Geox-TMC expected better result in Vuelta a España team time trial opener
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Geox-TMC expected better result in Vuelta a España team time trial opener

by Bjorn Haake at 1:51 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Crash disrupts rhythm but goal of Menchov overall win still intact

carlos sastreThe Geox-TMC team finished 21st out of 22 teams in the team time trial that opened the 66th edition of the Vuelta a España, 43 seconds behind winner Leopard-Trek. Hampered by the crash of David Blanco, the Spanish outfit was happy that all nine men arrived at the finish of the technical course. The objective stays the same, which is to have Denis Menchov at the top spot of the podium in Madrid three weeks from now.

Blanco's fall happened after around 3.7 kilometers on the 13.5-kilometer long course. The crash disrupted the rhythm and made the team lose precious seconds," says sports director Joxean Fernández 'Matxin'. Blanco hit the pedal on the ground in a 180-degrees turn and flew off his bike. "In this incident alone we lost around 20-25 seconds," estimates Matxin. "It is a pity because on the time checks before and after we had good times. We went especially well in the straight sections, where we could develop the full speed that our team is capable off."

Menchov is a very good time trialer and losing that much time in 'his' discipline was not foreseen in his quest to win the Vuelta for a third time. After Blanco came down, the tactic changed a bit. "In the corners we were more prudent to avoid another problem."

The main conclusion for Matxin was positive, though. "There is no doubt that the riders had the necessary legs to get a good time, at least as good as those teams also fighting for the overall, like Katusha or Euskaltel-Euskadi." Katusha finished tenth at 25 seconds and Euskaltel-Euskadi 12th at 28 seconds. "At any rate, this disadvantage doesn't preoccupy us too much. The race has just started."

Blanco had no major injuries from the fall. His right side is scraped up a bit and he hit his elbow slightly, but he should have no trouble continuing the race.

Carlos Sastre had high hopes for the team time trial. "We all expected a better result," the Spaniard says. "It has been a complicated and a highly technical race in which we have had a fall that has broken the team's rhythm in the initial part of the stage." Things could have been worse. "After seeing the images of the other teams, I think we were fortunate to not have had a worse mishap. All of us are more or less intact to face the next twenty stages, which will be without doubt really hard and difficult," said Sastre.

Sastre emphasizes the role of the directeur sportif, especially in such an event as a short team time trial on a technical course. "On a day like today, more than in other stages, the mission, experience, work and power of a sports director is the most valuable thing you can have." The team has to ride as a perfect unit, where the order of the rider is important. "He makes sure that everything is organized. If everything is organized, the seconds are in your favor and not against you. On a day like today, the figure of a director and a good team captain is really important".


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