Pavé’s back after two weeks of business trips and family vacations—the price I had to pay for blocking-out 3 weeks of July. To get back in the swing of things, here’s the first summer installment of the Monday Musette. Enjoy!
1. So I was a bit off with my prediction for the Tour of Poland—Stijn Devolder came nowhere close to taking the win. But Sylvester Szmyd, Grega Bole, Alessandro Ballan, and Andre Greipel all performed as expected. Peter Sagan’s abandon due to “gastric problems” was a disappointment—hopefully the wunderkind can get his s*** together in time for this weekend’s German Pro Tour event. Garmin’s Dan Martin won the overall title afting taking the hilly Stage 5 and then defending his lead all the way to Krakow. With Martin, Tom Danielson, and possibly Ryder Hesjedal setting their sights on this year’s Tour of Spain, it could be an exciting fall for the boys in blue and orange.
2. In Denmark, Jakob Fuglsang won his third consecutive title in his national tour, beating Garmin’s Svein Tuft and Radio Shack’s Matt Busche in the 5-day, six stage event. Tuft’s win in the ITT continued the beginning of what looks to be another outstanding August for a team that has everyone asking, “why can’t they win races one month earlier?” For Fuglsang, the focus now turns to his destination in 2011. He says he’s leaving Bjarne Riis’ Sunguard-Saxo Bank squad, but the destination remains unclear. The new team from Luxembourg seems to be a likely landing spot for the Danish up-and-comer, but rumors abound that the new formation might be more of a mirage than an oasis.
3. In Spain, Euskaltel’s Samuel Sanchez won the Tour of Burgos, beating Vuelta contender Ezequiel Mosquera and Giro star, Vincenzo Nibali. Sanchez won two stages on the way to his overall victory, an impressive haul for a rider who claims to be suffering the effects of his crash during the Tour’s third week. He’s listed as a reserve for his team’s Vuelta squad at the moment, but it’s easy to see him as a last-minute addition should his form continue at this level. Take a break, Sammy, then go for the win in your home tour!
4. A question: in your opinion, which have been history’s most dominant teams? In terms of sprinting, I think you have to give HTC-Columbia the nod. On the heels of Cavendish’s Tour exploits, the team took 5 sprint wins this past week—with four different riders. That’s a pretty impressive haul for a team in which bunch-finish depth abounds. Has there ever been a more successful squad in a given discipline? Discuss.
5. And speaking of sprinters, does Andre Greipel’s move to Omega Pharma-Lotto mean the end of Jurgen Van den Broeck’s 2011 Tour de France podium hopes? VDBeke’s success in this year’s race made possible thanks to a team that was unified in its support of one captain. Look for the addition of Greipel and his lead-out men to damage the team’s ability to support the big Belgian in his quest for a spot on the Tour’s podium next year. In fact, Telekom is the only modern-era team I can recall that found both GC and sprint success in the same Tour—Erik Zabel was a green jersey-winning fixture of the Telekom’s Tour-winning teams in 1996 and 1997. Have there been others?
6. I’m intrigued by Mavic’s 2011 SSC line of high-end wheel sets. When I started racing in the mid-1990’s, Mavic was the only brand I looked to for performance and cutting-edge technology. The carbon rim trend caught them napping a bit, as companies like Zipp, Shimano, and others jumped ahead in popularity and esteem. For 2011, Mavic seems to have upped the ante with a line of carbon and alloy-rimmed wheel sets aimed at competing with the industry’s finest. While carbon’s a bit out of my price-range, I’m hoping to try a set with alloy rims using the company’s new Exalith rim treatment. So here’s my question for you: is anyone out there riding a set of R-Sys wheels? I’ll admit, I’m a bit leery given the well-documented recall—are Ksyriums a better choice? Share your thoughts below.
7. And last but not least, what happened to VeloNews at the newsstand? I picked-up the September issue last night, and there’s little to no coverage of this year’s Tour de France! Will I really need to wait until the beginning of September for the VN’s Tour report and commentary? I understand the push toward web-based coverage, but at what cost? It is becoming harder and harder for me to buy each month’s new issue—it’s a purchase made more out of a feeling of nostalgia than anything else.
And that’s it for today. Share your comments, thoughts, and feedback below.