joerand posted:Bruce Woodhouse posted:
I have no doubt that if Thomas is still in yellow in the third week he'll be sacrificed for Froome's benefit. I am not hearing or seeing anything to suggest otherwise.
Bruce, (or any one else) any substantial information to think this will be the case? Do you suppose there's a gentleman's agreement within the team? Race courtesy? Possibly even written into G's contract?
If so, this is where I depart from so-called 'standards'. It's a race after all and I want to see the best rider win. I acknowledge the team has to work together, but Sky (at this point, much racing to come) seems strong enough to allow G and Froome to duke it out if positioned to do so near the end. I'd just hate to see G hand the race to Froome if he's capable of beating him
Well the principles of team leadership in cycle races are well known and constantly repeated by G and Froome every time they are interviewed this week. Lets face it the strongest rider may not always win if the team judges that one must protect and be 'sacrificed' for a chosen leader and I find it hard to believe that unless Froome starts to waver or get ill they will take the team leadership away from him. There is of course the example of Wiggins, where many think Froome was held back because it had been decided by Sky it was Wiggins Tour. Nobody could doubt that G deserves success, but in Sky's eyes does he deserve it more than Froome going for 5 wins, holding Giro and Vuelta too?
It is a team as well as an individual sport. One of the fascinations of the event for me.
I don't think they will consciously have to hold G back. He has less TT ability and will likely lose time on that stage, also less pedigree over 3 week tours so he may run out of gas whereas Froome generally gets stronger in the last week. If all the climbing domestiques remain in place then both can be protected most of the way through the tough stages; what may be interesting is if they drop team mates off earlier in climbs then we will see who leads and who is being protected at the front.
I think the situation is analagous to a stage where you lob a good rider up the road in the breakaway. If the break stays away they are in a great position or they slowly get reeled in and provide cover and help to the main rider in the peloton as they come up behind.
What seems a shame to me is that other teams know how Sky will ride and yet seem reluctant to either mimic or challenge it. Just lack of depth in recruitment? It almost seems that other big hitters are settling for maybe a podium or just stage wins. Do they believe they can actually beat Sky?