Saturday, September 18, 2010

Holy Toldeo Batman, Gilbert has some form on the bike. But will he prevail in Geelong?

I'm tempted to say yes - Philippe Gilbert has to be the red-hot favourite 2 weeks out from the World Road Champs in Geelong. Unfortunately that may just mean we are overlooking a few 'quiet achievers', like Roche or Pozatto. Whilst Farrar is clearly not far off - and Cavendish is further back - those 11 final laps will wipe the grin off all of the sprinters, barring perhaps a recovering Freire and a just-off-the-pace Davis. Which leaves the likes of Evans (little racing since the Tour so big question mark) and Gerrans (better than Evans but not by much) to make a race of it. If they can hang on to Gilbert's wheel, that is.

Vuelta A EspaƱa: Stage 19, Route Maps & Results |
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) gave a resounding demonstration of his world championship credentials with a splendid Vuelta stage victory in Toledo. The Belgian delivered a scintillating sprint on the deceptively tough drag to the line that saw overall leader Vincezo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) snatch a potentially crucial 12 seconds from his closest rival Ezequeil Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia).
addicted2wheels: Watch Gilbert at Geelong - he'll be marked for sure but he's ideal on the World Champs course
The Vuelta is already looking interesting. We've had Cavendish almost 'accidentally' take the GC lead and then we've seen Phillippe Gilbert earn the leader's jersey. Gilbert is one of the riders destined to fight it out over the last of those horrid, torrid 16km laps in Geelong. There will be riders shelled out the back on each of the small but steep climbs but Gilbert won't be one of them. Expect Evans and Gerrans to be there, too, and possibly - just maybe - some of the tougher, more dogged sprinters.