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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Redlands ... it's all about the pressure

The opening TT of Redlands is silly, but fun. It's a short effort, but one that can blow people up fairly spectacularly. The smog, the heat, the dust on the nubbed out roads you climb up towards that weird pinnacle point ... it puts people over the edge and hacking out lungs for the rest of the day.

And, since there's a nice big starting ramp with lots of noise-makers rattling about to excite the blood pressures ... many a rider redline it beyond their ability in that first minute and end up pedaling squares up the climb, losing 3 buckets o' time with every aching turn slothed around.

It's all about being cool under pressure. The smart, relaxed riders have the fastest efforts up that hill.
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For the men ~ it certainly is rolling off the tongues nowadays to say BJM is the favorite. He should definitely go for the stage win and has a better chance than most of grabbing that first jersey. But, if someone like Healthnet's Menzies, or one of the Toyota-United riders, or even JitteryJ's climbing ace Grajales won it? ... that sure would make bigBen's team have a helluva an easier time of it the next day.

Whoever takes the jersey into the Oak Glen stage is going to have a big ugly refrigerator strapped to their backs. That stage is kill to try and control for a GC guy and his team. But, you gotta step up to the plate. And, if Priority Health gets the jersey in the opening TT, I see them bleeding dry to protect Ben until they reach the finishing slopes of that stupid climb.

Predictions? I think BJM gets the jersey in the TT ... but i see Grajales as the man to beat on top of Oak Glen. He's thin, fit, and fast. And, he loves that climb.

and it will be broken up like all hell before they even reach Oak Glen.
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And for the women?

There are the perennials ~ Neben, Thorburn, Anderson to look at taking the opening TT win. But, Colavita/Sutter Home has two very in-form time trialists right now in Bausch and Powers. This could be the weekend for an upset over the historically dominant riders against the clock.

But again, any team that takes the jersey into the Oak Glen stage is going to be put under huge pressure. It is possible that a GC leader may have a teammate follow the break and make time over the pack to fight it out and get herself a chance at the jersey. I could see someone like Rais doing that for Webcor or Wrubleski for Colavita.

I'm interested to see how the team shows itself. Samplonious could have a good TT, but i think that Willock might be the one to watch on that climbing finish of Oak Glen. The thing is ... the climbs the Redlands organizers put in BEFORE the Oak Glen finish may do as much damage to riders as the finishing mountain itself.

This will be a race for the truly fit. There will be no hiding out there at Oak Glen ... the leader after that road stage will be the strongest in the peloton. And many ~ will just be trying to survive.
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McSassy said...

Can you say TIME CUT?

Thats going to be rolling around in a lot of heads Friday.


Anonymous said...

The Current NCNCA Marketing Director Josh Kadis will be stepping down
shortly. NCNCA is looking for someone to take his position.

I nominate you !

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

Olaf has so much going on already...

i can't see how he could POSSIBLY fit that into his schedule...

perhaps I should volunteer in his place...

I got people skilz, you know....

McSassy said...


Maybe we can share the job.......

New slogan could be......

"This is Nor-cal now race your bike Biatch!"


Anonymous said...

That smog is painful. I remember doing the short 4 min or so TT and immediately hacking my lungs out. The lung pain stays with you throughout the entire SR.