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20/20 Hindsight: The Teams

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Since we started our preview, way back when, by focusing on teams, let's see who delivered. Oh, and to the extent our earlier predictions were wrong, the important thing to remember is, Elvisgoat wrote them.

Acqua e Sapone

Good ride by Garzelli, with two stage wins and some regular action. And lucky for the rest of the squad, who otherwise would've been completely outclassed by Panaria and Tinkoff in the continental squad battle. Grade: B-

Astana

Plan A (Savoldelli) was viewed all along as a loser, so when plan B (Mazzoleni) emerged and surpassed expectations for plan A, well, the Kazakh Railway got what they paid for after all. Not my favorite team, by a long shot, but they rode aggressively when the situation presented itself, and bagged a podium place.  Grade: B+

Ceramica Panaria

Very respectable... and Elvisgoat called it. Laverde's stage win on #6 got things rolling. From there they constantly had Sella, Baliani and Perez Cuapio up the road on anything resembling a hilly stage. Finally Richeze came close on a bunch of sprints. Laverde eventually surrendered the green jersey and Baliani never got his hands on it, but results weren't expected... solid riding was. Grade: A-

Credit Agricole

For Elvisgoat's pick of a French team with something to accomplish here, they sure rode around like another French team that didn't want to be there. 8th in the TTT and Pietro Caucchioli's 27th place finish weren't how they drew it up. Grade: C-

CSC

A two-man show (recalling Arvesen's win). Not great as team performances go, but what's the minimum grade for finishing second overall and winning the maglia blanca? Grade: A-

Discovery

Popovych couldn't stay upright, through little fault of his own, but that's a pretty good mocrocosm of the team's performance: teetering and headed for an early exit. Grade: INC

Gerolsteiner

Forster's win on the windy finish at stage 5 was a great win, but Tintin Rebellin ran out of gas back "home". Too quiet. Grade: C

Lampre

All the pieces were in place, but it's hard not to shrug your shoulders at the results. Bruseghin's Oropa TT win and Napolitano's acceleration at Lido di Camaiore were the only moments of glory. Fourth in the TTT was respectable; Cunego's 5th overall was only a mild disappointment; Bruseghin and Errondoneo also made the top 15; it's not like anyone blew up. But they didn't win stages or prestigious placings, nor did Cunego light up the audience with a great ride at any point.  Grade: B-

Liquigas

They had one goal -- Deliver DiLuca -- which they obviously did, but they had an inordinate amount of fun in the process. Glory days... and now CSC isn't bidding on DiLuca when his Liquigas deal runs out. Winning the TTT says they were the real deal. Grade: A

Lotto

Robbie McEwen bagged only a single early stage, and I can't remember seeing anyone else accomplish anything. Grade: D

Milram

Bravo Ale-Jet! Five wins is a definitive statement. They were a one-man show though, even the leadouts were often negated.  Grade: B

Saunier Duval

Strongest team in the field. Wins for Piepoli, Simoni, Mayo and Ricco, plus their fearsome attacks in several of the big mountain stages showed they were a class outfit. The play for the overall was never going to be a strong bet, so settling for fourth and the maglia verde plus a slew of well won stages... good show. Grade: A

T-Mobile

Pinotti borrowed the maglia when Liquigas dumped it to him, and Aaron Olson's pursuit of the maglia nero gripped the imagination of all Italy. But that's it. Grade: C+

Tinkoff

On everyone's tongue for three weeks. I don't know what the T.G  Garibaldi or Fuga Gilera are, but since Mikhail Ignatiev won both of them, they must be at least slightly cool. Grade: B