Friday, October 22, 2021

Duelling Trains


Duelling Trains. There’s something about certain sporting moments when two competitors meet each other in their pomp and just go head to head. There’s a minimum of tactics, and a maximum of fireworks, and we, the interested onlookers can only marvel at how good this is, and wonder who will crack first?

Some of my favourite moments include the Daniel Komen-Haile Gebresellasie 5km & 10km track & field battles in the mid-90s; the Australia-Great Britain Teams Pursuit at the World Track Champs last year, and in last year’s Tour, the Schleck-Contador duel on the Tourmalet.

Looking at the lead-out trains for the two big sprinter teams this year, and there is potential for something similar in the coming sprint stages of the Tour. HTC vs Garmin at TdF 2011 could well be one for the ages. Couple the long history of bad-blood between the teams with the out & out horsepower at their collective disposal, and you’re looking at some of the quickest final kilometres ever.

Duelling Trains
Sprint Trains at work. Photo©Cycling Weekly

If you’re talking 4th man to 1st, you’d have Millar vs Martin? Or Millar vs Eisel? Either way, silver vs bronze at last year’s Worlds TT, or silver Worlds TT vs a strongman who would be the designated sprinter in many other teams. Then Dean vs Renshaw? (I’m clearly unsure of HTC’s train order!) If it is Dean vs Renshaw, you’d have to lick your lips!

Last year on stage 11, JD got his nose in front of Renshaw, drifted a bit, and Renshaw started throwing headbutts and then chopping blokes off of their lines, winding up disqualified (and rightfully so I reckon).

Then Hushovd vs Gossy! Interestingly, the JD-Thor combination has a very successful history with Credit Agricole back in the day when Thor was an out-and-out sprinter. Gossy: the young buck who won Plouay last year as a bit of a break out victory, then took Milan San Remo this year to announce that he is a big hitter these days.

Ohh mamma! So you’ve got Millar vs Martin/Eisel, which you’d give a draw if Martin, a win to Millar if Eisel. Then Renshaw vs Dean, which Renshaw has the wood as far as regularly nailing it, although Dean had him last year in their final ride at TdF ’10. Then Hushovd vs Goss, of which Thor must be rated the stronger going into the show down, although there are no guarantees that we will be singing the same song at the end of the Tour.

I’d give the lead-outs to Garmin on points, with the caveat that they may have to burn some bodies earlier defending Thor’s jersey, in which case this all goes out the window.

However, in a Farrar-Cav duel, it’s all Cav. He’s more aero, more aggressive, quicker, and dictates terms to Ty too regularly to not be clearly the better finish man.

The question to be answered now is will the Garmin train, with their tails up after winning yesterday’s stage give our man Ty enough of a lift to get him across the line in front of Cav for the first time at the TdF?

I’m putting it out there and saying yes they will.

Can’t wait to see if I’m right!!

Previous articleAh, the First Time!
Next articleA Great Result
Toby Watson
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

Frank Schleck, One For The History Books

If you were lucky enough to watch Stage 18 last night, you saw one of the best days of bike racing in years. Andy and Frank Schleck finally attacked and got it right, using their double-threat to maximum advantage, and as a result achieved another stage win, jumped in the GC to now be in a dominant position, and Andy has ridden a stage that will be talked about for years.

Slim To None

Slim To None. The chances of Cav getting beaten two days running in a sprint. Today is a guaranteed bunchie. It's a flat stage heading to the base of the Pyrenees, and the third last opportunity for the sprinters to shine. There's nary a categorised climb to be seen, so everyone's favourite caraccident victim Johnny "Breakaway" Hoogerland will remain in the King of the Mountains jersey for one more stage, although how much longer he can survive in the race itself is anyone's guess.

Le Tour ’11, Stage 14 – last day in the Pyrénées

Andorra, Pyrénées. Everything about it seems wrong. For a start, it's an independent tax haven/principality sitting at the top of a Pyrenean mountain, an hour's drive over sweeping twisty hairpinned roads from the nearest town. Some pals said to me that when they went to Andorra for skiing, they thought it was OK. Perhaps the snow covered all the cracks, but I'm not sure how the inhabitants' attitudes could be masked; almost - no, everyone - we met was unpleasant, in attitude and manner.

Le Tour de France 2011 – As It Stands

Rest Day Number One on Le Tour de France 2011! As it stands this is the day everyone is hanging out for on the whole race, riders just want a day off the mental and physical stress.

Over Already?

"It's over already?" Most of the riders in the peloton would be thinking that as the rest day ends and they prepare for the final week of this year's Tour. The racing has been brutal: nervous and hectic through the first week, typically savage through the Pyrenees (which happened through the second week), and windy and wet virtually the whole time.

Mark Cavendish in Form

Mark Cavendish in Form. Another day, another bunchy and-seemingly inevitably-another win to Cav. He is an amazing bike rider, with an incredible knack for winning, and as regular and almost easy as his wins at the Tour seem, he is beating some very good bike riders and teams who are often racing solely to beat him.

At Random

David Griffiths – Scottish Hill Climb Champion 2016

Unfortunately, VeloVeritas editor, Martin and I got out priorities wrong and instead of freezing on Purrinden for the Scottish Hill Climb Champs we were in warmer climes. But fear not, we tracked down the new champion, David Griffiths (Pro Vision) and here's what he had to say...

Giro d’Italia 2008 – Day 1: Stage 13, Modena – Cittadella

Ciao ! Ciao ! It's 9.30 pm here in Verona, city of opera, Romeo and Juliet and Stage 14 of the 2008 Giro., from Modena. We're sitting outside our hotel with our "welcome drink" - not a bad beer, as it happens. It's been a long one - up at 03.30 am; car to Turnhouse; Easyjet to Stanstead; Ryanair to Brescia with two screeching Essex girls in the seats in front of us, then hire car to Verona.

John Purser – Tales from the Six Days

We thought that you might like to hear what it was like to be a Six Day runner back in a time when the Sixes meant more than they do now. The big road stars were in action and it was full houses all across Europe – particularly in Germany. John Purser is the man’s name and here’s his tale.

The 2021 Tour of Britain in Hawick

We had a look around Hawick as the 2021 Tour of Britain race carnival hit town, we caught up with friends then headed out on the course, hiding from the wind on Wanside Rig to see the peloton as it headed towards Gifford...

Chris Hoy – Super Champion

Concluding our series of interviews with Scottish medalists at the British Track Championships we have pleasure in bringing you the words of World Kilometre Champion, Chris Hoy.

The Pizza Matrix Thwarted

The Pizza Matrix Thwarted. We have all been faced with, and stumped by, the eternal question when hosting a gathering: how many pizzas to order?