Questions for the Classics – Garmin-Cervélo?

Fotoreporter Sirotti

As we get set to begin the Spring Classics with Saturday’s running of the 102nd Milan-San Remo, it’s the perfect time examine some of the important questions facing the major riders and teams during this year’s spring campaign. As each question is posted, feel free to share your opinions, insights, and predictions as comments—your commentary and spirited dialogue is always appreciated.

2. Are there too many cooks to stir the pot at Garmin-Cervelo?

Thor Hushovd, Heinrich Haussler, and Tyler Farrar give Garmin-Cervélo the most talented core of riders any team has to offer from Milan-San Remo to Paris-Roubaix. But while Garmin’s riches should reap tremendous rewards for the team and its sponsors, one must pity the poor DS tasked with assigning these men roles in races all three have a realistic shot at winning.

Of the trio, Farrar might end up being the odd-man out—especially if Haussler’s crash in Paris-Nice proves to be nothing more than a hiccup. Anyone who saw Hushovd leading-out the American during Stages 2 and 3 of Tirreno knows the World Champion’s at the top of his game. And Haussler—if he’s truly regained his form from 2009—has the power and explosivity to contend on the steeper bergs of Flanders.

Were I calling the shots, Thor would bookend the campaign as captain for Milan-San Remo and Roubaix, with Farrar the man for Ghent-Wevelgem, and Haussler (who I still think is a week or two away from peak fitness) the kopman for Flanders. With a strong and experienced team including Andreas Klier, Roger Hammond, David Millar, and Johan Van Summeren, this is easily the deepest roster of the spring. If the team’s big three can ride with cohesion and chemistry, anything is possible.

Share your thoughts 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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5 Responses to Questions for the Classics – Garmin-Cervélo?

  1. Big Mikey says:

    I'm with you. Farrar is a talent for sure, but you have to go with the Thor and Haussler as the leaders for those particular races. I suspect Thor working for Tyler was a pre-payment on Tyler working for Thor in the big classics. At the very least you name Thor/Haussler the leaders and keep Farrar as a wild card, just in case. That's how O'Grady got his PR, when the field was marking Cancellara.

    Keep it up, Pave is having a great 2011.

    • Whit says:

      Thanks BM–we're trying our best!

      I agree that some form of co-captainship is appropriate. For this year, I think Farrar's perhaps a slight step below Hushovd–but next year, there could really be a conflict. Call me crazy, but I'd love to see Van Summeren get the O'Grady-esque win in Roubaix. Ordinarily I prefer to see the stars duke it out, but JVS has always been one of my favorites.

      Come join us Saturday in the Feed Zone for MSR!

      W.

  2. Kenny says:

    BM just hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial flat part of the nail you bang on real hard.

  3. Mattio says:

    Is the speculation that Farrar's a step below Hushovd based on stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico, which Haedo won? If so, I'd have to disagree. Hushovd did a nearly-perfect leadout, but gapped Farrar – I think that was due to the technical nature of the run-in to the finish than Hushovd outpowering Farrar. Furthermore, when Farrar was gapped, he took a bunch of pedalstrokes exposed to the wind and then proceeded to open up his sprint, holding off nearly everybody but Haedo at the line. That's an incredible effort – I think it's a positive indication of Farrar's form rather than a sign that Hushovd has a step on him.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8MIPBQZris

    We'll find out on Saturday, I suppose!

    • Whit says:

      Great point, Mattio! My "step below" comment is meant more in terms of experience than in form. In the Classics, experience and knowledge of the races themselves often trumps fitness. Thor has several more years of classics in his legs, giving him a slight edge over Farrar in my book–at least assuming they come to the race with equal fitness levels. (Which I think they are.)

      Great video!

      W.

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