Freeman Cebu Sports

What if I win?

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta - The Philippine Star

With just a week of racing left, Bradley Wiggins and team SKY has a firm grip on the Tour de France. Will they be able to hang on to it for the next 8 days is another story?

In the race for the green sprinter’s jersey, it has been a duel between LOTTO’s Andre Greipel and LIQUIGAS’s Peter Sagan. Both have 3 stage wins so far after the big German won stage 13.

Greipel is a world-class sprinter but before moving to LOTTO 2 years ago, he was a teammate of Mark Cavendish at the defunct team COLUMBIA. Sprinters have an edge in them and putting two of the best in the same train, sooner or later, it’ll derail.

Greipel believed that he was on level with Cav and should have been given the same billing on the team but Cav would have none of that. It came to a point when Cav said that he won’t race alongside Greipel in any race that he does. When you’re in the same team with Cav, you work for Cav, it’s a simple as that. That didn’t sit well for Greipel, of course.

They finally met in the Tour last year but Cav was the better rider by a mile, winning 5 stages with Greipel getting one. But the good thing was that, they became friends again. It’s sometimes strange how ultra-competitive minds work. You’re after each other’s throats when you’re teammates, but respect each other when you become rivals.

For the first time in the Tour, Cav has no dedicated teammates to work for him since SKY has decided to put all its eggs on the Wiggins basket. Greipel, on the other hand, has a 5 domestiques to do the dirty job.

Speaking of domestiques, it’s seldom you see the yellow jersey working or a teammate. That’s why it was very interesting to see Wiggins leading out his teammate EdvaldBoasson-Hagen in the last 500 meters. There are two reasons why Wiggins would do this- one, is to repay the job Boasson-Hagen has been doing since the start of the Tour and second, staying at the front was the safest spot for the yellow jersey. The last 500 meters was downhill with lots of corners and one mistake could end up Wiggins’s dream of yellow. The only other contender who does that was Jan Ullrich.

Only a miracle can help Cadel Evans defend the yellow jersey. But the way he and his team ride is difficult to understand. First, his sudden accelerations mid-race is bewildering, no time was gained at the expense of burning unnecessary matches which may be needed later in the end. Second, his domestique, TJ Van Garderen, doesn’t seem to know his job description. During stage 11, TVG was supposed to shield Evans from the wind therefore he had to be sure that his leader was behind him. Instead, TVG was 2-3 bike lengths ahead of Evans trying to make it appear that he was impatiently waiting for a weak leader. Compare that to Wiggins domestiques who are shepherding him all the time and you’ll understand that SKY is doing its job well.

Finally, the title of this column has nothing to do with cycling. It’s simply a tribute to Dolphy and his most famous quote. My parents weren’t big fans of local TV shows and would only watch John en Marsha. When John en Marsha ended its run, both stopped watching local shows altogether and only came back when “Home along the Riles” went on air. — THE FREEMAN











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