As good as it gets

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Tour de Suisse

Look around. The Dauphiné hits the mountains this weekend. The Tour de Suisse starts today. In their own right these are brilliant races, showcasing the Alps, the kind of scenery where cow bells ring and you almost expect Julie Andrews to emerge with an annoying song. Only it’s time for bike racing, with summit finishes, sprints and time trials.

I know we saw plenty of this at the Giro but the level goes up a notch or two when it comes to the depth of the field and competition, Contador wouldn’t have had it so easy if Robert Gesink, Cadel Evans and Andy Shleck were there. The Tour de France is getting closer too, the anticipation is building. I think it’s worth celebrating the Tour de Suisse and the Critérium du Dauphiné as superb races in their own right but it’s true that analysing the daily results with an eye on July’s Tour de France adds even more to the experience.

I know some like the Giro d’Italia more than the Tour and others find stage racing dull and get more passionate about the one day classics. But the best thing is you don’t have choose, you can watch all of these throughout the year. And for me, this time of year is a genuine highlight thanks to the high altitude racing.

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{ 9 comments }

Rider Council June 11, 2011 at 9:40 am

Keep Julie Andrews out of it! You made me cry.

David B June 11, 2011 at 11:21 am

Good article, spot on.

The racing so far this year has been very enjoyable, including the Dauphine. Looking forward to the TdF imensely.

Gadi June 11, 2011 at 11:42 am

Do you really think it would have been any harder for AC with the like of Schleks Evans and Gesink ( there are few more ….) .
Don’t believe you (in this point).

Owen June 11, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I get the feeling you’re a bit excited!

Gavin June 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm

For me, Shleck has shown nothing so far this season to suggest that he could make life difficult for Contador and we know that Evans lacks the explosive accelerations which Contador displayed in the Giro.

I think he would of still won comfortably.

JT June 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I love these ‘little races’ just before the Tour de France. Great in their own right but the intrigue in the peloton adds a dimension.

You can see the TDF GC riders looking at each others’ faces, trying to see any weaknesses on the climbs; who is feeling strong, who is struggling, looking for the guys who are sandbagging. All the while they are looking at their own power data – how are they progressing, are they peaking too early or too late?

Anonymous June 11, 2011 at 7:58 pm

The funny thing about these two races, is that the victor will often “accidentally” win before hitting their true stride at the Tour.

Top twenty at the Tour seems to be more important these days. And that is sad.

PT June 12, 2011 at 4:57 am

Great post – agreed.

How is Wiggins form? Seems a different man to last year. I’m still preferring to think that Evans has left a bit of juice in tank and hasn’t hit 100% yet. One day to go with a big climb included.
Lets see. Both should be on form for Le Tour which is great as they had tough years last year.

Travis June 12, 2011 at 5:23 am

I agree that Andy and Frank would have made life more difficult for Contador if they were peaking for that race, as he was. Though Andy “has shown nothing so far this season to suggest that he could make life difficult for Contador”, did he do better last year? Actually, his build-up wasn’t as far along as it is this year; after bad results at California and his showing at the Tour de Suisse, I honestly was saddened, thinking that he simply didn’t have the form to even compete. This year, as compared to this time last year, his palmares look a little better, and I am calling it now that, barring a crash or some sort of mechanical mishap, even if Contabuterol rides, Schleck the younger wins in Paris.

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