Saturday, July 02, 2011

Tour misery

Euskaltel got off to, quite possibly, their worst Tour de France start ever in today's 192km opener between the Passage du Gois and Les Herbiers. Eight kilometres out, Samu, along with Contador and fellow GC hopefuls Urán, LL Sánchez and a host of other riders, was out of luck as they got caught on the wrong side of a crash towards the very front of the peloton. Through no fault of their own they had to slow down and dismount to avoid hitting the tarmac and thus a split occurred. The likes of BMC, Omega Pharma and the Shack of course capitalized on their misfortune (in stark contrast to last year's Cancellara-lead go-slow) and quickly opened up an insurmountable gap. Samu, aided by Verdugo and Izagirre, eventually lead home Contador and the rest a full 1:20 down on the immaculate Gilbert, thus ceding a potentially vital amount of time to rival GC candidates Schleck, VDB, Wiggins, Evans, Gesink and Basso. It was a cruel blow to Samu's podium aspirations, and an already hard fight for the final spot on the podium was made that much harder. Ever the pessimist, I can't really see him recover from today's time-loss and tomorrow's likely even bigger loss to most overall contenders to land a place on the final podium. It was a tough enough proposition to start with. Especially annoying was seeing the double-standards and hypocrisy cycling has become known for is still alive and well. When the Schlecks got caught up in a mass pile-up in last year's edition, the peloton, under the stewardship of self-appointed chief Cancellara, decided to slow down and wait up. According to the big Swiss it was the right thing to do, the only option. One year later, roles reversed, not so much. It sounds bitter, I know, but I can't really see how this is different. One would excuse Samu for being fed up and angry, but, soft-spoken as ever, the Euskaltel leader said it was just one of those things. "Typical first week of the Tour", he told the team's website. Well he's right about that, but morale inside the team ahead of tomorrow's TTT must surely be at an all time low. Verdugo lost 1:39, Txurruka 1:55, Velasco - who hit the deck earlier on - 2:25, A and R Pérez 2:36, Urtasun (who also had a minor crash beforehand) 3:05, Izagirre 3:28 and Martínez 6:23. Ouch.


arnout said...

Pff typical Euskaltelstart I guess. And it was only bad luck, can't avoid these things but its typical we get hit again.

In my opinion Sanchez was even held up by the second crash (was at 40 seconds before the second crash, lost 30 more seconds in a short time) but those guys got the same time. Not fair.

Bolsen3 said...

Don't really think you can compare what happened today with the slow-go of last year. That was very special, half the peleton crashed, and only a handful guys made the split. So that was another kind of situation. And don't forget that they actually waited for Samu last year on the stage to Tourmalet, when he went down hard, and laid on the ground for minutes...

Nonetheless, really annoying for Euskaltel! But for the race, it might actually be a blessing in disguise! Now Contador has to attack and win time right from the start!

Kristof said...

Too bad Samu lost more then a minute. But the most important fact is that no Euskaltels (as far as I know) were injured with all those crashes. And that woman who made the Astana guy crash, well people like that should be locked up! We're still hoping but I don't believe in a podium place for Sanchez. Lost too much time, there's so much concurrention this year and (I might be wrong/I hope so) I've got a really bad feeling with some riders/teams about doping abuse. I hope the Euskaltel's will attack in the mountains and win one stage (why not Amets, he really deserves it afther all his bad luck the past few years).

azanca02 said...

I really think the 1:14 lost to other contenders is not that much when it comes to the mountains. I am an American and I can't stand Horner. I still don't think Kloden, Horner, and Van Den Broeck can hang in the high mountains. Same with Frank Schlek.

Nick said...

Sanchez will easily make time back on Horner, Wiggin, Kloeden, and VDB2.

Evans might be a little harder to reach (but Samu should reach).

Gesink and Basso will be the two most difficult to make time back on (discounting Andy Schleck would have finished ahead of Samu anyway).

The thing that bothers me the most is what arnout said. Sanchez and Contador group were only 35-40 sec behind lead group, then when they caught the crash group they naturally got slowed down again, subsequently losing more time. If anything the organizers should have determined the time difference between the 1st and 2nd group @ the 2km crash and used that time difference instead of 1:06.

I have come to expect nothing less from Euskaltel, but maybe now Samu will now be given free reign to try and pull of a 1992 Chiapucci. That would be more memorable than any 3rd place would ever be.


web site counter
ISP Internet Providers