So May has arrived and that can only mean one thing, the Giro is just a couple of days away. Since the last blog it has been a busy period of racing, with classics specialists looking for glory in the Flemish and Ardennes races, whilst many others have used the stage races of Spain and just last week Switzerland to fine tune their form going into the Giro. My current World Tour and Fantasy point’s totals can be seen below.
World Tour Points: 806 (719 from top 5 riders)
Fantasy Total: 2348
E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke: 49
Tour de Flanders: 58
Amstel Gold: 56
La Fleche Wallonne: 53
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya: 109
Volta Ciclista al Pais Vasco: 389
Tour de Romandie: 91
During this hectic period of racing Drheaton managed to wrestle back the initiative and take a commanding lead in both WT points and fantasy points. Despite this my team still amassed a decent total of points. My total of 806 World Tour points so far would see me at the top of the standings ahead of Team Sky; however from my top 5 scorers I only have a total of 719 points, leaving me 2nd in the rankings, 32 points adrift of Team Sky.
Peter Sagan amased a healthy amount of World Tour points in the classics and sits 2nd in the standings
So the classics threw up some interesting racing, beginning with the Flemish classics. In general these races were good for my team; all due to Peter Sagan picking up 2nd place finishes in E3 Prijs and Flanders, either side of his victory at Gent-Wevelgem. However his performances were the only ones of note, meaning no WT points and only 5 fantasy points were picked up in Paris-Roubaix. Despite a healthy amount of points, it was eclipsed by that of Drheaton, who with Cancellara in his team, managed victory in E3 Prijs, Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and aptly backed up by Sep Vanmarcke’s 2nd place in Roubaix. As for the second half of the classics, at the Ardennes races, neither of our teams had any of the three victors, however both our teams did have Carlos Betancur, who weighed in with a 3rd place finish in Fleche Wallonne and 4th place in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Both teams also amassed points from Phillipe Gilbert, who had if no a spectacular spring, and steady and consistent one, with 5th, 15th and 7th placed finishes over the three races. Over the Ardennes races, my team came out slightly on top thanks due to Simon Gerrans 3rd place finish at Amstel gold, and a 10th place in Liege, with none of Drheaton’s other riders managing a top 10 finish in any of the races. My classics showing was also hindered by the unfortunate fractured collarbone of Thomas Voeckler, suffered in the Amstel gold race, who would have likely taken a top 10 finish in at least one of the races.
Sandwiched in between, and around the classics, three stage races took place, two in Spain (Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and Volta al Pais Vasco) and one in Switzerland (Tour de Romandie). It was in these races Drheaton managed to extend his WT points lead with some strong GC showings. A solid showing the Volta al Pais Vasco was the only decent performance from my team with Contador taking 5th place and Betancur in 7th. As for Drheaton had top 10 finishers in the GC in all three races, Quintana and Wiggins taking 4th and 5th in Catalunya, followed by Quintana winning in the Basque country, with Betancur 7th and Kelderman taking 5th in Romandie. As for the rest of my team, Simon Gerrans did his part with a stage victory in both Catalunya and Pais Vasco. Beyond this Nizzolo took a second place in Romandie and Sanchez in Pais Vasco, but no other notable performances.
Bentacur, the young Columbian on the AG2R Giro roster after making a big impression in the Classics and recent stage races
So the Giro has arrived, and things don’t look all that promising for my team, especially in terms of GC riders. I have Sanchez and Betancur who will be looking towards the GC, however both these riders are in Drheaton’s team, as well as him having Wiggins and Keldrman. So I will be hoping of for something special from Pellizotti and Aru, however neither will realistically top 10. As for the flatter finishes Drheaton again has the edge with Cavendish and Bouhanni compared to Degenkolb and Nizzolo. So it seems I am firmly on the back foot, and will need my riders to step up, just to limit the damage.
Outside of the World Tour races there was one bright spot, and that was through one of my neo-pros, and the topic of my young rider piece, Fabio Aru. At the Giro del Trentino the youngster seemingly came of age whilst helping Vincenzo Nibali to victory, Aru came 4th overall, taking the Young riders jersey in the process. The young 22 year old Italian was taken on by the Astana team, and has seemingly come from nowhere, having raced as an amateur for the Italian domestic team Palazzago. However this was where his climbing talent was spotted in which time he took the title of the Giro Ciclista della Valle d’Aosta in both 2011 and 2012, where in 2011 he came home 1st on stage 6, placing ahead of two other neo-pros in this years peloton, Kenny Elissonde and Joseph Dombrowski. 2012 also saw him finish 2nd in the Girobio, the baby Giro for Amateurs, where he was narrowly beaten by Dombrowski. On the back of his Trentino performance he heads to the Giro to again help Nibali in the mountains, and may have designs on the Young riders jersey, however it may be a year too soon as he will go up against the likes of Betancur and Majka for that title, but don’t rule out some strong stage finishes in the high mountains.
Fabio Aru, the talaented Italian climber in his first season hoping to guide Nibali to the Giro Title, after impressing in Trentino