Late spring and summer brought mixed results for my riders. My Beloved Cancellara took some time to get back in the swing after his classics season, That Boy Phinney continued to win cycling fans’ hearts, and ‘Purito’ Rodriguez made the Tour de France podium seemingly by being invisible.
Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard)
- Won Swiss National Championships time trial.
- 2nd in Tour de Pologne individual time trial.
WorldTour ranking: 5th, 355 pts.
After his dominance in the spring classics, Fabian Cancellara decided that a rest was well-deserved and so, after his victory in Paris-Roubaix, he didn’t race again until the end of May. His first WorldTour race was the Tour de Suisse in June, where he finished 65th. He made up for this, however, by winning a record eighth national time trial championship.
The Sacred Haunches™ sat out the Tour de France (God, I missed him) but he made the news in early July with the announcement that he signed for another three years for the Trek team, who will be taking over title sponsorship and licence of the RadioShack-Leopard team. The team will be built around him, as the Schleck brothers have been missing in action for some time. Fabs just finished the Tour de Pologne with a second place on the final stage time trial – losing out to Bradley Wiggins by nearly a minute. His next race will be the Vuelta a Espana, in preparation for the Worlds in September.
Taylor Phinney (BMC)
- Won one stage and 3rd in individual time trial at Tour de Pologne.
WorldTour ranking: 74th, 38 pts.
Taylor Phinney might not have the palmares of some of the other riders we spotlight but he certainly makes an impact on every race he rides. In May, he rode the Giro d’Italia with hopes of a few stage wins and perhaps another spell in the maglia rosa like last year but unfortunately he feel ill and had to climb off the bike in the middle of stage 16.
However, That Boy Phinney came back and treated cycling fans to one of the most exciting finishes this year. Phinney’s breakaway-win-by-a-whisker on stage four of the Tour de Pologne was, rather unbelievably, his first road race victory since turning pro (all other wins have been in time trials). He then went on to place third in the final stage time trial – which bodes well for the World Championships in September.
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
- 6th at Fleche Wallonne.
- 2nd at Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
- 16th overall at Criterium du Dauphiné.
- 3rd overall at Tour de France, including one 2nd and one 3rd place.
WorldTour ranking: 3rd, 390 pts.
Joaquim Rodriguez took the second step of the podium at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the second time this year he’s been a step below Garmin’s Dan Martin. Purito didn’t ride the Giro this year, targeting instead the 100th edition of the Tour de France, for which he warmed up with a low-key ride at the Dauphiné (16th).
His riding at the Tour was uncharacteristically fireworks-free during the three weeks, preferring to make his way up the ranks by stealth. Although he didn’t win an individual stage, he finished fourth on Mont Ventoux, third in the second time trial, fifth on Alpe d’Huez and second on the penultimate stage, securing the third step of the final podium in Paris.
He’s hinting about perhaps riding the Vuelta at the end of August, then onto the Worlds to see if his legs can do him proud in the road race.
Previous update: 12th April.
Websites: Fabian Cancellara, Taylor Phinney (not currently active), Joaquim Rodriguez
Twitter: @f_cancellara, @taylorphinney, @PuritoRodriguez
Although Rodriguez was, as you say, quiet by his standards in the Tour I thought his rise up GC through the Alps was great to watch – he dug in and produced some really gritty rides to leapfrog Contador and the rest. Kids on the podium was a nice touch too.
Oh yes, I thought his patience and doggedness in the Tour was great – I’m just used to him setting off the fireworks on the climbs. He certainly stayed focus and rode very smart to get on the podium. And I too loved the kids on the podium.