Sunday, January 23, 2011
Liquigas dominated the Grand Tours in 2010 by winning the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana, but the Tour de France seemed to evade them. It is not clear if they are going to focus on the biggest of them all this year. With the likes of Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali they could prove to be a strong challenge for Andy Schleck.
Swift managed used a great lead out from Greg Henderson to seal Team Sky a one-two on the streets of Adelaide. Sky took control of the peloton within the last kilometre with several of the team sat on the front to give the Brit his second victory after stage two in Mannum. The win boosts Swift in to third place eight seconds behind the tour winner Meyer. His focus is now split between the road calendar and the World Track Championships in March.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
The Spaniard pipped stage 3 winner Michael Matthews and GC contender Matt Goss across the line in Willunga. Ventoso managed to time his attack to perfection with Matthews chasing down on him; the Rabobank rider lost out on victory by inches. This is the first year Movistar join the peloton as a reincarnation of the Caisse D’Epargne team. The victory puts them on the top of the team leader board 11 seconds ahead of Vacansoleil-DCM and Ag2R La Mondiale.
The Kazak team dominated the tour with Alberto Contador taking the overall GC for the third time in his career. Alexander Vinokorov also took a stage of his own to give the team its only stage win over the three weeks. This year should be much more difficult after losing so many good riders over the winter break and Vino will be their best bet for success.
Friday, January 21, 2011
The Australian time-trial champion rode through the pain, from his crash two days before, to launch an attack with four others. At 80km to go Meyer along with Thomas de Gendt, Matthew Wilson and Rob Rujigh made a bid for freedom. The Australian was the last man standing as his breakaway compatriots began to drop to claim his first professional victory.
Goss Close but no Cigar
Yesterday’s leader Matt Goss did his best to catch up with the Garmin-Cervelo rider, but he could only manage to get within 24 seconds. Meyer’s team were in the driving seat all day, with two riders at the front, they were able to control the peloton to let them stay away. At 20km to go it looked like the main group would catch the leaders, with all the sprinters teams taking turns on the front, but that is when the young Aussie put the power down. The 23-year-old now holds a 10-second lead over Laurens ten Dam; while Goss is now 12 seconds behind the leader.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
The 20-year-old Rabobank rider took a huge scalp as he beat the TdU king Andre Greipel to the line, despite the German’s best efforts. He is the second Australian to win a stage of this year’s tour with Matt first. Matthews came in to the final straight down in to fifth, but managed to power past the rest of the pack and make it look easy.
Tough Day in the Hills
Stage three was the first of the hills in this year’s tour and probably the most difficult alongside Stage 5 heading in to Willunga. Third place fell to Tasmanian Goss, who re-took the leaders Ochre jersey. The leader’s curse seemed to continue as Robbie McEwen got a puncture late on in the stage causing him to lose control on the race.
Swift was lead through the final bend by British Champion Geraint Thomas and managed to power home for his first ProTour victory. The 23-year old, however, left destruction in his wake as he crossed the line. After peeling off to let Swift through Thomas was clipped by another rider, trying to squeeze past, and hit the deck. This cause a chain reaction that sent many others to the floor meaning there was only around 15 riders left in the bunch.
The HTC rider beat his former team-mate Andre Greipel (now Omega-Pharma Lotto) in an uphill sprint to the line in Angaston, South Australia. The home nation also saw Robbie McEwen, who has recently moved to RadioShack, find form again in third place. The American team showed why they are one of the most feared teams in the peloton, by keeping the pace up and making sure more than one of their riders had a chance for the victory. Goss has already taken wins at two other races at this early stage in the season at the Jayco Bay Classic and Cancer Council Classic.
Former junior champion Peter Kennaugh took the title with his partner Luke Rowe; ahead of Jon Mould and Tom Moses. Once the Madison riders got the crowd going, it was time for more of the home-grown talent to hit the boards. Back after being sidelined with flu was, crowd favourite, Craig McLean.