Monday Musette – Emilia, Tours, Equipment, & A Question or Two

2010 Giro Dell Emilia - Gesink Wins

Fotoreporter Sirotti

Here’s the week’s Musette:

1. On Saturday Rabobank’s Robert Gesink successfully defended his title at the Giro dell Emilia, breaking free from a lead group of 14 on the uphill finish to take the win from Garmin’s Dan Martin.  Unfortunately for Gesink, the win was likely his last of the season.  He’ll miss Saturday’s Tour of Lombardy to be at the side of his father, who is in bad shape following an accident while mountain biking.

2010 Giro Dell Emilia - Martin Attacks

Fotoreporter Sirotti

2. For Martin, Saturday was yet another impressive result in what has become somewhat of a breakout season for the young Irishman.  Next year he’ll certainly be given more leadership responsibilities in some important races.  Were I Matt White, I’d start Martin’s season with a peak for Paris-Nice, a race suiting his talents.  From there, I would send him to Pais Vasco before tackling the Ardennes classics.  After a brief rest, I’d continue his build with Romandie, the Dauphiné, and before tackling his first Tour de France.  You’re welcome, Matt.

2010 GP Beghelli - Cataldo Wins

Fotoreporter Sirotti

3. Saturday’s peloton remained more or less intact for Sunday’s GP Beghelli, won by Quick Step’s Dario Cataldo.  Saxo Bank’s Jakob Fuglsang finished second after a solid eleventh-place Saturday—he’s one to watch this week in Piedmonte and Lombardy.

2010 Paris-Tours - Freire Wins

Fotoreporter Sirotti

4. Rabobank’s successful weekend continued Sunday with Oscar Freire’s win in Paris-Tours.  For Freire, his first win in Tours filled a conspicuous vacancy in Freire’s otherwise impressive field sprint palmares, simulataneously salvaging a season that began with high expectations following his third victory in Milan-San Remo.  It now looks as if the 2011 season could be Freire’s last.

5. Aside from Freire’s win, I found myself most impressed with the performance of Topsport-Vlaanderen.  Sep Vanmarcke was the first to try his luck inside the final ten kilometers (he then sprinted to a 15th-place finish), followed by teammate Jerome Baugnies.  Not to be outdone, Klaas Lodewijck took fourth on the Avenue de Grammont, capping-off a fantastic day for Walter Plankaert’s boys.

Give Plankaert and Christophe Sercu credit for establishing an impressive and credible pipeline of Belgian talent.  5 riders from this year’s team have signed with Pro Tour squads for 2011, and they’ve already begun to replenish by signing the winner of Sunday’s Paris-Tours for Espoirs, Jelle Wallays.

6. I don’t know about you, but I find myself siding with Philippe Gilbert’s take on Pippo Pozatto.  It’s one thing to chase a rival because you want to attack yourself; it’s another to do so because you don’t have the strength to get a gap on your own.

7. Did you hear the rumor that Specialized will be backing HTC-High Road in 2011?  It’s an interesting idea on several fronts.  Scott has apparently jettisoned HTC for the assumedly cheaper option to support the soon-to-be-announced squad organized by Pegasus Racing.  Either HTC’s bill became too rich for Scott’s blood, or they simply felt they had hit the glass ceiling with Bob Stapleton’s squad.  I guess we’ll find out.

As for Specialized, you don’t have to think hard to see their next move.  With Cancellara, the Schlecks, and popular riders like Jens Voigt and Stuart O’Grady leaving Saxo Bank and Alberto Contador looking likely to get popped for doping, Specialized is suddenly hurting for marquee names to feature in their glossy full-page advertising campaigns.  HTC offers a bevy of options, including the chance to get bikes under the fastest sprinter in the world, Mark Cavendish.

8. Which brings me to my next topic.  Cavendish is bringing a bit of the NFL to professional cycling by whining about his next contract before his current one has even expired.  What more do you want, Mark?  They already cut ties with Greipel; it’s obvious you’re “the guy”.

I wonder if Cavendish is feeling less than secure about HTC’s future.  Columbia’s gone. Scott’s gone.  Extensions are not coming easily.  Is trouble ahead for Bob Stapleton’s juggernaut?

9.  Speaking of equipment, a question came to mind the other day: will Garmin stick with Shimano next season, or will Cervélo’s presence mean SRAM gets the nod?

10.  Back to Cancellara: he announced that he’s announcing his 2011 destination in two weeks.  With whom do you think we’ll see him ride next season?  And will we ever learn the title sponsor of Team Luxembourg?

11. And last but not least, you might have missed the announcement of the return of tan sidewalls to Vittoria’s line of open tubulars.  I can’t wait.

Enjoy your week—share your comments 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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7 Responses to Monday Musette – Emilia, Tours, Equipment, & A Question or Two

  1. SuperFred says:

    Thanks to Ritte for pointing me in the direction of your very nice blog! I like that Leukemans and Gilbert aren’t afraid to call out Pozatto’s tactics (or lack thereof), but also appreciate Pippo’s admission of what is essentially brain-lock at key moments. Specialized rumors make sense as well… they’ll need a large truck to carry the cash Cav will expect (surprised he hasn’t yet channeled the NBA regarding his contract: “I’ve got mouths to feed”). Anywho… your Monday Musette was full of tasty treats; thanks.

  2. michael says:

    1. Agreed regarding Dan Martin – they need to bring him to the big show next year, though that might be difficult to manage with all the firepower G-C now have (never realized until now just how symbolic those new initials are!).

    Martin will have to earn his spot, and peaking for an early season stage race would be the best way to do it. He is fully capable of taking one and upping his chances.

    2. Cav’s whining is about as appealing as a root canal.maI guess that is what is part of his appeal to many, but gives further ammunition to his many, many detractors. I generally don’t mind his bombastic style, but any athlete in any sport who whinges about a contract he/she signed in good faith looses my respect. Shut your freakin’ gob and get on with it.

    3. Specialized to HTC? They seem like the only manufacturer capable of ponying up to pay that bill. I think Cav jumps that ship to Team Sky for 2012 unless Specialized sign him directly to a personal services agreement, much like they did with Contador. I also wonder how much of his sprinting mojo gets lots on a new steed? Scott developed that platform around him, which the big S would no doubt have to do as well.

    4. Tan sidewalls!!!!!!! My soul is smiling.

    5. Unless Cervelo is designing some DI2 specific frames for the team, you can bet your bottom dollar that the component group rights go to SRAM. They are too aggressive in their marketing and sponsorship to let this one slip.

    I would think that with a roster that stacked that the bidding war between the two will however be significant.

    6. Wherever Cancellara ends up is anticlimactic to me. Honestly he has turned into the Lebron James of professional cyclists – he mailed in his last race and quit on his team, then took his ball and went home at road worlds when he saw that it wouldn’t go his way.

    Now he keeps us in suspense over his “decision”. God help us if he decides to have a 30 minute television special about his choice. I simple press release, 2 lines at most will do. The rest is just window dressing.

    7. In the utterly inane yet salaciously interesting rumor category we have – Team Luxembourg.

    No named sponsor, no official roster.

    In the other corner we have Riis cycling. Sponsor resigns for another go around as Contador is coming onboard. Now there is the the distinct possibility that Riis loses his one and only drawing card (and he better, though it wouldn’t surprise me in the least given the UCI if he doesn’t).

    Riis = desperate to stay afloat sans-Contador
    Schlecks = sweating it out down to the wire with no team structure officially announced or in place

    Everyone getting together to hold hands, sing Cumbaya and give it another whirl together for 2011 while the new team gets set-up properly and Riiis waits for AC to come out of the penalty box?


  3. Mattio says:

    This gives me an opportunity to finally beat Jeremy in something – he called Greipel staying with HTC since Cav would go to Sky, but he did indeed sign with Omega Pharma-Lotto.

    I’ll echo being impressed by Sep Vanmarcke. He impressed me at GW this spring, with his late attack and subsequent ability to sprint for a podium spot.

    I agree with Gilbert’s take on Pippo, too – partly because I see Pippo as a “Mister Fourth Place” type who has a bit more hype than his palmeres deserve.

  4. Marek says:

    My Oct copy of Magazyn Rowerowy (a polish bike mag) turned up. I wonder if they spilt some NDA beans in it, because they clearly state several times that the Luxemburg outfit will be sponsored by Luxemburg businessman Flavio Becca & potential co sponsor Auchan.


  5. Adam says:

    The most important news was clearly saved for last – I had hoped for Open Tubular skinwalls after seeing more and more of the Vittoria Tubulars under Rabobank riders. Traditional look has it’s place, I wonder if the industry has begun to notice the widespread use of Dugast and FMB road tires and their “look?”

    I would love to see Dan Martin’s season end on a high note, and for a rider of his style, what’s better than il Giro di Lombardia!?

  6. Jeremy says:

    Oh man Mattio, are you calling me out in blog comments now? Yes, I was wrong! But there’s no way Cav is on HTC in 2012 – this contract grousing is just setting the stage for his departure. He’s also setting up a convenient excuse, if needed, for failing to perform next year – this year it was a prehensile tooth, next year it’ll be Bob Stapleton.

    Who’s a guy got to cozy up to at Vittoria to get them to start making the Utmost again?

  7. SuperFred says:

    Love the juicy quality of point #7 from Michael. That would make for an interesting, tension filled Riis “Survival camp” wouldn’t it?

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