Martin and Barredo benefit from weather changes in Dauphiné prologue
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Monday, June 4, 2012

Martin and Barredo benefit from weather changes in Dauphiné prologue

by Kyle Moore at 5:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice
Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Rabobank in good shape after early test

Tony MartinThe changes in the weather throughout the day weren’t severe, but many of the top finishers in yesterday's prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné were the men who went off early in the day, due to rain and wind that befell Grenoble. Both Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Rabobank had team leaders ride in the first half of the day, before winds were high and a rain shower dampened the road.

For Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Tony Martin rode an early start to fifth place, and team sprinter Gerald Ciolek had the best ride of any sprinter, in sixteenth. Perhaps most telling for the Belgian squad was the finish of Sylvain Chavanel, who was the only rider other than runner up Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) to start late in the day and yet still post a top ten finish. The Frenchman was eighth.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step director Brian Holm made the same decision that several other managers made – to put his leader in an early starting position.

Fresh off of his time trial stage win and overall victory in the Tour of Belgium, Tony Martin rode to a solid fifth place in the Dauphiné prologue.

“We took a little bit of a risk with Tony,” Holm said. “Looking at the forecast it looked like the weather would be better in the beginning of the race. Tony did a good time trial. We are really happy, and even Chavanel at the end did one of his best performances against the clock. We finish this day with a good mood and a good feeling.”

Riding during the peak of the wet roadways, team rider Dries Devenyns went down on a 180-degree roundabout. Unhurt after the slow speed crash, Devenyns brushed himself off and cruised to the finish, leaving Holm with nothing but positive response to the start his team had in the prologue.

“Dries Devenyns crashed in the roundabout trying to do his best, but fortunately without consequence,” Holm added. “So we are pretty happy about the team performance today, and we are looking forward to the next races this week. It will be an important week for us.”

For Rabobank, Carlos Barredo heads into stage one in fourth place, while Paul Martens is seventh. Likely team leader Luis Leon Sanchez was 19th, ten seconds behind stage winner Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge), and veteran domestique Bram Tankink showed good form, coming in 21st.

“Carlos is in excellent shape,” team director Adri van Houwelingen praised after the prologue. “Given the weather forecast for today, we were aware that he was scheduled early in the time trial. There was a good probability that it was going to rain later. That worked out well for Barredo. He rode just a great time trial, faster than Tony Martin, who rode under the same conditions.

“Luis Leon was our last rider on the starting platform, when there was still some wind. But if you compare his time with the guys who started near him, it’s really not bad. David Millar and Vincenzo Nibali started just after him and they rode the same time.”

Rabobank is riding the Critérium du Dauphiné without primary leaders Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema, who are both slated to start the Tour de Suisse. So along with Sanchez, they are auditioning a new leader in neo-pro Wilco Kelderman. The 21-year-old was seventh in the Tour of California, and van Houwelingen is hoping to see further progress from the Dutchman.

“This is a fun race. There are many Tour de France favourites present, so it is a really strong stage race with an interesting course as well,” van Houwelingen stated. “We wonder what kind of success Wilco Kelderman will have in the mountains. In California he was very good. But this is something else.”


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