Clarke aggressive in hunt for mountains jersey in Tour de France, Meyer may hold back in time trial
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Monday, July 8, 2013

Clarke aggressive in hunt for mountains jersey in Tour de France, Meyer may hold back in time trial

by VeloNation Press at 8:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Must-watch: Orica GreenEdge team releases viral AC/DC tribute video

Simon ClarkeAggressive and riding through several groups until he was clear out front alone, Vuelta a España mountain jersey winner Simon Clarke made a big push for the Tour’s polka dot jersey yesterday but ultimately had little to show for his efforts.

Although the Australian Orica GreenEdge rider was clearing riding very well, his time out front saw him pick up just ten points when he led over the top of the category one Col de Val Louron-Azet.

In contrast the current mountains leader Pierre Rolland scored points on three climbs and added eighteen to his today. The Europcar rider is in a strong position to continue pushing for that title, holding 49 points at present. Chris Froome is sixteen points back in second place but is focussing on the yellow jersey, while his Sky team-mate Richie Porte is five points further back and will ride in support of Froome.

Clarke sits in seventh and has just fifteen points to his name.

“It was planned,” Orica GreenEdge directeur sportif Matt White said about the move. “We could afford to be aggressive because the next climbing stage isn’t until next Saturday. We gave the option to Michael Albasini, Simon Gerrans and Simon Clarke to go on the attack. Albasini was in one of the first early moves but was caught.”

Clarke had hoped to take points earlier but had to wait until his legs came around. “Simon didn’t have a great start today. He felt a bit rough in the beginning. He went too deep at the start of the stage, but he really came good a bit later,” said White. “He rode very, very aggressively. I would say he was one of the fastest guys on the first three climbs. He jumped from one group to another group before getting off the front by himself for a while.”

However despite the rider’s good form, White acknowledges that it will be difficult to dislodge the Frenchman at the top. “Pierre Rolland has a very healthy lead in the mountain classification, and it’s a big focus for his team. We’ll see if Simon has other opportunities later on in the Tour to go after mountain points, but I suspect it will be hard for him to go down the road without Rolland.”

The team has had a superb race thus far, winning stage three with Simon Gerrans, taking the stage four time trial and leading the race for several days with Gerrans and Daryl Impey. The move into the mountains quietened things down, but with flatter stages ahead the squad is likely to go on the attack again.

It also has a sprinter in Matt Goss who could challenge in the bunch finishes, although he must go head to head with very rapid rivals such as Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick Step), Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Andre Griepel (Lotto-Belisol) and Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano).

On Wednesday the riders will encounter the first individual time trial of the race. White confirms that one of the team’s specialists will target the stage, but suggests that another may hold back. “At the moment, that’s yet to be decided,” he said, when asked if Cameron Meyer will try to clock up a big ride there. “We’ll see how Cam backs up. Svein [Tuft] is very motivated for the time trial, and there are more opportunities for Cam later in the Tour. Cam may require a bit more recovery than Svein, so it may be that we ask him not to go too deep in the time trial on Wednesday.”

While the team doesn’t have a general classification contender, White said he was bemused by some of the tactics he saw yesterday. He is clear that he feels errors were made.

“[Sunday] was probably the most aggressive day of racing I have ever seen at the Tour de France. I can’t remember the last time the yellow jersey was isolated with 100km still to race,” he said, referring to the distancing of the entire Sky team with the exception of the race leader.

“I think a lot of teams made some big mistakes related to the general classification. Of course, that has nothing to do with us, but I was surprised by what we saw. They had Froome alone, and they never really attacked him. You’d think teams were racing for team classification or second place. Froome played it cool and didn’t have too much to answer for in the end.”

AC/DC tribute video:

Away from the seriousness of racing, the team showed it has time for some light-hearted fun with a video with is sure to go viral. Following on from the team’s rendition of ‘Call Me Maybe,’ the clip celebrates what it asserts is the best band in the world, AC/DC. In addition to featuring the men’s and women’s teams and staff, it also has appearances by Eddy Merckx, Philippe Gilbert and others. On this rest day from racing, click below to watch what is likely to be the most unusual cycling video of the year.


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