Sunday, February 19, 2012

Meltdown leaders

First Alejandro Valverde and now Vincenzo Nibali. Despite being the strongest riders in the race, both riders missed out on winning the overall classification in Tour Down Under and Tour of Oman because of one stupid decision.

Alejandro Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali both like to race when it’s really hot outside, just like it was in Australia and Oman. Still both riders seemed to had a complete meltdown when the important decisions were to be made.

Valverde (green helmet) stops.
Gerrans (yellow jersey) overtakes him.
In Tour Down Under Alejandro Valverde admittedly stopped to pedal on the final meters on stage 2 to Stirling, seeing Simon Gerrans overtake him and get the bonus seconds for being third on the stage. Later on Alejandro Valverde showed to be strongest in show down between him and Gerrans, but since Gerrans had gotten the bonus seconds on stage 2, he ended up winning the race overall.

Normally Alejandro Valverde always sprints to the line, but I guess he still needs a little time getting back into the race rhythm after his ban.

Vincenzo Nibali attacking with the
sprinters teams chasing him down.
Vincenzo Nibali on the other hand had already been racing in 2012 before taking part in Tour of Oman. Still the Shark still to lack a lot of tactical sense. Nibali has always been very impulsive with his attacks, not really thinking very much ahead, and even though it seemed like he had grown in the Giro d’Italia last year, we can now conclude that he really hasn’t. Having been following the other overall favorites so far in the Tour of Oman, Nibali suddenly decided to attack on the last kilometer on stage 4. A completely flat finish, where he naturally got railed back in very quickly and hereafter couldn’t follow peloton, ending up losing 15 seconds to the other GC-riders.

The day after Vincenzo Nibali turned out to be – by far – the strongest climber in the race, winning on Green Mountain. Only problem was that Peter Velits got second on the stage, giving him the leaders jersey just 1 second ahead of Nibali.

Alejando Valverde would have won Tour Down Under, had he just continued pedaling the last few meters on stage 2 and Vincenzo Nibali would have won Tour of Oman had he not hopelessly attacked on the final – pancake flat – kilometer on stage 4.

Simon Gerrans and Peter Velits probably should send Valverde and Nibali a bottle of champagne thanking them for their help…

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