Cancellara Makes It Look Easy; Astana Makes It Look Hard

Jul 5 2009

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“I took it easy on the climb because I didn’t want to have problems with lactic acid building up in my legs”

– Fabian Cancellara

Excuse me? Fabian Cancellara buries the entire field by 18 seconds, in a TT that went over a Category 4 climb and he took it easy? Man, forget holding the Yellow Jersey through the Team Time Trial; with the form Cance has, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if he carried it all the way to Arcalis.

Seriously—the climb has a legacy of being kind to heavier riders, and Fabian hasn’t exactly been bringing up the autobus in the hills this season.

The “other” story so far would be Astana. Lance, as we’ve come to expect, has his own thoughts on things, but for the most part, people are pitching the positive angle of Team Astana’s performance today.

Not me. Last time a Bruyneel-led team had 3+ riders in the Top 10 after one stage was 2003. Not only was that a horrendous year for Postal, but two of those three (Eki and Hugo-Peña) were guys with no hope of overall victory. This year, each one of Johan’s Top 10ers is a legitimate contender. In most sports, that’s a good thing; in cycling, it means three fewer guys to help carry bottles and tow back breakaways.

If Gregory Rast goes down in a crash tomorrow, Astana loses nearly all ability to control the race through flat and transitional stages. I’d suspect the only thing that kept Johan Bruyneel from having an aneurism after the good Kloeden decided to show up today was the blind luck of not having to defend the jersey for the next week.

I can’t help but wonder if this cryptic tweet is a reference to his somewhat short-sighted Tour selection. I suppose, as always, time will tell.

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