July 1, 2013–Corsica, France, By Jen Benepe
After yesterday’s surprise win by Jan Bakelants, we’d love to be inside the heads of Team RadioShack today and indeed of their new General Manager, Luca Guercilena.
On the one hand they a have rider Bakelants who made a spectacular but unexpected win in yesterday’s stage 2 of the Tour.
Though the 27-year-old Belgian won by seconds, he is unlikely to be able to hold the distinction through the alps later in the Tour.
Bakelants came in third in the Belgian Championships this year, but only came in first once in 2008 at the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Espoirs.
Should the team then defend the yellow even though Andy Schleck has a better shot overall at the podium?
Defending the Yellow can take a toll on the team over the 21 days of the Tour, and with the race only in its third day, that could mean 18 more days of hard work for what looks like a freak win by some accounts.
On the other hand, with Swiss time trial champion Fabian Cancellara on the team, if Bakelants holds onto the Yellow today, the team has a good chance of putting an even bigger deficit into the lead tomorrow in the Team Time Trial in Nice, France.
But the question remains, does teammate Andy Schleck have a better shot at the general classification?
He is coming back from a broken pelvis in 2012, and despite appearing comfortable and cycling with ease through the category 2 and 3 climbs yesterday, he has yet to secure a major win in 2013 and is considered to be a question mark even though the has three times been on the podium at the Tour.
Fabian Cancellara is a time trial champion who has had eight TDF stage wins, and spent 28 days in the Yellow Jersey, but he also is not a climbing specialist.
Recently he came away with first in the Swiss Time Trial championships. The Swiss rider also has told the press that he has no intention of winning the Tour, focusing his energies this year on winning the world championship.
Not to mention that Guercilena has a lot to prove since the Lance Armstrong confessions on Oprah this year.
Guercilena took over from team manager Johan Bruyneel who was in charge in 2009 when Armstrong raced his last Tour under the RadioShack banner.
“When I took over for Johan Bruyneel, I thought this would be a short-termed project, but I gave it my all just the same,” Guercilena told VeloNews before the start of the 100th Tour de France.
“I was confident that if we created a good atmosphere, showed a good face and, more importantly, got results, we could have a future. The results show the sponsors that the system works, that they can invest in the system.”
The Italian Guercilena spent two years at Team RadioShack Leopard Trek before becoming its General Manager in October 2012. Previously he worked with Cancellara on the Mapei Team.
“Perhaps even more exciting for Guercilena will be the opportunity to work with and train riders who are focused on riding high into the general classification of the three Grand Tours,” says a statement on the team’s site.