Friday, May 12, 2006

Giro TTT - love 'em or hate 'em?

Ahh, team time trials... do you love 'em or hate 'em?

The TTT has moved the GC around, so let's take a look. In a nutshell, CSC won but T-Mobile was just 1 second back (see the Cyclingnews report), so they have both gained considerable time in the GC.

There are now just 56 riders under 2minutes and we are not yet one third through the race.

My arbitrary selection goes to 26th place, being Jan 'just training' Ullrich:
1st is Serguei Gonchar leading the GC for the T-Mobile Team. He's a real threat overall but we'll see how he fares in the mountains... then Jens Voigt for Team CSC,probably just a place holder for now but with top 20 ability, followed by Michael Rogers for T-Mobile - another top 10-er if he performs in the high stuff.

Olaf Pollack for T-Mobile is followed by Ivan Basso for CSC... Basso was felled by illness last year, otherwise he'd have won, or come very, very close. He's followed by last year's actual winner, Paolo Savoldelli of Discovery Channel. Clearly a battle brewing there. Then we have Nicki Sorensen, Team CSC and yesterday's leader Stefan Schumacher for Gerolsteiner. Hard to see Schumacher regain the lead, however he shows promise. Top 20, perhaps?

Bobby Julich is a proven performer for Team CSC, but will scarifice for Basso. Top 10 is possible. Then José Luis Rubiera Vigil and Tom Danielson for Discovery Channel,both close enough to launch an attack later in the race and grab the lead, but also handily positioned to support Savoldelli. If he falters, watch these guys bring him back.

Then Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas, and Davide Rebellin for Gerolsteiner, plus Dario David Cioni for Liquigas, all potential stage winners who could spring a surprise.Bradley McGee, Française des Jeux, at 59secs is a bit far back but could hitch a ride on a mountain express and gain that time and more. So would the whole mountain express, but one good ride would see him back into the top 10. (He's been 8th overall in the past, so it's possible.)

Of the rest I'll pick out Paolo Bettini for Quick Step-Innergetic as a stage winner and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) as a key part of the mountain express just waiting to move out of the station. He'll have to drop Gonchar, Basso and Rogers though to gain more than just places on GC. At 1min 20secs back Jan Ullrich for the T-Mobile Team is just 'training for July'.

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