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Rund um Köln Discussion Thread


The PT peloton arrives at Köln for what's the second one day chance for the sprinters, after Sanremo, and the last one for quite a while. The race has been historically dominated by a more punchy type of rider, but the way most races have been ridden this season, it's hard to imagine a non-sprinter being the first over the finish line.

The parcours is still quite hilly though, even if the flat last 20km could make you think the race would be much more interesting if ridden in the opposite direction. The puncheurs will need to make the race quite hard in the hills if they want to stand even the slightest of chances in the pancake flat finale, but with most of them being in a team with a sprinter, it does seem likely that a sprinter will take it.



Teams presentation

- Pokerstars.com


Tom Boonen's victory at the Lungomare Italo Calvino showed he's still one of the very best among the sprinters, and comes to Germany again as the top favourite, moreso if you take into account the leadout train he'll have, including Erik Mohs, who could be a contender on his own right, or John Degenkolb. Pokerstars trust in their sprinters is quite high, and rightly so, so their team is totally focused in bringing Tommeke to the right place, at the right moment.

- Milka - AVG


2nd at Sanremo, 2nd at the Omloop and winner of the East Midlands Cicle Classic. That's the impressive run of Sam Bewley over the last few races, so it's forbidden to overlook the Kiwi as one of the top favourites for the win at Köln. With him, a very solid support from his team, especially Leigh Howard and Juan Pablo Forero to lead their leader out to another great victory.

- Heineken presented by California Giant Berry Farms


Filippo Pozzato might not be amongst the fastest riders in the world, but with a hilly route which could take its toll on the purer sprinters, the Italian could very well be a serious contender for the win. He'll need a hard race to beat some of the sprinters, and maybe his team is lacking there, with just the likes of Jack Bauer, Ethan Weiss or Sebastian Langeveld for the hills.

- Team Puma - SAP


After his complete domination of the Continental sprinting scene last year, Daniele Bennati is being kinda overshadowed by Boonen this year. However, his results show that he's one of the elite sprinters, and as such a top favourite here. It also helps that with him is coming his train, with Thomas Vedel Kvist, Enrico Gasparotto and Sébastien Minard, usually working incredibly well, so reaching the team's goal of a victory should be possible.

- Vesuvio - Accumalux


The Luxemburger team comes splitted in two parts, one for a bunch sprint scenario, with Ben Swift as leader, but without their typical full train, as only Steven Caethoven is coming here with him, and another for a puncheurs race, led by Ben Gastauer. Both are well supported, but surely they have a better chance with a slower race thanks to Swift, so if some team is to break the race, it might not be Vesuvio.

- Simply Red Bull


Michael Van Stayen is the leader of the newly promoted team, and while he's not as fast as other sprinters, he goes well over the hills, which improves his chances in this route. A top 5 would be a great result for the Belgian and his team, which comes with no other clear option, and with a not overly strong support.

- Wikipedia


After a quite weak start of the season, Matthew Goss knows he needs to step up a bit, and Rund um Köln could be a good place to do so. His team isn't bringing much support though, as they seem more focused in making a hard race for Tejay Van Garderen, one of the several top puncheurs who have come looking to upset the sprinters.

- Pearl - Adidas


A similar case for the Portuguese team. Romain Vanderbiest is their lead sprinter, but the team looks clearly more prepared to make the race hard in the hills for Jan Bakelants. Showing great depth, they also bring Jukka Vastaranta, who could be very dangerous in a reduced sprint, as he showed in Paris - Nice.

- Koenigsegg


The Swedish outfit brings two very fast sprinters in Raúl Granjel Cabrera and Paride Grillo, although it's hard that, even playing two cards, they'll get to beat the stronger teams. For the hills they bring Robin van der Hugenhaben, but he surely lacks a good final kick, meaning he'd need to arrive alone, and finally we shouldn't overlook Alessandro Ballan's presence, as he could be dangerous with that flat run in.

- Festina - Canal+


Óscar Guerao finally found the winning ways in Catalunya, and will wish to get another great result in Köln. He'll need to do it all by himself though, as the support is not the best, only Anthony Lavoine and Geert Steurs stand out, and the former might even have a free role to fight for a result for himself.

- Lotto - Cervélo


The Belgian team has Gerald Ciolek as their top sprinter, and while he's one or two steps behind the best, he's got quite a nice train with Lars Crocket, Michael Vanderaerden and Andreas Stauff, so a top 5 could be possible. As plan B for a harder race, Dimitri Claeys is among the strongest puncheaurs here, but he surely lacks a bit of top speed.

- Pro Team Venchi - Sugoi


Venchi's hopes lie mainly on both Claudio Corioni and Greg Van Avermaet, but they might come a bit short against faster, and better supported sprinters. As many other teams, they also bring a strong puncheur - Cesare Di Maggio is their man in case the race is way harder than expected, but the Italian doesn't really likes the flats, so he might struggle to be with the best in such case.

- Aker - MOT


Aker brings a solid sprint pair in Kobe Vanoverschelde and Daryl Impey, but it doesn't look like either of them can really contend for a podium or even a top 5, especially the Belgian who might struggle on the hills. They don't really have a plan B, so they'll have to hope either of their sprinters outdo himself to get a good result.



Led, as in every flat race, by Maximiliano Richeze, UBS won't give much support to the Argentinian, who will need a fair bit of luck to get a top 5. He showed in qatar he can get there if all plays in his favour, but that's not too likely to happen often. Michael Albasini is also a solid puncheur who could go for a result if the race is hard, but there are many stronger than him.

- Wiggle Professional Cycling Team


The Italian squad isn't bringing a pure sprinter here, so they should surely be one of the teams most interested in making the race hard. Led by Simone Ponzi, who is one of the fastest among the top puncheurs here, they do have the tools to break the race with Marcello Pavarin and Mikhail Ignatiev, with the Russian being quite dangerous on his own as well.

- Sram - Riboxx


The German - American team is our PCT wildcard, and has local sprinter Heinrich Haussler as their biggest hope for a good result against the elite. He's not as fast as the best of the PT sprinters, but with the extra motivation of riding at home, and the support provided by his team, where Luka Mezgec stands out, he could as well pull off a top 10. The team is also well equipped for a hard race with Fabian Wegmann or Linus Gerdemann.

- Team B&O


The sprints aren't the biggest specialty of the Danish team, and thus their leader Kristian Sobota is unliekly to top 10 at Köln. They could have a slightly better chance if the race is hard with Rasmus Guldhammer and Domenik Klemme, but either way for them better races will come.

- Project 1t4i


Similar situation for 1t4i, Jon Aberasturi is clearly not strong enough to face the top favourites, and their alternative for a harder race, Julien Simon and Jelle Vanendert, is lacking something with respect to the opposition, so barring a suprise, the best the Dutch team will take from this race is experience for their youngsters.

- Team Bacardi


When Jure Kocjan is your fastest sprinter, you know you won't get much from a flat race. Bacardi brings Markus Burghardt hoping that his power in the flats gets him a good result, but, again, anything other than experience for Kirill Yatsevich or Pello Bilbao would be a big bonus.

- Pendleton's


Yet another sprinterless team, the British have Philippe Gilbert as their biggest asset for this race. Strong over the hills and on the flats he might lack some speed, as winning solo in such parcours seems unlikely to happen. Maybe next year Jonathan McEvoy could have more of a chance.

- Santander


If there's one team that dislikes flatness, that's the Spaniards from Santander. Vicent Reynès is their fastest man, but he's far from top 10 material, so it's bound to be an anonymous race for them beyond getting someone on the breakaway.
I'm surprised that Pozzato is rated so high.
Let's see what Burghardt can do with his national bonus. Not expecting much though.
Manager of:
Bacardi Limited

Great line up.

I'm hoping for a top 10, though, it'll be very hard. One rider in the top 20 is more realistic.

Boonen is the favourite for me, his train just looks incredible, and if it works out it should be hard to deny him the win.

And brilliant preview, kumazan!
Well in the past this has been a hilly race but this is certainly one for the roulers or sprinters this time out.

I do think with a combination of bad weather and wind it is possible for it not to end in a sprint but with the likes of Pokerstars, Milka and Puma pulling for a sprint anything other than a sprint looks unlikely.

A top 10 would be good, a top five would be fantastic Van Stayen doesn't have a super team behind him but Sulzberger, Cooper, Turgot are acceptable I think.

Manager of i439.photobucket.com/albums/qq112/Gustavovskiy/microjerseys14/srb.pngSimply - Red Bull i439.photobucket.com/albums/qq112/Gustavovskiy/microjerseys14/srb.png
I expect nothing here. Guerao is simply too weak.
Our win goal.

That said, a podium is an absolute must to get some money out of this.
To actually win requires a great sprint preparation and quite a bit of luck.

Boonen seems to have both so far, let's hope everyone gets an equal share of luck this season so that we can use ours here.
I believe that I may not be scoring too highly here. Unaware of PCM12's blatant disregard for any kind of hill, be it on a flat or hilly parcours, I foolishly sent a team to support Ponzi, with Ignatiev as back up. The best I can hope for is a 40km long range assault by Ignatiev I think.
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Another podium would be a great result and we are rightly here to do maximum for Bewley to achieve that. Hopefully my strongest support team for sprints will be able to make a good job for him.
Manager of Moser - Sygic
Avin Wargunnson
Bewley or Boonen, simple as that. Smile
Maybe Pozzato with another surprisive result?
I'll be back
Well, atleast we got mentioned with the only DNF. I was at least expecting an attack by Burghardt, but i guess that was to much to ask.
Manager of:
Bacardi Limited

Another great win for Boonen after not the best start on cobbles, today he managed to win without any support from team. I would expect especially Mohs and Degenkolb (with national bonus?) doing better then bottom of TOP100. Thanks for report Smile
Manager of Polar in Man-Game
That was a waste of race days... Rolling Eyes
Boonen is proving really powerful in these flat classics, he has not always been quite as dominant here but it is proving a real bonus for beagle to nab this to follow up Milan San Remo.

I am delighted though with Van Stayen, I wouldn't say he timed his sprint to perfection that was Boonen who did that. But he found a decent amount of room and got his nose clear enough of Swift and Bewley (well mainly Bewley, Swift was not so swift) and held them off which is an almighty achievement.

Sulzberger sprinting through for 11th is a massive result really as well who is producing some nuggetty little field sprints.

Superb result for SRB really.

Hard to understand why the one sprint train really, maybe down to a late attack and catch? Or is it a bit of wind?

Manager of i439.photobucket.com/albums/qq112/Gustavovskiy/microjerseys14/srb.pngSimply - Red Bull i439.photobucket.com/albums/qq112/Gustavovskiy/microjerseys14/srb.png
Expecting to beat Boonen under normal circumstances seems very optimistic this season, so I happily put this second failed goal down as "achieved the best possible result". I hope our sponsors see it that way too.

Plus, it is really nice to see our sprint train doesn't mind the division change and performs good enough to not be a disadvantage to the led-out rider like we often saw this season.

Congratulations to Pokerstars once more, I think we saw the ProTour winner on the top step of the podium today.

Now I eagerly await a Boonen-less Giro Pfft
Edited by cio93 on 09-03-2013 13:11
7th here is a really good effort. Guerao needs Some better acceleration to pose a serious threat on the top guys. Happy with this!
19th was quite as expected, though, admittedly I hoped Impey and Vanoverschelde could co-operate to give one of them a good position in the sprint.

That looked like an easy win for Boonen, congrats! He really is on fire this season. Question is if he can continue his momentum on the cobbles, after failing to win the first two cobble classics.

And thanks for the report, kumazan! I certainly enjoyed it Smile
Edited by ember on 09-03-2013 19:24
5th from nowhere. Was worried that Swift had taken a day off with a kilometre to go, relieved he eventually came charging through for a credible result
Looks like Richeze is back to being a dud. Just glad I didn't send Schumacher here.
SportingNonsense wrote:
5th from nowhere. Was worried that Swift had taken a day off with a kilometre to go, relieved he eventually came charging through for a credible result

This, absolutely, but please only change 5th place for 4th place and the name of Swift for Bewley! Grin
Manager of Moser - Sygic
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