Here’s this week’s Monday Musette:
1. Leopard Trek enjoyed a banner Tour of Luxembourg, winning three stages and the overall title by the end of the 5-day race. For Linus Gerdemann, the win is but a fleeting reminder of the stage race potential the German once displayed. Now he’ll likely head to the Tour de France in service of the Schleck brothers.
2. After finishing more than 15 minutes off the pace in Luxembourg, is Vacansoleil’s Stijn Devolder officially washed-up? Other than Roman Feillu, the Dutch World Team is having a hard time getting itself on the top step of the podium.
3. One final Benelux note: look for Maxime Monfort to be the Schlecks’ strongest ally at the Tour de France. He’s riding himself into terrific form—in fact, I Belgium’s consider him an outside bet for the win in Switzerland next week. If given a bit of freedom, he could really shine.
4. And speaking of Belgians in the limelight, Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Jurgen Van Den Broeck won Stage 1 of the Criterium du Dauphiné with a stunning attack on the day’s final climb. But the question remains: is it enough to reassert his Tour captaincy? With Philippe Gilbert and Andre Greipel all looking forward to July to prove their Tour mettle, Lotto will have some tough decisions to make come in two weeks time. Wednesday’s 42.5-kilometer time trial will be the next big test for the Belgian.
5. And while we’re in a questioning mood, here are two for Team Sky. First, is Bradley Wiggins poised to prove his doubters (myself included) wrong? And second, is Edvald Boasson Hagen back to his old race-dominating self? To be continued…
6. Speaking of race domination, HTC-High Road won it’s third consecutive title in Philadelphia Sunday as Alex Rasmussen took the win in the TD Bank International Cycling Championship (while the name has changed, the event is the same). In the 1990’s the race almost always produced an exciting breakaway winner. But in the past decade, a new formula has arisen for success in Philly: let a breakaway spend all day off the front, reel them in by the end of second finishing circuit, and sprint. While I can’t blame teams for successfully employing a proven race-winning strategy to perfection, it does beg the question: has the race lost its prestige? Philadelphia used to be one of the more popular events on the US calendar, now it struggles to find enough truly professional teams to fill its start list. What gives?
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