Tick, tick, tick… that’s the sound ringing inside some teams right now. Time is already running out for some squads to take a coveted stage win. With the race well under way, the glory has been monopolised by four teams so far:
Lampre: two stages (Petacchi)
HTC-Columbia: two stages (Cavendish)
Saxo Bank: two stages (Cancellara, Schleck)
Quick Step: two stages (Chavanel)
…Don’t forget Cervélo Test Team with Hushovd’s win and BMC will be satisfied with Evans in yellow already.
But for the rest it means only 13 stages remain for the 17 teams who have yet to taste victory. It means several teams are going to have to take advantage of the mountain stages to launch long range lotteries, a wild bid is their only chance. Especially as a handful of sprinters will claim the flatter stages as their own.
Easier said than done
There are some hard and hilly transition stages but with so many GC contenders still believing in their chances chances are that a lot of breakaways will find the going hard. Teams will try to control the pace and keep their preferred riders at the front of the bunch and this alone means the pace is higher, shrinking the chances of a break succeeding. This is before any of the big teams try to set the tempo for their riders, which usually spells the end of a breakaway.