Chris. Kathi and Tim chew over a thrilling fortnight of racing as Chris Froome and Alberto Contador battled it out in Andalucia, Ian Stannard retained his Omloop Het Nieuwsblad title after an epic Etixx-MisStep and Mark Cavendish showed that he’s a lean, mean sprinting machine once more.
Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Del Sol review
Volta ao Algarve reports and results (cyclingnews.com)
Paris-Nice official race website
Tirreno-Adriatico official race website
Strade Bianche official race website
Next podcast: Monday 16th March
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OK…I love your podcasts but I have to bite a bit on the comments re Cav.
Mention was made of Kittel’s ‘deliberate’ slow start. Well er yes. That is what Cav did last year. Unfortunately he crashed on day one of the Tour so we will never know how it would have played out. I saw him a couple of weeks earlier at the Tour de Suisse and he was in fine form. So somehow a lot of that context has got lost in the shuffle.
There are years when he’s been thin and others not at the beginning of the season. Depends on his programme I guess. Its easy to forget that he hadn’t intended to do Milan SanRemo last year because of the proposed course change and the added climb. A few weeks before the race the new climb was out because of problems with landslips on the road nad suddenly MSR is on for him again. He did great considering the late game plan.
I hear the Gorilla mentioned….several years older than Cav…yet somehow its Cav who is talked of as a has been in some quarters. And no, I don’t think the contract being up for renewal is motivating him. He’s not a footballer. I can’t imagine Cav NOT being motivated to win. Its merely that last year he had all his eggs in one basket and the basket got dropped.
Our thoughts re Cav weren’t meant unkindly, Janet – as you know, I’m a massive Cav fan. We were speculating as to the reasons behind Cav’s fast start this season. For sure, the fact that he has MSR on his schedule and Kittel doesn’t means that he has more reason to have an early peak in the way he didn’t last year. And our (my) comparison to Kittel was more to sound a note of caution – at this point in the season it’s impossible to predict how things will go in the GTs because riders are on different schedules.
As for Greipel, he *is* older than Cav (by three years, I think?) but it’s the wider media who keep asking the question about Cav’s age – we’re merely responding to it – and that’s in the context of his results tailing off a little with Kittel’s emergence, whereas Greipel has never been at quite that same level. To be honest, I think it’s a fair question to ask even though Cav isn’t 30 yet. Riders ‘age’ at different rates, he’s been at the top for a long time and he has other priorities competing for his time such as his family. That’s not to say he’s slacking off – I don’t think that for one minute – but you never know what’s going on in a rider’s mind, and some of it may be unconscious decisions the rider may not be fully aware of himself, such as taking fewer risks in a sprint. For me, the answer simply is that he’s had a year or two where he hasn’t quite been at his best for various reasons (he was on antibiotics at the start of the 2013 Tour, and so on) and Kittel is simply the strongest rival he’s ever had, so of course he’s not having things completely his own way any more.
As for the contract being a factor – it *could* be. Again, I don’t think it’s a big deal, but it is a motivating factor with some riders, so I think it was a fair thought for Kathi to pose. Ultimately, we don’t know for sure any more than anyone else does.