Posted 23 July 2011 - 09:51 PM
Posted 23 July 2011 - 10:04 PM
Leopard-Trek were a bit of a disappointment in the mountains, though mostly because Fuglsang once again failed to live up to the hype around him as the next big danish GT rider. Gerdemann was also extremely anonymous. I think the team otherwise did well - kept their captains out of trouble easily. Montfort's ride for Andy was sublime. Voigt, Cancellara, and O'Grady did very well.
BMC was pretty much useless in the mountains, but that did not exactly come as a surprise, did it?
Posted 24 July 2011 - 08:03 AM
I did notice him a bit, but I expected more from him (perhaps unfairly).
Posted 24 July 2011 - 10:47 AM
Would also like to mention Garmin. While Danielson was not a top contender, Hesjedal and Vande Velde were always there or there abouts helping him up the last mountain.
Szmyd was able to do some work for Basso on Luz Ardiden, on the Plateau de Beille he was not there, but in the Alps he appeared to be capable of nursing Basso for lengthy periods of time. Not sure whether he wasn't good enough to pull on the front on the day to the Galibier, or whether it had to do with the tactics Liquigas employed (there was a point on the lower slopes of the Galibier where he suddenly surged to the front). On the day to Alpe d'Huez, Basso was clearly bad.
Ag2r where also pretty strong in the mountains, but they were a bit split with regards to their leaders. Again, not top contenders, but had one of them per chance gotten the yellow jersey in a break, they could well have put up a good defense.
Posted 24 July 2011 - 01:24 PM
Fuglsang is the new Tobias Steinhauser. If he weren't personal best friends with ASchleck, he'd hardly make the team for the Tropicale Amissa Bongo.
Agree that this wasn't exactly the year of the mountain domestiques ... Both Navarro and Chris Anker were less strong than last year.
Posted 24 July 2011 - 04:05 PM
I think Chris Anker was on the same level (or slightly better) than last year, but due to the circumstances, he almost never got called into service. He was often the last - or one of the last - Saxobank domestiques hanging on to the favorite group. He also launched a couple of the attacks that set up Contador (e.g., the initial attacks on the stage to Alpe d'Huez). Navarro was not superb. Szmyd had one brilliant stage but failed to feature in the other stages. Yeah - it's weird to consider that the best mountain domestiques this year were on Europcar.
Europcar and Garmin were the two best teams in the race this year - no question.
Posted 25 July 2011 - 03:25 PM
I liked the mix of classics vs sprintrers stages.
A few tweaks to the green and climbers jersey might be good.
Seemed to me the SuperSprints had a huge influence on closing down the breaks; and also how quickly we saw a break form up if it came on the early side of the stage. Also in the early stages I think it stressed out an already 'nervous' peloton leading up to sprints... perhaps leading to some of the large crashes. Not sure if am ealy time trial or climbing stage would have separated the leaders earlier so there was less need to get the leaders separated to decrease the general nervousness in the peloton in the first week?
Also kind of think the number of mountain stages that end with a 8 to 14 km descent to the finish are best but they seemed to work out this year as were in the second week as riders settled out.
A few more point for some of the smaller climbs might be in order.
one last thought might be to have a minimum of two U25 riders per team?