Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Koldo fails to repay team

The team once again did their utmost to secure a win through Koldo, but once again to no avail. Koldo ended up 4th in an extremely tight finish, and will no doubt contemplate another missed opportunity. Though, he shouldn't be too hard on himself. A fourth place in a field of this calibre isn't that bad remember. But that's the way things are going these days. I have to applaud the team, though, for a fantastic effort. They assumed responsability straight away and led the peloton for most of the day. Impressive stuff, but sadly Koldo couldn't pull it off. He'll have another chance in Madrid on Sunday to grab his long-awaited Vuelta win.

12 comments:

arnout said...

Oh man, I feel so bad about this. I feel so sorry for the lads, for the orange team. Pulling, pushing, working, riding at their very best for the whole season, riding their ass off everytime, and they just don't get their payoff. It is not honest, but I guess we have to accept it, because sport is never honest.

Koldo had to sit back some longer. He was so well placed finally, thanks to the team. But he isn't the sprinter to ride 200m on the front unlike Weylandt, who is a powersprinter, he is the sort of sprinter who has a very good ultimate jump. We saw it in all other stages, he is coming to the front from nowhere in the last meters, but now he was coming to early. If he was on the wheel of Weylandt for another 100m he would've won it, I am sure. Koldo doesn't have the real "nose" for winning like a certain Freire for example has. Let's hope he will get it as soon as possible. Agree on this alinea?

I am longing for the end of the season more than ever. It has been a seasons of more downs than ups. We had only one major up actually, somewhere near Beijing. Besides that, it was a season of "just not". Let's hope we will have the luck on our side (finally) next season, the riders deserve it all apart. I mean, if riders like Txurruka, Verdugo, Astarloza, Oroz were in other teams they would have certainly scored some victories this season, but one or another way this isn't possible with Euskaltel. They are more than any other team in breaks, but never win out of a break. I have no clue about that. Do you?
And if we have finally a chance for a major up again, we get bad luck again this Vuelta. Why? It isn't honest. But I talked about that extensively before ;)

I am longing for the end of the season. It has been a long way, and now just the World Championships are left. Lets hope Sammy Sanchez can shine in this event once again. What would Euskaltel have been without him the past years? And after that only Lombardia is left, I hope for another Sammyshow in that race, and we have seen enough places of honour for him in the last race of the season... And then its over. We can start next year again with fresh energy, with a clean sheet. Longing desperately for that...

Long read again, I am sorry :P Do you agree for a bit with me?

Magnus said...

You've got a point there arnout, surely Euskaltel must have the lowest winning-from-brakes ratio in the whole peloton. I'm sure I'm mistaken, but has an Euskaltel rider EVER won from a break?? I for one can't seem to think of any... Yeah, longing for this, sorry to say it, dreadful season to end as well. The guys at the head of the team have a lot of things to work out over the winter to make it a better team, and signing new riders, though that would surely help, is not the only answer. More on what Euskaltel could do better, and who to sing, will come in a post in the not-too-distant future.

arnout said...

Looking forward to that Magnus. It was a very tiring season for me (us) too, at nearly every stage and every race I was hoping for an Euskaltelvictory, but we've seen much too less wins. I mean, I am playing with a sort of (free and only for fun) cycling gambling game with all ProTour to 1.1 races, and according to me, Euskaltel won more than 200 times :D And everytime i filled that in i really thought it was possible and I had high hopes for it.

About the breakaways. I cannot remember any too. That's why all the not top riders from Euskaltel have a clean palmares, it is really strange, nearly noone of this selection actually won a race or stage as a pro. You will not see that in other teams within the top - 30 rank of the world. Well, at least we have Sammy and Igor, they score good victories each year, because they are class riders.

But it is the race tactics that does it. In the last stages of the Tour, I was really hoping for Gorka, who was in great form (coming home 25th in Alpe d'Huez), in a likely to succeed break, but we only saw a tired-out Astarloza doing the job. I know it is difficult to get in a break, but there is definately something wrong with the race tactics.

Don't panic, I still love Euskaltel :D

Bolsen3 said...

I think you're a little hard on the team, Arnout, after all Euskaltel is a team with so many limitations when it comes to riders comparing to all other Pro Tour teams, who can choose riders from all over the world. It hasn't been the best season, but I don't think it has been a disaster. But there's a lot to work with, and a lot of things that can be done better for sure...

And Magnus: "field of this calibre"??? The sprinterfield today must be one of the poorest in years in a GT! ;-)

Magnus said...

I guess you're right bolsen, there's not that many big-name riders in there. But at the Vuelta as a whole, the sprintingfield has been top, top clas with Boonen, Bennati, Bettini, Freire, Van Avermaet, Napolitano etc. But, again, you're right in your point, today's field of sprinters wasn't much to brag about was it?

arnout said...

Oh yeah I guess I am bolsen. 'Cause I am so disappointed. Well the most i am angry on the luck for the past years. I mean, the team does its utmost always, that is one of the things i like on Euskaltel, but luck never turns to our side.

And indeed, the sprinting field was nothing today. Strange huh, in a sprint with Freire, Bennati and Boonen Koldo ends up 3rd and with Weylandt, Breschel and Usov 4th. That's what I call "don't know how to win" :D

Bolsen3 said...

In the long run I don't think one can talk about "luck" or "bad luck". Igor crashing out of the Vuelta is bad luck, but that can happen to everyone, Euskaltel not winning from a breakaway is not bad luck. Being able to pick the right breakaway is a skill in itself, and standing as the winner in a breakaway group you have to be the strongest/smartest guy that day. When the team over time don't win the breakaways they're in, it can't be about bad luck. But we have seen many times that they're very close, so it's a matter of details before we'll see breakaway victories I think.

I was really disappointed with Koldo yesterday, this was truly his big chance (but I'm sure Matti Brechel felt the same way). But I do hope for him today, or Sunday, I still believe in a victory for him!

Magnus said...

I totally agree with you Bolsen, it's no coincidence that Euskaltel never win from a break. In most cases they're just not good enough. It's as simple as that. Though, there's more to it I think. The tactics deployed are not always the best I feel, but, again, I'll write about it in a lengthy post in a few days.

arnout said...

I think of a certain tourstage to prato nevoso... Still get nightmares of that one. Martinez was certainly the best in that one.

Bolsen3 said...

Egoi was the best, but not the smartest. Cycling is not just about being the strongest one, you have to be clever too, use your energy right and so on. But I too have bad memories from that stage, was so sure he'd win it...

Looking forward to that post, Magnus ;-)

vitesse said...

Don't forget that Inigo Landaluze won the Dauphine one year because the elite contenders underestimated his grit and determination after allowing him to gain the race lead in a break. It was close at the end but he showed great heart in holding on for the win.
With a team like Euskatel I take any victory as a big one. Igor Anton's win mountain top win versus some very strong competitors in this years Tour de Suisse was one of the highlights of my season. He didn't win the overall but he showed that he has the potential to one day win a stage race or maybe even a grand tour.
With Euskatel the small victories are big victories. The big victories are enormous like Samu's Olympic win. For the next 4 years Sanchez will be recognized by announcers and journalists as the reigning Olympic champion. That is huge.

vitesse said...

Maybe Koldo should try to get in more breaks where his chances for victory are just as high as his waiting for the sprint.
In a break, of course most of his fellow escapees will be apprehensive about taking him to the line but they may also try their hardest to drop him. If he can hang on and the break stays away he has a good chance for victory if he plays his cards right. What does he have to lose?

 

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