You know, I haven’t watched a minute of this race–I think at least clips are available online–and I don’t know whether it would make a difference in terms of understanding what the course has been like for Svein and the other racers. From afar, one of the strangest things about the race so far is following the progress–no, lack of progress–of Fabian Cancellara. When last we heard of him, he was winning the prologue of the Tour of California, then falling ill and dropping out the next day–the cold wet run from Davis to Santa Rosa that prompted Lance Armstrong to Twitter, “Holy hell. That was terrible.” Cancellara is still sick (and injured) and is not only last in the Tirreno-Adriatico G.C., but has added to his legend by having been overtaken by the rider who followed him out onto the course during today’s time trial. This is the Olympic and world champion time-trial champion we’re talking about here, and the 2007 champion of this very race.
But back to Tuft-world. Standingswise, Svein moved up this weekend:
Stage 4, 171 kilometers from Foligno to Montelupone (the finish is on a wall with stretches of 20 percent plus).
Stage 4 finish: 48th, 5:04 behind stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Spanish, riding for Caisse d’Epargne). Svein and Garmin-Slipstream teammate Julian Dean finished together, trailing the previous group by a minute and the following group by 50 seconds.)
G.C. placing after Stage 4: 83rd, 13:48 behind leader (Rodriguez). Tuft and Dean are placed with the same time in G.C.
Loreto Aprutino → Macerata
Stage 5, 30-kilometer time trial from Loreto Aprutino to Macerata
Stage 5 finish: 41th, 2:12 behind stage winner Andreas Kloeden (German, riding for Astana).
G.C. placing after Stage 4: 72nd, 15:29 behind leader (Kloeden).
Well, the headline from this stage highlights one of Svein’s teammates, Tyler Farrar. He did what few casual observers would think possible nowadays: beat Team Columbia’s Mark Cavendish head to head in the closing sprint. Cavendish has not only demonstrated amazing acceleration in the final 200 meters, he is from all appearances utterly confident in his ability to beat anyone when the chips are down.
Stage 3, 166 kilometers from Fucecchio to Santa Croce sull’Arnoa.
Stage 3 finish: 107th, same time as stage winner Tyler Farrar.
G.C. placing after Stage 3: 127th, 8:59 behind leader Julien El Fares.
See Velonews writeup and standings . Team Garmin-Slipstream writeup here . Tirreno-Adriatico page at Steephill.tv.
Also of note: Garmin-Slipstream’s Julian Dean’s Tirreno-Adriatico diary at Cycling News. Reviewing Stage 1, he is brutally critical of his own performance:
I wasn’t good at all today and it was a stage where I should’ve been good. It was a final that would normally be perfect for me and I was bad. We had a 4km climb, 15km from the finish – not too unlike the finish of San Remo – and when we got to the bottom of it I couldn’t follow the second group, let alone the front group!!!
Stage 2, 185 kilometers from Volterra to Marina di Carrara.
Stage 2 finish: 169th, 6:49 back of winner Alessandro Petacchi.
G.C. placing after Stage 2: 137th, 8:59 behind leader Julien El Fares.
(See Daily Peloton writeup and Velonew standings . Team Garmin-Slipstream writeup here . Tirreno-Adriatico page at Steephill.tv).
Stage 1: 147 kilometers from Cecina to Capannori.
Stage 1 finish: 99th, 1:57 back of winner Julien El Fares.
G.C. placing after Stage 1: 99th.
(See Velonews writeup and standings. Team Garmin-Slipstream writeup here. Tirreno-Adriatico page at Steephill.tv).