Monday Musette – Luxembourg, Dauphiné, & Philadelphia

Fotoreporter Sirotti

 

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?

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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One Response to Monday Musette – Luxembourg, Dauphiné, & Philadelphia

  1. Touriste-Routier says:

    One of the problems with Philly the past few years is the presence of the Pro Tour Teams. While it is nice to see them race here, the ones that are attracted to the race are sprint machines, and they out class the domestic squads. Eliminate HTC & Liquigas from the field, and maybe we'll see a different result. Yesterday the continental squads rode an animated race, but in the end it was set up for another drag race between Sagan and HTC's next up and comer.

    Another problem is that the last ascent of the Manayunk Wall is 17 miles from the finish line. While Lemon Hill is a great launch pad to escape a struggling breakaway, it isn't enough of an obstacle to disrupt the chase. I love finishing circuits, but if their profile isn't difficult, it just helps serve up a field sprint.

    Proof? Contrast these to the Univest Grand Prix. Many of the same Continental & Pro Continental teams, no Pro Tour Teams, a hilly finishing circuit, and only 1 field sprint in 14 years- last year when it came together in the last 2 kms.

    The lay spectator doesn't care who is racing, they are there for the show. The real fans need to decide what is more important, a formulaic finale with big names, or a hard fought race among relative equals, and to send this message to PCT (Philly's organizer).

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