Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Turned Tables


Turned Tables. For the past couple of years, Garmin have been on the back foot in the sprints at the Tour particularly. The HTC train has been dominant, they’ve won the Teams TTs at most Grand Tours, and Cav has just been winning sprints at will.

The Garmin squad has had some shocking injuries, have just been on the wrong side of the TTs, and despite being at times agonisingly close, Ty hasn’t been able to get Cav. Now? Garmin’s train is humming, they won the TTT, Cav’s had some bad luck, and the mood on the two team buses could not be different.

Turned Tables
Finally the luck is turned to the redhead.

Today, stage 5 is going to be a bunch kick. No question. It’s a bloody hard day in the saddle — barely a flat stretch to be seen for all 165km, but it’s going to be a bunchy.

The HTC train (despite being pumped up by yours truly) was a complete fizzle two nights ago: they blew their load from 4km to 2km to go, and despite Cav apparently pulling his clip out and losing Renshaw’s wheel, they had overcommitted well and truly before that.

Garmin were superb, Hushovd in particular, swooping late to slot himself in front of Jules Dean to set up the progression to the line that ended with Ty doing the job needed of him.

So we have the two best sprint teams both gagging for another sprint for different reasons. Garmin’s tails are up, and I’m sure after Thor’s magnificence yesterday they’re feeling bullet proof. HTC have a point to prove, and Cav will simply not tolerate another sprinter stealing his limelight without a fight.

On every past performance, you have to back Cav to produce something special. When he’s under the pump, he gets that whiney little look on his face, sticks out his chin and rips everyone apart just to prove us all wrong. Garmin and Ty have never been on this big a high however, and so the game has changed.

I reckon it’s going to be a rip-snorter, with some very tired bodies out there after this intense little stage.

For mine (and I hope I’m wrong):

  1. Cav
  2. Ty
  3. Petacchi.