Sunday, July 03, 2011

Stage 2 TTT

I remember I predicted Euskaltel would lose 1:21 in the TTT a few weeks back. Back then I considered 1:21 to be respectable and livable. That's why finishing dead last today, just a single second further back than I predicted, shouldn't be regarded as a total failure. Sure, it's not great. I had expected them to finish further up the standings and, despite statements to the contrary, Samu is not likely to be best pleased with the overall team performance. Riders like Samu himself, Izagirre, Verdugo and Martínez have all got the qualities needed to grab top, top placings in individual races against the clock and should thus have been able to beat teams like Cofidis, Vacansoleil and Saur Sojasun to name but a few. But despite posting encouraging split times they faded quite remarkably towards the end and so continued their off-colour start to the Grand Boucle. Never one to dwell too much on disappointments, Samu is not likely to let his and the team's unlucky and below-par start to the race affect his upcoming performances though. He'll be firing when they reach the mountains, make no mistake. But being this far back on GC already I'd love to see him go for the polkadots. He'd easily win it outright, and quite possibly a stage to go with it, if he made it his overriding goal instead of aiming for that third podium spot. Anyway, the Tour's of course far from over and the podium is still doable, but a change in luck is desperately needed.

Txurruka looked good in the TTT today so that's a good sign. Amets was born to wear polkadots, so hopefully De Galdeano and co. won't make him ride shotgun for Samu all race long and instead send him out on some long breaks in the mountains. Verdugo also looked solid in my opinion and should provide vital support on the climbs if everything goes to plan. Tomorrow is one for the sprinters so hopefully the team will stay out of trouble and get an easy ride. Urtasun might try go get in there if he's feeling good and gets the green light, but other than that it's likely to be a quiet day.


azanca02 said...

In a stage like tomorrow. Put someone in the breakawy. even if it is a stage for the sprinters there is still that little bit of chance for the break to last.

racejunkie said...

Agreed Magnus, while it's a terrible shame that the podium issue was basically decided on the first day, I hope to see Euskaltel truly give it all to stage wins. Samu being a class rider and ever-appreciative of his teammates, I've no doubt he'll let them go as they're able. Aupa Euskaltel!


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