Garmin-Cervelo wins Tour team competition. Is that odd?

Vaughters. We won, we won.

The Tour de France team competition is a bit of a mystery for Twisted Spoke. It’s determined by taking the best time of each team’s top three finishers in every stage. People get excited about this competition and Garmin-Cervelo was proud to win it this year.

Still, as a relative newcomer to the sport, we tend to look at it with questions. For example, if HTC-Highroad wins six stages in the tour, almost one third of the total, how can they finish at the bottom of the competition — 21st out of 22nd? Having an entire team capable of dominating almost every flat stage in the tour would seem to be solid proof that the HTC-Highroad team is indeed near the top.

A second thing we notice is that the little French team Saur-Sojasun finished ahead of Astana, Lampre and Omega Pharma. Again, we are relatively unsophisticated about the intricacies and meaning of the team competition but it seems strange that those teams were beaten by Saur-Sojasun. We understand that perhaps riders were working for Vinokourov (until he crashed) and Cunego and Philippe Gilbert and in doing so, didn’t have the freedom to ride for a higher placing. Still, weird.

The Movistar squad finished dead last in the team competition yet had their rider Jose Joaquin Rojas in the hunt for the green jersey until Paris. That would seem to indicate some team strength.

Our congratulations to Garmin-Cervelo on winning the team competition. We’re just a little fuzzy on what it all means.

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  • http://anello-grande.blogspot.com/ Gunnar

    Like each of the other competitions in the tour, it's a matter of focus and consistency in pursuing that classification. Because it's based on time, if HTC wins 6 stages, but the time is the same as most of the other teams, they don't gain anything. Hushovd wining in breaks gains the team time in the competition, esp when another team mate finishes close behind. Once a team has an advantage in the team classification, they actually need to work and focus on keeping it with tactics. Not just stage wins, but watching times.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Well, Garmin decided they wanted to win it so they did focus. Millar in particular was killing himself to keep them in the hunt. Matt

  • IdeaStormer Jorge

    Who remembers who won the Team competition 10 years ago, what about 5? Yes, you can look it up but no one really remembers, its the weakest award le Tour gives out, there's not even a jersey, the following year do they mention it? Heck why is it when an USA based team wins it its considered a viable award but when another country wins it its passed over for some other story?

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      For me it isn't much of a story no matter where the team is based. It's just interesting to see where the teams slot in and why. Matt

      • IdeaStormer Jorge

        I guess if Garmin wants something to reply with when HTC brags about their wins or BMC about having the winning rider.

    • http://anello-grande.blogspot.com/ Gunnar

      I doubt many people would remember who won the green or polka dot jersey 10 years ago, or even 5. I know I'd have to look those up. Yes they are more memorable then the team competition. But it's still a hotly contested battle. And while it think it's great that Garmin won it this year. But that doesn't make it a more or less viable award. It's just an interesting competition, that can have some interesting tactics.

  • Higgins

    This prize reminds me of the early days of stage racing, when points were awarded for the placings on each stage, instead of cumulative time counts being used to decide placings, and in more than one Grand Tour the overall winner was slower than the runner up.

    In the end what we want is a competition where we can understand what people need to do to win, and to see them stretching their abilities to the limit to do so. Events where losing consistently awards prizes risk being so mundane they start to resemble the normal workday reality most of us face each morning. Thats not what we follow Grand Tours for.

    • IdeaStormer Jorge

      Finally someone who knows what is what in racing.

      • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

        Thanks baby, Matt