Sunday, May 30, 2010

How powerful is the "team effect" in cycling now? Porte claims it kept him going, anyway. Basso/Liquigas proves it

Some of the sadder forum-based armchair critics like to dismiss every winner - and even some 2nd placed riders - as "cheats" based on a vague feeling about what is "possible", or their look or style on the bike. They dismiss them as 'ugly' riders with dysfunctional personalities, or as a rider who should simply give up. But unless you are the athletes themselves - or perhaps incredibly close to them - it's just not possible to know "the truth" about them. But this Giro has certainly underlined for us  that no matter how prepared you are, how fit, skilled and motivated you may be, it's often the team that makes the difference between winner and non-finisher. Plus a little 'right place, right time' luck, of course.   

Richie Porte makes a comment along just those lines, and we can all see how Basso has been protected and aided by his strong team. It doesn't win you the race but it surely helps keep you in the hunt. 

Porte Secures White Jersey And Likely Top-eight Finish |
When he showed up to Città Sant'Angelo at the start of stage 12, he hadn't slept at all that night. "I had diarrhea and a bit of everything," said the man who was up sick all night. "My health was pretty bad, and I didn't really enjoy being in pink because I was suffering badly during those days, but my team decided to keep it quiet so as not to let our adversaries know about my sickness and weakness."

Porte had a hard time again as the race went up to Livigno during stage 20 on Saturday. "I was dead," he said. "I was finished. It was hard to fight up that hill, but my whole team dragged me back, and I was ok later."