Paco Watch Part 3
Aiming for a top ten but hoping for top five and maybe a podium and a contract back in Europe, Francisco Mancebo (5 Hour Energy) had mucho grande dreams for this Amgen Tour of California.
After a strong start in stage one around Escondido and self-described “agony” on stage two’s Tram Road in 110 degree heat, Paco was still well-placed with the podium not yet out of reach.
Then came the debacle in stage four as RadioSchack — with help from BMC — showed everyone why they are WorldTour teams, taking a crosswind and using it to destroy their rivals. Mancebo was one of the victims and he dropped down the GC list.
However, DS Frankie Andreu said Mancebo would ride a good time trial in San Jose and the uphill finish was suited to his abilities as a climber. Answer today in windy San Jose? Nope. Nada thing in the legs. He came in 2:33 down on winner Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and he now sits in in 7th overall, about 1:30 behind Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) who is third on GC.
He is going to have to move mountains to climb on the podium and that mountain is Diablo. Tomorrow’s queen stage is effectively Paco’s last stand, his final opportunity to show some European squad he deserves a contract to ride close to home and family in Spain. Tall order but maybe Diablo being Spanish, that’s good luck.