Yesterday was one of my worst days in a long, long time [illness]. Today, things are looking up:
Tour of Qatar Prologue:
- Lars Boom, Rabobank
- Fabian Cancellara, LeopardSchleck, at 4"
- Tom Veelers, Skil-Shimano, at 5"
- Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Cervelo
- Marcel Kittel, Skil-Shimano, s.t.
- Francisco Ventoso, Movistar, s.t.
For me, 2 and 3 at both races could simply read "whatever." But hey, it's winter, so what does this mean anyway, besides two guys I like probably winding up on more VDS teams than they should? Well, for Boom it's a 2km prologue, and winning is indicative that his preparations are ahead of schedule ... at 2km prologues. This kind of short burst isn't far removed from cyclocross fitness, so while he's always a good time triallist, this result says as much about his having spent time on the cross bike recently.
In Farrar's case, it probably just indicates that he wasn't riding against a terribly strong field. A year ago he was in Qatar finishing second to Francesco Chicchi, a result that didn't tell us much about the upcoming season (Farrar: 2000 PdC points; Chicchi: 70). There's a lot of fool's gold on display in February. It's tempting to say that Tyler is stronger than ever before, in light of this result. But he's also a veteran rider at this point, focusing on the classics, so he presumably knows better than to be on big form in February. It's nice that he beat Marcel Kittel, but Kittel is a 22-year-old making his debut on the big stage this year. His coming second is probably more eye-opening than Farrar finishing first.
[adding] I disparage these early wins but they do have one value: confidence. Farrar is already pretty confident, but there are very few guys (Cav, Tony) who are completely set in that area.