clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ToC: Battle of the Teams

New, 7 comments

I've said a few times already that the ToC organizers have scored pretty big so far in presenting a fun, interesting race with results that, you'd think, should get people's attention. The ToC is trying to reach an American audience familiar mostly with the Tour with a race that pits America's splashiest GC riders against one another. The premise (I presume) is that doing so will hold people's attention through the next generation of US pro cycling, making races like the ToC possible.

But this post-Lance jockeying also applies to the teams -- without Lance, Discovery can't expect a monopoly on kit sales in this country anymore... and what sponsor wouldn't like to get noticed in the world's wealthiest nation? So if the ToC is a platform for reaching the evolving American audience, here's a quick rundown of who's managed to take advantage.

Gerolsteiner: Probably the biggest winners so far with the least amount of success. Leipheimer won the prologue, which is only nominally a bike race, but by donning the first golden fleece he garnered favorite status and tons of ink. Truth is, he faded today (possibly from illness), and nobody else has done squat. They're 12th in the team ranks, had zero riders besides Levi in the 22-man finish yesterday, and Rene Haselbacher's modest sprint Monday was the only moment where someone besides Levi contested anything.

CSC: The reverse of Gerolsteiner -- they've ridden great and have nothing to show for it. They lead the team classification, as usual, and placed seven guys in the top 21 in today's critical TT, showing just how deep and on-form they are. But Cancellara couldn't win a prologue, O'Grady couldn't win a sprint, Zabriskie couldn't win a TT, and Julich can't get into yellow. In all likelihood they will have two men on the podium and otherwise flood the top 20 by race's end, and get almost no attention from the superficial American media coverage.

Discovery: Combine Riis' motivation with Bruyneel's strategic thinking and you'd have the perfect DS. Discovery did a great job setting up Hincapie for the win yesterday, showing an excellent plan and a solid effort by a deep, young team (I know Eki's there, but he's secretly only 26). Georgie's easily the team's popular successor, from the fans' POV, even if Popovych, Gusev and Savoldelli might be better investments at times. So getting him a stage win and having him ride the TT in the gold fleece was a coup.

Phonak: Like Gerolsteiner, a one-man show this week; only Alexandre Moos made yesterday's break to help his leader. Unlike Gerolsteiner, their one man felt damn good today, and will probably steal the entire race as a result. BUT! Floyd needed a little help to survive Sierra Road yesterday, and both CSC and Discovery could put him in trouble in Friday's Santa Barbara stage if the other Phonaks don't pitch in.

Davitamon: Not much to report. Horner and "Fast" Freddie Rodriguez are doing OK, and Cadel Evans is quietly riding near the front, but they haven't had much to say yet. Rodriguez may earn his pretentious nickname (OK, he earned it well on the domestic circuit, but it's awkward in Europe) in the closing crit, and Evans could get involved in Friday's big ride. Too bad Robbie McEwen's wife's due date is this week, he'd have been TONS of fun to have around. Anyway, at least they don't have to drive by their sponsor's headquarters this week.

Ah, that's enough for now. Nice score for Toyota United to win their second-ever start; Credit Agricole are having a typically quiet ride for a French team; Health Net's O'Neill should be getting more attention for what he's done upright; and last but not least, the Mexican National Team's disappearing act...

Poll

Which Team is having the best week?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    CSC
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Saunier Duval
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Health Net
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    TIAA-Cref
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Toyota-United
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Davitamon
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Gerolsteiner
    (0 votes)
  • 11%
    Phonak
    (1 vote)
  • 11%
    Discovery
    (1 vote)
  • 11%
    Mexican National Team
    (1 vote)
9 votes total Vote Now