Monday, 14 February 2011

Tour of Oman v.1.2

Flowers to the people
Tomorrow the Tour of Oman 2011 begins. Last year Team Sky did what they could to influence the race with Edvald Boasson Hagen leading cycling's brand new hot-shot team to a podium, knocking out Fabian himself on the TT on the 5th stage.

As a pretty new pro, Boasson Hagen also made a mistake in the race. Having the overall lead, he stopped on a "natural break" some 50 kilometres from the finish on stage 4. Two Cervelo riders increased the tempo significantly, causing the other teams to respond, leaving Boasson Hagen way behind struggling in the crosswind, losing the lead jersey. Some says it was a way of saying "get back in line" from other teams, because Team Sky allegedly have pedalled hard through the feeding zone earlier that day, causing stress and anger from other teams. later described this incident as a "controlled experiment" and that it came as research to "aggregation to marginal gains". Apparently, Team Sky was working with a Professor Primo del Mese, to see how Team Sky could benefit from a proposed two-way radio ban by the UCI. Read more here.

Eddy Merckx deemed Boasson Hagen favourite for this year's race, but I think there are many more who can make it exciting. The race is different this year, far hillier than last year. A hilltop-finish on stage 4 will be hard to master for the sprinters and could indicate changes on the overall podium. Gesink, Rodriguez, Pozzato, Boonen and Taylor Phinney are all contesters for the overall lead.

I hope that the battle for "marginal gains" continue, but that any pee breaks will be respected according to the unwritten laws. That said, it is allowed to carefully examine when the proper time and place is for a break as well.

It seems like the written rules struggle these days, just more reason to follow the unwritten ones.

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