In getting myself ready for the Vuelta in a couple of weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the last couple of Grand Tours. Actually back to the Tour de France of 2005. I met one of the drivers for the ASO who actually was part of the Big Red Saeco train of Mario Cipollini. We were talking about how disorganized the finale was on the Champs-Elysées. I realized how hard it must have been for Mario’s train to control the entire Peloton from 20 K out, all the way to the final 200 meters when Mario was launched. Sometimes, when someone makes something look easy, you don’t know how hard it really is. Look at the trouble Quick Step had in setting up Tom Boonen. Even Milram has had difficulty in the Giro for Alessandro Petacchi!
The same respect should go to the Blue Train of US Postal/Discovery. Seeing how hard it was to control breaks this year, makes you realize how hard it must be to ride so hard for so long that breaks can’t get enough momentum to get away.
Look for a more in-depth ode to the domestique in a few days.