Sizing Up The Teams For The Stage Four TTT

Letour-square-09_mediumHey! Let's look at the teams in detail for tomorrow's TTT shall we? I'm not gonna spell out the chances of every team tomorrow. Instead I'll focus on the GC teams, plus Garmin and Columbia. The order below is the order in which they start (and finish).

Remember the rules: The 5th placed rider's time will be the time of the lead group of the team. If any riders after the 5th rider have a time gap then their time is figured separately. Click here to read Crashdan's excellent preview of the course. Under each team I present the riders in order of how important they will be in the TTT:

  • Riders in bold will be the workhorses.
  • Riders in plain text will should finish in the top group. Realize that all GC hopefuls much finish in the top group for their team.
  • Riders in italics will probably get dropped.

Let's get started:

Rabobank

  • Dennis Menchov
  • Stef Clement
  • Robert Gesink
  • Laurens Ten Dam
  • Juan Antonio Fletcha
  • Joost Posthuma
  • Oscar Freire
  • Grischa Niermann
  • Juan Manual Garate

Commentary: With Gesink the highest on GC at 1:55 down, and Freire sitting on zero points, this team has lost a lot in the first three days, way more than they expected. So this stage is huge for this team. Can they use the stage to become relevant? On paper this is a solid TTT team. No rider is awful and several are quite good so you would expect them to have one of the better times. However a similar team (though not as deep-which is important) finished 39 seconds behind Columbia in the 15 km TTT at Romandie.

Silence Lotto

  • Cadel Evans
  • Jurgen Van den Broeck
  • Staff Scheirlinckx
  • Johan Van Summeren
  • Sebastian Lang
  • Matthew Lloyd
  • Charlie Wegelius
  • Greg Van Avermaet
  • Mickael Delange

Commentary: Oh dear. This is a stage that Cadel can't be looking forward to as he will lose a chunk of time. Look at it this way: his mountain support is much stronger than his TTT support. Outside of him no one else is very good against the clock so this team needs to pull out all the stops in order not to get blown out of the water. The one piece of hope is that the team finished the Romandie TTT only 25 seconds down so maybe they do have the team aspect covered. Still, by the end of the day, Cadel will be looking at 20th place on GC-if he is lucky. Where's Thomas Dekker when you need him?

Cervelo

  • Heinrich Haussler
  • Thor Hushovd
  • Carlos Sastre
  • Volodymir Gustov
  • Brett Lancaster
  • Inigo Cuesta
  • Jose Marchante
  • Andreas Klier
  • Hayden Roulston

Commentary: Oh dear, part deux. When two of your workhorses are your two sprinters, somethings very wrong and this TTT is one of the few occasions that we will see Cervelo caught out.  Probably four riders will get dropped here, but who to choose-there are so many candidates! The nightmare scenario is if they feel a need to tow Marchante to the line and he's just sucking.

Milram

  • Niki Terpstra
  • Peter Velits
  • Linus Gerdemann
  • Christian Knees
  • Markus Fothen
  • Fabian Wegmann
  • James Frohlinger
  • Gerald Ciolek
  • Peter Wrolich

Commentary: Should be a better than expected TTT, um, team. Meaning they'll still lose some time but less that you might expect. Terpstra and Velits will share the big load with Gerdemann. They should finish with just five and how they use their dropped riders will determine if Leenos maintains his position in the GC.

Liquigas

  • Franco Pellizotti
  • Roman Kreuziger
  • Vincenzo Nibali
  • Brian Vandborg
  • Aleksandr Kuschynski
  • Daniele Bennati
  • Fabio Sabatini
  • Frederik Willems
  • Alessandro Vanotti

Commentary: Funny team as they have a big range in time trialing abilities so how they do on this stage is way up in the air. The length of this TTT will wear on them more than most of the other teams. Two of Vandborg, Kuschynski, and Bennati must come through for them to keep Kreuziger near the top. I say they accomplish that goal well enough but won;t win the stage.

Garmin

  • Bradley Wiggins
  • Christian Vandevelde
  • Ryder Hesjedal
  • David Zabriskie
  • David Millar
  • Danny Pate
  • Tyler Farrar
  • Julian Dean
  • Martijn Maaskant

Commentary: The first deep TTT group with five very good riders. No wonder they are a possible favorite for this stage. Danny Pate isn't half bad himself but its pretty guaranteed that they will finish with just five. Zabriskie and Millar should hold their positions (17th and 18th) on GC; maybe even move up a tad.

Saxo Bank

  • Fabian Cancellara
  • Gustav Larsson
  • Kurt-Asle Arvesen
  • Jens Voigt
  • Andy Schleck
  • Frank Schleck
  • Stuart O'Grady
  • Chris Anker Sorensen
  • Nicki Sorensen

Commentary: Hmm. They perhaps start out with the best 1-2 punch with Cancellara and Larsson but then they slip and if they need to tow Frank Schleck to the line then their time will not be quite up there with the best. Arvesen and Jens! are solid but no longer among the best.

Columbia

  • Tony Martin
  • Bert Grabsch
  • George Hincapie
  • Michael Rogers
  • Kim Kirchen
  • Maxime Monfort
  • Bernhard Eisel
  • Mark Renshaw
  • Mark Cavendish

Commentary: Loaded. And they have that winning mojo operating overtime. Very smart move yesterday to drop Grabsch out of the lead pack so he could rest for tomorrow but should they have also dropped Martin? And did that strong pull into the wind take the edge off them? How is Kirchen anyway?

Astana

  • Alberto Contador
  • Levi Leipheimer
  • Andreas Kloden
  • Lance Armstrong
  • Sergio Paulinho
  • Yaroslav Popovych
  • Gregory Rast
  • Haimar Zubeldia
  • Dmitriy Muravyev

Commentary: Under the radar team (yeah, right) with four very strong riders. My concerns: a) Armstrong so willingly getting Popo and Zubeldia to help out on the Columbia break may hurt the team here. b) Popo in general, who can pull out great TT's at times as well as complete duds. c) Paulinho is a decent chronoman but definitely a step down in quality from the top four. d) Team cohesion. I seriously doubt we'll see a problem today-unless the team is melting down. e) Since the second half of the course is flat and fast I think this team suffers a bit as their best chronomen don't have those big asses like some TT champions do.

The Call: I go back and forth here on who will win. Right now I say...... Garmin. Columbia and Astana close behind. Those three are a cut above the rest, emaing that you'll see a GC dominated by their riders tomorrow.  Most importantly will be the time gaps. With Columbia in the top three, Tony Martin should get the yellow jersey. Saxo I think might be 30 seconds back with Liquigas and Rabobank. Milram will be not too far behind. Cervelo and Silence look to be hurting after tomorrow.

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