White: “I can’t complain about how things went today. We can’t fault anyone”
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Sunday, September 22, 2013

White: “I can’t complain about how things went today. We can’t fault anyone”

by Kyle Moore at 1:48 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Orica-GreenEdge director praises his team time trial after close loss in world title race

Orica-GreenEdgeOrica-GreenEdge suffered a painful loss in the elite men’s World Team Time Trial championship, riding less than a second slower than Omega Pharma-Quick Step in a 57km test. The Aussie squad was understandably despondent after coming so close to the world championship, but some silver linings surrounded the runner up finish.

Team director Matt White knew that his six-man squad of Brett Lancaster, Daryl Impey, Jens Mouris, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, and Svein Tuft had left everything on the course in a nearly flawless run.

And in the recent past, Orica-GreenEdge has been the team on the pointy edge of the sword. At the Tour de France team time trial in July, Omega Pharma-Quick Step faced the long wait in the leader’s chairs before Orica-GreenEdge blazed through with a victory by a single second.

With the roles reversed on Sunday, the Belgian team’s victory by 0.81 seconds means that the last two important races between the squads have been settled by two ticks of the clock.

“I can’t complain about how things went today,” said team director Matt White. “We can’t fault anyone. If we had gone nine-hundredths of a second faster, we would be world champions today.

“To be so close to winning a world title over an hour effort is a little disappointing. Sometimes it’s easier to swallow when it’s a bigger margin. We know what it’s like to win by such a small margin, too. We just edged out Quick Step at the Tour. Today they turned the tables on us.”

Unofficial GPS readings throughout the race showed a seesaw battle between the two titans. Omega Pharma-Quick Step was quicker to both of the first two time checks, at 7km and near the 24km mark. But then the Aussie squad started to claw back time, turning a ten-second deficit to more than a five-second lead.

They expended Mouris at what appeared to be a scheduled moment, as he was seen soft pedaling up a rise with his squad moving quickly up the road. They lost one more rider before the finish to end with the required four, the same number of riders with which Omega Pharma-Quick Step finished.

“We started a little bit slower than expected. We were 13 seconds behind Quick Step at the first time check,” White explained. “The guys didn’t panic, and they gradually began to peg them back until it was very, very close at the end.

“Omega Pharma-Quick-Step was the team to beat today. We knew our strength was depth in numbers. We came here to win, and we followed the plan we developed to achieve that goal. The boys stuck to the plan. They left their egos at home and did what they needed to do. I can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Orica-GreenEdge went one better than last year in their podium finish. White sees his team’s steady improvement – and transformation into a team time trialling powerhouse – as a good sign that a world championship could come soon.

“We’ve been improving each time we’ve done this discipline. When you look at the effort over one hour, every team is going to find something they can do better. There is a lot of variability over an effort this long, so there always a lot of little things that we can do better. No team can do everything perfectly in that amount of time. We certainly see small areas for improvement that we can work on to go even better next year,” White concluded.

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