Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Three Weeks to Go

-

Three Weeks to Go
It’s not an easy time for JV, choosing who to take to France.

Three Weeks to Go. We’re approaching mid-June, and the cycling world in Europe is building to a frenzy of anticipation: three weeks ’til the Tour!

Most teams will have had five or six of their riders locked in as starters since before the season began, with only a badly-timed injury preventing big hitters like Thor Hushovd, Ryder Hesjedal and Christian Vande Velde from Garmin from starting.

The next couple of riders will have been selected on form, the potential roles that they can fill for their team, and their experience and past performances in Grand Tours.

There are then usually one or two spots still open that three or four riders will be striving to take. Who is the team’s priority rider? How can the team achieve their best results?

These are the first two factors defining which decisions will be made — teams that are built around a sprinter obviously have little to confuse matters, but teams with GC contenders are another story. There are only so many climbers talented enough to help at the pointy end of the big mountain stages of the Tour, and most of these men are potential leaders for their team.

So when looking at filling the 8th and 9th spots, the dilemma may be — do we take another strong domestique to ensure our leader has as much cover as is possible for as long as it is flat, or take someone who is a good climber on his day, but not consistent/experienced/team focused enough to be picked on their merits in the “definite starters” list.

It’s all very interesting, and so there are a few blokes from many of the teams who will be riding their hearts out through the Dauphine and Tour de Suisse this month trying to stake their claim for a spot in the biggest show there is for bike riders.

I’m thinking of getting involved in a tipping competition myself, but haven’t selected my starters either as yet! Either way, the anticipation in pre-Tour month is always awesome.

Toby Watsonhttps://www.veloveritas.co.uk
Ex-Garmin Transitions physiotherapist and soigneur Toby Watson brings you inside the squad, and shows you what it's like to be working with a top team on the biggest races in the world. Through his regular blog updates, Toby shares his sense of drama and fun that were essential parts of his job. Toby is Australian, and currently lives in Girona with his fiancee Amanda. If he has any time, he enjoys reading and running, and occasionally skiing too, when he can.

Related Articles

And Now (No And Then) – Dude Where’s My Car?

And Now ... I love that scene from Dude Where’s My Car? So here we sit: Rest Day 2 already! And yet it feels like forever since the Tour started. Weird stuff happens to sports fans in July. The last few days of racing have been typically explosive, with Cav making it 19 TdF career stage wins (good grief the man can find the finish line) yesterday...

A Great Result

A Great Result. After all of my brash talk about Garmin's cherry having been popped, and Tyler thus being assured of the win on Stage 3, it was so exciting to see the result this morning! The race wasn't quite the shootout I'd anticipated, but Garmin executed their final kilometres brilliantly, and if there ever was a deserving winner of a stage, it is Ty Farrar.

Le Tour de France ’11, Second Rest Day – or not

We're in the Dröme Department, and it may be a notional Tour de France Rest Day, but all that really means is that there's no racing today - despite what Ned Boulting might tell you about spending time in launderettes, almost everyone still has lots to do. For example, the riders - for whom the rest day is most important, still have to attend press conferences, talk to daft journalists and answer "f****ing stupid questions"(copyright Mark Cavendish), the team mechanics take advantage of the extra time to prep the time trial bikes for next Saturday's chrono, and so on.

More Questions

More Questions. Ahh the first mountain stage! You’ve just got to love the first chance to have a look at how everyone’s legs are going. Last night showed that Frank has very good legs, Andy may not have legs that are quite so good, Cadel is in very good form, and crucially, Contador is currently not showing great form at all.

Ah, the First Time!

Ah, the First Time. Everyone remembers their first time. And after many years of flirtation and "everything but," last night was JV's. Garmin have finally managed to break their cherry to win a stage at the Tour. Now that the hoodoo has been cleared, I'm expecting multiple wins throughout the race, with Tyler Farrar being first cab off the rank tonight with the Stage 3 Bunch Sprint.

Second Big Test

Second Big Test. After a quiet day where the big swinging cats of the peloton were all nice to each other, the fireworks are set to ignite. Hilltop finishes are always a risk for time gaps, and considering Cadel is currently the only contender who would be happy with how things sit on the overall with a 41km individual TT still to come, there are lads who will be sure to attack madly tonight.

At Random

Matthias Barnet – “I just love being on the bike and able to compete”

Seven years ago, in 2014, we interviewed Matthias Barnet, he had just won the 2014 British u16 Criterium Championship on the technical Hog Hill circuit at Redbridge, London. Since then we’ve not heard much of the man but when we spotted that he had signed up with Flavio Zappi’s squadra for season 2021 – along with fellow Scott, Hamish Strachan, who we spoke to recently – we just had to have a word with him.

Peter Murdoch – The Man Behind Blanca Bikes

Remember Peter Murdoch? He raced at a high level as a junior on the road. In those days he roomed with a guy named Bradley Wiggins, whatever happened to him? Peter runs Blanca Bikes, providing the full package for those who want some serious training in the sunshine – or who just want to potter ‘sans thermals’ and enjoy a beer and some tapas with that vibe that you only get in those old Spanish bars.

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 19: Bourgoin-Jallieu > Aubenas, 178km

We left Bourgoin-Jallieu this morning, but first a quick run through some of the teams' performances; Cervélo: their Tour has been a good one, Haussler and Hushovd have won stages and Thor has made himself a whole load of new fans by the way he has ridden in pursuit of green.

Barry Hoban – Thoughts on Ghent-Wevelgem 2012, and more!

The words of Donald McRae in today’s Guardian on my current number one rant topic – Cav: "As in Milan-San Remo, his team could not keep pace and deliver him into position for the sprint." I’m glad that Donald explained that thing about the team letting Cav down - there was me thinking he got dropped! We chat to Barry Hoban too.

Shay O’Hanlon – Irish Rás Multi-Record Holder

Ireland’s ‘Rás,’ a cult bike race; Marcin Bialoblocki, Tony Martin, Stephen Roche and Scotland’s own Jamie McGahan number among the GC winners. So who’s...

Michael Mørkøv – is Getting Seriously Good!

The last time we spoke to Denmark and Saxo Bank’s Michael Mørkøv – after he’d won a dramatic Vuelta stage – we said that perhaps it was time to stop referring to him as a ‘Six Day star.’ We were right.