Monday Musette – Weekend Wrap-Up, Sprinting, and VDB2

2010 Giro d'Italia - Greipel Wins Stage 18

Fotoreporter Sirotti

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.

2010 Tour de France - Jurgen Van den Broeck

Fotoreporter Sirotti

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.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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3 Responses to Monday Musette – Weekend Wrap-Up, Sprinting, and VDB2

  1. cthulhu says:

    Yeah, that team Luxembourg seems pretty vague at the moment, but at the end of the month we should know…

    But let’s get to the point…
    Dominating team, the only really dominating one I can remember, granted i’m not that old, they are history for me aswell, is Gewiss-Ballan in 94/95? Well, Ferrari as the team doctor and haematocrit values of their riders all well above 50% speaks for itself but before the other teams could catch up they were dominating everything.
    But what is really true is the accumulation of great sprinters at htc is something I’ve not seen before. Sure there have been dominating sprint teams but they were built around one man and one man only, eg Cipo at Saeco or Petacchi at Fassa Bortolo. They all had their train too but unlike the htc lead outs who could all be the go to guy in other teams they were just working horses. That imo speaks for htc and their budget, meaning they can pay them for their work really good so they don’t want to change the team but also that the team spirit is really good and that they get their chances at the races their main sprinters to participate. The only one who has been (deliberately?) snubbed was Greipel. He was doing great work for the team all year around and not just a race two outside July and the Tour collecting victories from the Tour Down Under to the Vuelta. He was collecting victories for htc as Cav was still more often at the doc than on his bike. So I can really understand his frustration as he wasn’t included as a backup at Milan-San Remo for Cav since his preparations were handicapped. OK, he had a really bad Giro but he was sick there and the bad blood was already spilled, he wouldn’t have been taken to the Tour even if he won every sprint stage there. I personally think he is at least at the moment the only sprinter who could challenge Cav. While I believe Cav to be faster he makes it up trough brute force and cleverness. He doesn’t necessarily needs a huge train, he usually finds the gap. Of course it is much harder without that train but I have trust in his abilities, and so apparently has Omega Pharma-Lotto(what a name, kind of a punishment to type that). So I think if the form is right next July he won’t need too many helpers and I think VDB can go with two or three helpers less without suffering. Because as much hope I have in him i think he can hide again behind the Schleck-Contador showdown. I’m not saying he has no chance of winning or taking yellow for a day or two, it’s much too far away to tell, but I’m not seeing the team in the need to work everyday to protect the leader’s jersey, so that VDB can hide behind whoever is responsible for that and in the climbs it is every man on their own.

  2. michael says:

    I have both the R-sys and Krysium’s, as well as cotinued access to the Cosmic Carbone SLR. I save the R-sys for road racing/granfondo rides in the mountains, use the Krsyiums for training and commuting, and use the CC SLR’s for everything inbetween – the odd road race, crit, non-mountainous road race, and sometimes jsut to have a set of really cool commuter wheels ;)

    I would not feel comfortable using the R-Sys as a daily wheel, though that is more mental block than any indication on it’s reliability. The CC SLR’s are a fantastic do-everything wheel, and the slight weight penalty is more than offset by the bitchin’ looks and aerodynamics. I am lining up to purchase the new Exalith coated model!

  3. Stanley says:

    On the R-Sys; two weeks ago I witnessed two front wheel spokes breaking as a mate took his brand new Ridley Helium with said wheels out for its first race. It happended on a stretch of bad raod and the wheel kept its integrity, but there is no way I’d ever buy R-Sys. There’s been too many incidents with the spokes now.

    That said, I am very pleased with my Ksyriums and will probably go for a pair of CC’s next year.

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