Races of the week:
Time to get ready to begin to get into some serious Tour prep:
- Critérium du Dauphiné
- GP Kanton Aargau-Gippingen
- Tour de Suisse, first two stages
- Rund um Koln
We also had our first national Championship event with the Slovenian ITT.
Team of the week:
- Geraint Thomas. Won Dauphine.
- Adam Righty Yates (2). 2nd overall at Dauphine.
- Romain Bardet (2). Completes the Dauphine podium.
- Darryl Impey. Points winner at Dauphine.
- Sam Bennett (3). Rund um Köln winner.
- Alexander Kristoff (2). champion of the GP Kanton Aargau-Gippingen.
- Dario Cataldo. The 2006 Baby Giro winner follows through with the KOM prize at the Dauphine.
- Pierre Latour. Winner of the youth comp. at the Dauphine.
- Daniel Martin. If only he had a decent time trialing team behind him.
Team Team of the Week- Sky
Drilling the TTT at the Dauphine made for a very different race than if the TT hadn't been included so kudos to them and especially Castroviejo and TGH. (Three guess as to the probable team of the week next week.)
FSA DS Team of the week
team jul ds’ed by julkchan gets top honors this week by having the foresight to add Latour and G-mart to believing in Geraint Thomas. Faith is a powerful thing in this world.
Choose Your Own Adventure!
You are Brent Copeland, General manager of Bahrain-Merida....
In 2016, just two years ago, your were DS of that backwoods non assuming little WT team, Lampre. Then all hell breaks lose and Lampre sort of splits into two teams: your team Bahrain Merida, and UAE-Team Emirates with the Lampre riders going to either team. You and your UAE brothers all of a sudden need to compete for riders to fill out your new team-after most of the free agent riders for that year had already been picked up. The good news is that you have a good chunk of change to shop with and you start with Vincenzo Nibali. The bad news is that UAE also has money to burn and, again, most of the good riders have been spoken for. And since Merida is the co-sponsor, you had to build the team with an eye to east Asian races and include a couple east Asian riders.
With that you did a decent job picking your 2017 team finishing the year 17th in the Cycling Quotient standings (not a total laughing stock) and 14th in the UCI WT rankings. Not great but not awful. You took some risks (Ondrej Cink) had to eat some riders at the end of their careers (Janez Brajkovic) and took a few nice victories towards the end (Lombadry, Emilia, and Bernocchi).
Now comes the real test of your acumen. When you shopped for that 2017 team, you took what you could-and now all but five of those riders’ contracts are up at the end of this year since you signed them to standard two year contracts. The only riders you have going into 2019 are:
- Vincenzo Nibali. YES! But getting older. Can he pull out one more Grand Tour win? Maybe? Or another Monument?
- Domenico Pozzovivo. Grand Tour contender, had a great Giro last month, but he turns 36 in November. He ain’t winning a GT. That makes two Grand Tour contenders on the downside of their careers.
- Sonny Colbrelli, just turned 28, had a difficult and disappointing spring being laid up with bronchitis. He has the potential to be a major player in most Classics and has flashed the same. Hopefully his Hatta Dam win this year won’t be his highlight for 2018 but what the hell is he doing finishing 99th at the Suisse Tour stage today on a stage where he should have been neck with Sagan.
- Hermann Pernsteiner. Decent depth guy. Juts won Lugano and was 2nd at japan so he’s on form. (He’s 27.)
- The Kid. Mark Padun. Just 21. Has had a nice and encouraging 2018 so far.
That’s it. Your task is to fill the team and make it better than this year. You want a good pure sprinter, a younger GC talent, some solid domestiques and a couple serious Classics guys. From the 2018 roster you really really want to keep Matej Mohoric. Really. Ivan Garcia Cortina you want to keep also. Resigning David Per is a priority and keeping Manuele Boaro, Grega Bole, Yukiya Arashiro, and old man Kanstantsin Siutsou would be very nice. You hear that Giovanni Visconti is gonna sign with an Italian pro conty squad and you are ambivalent about that. He’s been good but he’s definitely showing signs of declining this year. You probably need a Chinese rider or two to satisfy Merida. That leaves you with 12-14 riders who are either very young or pretty old. You need some guys in the middle including a star or two. Fortunately there’s a couple out there like that.
- You move fast and snag a pure sprinter in Phil Bauhaus which allows Colbrelli to concentrate on his preferred hilly one day races with reduced bunch sprints, and a pure cobbles guy in Mike Teunissen who is on the cusp of being a major player in Belgium in the spring and will welcome the freedom your team will give him. Bauhaus makes Bonnifazio expendable. You also pick up Jan Tratnik who is basically a younger Boaro and it is nice to have a few of these guys who are good in the TT, can ride all day at the head of a peloton, and help out in the hills. Nice start! You’ve got the makings of a nice Classics team- IF you can manage them well. (Aside-what’s up with Sunweb? Just no money to keep young talent? Or not the best morale (check with Kittel and Deg)? Bauhaus and Teunissen sure jumped fast.
- You are also making a play for Rohan Dennis and you want him to follow his GC dreams. This is a gamble though perhaps not as big a gamble as it seems. He is not yet the rider for the high mountains but at age 28 he could still develop into a good enough one that the right stage race, one that has adequate TT miles, could suit him. Besides that he’s a major TT guy and probably feel worth the price and is frequently seen in various leader jerseys. Still this isn't a true Nibali successor, you know what I mean? Could you make a bigger splash? There are a few major GC guys on the market this year:
Nairo Quintana is one. Its been rumored since last year that he and Unzue are on the outs and that Movistar will go with Valverde, Landa, and the various kids like Carapaz and Soler etc. At the end of the day Movistar wants a Spanish superstar leading the team. Beppe Conti has Don Nairo going to Astana, but that’s Beppe Conti. The important thing there is that Astana are probably in the market for a second A list GC guy to pair with Superman. (And, no, Foogs is a B-lister.) Astana, and Trek, probably UAE are the three teams you are in competition with the most here. Other GC guys could include a Yates or Porte if BMC can’t hold onto him with their management difficulties, or a younger guy like Rob Power. Perhaps there’s another GC guy who’s flying under the radar....
- Then you got guys like the Izzys. Keep ‘em? Ion has positively not returned what you had hoped and while Gorka is having a nice season he’s not a GT contender. At the moment though you have them leading your Vuelta team. Does that make sense?
So you are Brent Copeland. How would you fill out this team? Give us a dream team in the comments.
Previewing the week to come-
Things heat up some more:
- Tour de Suisse- the rest of it.
Tour de Slovenie- a tasty little race with
sixnine World Tour teams and a nice bunch of pro contys. Majka, Uran, Formolo, Kittel and Cavendish.
- Route d’Occitanie- the renamed Road du Sud. Young vs old: Bernal and Valverde.
- Dwars door het Hageland - Aarschot- what’s a week without a Belgian one day race?
We are also entering into full national Championships mode.
Don Nario will ride in 2019 for
This poll is closed
BORA - hansgrohe