.
Grand tours are called such because are long and grueling and will present a different kind of challenge for the young team.