Rabobank not holding their breath for Graeme Brown
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Rabobank not holding their breath for Graeme Brown

by Jered Gruber at 12:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Team questions whether he can get back to winning

Graeme BrownIn a sobering display of blunt honesty, Rabobank team manager Nico Verhoeven picked apart his designated sprinter, Graeme Brown, following another reasonable, but forgettable 6th place finish behind winner, Andre Greipel. It seems that Rabobank has not placed much hope in their Australian sprinter, and Verhoeven has no qualms in talking about it.

Before the day, Verhoeven commented on the possibility of a Brown win in Brescia: "It could happen, but given his sprint results and Graeme's sprint work of this Giro, we would be very surprised if he gets it."

At the end of the day, Brown took a reasonable 6th place finish, and it seems a collective yawn was the ensuing reaction from his team. "Our men came forward in the last kilometers to assist Graeme, and that they did well. Brown did a technically excellent sprint, but came up short of power. Greipel was clearly untouchable."

Brown has shown himself a capable sprinter with innumerable top fives, 12 in all so far this year, but has not been able to net a win. That's not to say that he's not capable - he took five wins in 2009, including the Nokere Koerse and stages at the Vuelta Murcia and Tour Down Under. Brown has shown himself to be a consistent finisher, always close, always in the action, always knocking on the door - which, for a sprinter, could be interpreted as a curse. Unfortunately for Brown, instead of picking up wins, he has picked up a reputation more as a rider with a tendency toward dangerous maneuvers in finales.

Verhoeven was not critical of his rider though. He was merely frank in his beliefs on Brown's potential in the sprints at the Giro. Apart from meeting Verhoeven's expectations in the sprints, Brown has exceeded them elsewhere.

"He is already doing better in a Grand Tour than ever before. Graeme has become a better rider, but as far as sprinting goes, there has been no progression, and that's all a sprinter gets judged on. Overall, I am extremely pleased with the way he has ridden here. He has ridden in a very committed way for the team throughout the race. And, do not forget, he came to this Giro as the leadout guy for Oscar. It was from the outset not our intent to win stages here with him, because that is not real. But we still hoped for that one surprise."


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