Saturday. Georgia. Brasstown Bald. Trent Lowe will beat Levi.
Sunday. LBL. Though I stand by Cunego as the next great rider for tours and classics, watch out for Gesink. Rabo has been strong and the youngster has been up there at Amstel and Fleche. Dekker and Gesink will be a two-pronged devil's tongue set to demolish the Ardennes. Gesink the second best rider in the next couple of years.
(Then watch the younger Schleck kid throw a wrench in all of this.)
So, the annual PoC has generated plenty of discussion, I figured it may be time to roll out another post. There were plenty of convo starters during the race: guy hit by car, wreck in the final 5k, blatant disregard of the ol' yellow line rule, a superb solo victory. Seemed like a good day, and nobody ended up seriously hurt, which is a miracle.
Everyone seems to want to blame the course for a herky-jerky finish. The real problem seems to be that most teams in the Pro/1/2 fields in OBRA racing put more effort into making sure their socks match than into winning the race. If you show up to a race and have more than 5 riders wearing your kit, shouldn't your goal be to win?
It seems most P/1/2 riders are just trying to make the top-10, and spend the whole race looking for a wheel to tow them in. There's only so much room behind Doug, Evan, Donald or Jacob. They're all smart enough riders not to lead in the 10 dudes sitting directly behind them. That inevitably leads to a big pack, jammed up, wheels crossed, lookin' at each other's butts.
So how do you win? Attack! It won't be the first attack that gets the win, it probably won't be the 2nd, 3rd or 4th, but with aggressive teamwork,as break usually sorts itself out, and that break usually wins.
I know, this means that all four of your buddies probably won't make the top-20. A couple might even get dropped after giving a big effort. Teams can also help each other stay on after said efforts by controlling tempo if someone is in trouble.
At Piece of Cake, the winner launched his attack out of a small group that wouldn't work together. He had 3 teammates in the bunch(ahem). CMG chased most of the time with some help from the Lovers. NO OTHER TEAMS WOULD COMMIT ANY RIDERS TO BRING BACK A SOLO ATTACK ON A PERFECTLY FLAT COURSE! And it wasn't even windy! Then everyone sat around and waited for CMG to lead out the sprint. Jesus, they're strong, but they can't do everything.
Anyhoo, ya know that time about 2k out when CMG gave up the chase and the pace really slowed and everything bunched up? Well, that was your time to attack. Nobody did, you missed it. That attack would have strung out the field, opened the roads, probably prevented the egregious yellow line infractions and actually resembled a bike race. But f'ed up sprints are also part of the game, and f'ed up sprints we will have until somebody grows some and attacks early.
In other news: *Yellow Lines - I've never been really good with rules, but the yellow line rule is a good one. If you break it you might die. If someone dies, we probably won't have races anymore. Bike racing is expensive and takes up a bunch of time, but I like it, and would like to keep doing it. Don't break the yellow line rule.
*Looking at crashes - I saw it mentioned somewhere that when the guy in the 1/2 field hit a car, the front of the field were dicks and just rode harder. Please keep doing this. Looking back at crashes and slowing down is only going to cause more crashes in front of the one that already happened. That would be stupid. The reason we have people trained in first-aid watching us is to help people when they need it. The rest of us should do our best to make sure we don't need that kind of help.
*Astana - I have banned Astana from my NCAA Finals party next Monday. Levi is too boring, Horner said he'd come, but wouldn't contribute to the potluck, and Contador doesn't speak English well enough to RSVP. Sorry, guys.
This week we have three days of attacking practice in a row. Maybe after that we'll teach 1/2's how to paceline.