Paris-Nice 2013 Recap
So Paris-Nice 2013 finished up this weekend, one minor gripe I have with most cycling sites is accountability. While I am sure this is done unintentionally due to a lack of time, I figured since I have nothing going on I could whip up a recap of the race. You can read my full preview here. My original thoughts are posted below, with how they did in italics..
Overall Paris-Nice 2013 Threats:
Gesink – Already said he’s targeting the Giro, so this will be a good chance to see how he looks. He won Tour of Cali last year, but has had some bad luck in the last few grand tours he’s entered.- Gesink didn’t do much, he only really showed himself once, and then was quickly blown away by Talansky’s counter attacks. I guess he left early with an illness. Something I initially missed. Either way, he wasn’t very active when he was there. Perhaps he’s taking the slow build approach, the Giro is still a month or so away, and I am sure he will want to peak during the final week.
Fuglsang – Leaves the Leopard-Schleck doghouse for Astana and finally gets his chance to race. I am not sure what races he’s lined up for the year, but he could be motivated to show what he’s got. I could see him finishing top 5. – Fuggles had some stomach problems, and was forced to abandon. Poor guy..I wanted to see him do well. But in all honesty, he is still having a better season than anyone with the last name Schleck
Van Garderen – Could be best American GC threat since
Lance LeMond. The sky is the limit for this kid. He already seems to be climbing well – I think he targets this race and AToC. - Teejay Teejay Teejay..we will get to you later
Talansky – The other American threat. The future for this kid is huge. It might be a little early for him, but like TJVG, I could see him target this race (or at least use it as a measuring stick) and then the Tour of California. – This kid is a bulldog. I was super impressed with his race. Awesome stage win, and his relentless attacks on stage 5 were super exciting and even though he lost the stage (and overall) to a wiser more experienced Richie Porte, his panache and grit was something I wish another certain American Hopeful showed more of (lookin at you Teej). I am chalking this up to youthful inexperience. But this kid is legit.
Porte – This pick might be a bit of a reach, but Porte is the arguably the biggest name from the Sky squad. He won’t have to shepherd Froome or Wiggo, so he might be racing for himself..If he is, he has what it takes to go for the overall, but then again he could just be doing the whole slow build thing (for what though? Sky will look to sew up 2 of the 3 GTs with Wiggo and Froome – Seth). Porte was indeed racing for himself, and put on a clinic. He was stronger than everyone else *cough cough* He matched and then countered Talanksy’s all blows and then buried him on the Col D’Eze (a climb he does in the off-season every other day).
Others to watch:
Barguil – The Current NEXT FRENCH THING (along with Kenny Elissonde) … he’s a pure climber in a French race…you make the connection. I am predicting a breakaway effort in the mountainous stage 5. - The need to proofread my articles is something I dont put spend enough time in. During stage 4 I saw Barguil and Voeckler in the break and sent a text to Seth “Dude, barguil and tommy v in the break today, I totally nailed it” I then checked the website and noticed that I had typed stage 5, when I really meant stage 4. le sigh..
Hollywood Voeckler – Seth’s personal favorite (I love this guy! I hope he sticks his tongue out - Seth). I hope we see a signature breakaway, preferably with Barguil in Stage 5. – see above, other than that there was plenty of tongue wagging as Tommy V was shed out the back on a bunch of climbs. He made his breakaway and that was pretty much all from him. But really, his main goals will be stage hunting for the Tour..
De Gendt – Enough talent to be a GC threat, but some people question his work ethics. I am a fan (Nick picks this guy in EVERY fantasy cycling league race - Seth). He knows how to get into a breakaway as well…(again stage 5 would be perfect). De Gendt didn’t seem to care much bout this race. He made a breakaway, but seemed to just be tooling around this time, and not driving for any stage victories. Oh well..still like the dude, even if he does have a pierced tongue.
IAMCYCLING – I like the team they bring. Elmiger has been very active this young season, I have a soft spot for Blondie (Haussler), Tschopp and Lovkist can both climb well and could finish top 10. The opening prologue might be too short for him to put in some time gaps, but you can bet Specialist Gustav Larsson would love to take the opening stage and wear the maillot jaune for his new squad. Blondie had some close calls in the sprints, and Tschopp took the mountains jersey. Decent start for a new team.
Overall Paris-Nice 2013 Predictions:
1) Porte – If he came to race for himself I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take the overall. He looked tremendous when he won the Volta Algarve last year, but I am not holding my breath on this one.( I admit this is somewhat of a pipe dream, but I am going out on a limb and being outrageous). Finished 1st overall. Nailed it…although I wish I stood by my prediction a little more. I gave myself an out, in case I was way off. Oh well…I’ll ignore that part and just focus on the fact that I got it right.
2) TJVG – Rumor has it he has some sizzling form so far, and BMC is making it known they’ve come to win. Personally I am torn, because I want him to win. But, I already predicted in the season preview that he would take a slight step back this year before exploding in 2014. I could see a deja vu scenario for TJVG…having the lead going into the final time trial and then losing the overall like he has in some previous one week races. Finished 4th overall, this was a best case scenario for my prediction. He finished close enough for me to enjoy my pick, and just far off enough for me criticize him. BMC came with a loaded team, and Teejay made it known he was aiming for the overall. So how did the young stud with tons of talent, good form and a team at his disposal respond? He laid an egg. Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh, but the younger Talansky dropped the hammer on him and he had no answer. Teejay is still prone to bad days. I know it’s early in the season, but I am not buying the white jersey hype that has him destined for big things this year. If anything, this has only solidified my view of him stepping back this year. Making next year the “make or break” year for the young rider (can a 26 year old even have a “make or break” year?) I like TJVG a lot. I think he has the talent to win something big, but compared to how Talansky raced, he might be destined to play 2nd fiddle as Best American Rider.
3) Talansky – Another youngin super motivated to prove himself and prep for a good showing at the bigger grand tours. Finished 2nd overall. The Pitbull straight killed it. I was super impressed with him. This can only do good things for his confidence. Once he gains more experience he will be a force to be reckoned with.
What Else I saw:
Tom Boonen – Tommeke came to prep for his cobbled campaign. He would spend most of the day at the front of the peloton, whipping the peloton into a fury (into the wind no less) before fading back into the safety of the groupetto. Can’t blame him as that head down Bouhanni sprint looked pretty scary. Much has been made about his elbow injury and how he is behind schedule. But I think he will be ready. He may not win, but he will be ready.
Diego Ulissi – Had him self a nice Paris-Nice. He climbed very well and was in the mix more than I expected. I’m sure the Italians can’t wait to anoint him as a major threat.
Nairo Quintana – The diminutive Colombian was up front when it mattered and flew up the Col D’Eze TT. If not slowed down by a crash may have been in contention for a podium.