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Direct battle: Cav vs. Tom

Road cycling
by tgsgirl (U12454324) 19 February 2009
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Finally, for the first time this season there was a decent sprinters' battle as Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen fought it out on the streets of California. Mark Cavendish won by half a bike, Tom Boonen came in second. Haedo, Hushovd and Farrar completed the top five.

It was a very scrappy stage yet again, with a couple of falls. Among the victims of stage 4 are Kim Kirchen who broke his collarbone and Oscar Freire who broke two ribs. Get well soon guys.

Levi Leipheimer finished in the middle of the peloton, together with all other GC contenders, and gets to keep the jersey for another day.

Mark Cavendish later stated he surprised even himself in the last few metres.
"I did not think I was going to be able to compete for the victory here, because it was a tough stage. But just to be sure I study the final few kilometres of all stages, and that paid off", Cavendish said.
"Yesterday I lost the wheel of my locomotive. That's a mistake I rectified today. My team worked together perfectly to launch me at 200 metres before the finnish and at that point there was only one scenario left for me: to win."
"That may sound arrogant, but I'm realistic," Cavendish continued.
"I know I am not the most powerful sprinter, nor am I the best tactician, but when it comes to speed in the last 200 metres there is, as long as I am placed properly, no competition for me."

Today's stage:
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) 186 km in 4u42'38"
2. Tom Boonen
3. Juan José Haedo (Arg) all same time
4. Thor Hushovd (Noo)
5. Tyler Farrar (VS)

GC

Stand
1. Levi Leipheimer (VS) in 18u33'52"
2. Michael Rogers (Aus) op 24"
3. David Zabriskie (VS) 28"
4. Lance Armstrong (VS) 30"
5. Chris Horner (VS) 34"
6. Janez Brajkovic (Svn) 38"
7. Thomas Lövkvist (Zwe) z.t.
8. José Luis Rubiera (Spa)
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita)
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) 39"

Latest 10 comments

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comment by Paolo73 (U3522887)

posted Feb 20, 2009

Hincapie will almost certainly be the leader for the spring classics. Cav would be in with a chance of the sprinters' classics later in the year.

I think your point about speed not being the only factor in winning green is exactly right. After all, Zabel and Kelly were not the fastest sprinters of their times but between them they won 10 Green jerseys....

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posted Feb 20, 2009

The ability to finish in the points in low mountain stages and uphill finishes is very important for winning green jerseys too.

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comment by Paolo73 (U3522887)

posted Feb 20, 2009

Very much so. Zabel won at least a few of his jerseys by collecting the points that mattered away from the glory of the finish line....

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posted Feb 20, 2009

QS didn't bring Boonen's lead-out train to California, so not much to say about that really. Steegmans may have gone, but I don't think that's that much of a problem.

Cav for the spring classics? Semi-classics, like Scheldeprijs maybe, but Roubaix and Flanders (the two biggest classics in my book) no way. Ardennes classics? Hell no.

>Quick-Step, for all their 'oooh look at how flash and fast we are' swagger <

Not really how I see QS to be honest. But you have the right to your opinion I suppose.

>The ability to finish in the points in low mountain stages and uphill finishes is very important for winning green jerseys too.<

Being fastest is not enough, for sure. Cavendish was obviously fastest in 2008, yet on the day he quit the standings were as follows

1 Oscar FREIRE SPA RAB 219
2 Thor HUSHOVD NOO C.A 172
3 Erik ZABEL DUI MRM 167
4 Mark CAVENDISH GBR THR 156
5 Kim KIRCHEN LUX THR 144
6 Leonardo DUQUE COL COF 137
7 Robert HUNTER ZAF BAR 110
8 Robbie MCEWEN AUS SIL 105
9 Alejandro VALVERDE SPA GCE 98

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posted Feb 20, 2009

(huh, I thought I copied the top ten. doesn't matter)

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comment by Paolo73 (U3522887)

posted Feb 20, 2009

Just noticed that Stephen Roche was only 16pts away from taking Green as well in 1987! I never realised that.......

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posted Feb 20, 2009

whats a lead-out? sorry not familiar with the terminology

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posted Feb 20, 2009

A leadout man is someone who the main sprinter shelters behind before they launch into their full sprint. A top sprinter might have 2 or 3 guys in their leadout train and their job is to get their guy to the front and maintain a very quick pace to stop people making opportunistic late breakaways.

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posted Feb 20, 2009

A lot of sprinters (Boonen and Cavendish for example) use a "train". That is, they have about 4 riders of their own team who are riding behind one another with about a kilometre to go, as fast as they can. Every man sprints for about 200m and then drops back until the sprinter and the lead-out man are left. The lead-out is thus the last guy in the train before the sprinter. The objective of this tactic is to keep the speed up as high as possible so it's nigh impossible for another rider to pass.
Sprinting with a train is very effective if it all comes together, but if one man fails the train falls apart and the sprint is pretty much over in that case.
Other sprinters like Freire and McEwen for instance, prefer to use another team's train - they latch on at the end behind the sprinter and then pounce on the line. If a train works as it should though, the sprinter only has to race the final 200 metres of so on his own, so there should be no room for the other guy to pounce.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI_9Sj7ntuw

Good example, as they come out of the tunnel at the very beginning you see a Quick-Step train. At start of the train Millar is strangely ahead, ignore him. And then the train begins with 800 metres to go. Steegmans is lucky because his lead-out man (also called his locomotive) actually runs out of speed a little too soon.
QS Train: Tosatto - De Jongh - Steegmans (three man train)

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posted Feb 20, 2009

What is frustrating me at the moment is the media coverage which is headlining on Cav's 2 stage wins - but then saying he still remains 'outside the top 50 riders' - failing to acknowledge that he's a sprinter and had no intention of bidding for the General Classification.

Hello he's a member of a team - and another Team Columbia rider is bidding for the general classification (Michael Rogers was 2nd when I last looked).

Its a bit like congratulating Van Der Saar Man Utd goalkeeper for not letting any goals in for a record number of games - but then saying he is still outside the 50 scorers in the Premiership!

http://othersports.virginmedia.com/minorsports/news.php?id=26003

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