The calm before the storm

Monday, 20 June 2011

halle-ingooigem

It might be mid-summer but there’s a real shortage of racing for the next two weeks. There’s Belgian one day race Halle-Ingooigem on Wednesday and the European nations have their national championships at the weekend. But that’s about it until Saturday 2 July when the Tour de France starts.

It is understandable as the Tour de France dominates the calendar and few want to be racing hard right now given the challenges ahead. Now is the time for riders to recover from recent races like the Tour de Suisse and the Ster ZLM Toer. The main contenders to finish their review of the big mountain stages. All will watch their diet and other tiny details as with every day time is running out to make improvements in training, nobody can find that many extra watts over the next two weeks. Those that aren’t doing the race probably want some rest and a chance to focus on what’s left for the season.

It makes for a moment of calm before the giant media storm that is the Tour de France. The race might be two weeks away but even today most of the stories are about about this race, be it team selection or Contador’s revelation that winning the Giro and Tour is “very difficult”. Well I never.

Things to look out for include team selections where you can see if a squad is aiming to support a leader or if they have more opportunist plans, maybe for a stage win here and there. It’s always a difficult decision for a team manager, to pick the best riders but that can include a range of factors, getting the balance right between who is in form and who will prove useful over the three weeks. The Tour de France is massive and this isn’t the time to experiment.

Plus spare a thought for the riders. Many are nervously awaiting news of whether they get to ride, right now they don’t know if they’ll spend July sitting on their bike… or in front of the TV at home. In sporting terms alone riding the Tour de France is a dream ticket, in career terms it also says something about their value to the team. Some squads will wait until after the nationals next weekend before picking the final nine.

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{ 6 comments }

Michael June 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm

anyone know the deadline for teams to submit their full squad?

Timmo June 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm

I don’t like the lull but it’s better than the dead period you get AFTER the Tour, real cold turkey syndrome then after three weeks of non-stop coverage.

Oliver June 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm

It seems hard to figure out what a team’s plan is even after the composition had been made public. Is Gesink really going for the podium or KOM? What about Vinou? Does he want a few days in yellow? A couple of stages or a podium spot? And what about Gadret joining Roche — is the later happy or upset about this? These are very real questions which I’d love to see discussed instead of just hearing Contador saying how hard it will all be, the UCI telling us not to be hard on him (poor thing) and myself wondering if it will all be for naught….

Murray June 21, 2011 at 7:28 am

You’re not wrong @Timmo. Withdrawal symptoms follow.

Starr June 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm

And finally, ding, ding, ding… Tommy D finally made a Tour squad at the ripe old age of 33.
Supposedly has more talent than Lance, but obviously bike racing is not just about fitness numbers.

Starr June 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

And only inrng would include the fabled Halle-Ingooigem in a list of races happening between Suisse and France. Awesome…

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