Monday, 19 March 2012

A Tale Of Two Teams

There was plenty of hype surrounding a certain group of teams before the season kicked off. One being that of newly formed GreenEdge, another the suppertime that is BMC. I know which team I would have backed to get off to a flyer in the early part the season but the contrast between the two couldn't be bigger. Its a good job I'm not a (huge) betting man...

Albasini's win today in the Tour of Catalunya only goes to confirm that the newest team to join the WorldTour is far from the weakest. We thought the team would need time to gel, there were possible weak links within the ranks, after only just edging (excuse the pun) victory at the Tour Down Under on home turf we could have been forgiven for resigning GreenEdge into the realms of mediocrity. How wrong we could have been, they currently lie fourth in the WorldTour Team rankings. Impressive wins have come in the form of Albasini, a stunning Team Time Trial victory on Terreno Adriatico and of course Gerrans impressive Milan-San Remo victory.

In Contrast BMC have had a torrid start to the year. With names like Cadel Evans, Thor Hushovd and Philippe Gilbert making up the team roster, we were hoping for big things. BMC riders have reached the podium three times this year but they came as 2nd on the opening stages of the Tour of Qatar and Volta ao Algarve respectively, and a respectable 1st in the Best Young Rider Classification at Paris-Nice for Tejay van Garderen who also took 5th in the GC. Evans, Gilbert and Hushovd are yet to feature. Cadel looked pretty uncomfortable at Terreno-Adriatico, although he admits a busy off-season hasn't helped. Gilbert is miles away from his form this time last year and has landed himself in some unfortunate crashes to boot. Today we find that Thor Hushovd has pulled out of Catalunya with continuing illness after quitting Paris-Nice with a stomach bug and missing Milan-San Remo altogether - all of which should have been valuable preparation for a long awaited win at Paris-Roubaix. Instead he will now head to Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke on Friday and Gent -Wevelgem on Sunday in an attempt to recover some health and indeed form, dare I say it may be too little too late? Only time will tell if Gilbert and Hushovd will be ready to put on a show at the Spring Classics - Evans still has time to work up some form for his Tour de France defence, but sponsors and riders alike will be under pressure to get some results, and quickly.

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