3.31.2014

Catalunya Sum Up: Race, Riders and Teams

Stage 7: Barcellona in the pourring rain
Take it easy, I forgot something for sure and my marks are absolutely subjective - even if I watched the race and checked the results. Your opinion is welcome.

Route: very good and balanced. Maybe it wasn't needed a 2000 m finish so early in the season.
Weather: bad :(
Safety: some riders complained about the lack of understanding by the race organizers and jury and asked to be listened more about such a sensitive problem. Riders are used to race in snow, cold, rain and wind but it depends on many factors if those 'normal' element make the race 'hard' or 'dangerous'. I agree that riders should have the last word.
Show: good. Atop finishes and fast sprints, successful break-aways, nothing was missed! 
Interpretation: riders do the race. I'd say here they did it well.
 
RIDERS
Good 
Joaquin Rodrigues: he won...so he's right! no: but he worked hard and wisely so deserved to win.
Alberto Contador: you can be lazy after you win a big race, not the case! always on the attack and brilliant. 
Tejay van Garderen: not so brilliant but effective. He still have to improve a bit but a podium is good.
Stef Clement: WHO-AH-WOOOW!! I like that rider here!! BRAVO!! King of Mountain and one stage win. As modest as strong. Keep on and allow yourself a bit more selfestime ;)
Michel Koch: almost in every break-away, winner of the Points Jersey. Determined!
Lieuwe Westra: no need introduction, great rider. Stage winner here, more to come. Also a team hard-worker!
Luka Mezgec: simply amazing. Not only because he won 3 stages but also because he had planned it!
Romain Bardet: one of my favourite riders, focusing on the GC probably missed a stage win. But 4th is great!
Domenico Pozzovivo: he found his balance and maturity. 8th is a wonderful result, I don't think he cang go further than a top 5. 
Julien Alaphilippe: a pure talent! how many podium places did he collected so far? more to come!
Robert Kiserlovski: special mention. His team couldn't support him at all because it was down to 4 riders but he managed to defend his top ten spot against a very eager Wico Kelderman.
Adam Yates 22th in final GC: not bad at all fpr a neo-pro!
Daniele Ratto: a podium place and many tries. Large margins of improvement.
Jens Voigt: well... it's the last year for the warrier - it seems - but he's still one of the ost dangerous in the bunch when it's about to break-away and attack in the last km. What a career!
David Lopez Garcia: a priceless mate for Froome here as it has been fot Thomas in Paris-Nice. Finished 17th.
Bad 
Dan Martin: I thought he crashed and lost a lot of time so gave up for the GC... but no. Simply not good... (16th).
RigobertoUran: He started as team leader but I didn't see him at all.
Porte, Betancur, Geniez, Clarke, Arredondo abandoned dued to illness.
Giacomo Nizzolo crashed out.
LL Sanchez: ? I expected much more!
So so
Chris Froome: not 100% yet but improving. He lost Porte's support and his team wasn't terrific. He did his best and didn't take the race as a training in spite of his condition.
Nairo Quintana: a rider I don't understand. He looks strong but shy. He waits too long. Still young though...
Wilco Kelderman: ambicious and determined, he lost some time here and there. Some precious stage resuls and lots of time ahead.
Jakob Fuglsang: serious and profesional, he takes seriously his job. His talent is limited but his determination huge. You see him when he is in a race. Results are a different thing.
Thomas Voeckler: I often think it's just a play, he puts on the mask of the attacking rider and goes, sometimes (often) in vain but always getting a good result in terms of image. Here finally 3rd in stage 7th.
Pierre Rolland: the old promise of French cycling, never really bloomed but often showing good will.
Warren Barguil: one of the actual and true promises of French cycling, here worked for Mezgec and lost some personal chances (8th in stage 4). Mezgec thanked him publicly so it probably was a team choice to focus on sprints.
Thibaut Pinot: the best placed rider for FDJ (13th), he too a big French talent, a little unlucky this year... 
Tosh van der Sande: many stage top ten, a young ambicious guy who can do better than that (or at least that's what he thinks).
Andrew Talansky: top ten for the Garmin guy, could he have get something more? I tent to think he could but consider that Garmin won the Team Classification: or you are a super squad (CSC) or you end to sacrifice individual goals to reach this collective one when it's close. Very often winner's team is very down in the team classification because the rest of the riders burried themselves for him.
Romain Hardy: Who's that? some good placements by the Cofidis rider...

TEAMS
Good 
Katusha: it brings home the Jersey!
Argos: it brings home three stage victories! and by the same rider!
Garmin: it wins the Best Team Classification and put a rider in the top ten.
BMC: it puts a rider on the podium (that's 'all'... not few!)
Cannondale: Koch saved the team. It (he) brings home the Points Jersey. A 3rd by Daniele Ratto.
Belkin: I'm not sure that was their aim in Catalunya, but Stef Clement stage win and Mountain Jersey are a splendid result. Wilco Kelderman 12th is slightly disappointing but still, he's young! Crashes and illness didn't help the Dutch team.
Tinkoff: Contador 2nd but he came to win. He had already won in Tirreno so... Very good!
Astana: a stage win by Westra and Agnoli 11th. In add Jakob Fuglsang very active.
AG2R: two riders in top ten (Bardet and Pozzovivo). They just won Paris-Nice... Very good.
Bad 
Lampre: empty hands. Almost nothing to remark excluded Ferrari 2nd is stage 2.
ORICA-GE: no results, quite disappointing. Only highlight the young Adam Yates.
Lotto: often in the stage top ten (bravo Tosh van der Sande) but Sander Armee19th is the best placed in GC. Rather few.
So so 
Team Sky: illness, crashes, a last minute re-orientering of the team goals... Chris Froome did his best and his team support him as they can. All considered, not too bad. But for sure NOT what they had hoped about this race.
Trek Factory Racing: a top ten with Kiserlovski, a 4th with Voigt in stage 6th and a lot of abandons. Bad luck but perseverance. They can be proud.
Movistar: a podium in stage 3 by Quintana, finally 5th in GC.
Cofidis: very active in the break-aways but with no luck... (Bagot 5th in stage 7 is the best result, some good placements by Hardy)
Europcar: Rolland 7th in stage 6th, an impressive Reza (a 10th a 8th a 11th), best result: Voeckler 3rd in stage 7th.
OPQS: Carlos Verona made it to the top 20. Not enough for the strongest team in the peloton. But it's fair to say that the big squad was in Belgium. Bright exception: Alaphilippe often on (or around) the podium. Can they be happy with that?

SMALL TEAMS did quite well: CCC Polsat Polkowice: managed to get some very good placements. Wanty was active in many break-aways and final. A bit disapointing Caja-Rural, probably because I was expecting more...

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