The irrepressible Mr Vaughters. Ups, downs, way ups at Garmin.
Step into Jonathan Vaughters’ shoes for a moment. Don’t worry, you know he’s got cool shoes. In fact, slip on the argyle vest too and the designer slacks. Yeah, admit you feel like a man about town metro-sexual.
Now, think about what an up and down ride Jonathan Vaughters has had. Last fall was the long and ugly and dispiriting Battle to Keep Brad. Team Sky eventually made life so difficult and the potential legal wrangling so frustrating that Vaughters said goodbye to Bradley Wiggins, his top GC hope for the Tour de France. A professional and personal downer.
Then Vaughters goes to this year’s Giro with Christian Vande Velde feeling stronger and stronger only to see the Chicago crash test dummy smack the pavement again in stage three. Deja Vu all over again. Race terminated for Garmin’s top GC man.
Then jump to July and Vaughters — don’t forget you’re in his cozy, cool shoes — heads to France for the Grand Boucle. In the second stage, the Garmin boss loses Vande Velde again. Plus top sprinter Tyler Farrar fractures his wrist and later abandons the race. You just lost your best shots at the overall and sprint victories. Double bummer and JV-you-the argyle genius- is wondering what Gods he’s offended and what he has to do to get some positive mojo working.
But lo and behold, once again Vaughters pulls rabbit out of hat, a Canadian rabbit named Ryder Hesjedal who becomes the revelation of the Tour and finishes in what, seventh place? Like Vande Velde and Wiggins before, JV pulls off another surprise and life is darn good again.
Up and down and up and down. Now with the dissolution of the Cervelo TestOver Team, Vaughters suddenly finds himself in control of a super powered Garmin squad capable of winning or placing in any race on the ProTour calendar, from one day classics to grand tours. He’s got Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler to go with Tyler Farrar. And his team is riding the cutting edge and super bad-ass Cervelo bikes.
Life is good, eh. But life is complicated, too. You’re sitting in Boulder and between tweets you’ve got to figure out a whole new team configuration, training plans, race rosters, integration schemes, logistical scenarios and ego manipulations. Your vacation is gonna be shorter and dinners interrupted by constant phone calls. You’re starting to feel like Johan Bruyneel, a corporation, pulled in every direction and there’s no time to shop for clothes.
Up and down, pluses with minuses, minuses with secret pluses. Twisted Spoke thinks Vaughters is up to the task and 2011 is gonna be an incredible year for Garmin-Cervelo. You feel it, too, right? And admit you’re starting to dig the argyle vest.