I'll be managing Radioshack Nissan Trek. I'll be using two difficulty settings: difficult for flat stages (including flat time trials) and extreme for cobbles, hills and mountain stages.
Edited by nightguy on 02-06-2012 12:59
Our 3 main sponsors, radioshack, nissan and trek will require the following of us this year:
- Win the Tour de France
- Stage win at the Tour de France
- Wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France
- Win Paris-Roubaix
- Win the Tour of Flanders
Difficult objectives even with such a team, except for a stage win at the Tour de France, which shouldn't be too hard.
I reckon Evans and Wiggins will press me real hard to the win at the Tour de France, especially the former. I'll have to really attack and use the depth of my team to put them under pressure in the mountains.
In the cobbles, despite having Cancellara in my ranks, I'll face stiff competition from Boonen, who is equally good in those races, not forgetting he is, by far, the better sprinter! Again I'll have to attack!
Edited by nightguy on 01-06-2012 21:12
The team will have 3 designated leaders. Behind those three men, we have a number of very talented riders, some of which will have a leading role at certain races. These super domestiques include the likes of Andreas Kloden and Chris Horner amongst others.
The Swiss rider will be looking towards the cobbled classics with the aim of winning the main events, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. He will also be part of our Tour de France team, looking to compete for the time-trials.
Andy will be our main man at this year's main objective, the Tour de France. The team will face stiff competition, but we believe Andy is up to the task, despite two very long time-trials.
The elder of the Schleck brothers will lead the team at the hilly classics in April, looking for podium places, possibly a win! He will gear his form to peak at the Tour de France though, where a top 5 place will be his aim, secondary to helping Andy reach the top spot.
Part of the team helping Andy Schleck in the mountains, Andreas will be peaking in mid-July. He will also be our leader at the Tour de Romandie.
Like Andreas, Chris will be helping Andy Schleck in the mountains. His second objective of the year will be the Tour of California, where he has always performed well in the past.M
Fuglsang will be really happy to be our leader at this year's Giro. It is truly a step forward for the young Dane, who has been looking to earn a leading role in our team after a good showing at last year's Vuelta. He will also help Frank for his objectives in late April.
Maxime Monfort will be looking to repeat, if not improve, his performance at last year's Vuelta, where he managed a marvellous top 10 finish.
Daniele is our best sprinter. He will aim at a possible stage win at this year's Tour de France. He will also take part at the classics.
Jens will be looking to bring all his experience in what might be his ultimate Tour de France to help Andy Schleck. Paris-Nice is a race he particularly likes and he will be our leader there.
On to the first race of the season then, the Santos Tour Down Under.
Santos Tour Down Under 17-22 Jan
Largely a race for sprinters. 6 stages: 5 flat stages, 1 hilly stage. The hilly stage will include the climb over Willunga hill, where we'll surely see some attacks. However, there's a fair distance still to the line after the climb, so the sprinters should not be losing too much time.
Line-up Tony Gallopin
Tony Gallopin is one man who can get over the hills and sprint fairly well. His good form merits the leadership of our team ahead of Jan Bakelants here.
P.S : The team would like to announce the signing of three secondary sponsors who will finance us over the course of this year: Coca-Cola, Manpower and Pinarello.
Edited by nightguy on 02-06-2012 12:33
Cavendish is in the startlist, as is Goss. It's hard to look beyond those two with such a flat stage. However the riders' form will be the decisive factor here in this early part of the season.
My prediction for today: Mark Renshaw, showed good things in the Australian championships, finishing on the podium.
Sadly, I have no screenshots for that stage. I had a problem with getting screenshots from the game, which is, I'm glad to say, solved now!
Not much happened here. An early break of 9 riders went off early on. They stayed out for hardly 20km, being caught with over 20km left to go as the sprinters' teams upped the pace.
In the final sprint, Gallopin was on the wheel of Nizzolo who was following Nacer Bouhanni, the sprinter from FDJ-Bigmat. A highly successful move, as Gallopin managed to pass Nizzolo and Bouhanni in the final 100 metres to claim 2nd place on the stage!
Another very flat stage, 148km from Mawson Lakes to Angaston.
We will surely see GreenEdge controlling things on the front today, to deliver McEwen to a potential second victory. A break will be allowed to go, but not a big group of riders. A srpint finish to end, with the main contenders likely to be the same as yesterday.
My prediction for today: Jose Joaquin Rojas. He was really fast in the closing metres, maybe today will be his day.
Race report Early on, a 9-mean break tried to get away, but GreenEdge weren't in the mood to let such a strong group out. They were caught at the foot of the day's short climb.
Shortly afterwards, Knees, Amador and Lloyd fought it out for the KOM points, Knees coming out on top. Right after the climb, Bulgac and Marycz left the peloton. they were soon joined by Kreder and Gruzdev to form a 4-men group, whose advantage quickly grew to over 2 minutes.
Van Avermaet, who inititated the first attack of the day, gave it another go and was followed by Perez Lezaun and Van Winden.
After 62km of racing and the lead stretching to 4min for the leaders, GreenEdge hit the front to control the gap.
50km from the end, the 3-men group bridged the gap to the leaders to form a 7-men group. Very soon, Kreder could no longer follow the pace in the group and tailed off.
With Movistar and Sky coming to the front to help the chase, the gap came down really fast. The break was caught with 30km still to go.
Gallopin once again got on the wheel of Nizzolo, who followed Breschel. Hunter positioned his lead-out man, Fernandez, on the left. Bouhanni was on his wheel, with McEwn slightly further back.
McEwen again the strongest at the finish! He really came out of nowhere! He takes a second stage win. Sutton gave him a good fight, finishing second following a powerful surge. Gallopin completed the podium
Haha my bad, when I move my mouse over a rider, the rider is highlighted. Sometimes it stays there even after I put my cursor away, which is what happened.
I made a few mistakes with my screenshots here and there, the windsock, the names, the cursor. My apologies for those, first ever story.
Oh yeah, I need you guys' opinion on whether to put the image as spoiler or not? Because I get the impression it takes a while for the page to load with the screenshots.
Edited by nightguy on 02-06-2012 12:36
146.4km long flat stage, with, however, a short steep hill included in the finishing circuit.
GreenEdge again expected to control things on the front. Just like yesterday, it is unlikely to see a strong break getting away. The final hill, however, will likely put some printers out of contention. Nizzolo, unfortunately for us, is one of them.
My prediction for today: Chistopher Sutton. He really had speed more than enough to match McEwen yesterday, only went too early. Also, he's better on the climbs.
Race Report The first real action of the stage came after 18km of racing. Isachyev attacked near the top of the short categorized climb to claim maximum points ahead of Boaro and Santambrogio.
Soon after the downhill, Zeits of Astana attacked off of the peloton, with 9 riders following the move, Boom and Fischer being the most notable of those 10 breakaway men.
The 10-men break tackled the steep hill for the first time with a lead of nearly 5 minutes. The hill was leg-breaking with gradients of up to 8%!
Meanwhile, the bunch was being brought along by GreenEdge, like every other day!
With 80km left to go, and the strong break still holding a lead of over 4 minutes, Radioshack started to get worried, sending two of their man to the front of the bunch to up the pace.
Sky were next to lend a hand to the chase, for their sprinter Sutton. And guess who was leading the bunch over the second passage of the climb?!
Despite Sky, Movistar, Radioshack and GreenEdge all chipping in to do the work at the front of the bunch, the break was working well. They still had a lead of 2'43" with 35km left to go. As the peloton reached the climb though, there was a sudden sense of urgency. The gap went down by a full minute under the impetus of Appolonio of Sky and Langeveld of GreenEdge.
Soon enough the peloton was hot on the heels of the break and with 20km and one last passage on the climb left, the junction was made.
Gallopin wasn't feeling so good on the climb and decided to stay on McEwen's wheel rather than hit the front himself. Nizzolo was obviously not gonna be by his side today! Rojas was hot`on Gallopin's wheel too.
McEwen himself opened the sprint, Gallopin on his wheel. Sutton wasn't far behind, on the wheel of Rojas.
McEwen wsa really strong, but with only 50m left, Sutton, who came close the last time, was closing in fast on the left!
Sutton takes it after a magnificent sprint! McEwen was really strong, he sprinted from really far out and held on for second place! Rojas was third and Gallopin was never even close to going past McEwen.
Indeed, he is. Chances of winning the overall are looking bleak, with Sutton getting in the mix, unless I get some amazing luck on Willunga!
But on the bright side, it's going much better than my initial hopes for a top 10!
Same story as what's been going on this race. A break taking off early on, taking the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint, then being reeled back in not too far from the line. Finally, we'll have a slight uphill finish at the end, which should add some spice to the sprint! (Initially I missed that, thought it was all flat!)
My prediction for today: I'll go with Freire for this one! He's been consistent throughout the race and this finish will really suit him.
Race Report It took 17km for the first attack to happen. Perez Lezaun launched that move, being followed by 3 others.
Koren, Belletti and Rollin soon decided to join the break. They eventually made the ground up and by km30, the groups merged.
The lead of the men in front stretched to 6min before GreenEdge hit the front of the bunch. Then, Katusha took it up on the short, but brutal, climb, with gradients reaching 10%! They were looking to put a number of sprinters under pressure here.
McEwen, at the bottom of this shot, was having trouble and had fallen off the front end of the bunch. Bluff or real pain?!
The climb also took its toll on the breakaway who lost 2 men.
Under the impact of Katusha, GreenEdge and Sky, the gap dropped very fast, and the junction was made at the start of the long downhill, 28km fron the finish.
600m from the line, Rojas is the best-placed of the sprinters, on Hunter's wheel. McEwen, slightly further back on Roelandts' wheel. Gladly for Radioshack, Nizzolo was still there and he fought like a dog to bring Gallopin onto Rojas' wheel.
The finale of this race was always going to be interesting. Only 100m left and Rojas comes on the outside of Hunter! Gallopin right behind!
Rojas timed his effort to perfection and takes the stage victory. A photo finish for second place! Gallopin on the right, and Freire on the left of Rojas! I really can't tell with that shot!
For the most part flat, but 30km from the finish will be the steep Willunga hill.
Most definitely, the defining stage of this Tour Down Under. The pressing question is will McEwen hold on to his lead? Rojas and Gallopin are better than him going uphill! Will they make the diference there?! To a lesser extent, can Freire take everyone by surprise here? He's the best of the top 10 up a hill!
My prediction for today: For the stage, I'll go with Freire. Had I not been on Rojas' wheel ahead of him yesterday, he would probably have taken the win.
And I'm guessing Rojas will take over the overall leadership. His form has been improving, culminating in his win yesterday!
In what was to be the most important stage of this race, we had a highly animated start! Waves of attack one after the other. 6 riders initially got away, getting a fair gap. Soon 7 more riders tried to ride across, but they weren't allowed much room by GreenEdge who upped the pace and kept this second move in check.
That wasn't the end of it: more teams wanted to get a man in the break! Katusha sent Isachyev on the attack. He was followed by 3 riders. Initially GreenEdge chased, but they realised too much chasing early on was going to overextend them. So they let the move slip away. 2 more riders tried to get across, but they went too little too late, never making it back to the two groups ahead, which joined up to make a 10-men break.
After a really fast start to the race, things settled down. The respite was not going to be long though, GreenEdge soon upping the pace again as the break's lead went over the 5min mark. By the time we reached the Williunga hill, the break only had 1min left.
The real action on the Willunga hill was exhilarating from the foot of the climb to the top! The breakaway started to break apart as attacks fizzed from everyone there. The bunch was being led along by Radioshack, who took it on for their man Gallopin. The latter was 3rd in line behind Roulston and Bakelants. They caught the break really fast!
First of the favourites to go was Rojas, who gave it a real dig, following the attack of Van Garderen. However, the lead never really grew, Roulston gave it his all and brought it back before dropping to the back.
Next to go was Sutton! He put in a hard attack not far from the top, followed by Chavanel, Leukemans and Roelants. His attack was short-lived though and the three counter-attackers went on.
The gap was really small though. Bakelants was doing a real good job of keeping the pace really high! At the top of the climb they bridged the gap and a select group of 16 riders went over the top. Freire was in that group. Gallopin was. But none of the other favourites were! Amazing news for Radioshack! Bakelants kept pushing it on. The gap was 45"!
Behind, Sky took the reigns and organized the chase! The gap at that point had grown to 57"! That amazing piece of luck I was talking about was about to come. On the descent, Freire fell off his bike!!! Now, Gallopin was the only favourite up in that group. It was looking good for the overall win here.
The uphill finish was too much for Gallopin who was spent and could only take 4th, finishing just outside the bonus seconds. Of the fresher riders, Breschel had the best sprint and he took the stage. Roelants and Spilak completed the podium.
GreenEdge and Sky never let up the chase behind. Sadly for Radioshack, they made it back in an exhilarating finale, Sutton and McEwen finishing seconds behind the main group and being awarded the same time as the leaders! With this result, McEwen looks set for the overall win, having 20" over Sutton!