TdF ’11 – Free Advice

No one, it seems, is faster than a Cavendish scorned. Written off the day before, Mark Cavendish stormed to the line in Stage 5 without his security blanket lead out train. He pulled a real Freire out there, freelancing on Geraint Thomas’ wheel, before blasting past Philipe Gilbert. Honestly, who blasts past Philipe Gilbert? If I were HTC-Highroad directeur sportif Rolf Aldag I’d walk to the back of the bus each morning and slap the young Briton across the face. It’d be a win-win.

Here is some more advice for open-minded managers and DSs:

Bjarne Riis just shouldn’t speak to Alberto Contador. Not until they’re riding into Paris anyway. Learn the lessons of the past Bjarne, and shut your pie hole. Cast your mind back just two short years. Another guy with a big mouth, Johan Bruyneel, was running Contador’s team that year, and he, in an effort to produce an eighth Tour win for one Lance Armstrong, effectively snubbed the mercurial Spaniard.

Oh, Bjarne. Just remember the look on Lance’s face as he stood on the third podium step and go whisper something encouraging in Richie Porte’s ear, in English.

Quick-Step team manager Patrick Lefevre has one very discouraged and somewhat damaged Tom Boonen on his hands. Now that Boonen isn’t sure he likes sprinting so much anymore, you have to wonder why Tornado Tom is even at the Tour. Quick-Step are stage hunters at a race like this. They have NO real climbers. So you’ve got to do whatever it takes to shake Boonen’s cage. Maybe have breakfast with Philipe Gilbert, or accidentally call him Fabian over the race radio. Desperate times.

If Leopard-Trek’s Kim Andersen had any sense at all he wrote down every bat-shit crazy thing Bjarne Riis said over their long stint together at CSC/Saxobank. He’s going to want to go back through those notes now to see if there is ANYTHING that will get the Brothers Schleck out on the attack. Those boys can climb, but they never seem to start until someone else is up the road first.

Perhaps mention to Andy that he has never, actually, you know, sort of, won a stage race. Yeah, yeah, he probably knows, but it might help if you let him know that YOU know.

Finally, based on their team performance thus far, there is really nothing I can tell Jonathan Vaughters that he hasn’t already thought of, other than hire a credible GC rider. Of course, the story of the first week has been Thor Hushovd and the sheer class he’s demonstrated in the team time trial and then in the lead out for the Stage 3 sprint, taken by teammate Tyler Farrar. It’s a charming departure from the minor hissy fit he pitched after being forced to watch teammate Johan van Summeren win Paris-Roubaix.

Vaughters’ master stroke was in having Hushovd cross the line first in the TTT, allowing the Norwegian to don the maillot jaune. Hushovd just wants to feel special, and what, in all of cycling, is more special than pulling the yellow jersey over the world champion’s stripes? Nothing is the answer. There is nothing more special than that. And now the Mighty Thor will do whatever you ask of him, and that is worth everything. Way to go, JV!

Now lose the sideburns. You look like someone’s creepy uncle.

Image: John Pierce, Photosport International

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12 comments

  1. randomactsofcycling

    I am amazed JV has been able to pull off such a successful first week. I watched his ‘team’ talk before Paris Roubaix and there were references to what every rider should do in each scenario and whom they would be riding for. It was clear from the looks on Hammond, Haussler, Klier and Hushovd’s faces that they all thought they could win and three of them were not too impressed at not being the designated rider.
    Good to see him pull off a management masterstroke.

  2. Souleur

    I dunno, I tend to say JV has done a great job thus far. Think about it. He really does have a powerhouse team full of….well…no GC’r. And…JV has pulled out the maillot-juane, Farrar has won a beauty after the lead out of the world stripes/maillot-juane clad norwegian…never to be seen again in history I am sure. The TTT was a hammerfest in which they won.

    So, I am going the other way on JV and say he has made something from less than what others have had to work with….

    The Shack is sorta similar, lots of talent, not one single true GC’r yet they are in it but without an ounce of glory to date.

    And Riis…I agree wholeheartedly. Remembering the past is always beneficial

    And I can’t agree more on reminders for Andy, but this time may be different. The same applies for Cuddles you know, the eternal second, but only one will don the maillot-juane.

  3. grolby

    Not for nothing Souleur, but I would call Leipheimer a real GC rider. A legitimate contender for the Tour, no, but the guy just won Switzerland. Still, I don’t think Radioshack is going to come out of this tour looking anywhere near as good as Garmin-Cervelo.

  4. Chris

    @Souleur, I think the point about Andy is that he has won NO stage races. Which is definitely different from Evans. So the same does not apply, in this case.

    Perhaps the way to motivate Schleck, A, is to make that comparison in his hearing. ‘Hey Andy, you don’t seem to rate Cadel. Let’s talk about R-A, Romandie, etc.’

  5. dw

    @robot – The only thing better than pulling on the yellow jersey over the world champ stripes is doing it in Paris.

    @Chris – Agree re: Evans. And to @Souleur’s point – recent history shows Andy winning second place.

  6. Souleur

    @ grolby: agreed

    sometimes I don’t make myself clear and thats my bad. when I say ‘GC’r’ its something in my mind that is qualified as ‘the GC rider considered by all to be alpha’ not just the GC rider who is able to ride in and be competant in the Grand Tours. Its something one may or may not agree with, yet its just something I recognize, that there is something special about the GC’r that follows them in personna, something in respect, recognition, and palmares.

    Levi is a GC rider by all standards, and a class act but i am reluctant to say he will be in yellow in Paris. Horner….on the other hand is my man, dark horse as he is…i just hope and
    pray will don the maillot-juane in the end. that would be soooooo sweet

    @chris: that would be one way to try to prompt him wouldn’t it.

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