A break of six Continental and Pro Continental brazenly rips a sprint stage away from Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and John Degenkolb.
Unless you’re up on your domestic rosters, you might not even know these guys. You can be sure that Omega-Pharma Quickstep, Cannondale and Giant Shimano know their names now.
Because they got schooled, worked over and played big time, in the Tour of California when everybody else in the peloton said bunch sprint with the stars.
I asked the Master of the Breakaway Jens Voigt (Trek Racing) what happened. As he toweled off, he explained the rare miscalculation:
“They were feeling way too secure and sure of themselves. They though this is easy. They underestimated the strength and determination of the six guys out there,” said Voigt.
He was happy to praise the efforts of winner Will Routley (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit) and his motley crew of thieves. “They were also playing their cards smart. They never tried to gain a maximum distance,” said Voigt.
“They realized, okay, they’re not letting us go more than three minutes so we’ll ride as efficient as we can at three minutes. And when we sense or feel them going harder to catch us then we ride harder. They had some reserves and so yeah, the sprinter teams misjudged it. And that’s good.
It was a high stakes game of cat and mouse and Vegas poker bluff and just plain good fortune, too. Play that scenario out another 99 times and Cavendish or Sagan wins the stage from Monterey to Cambria every single time.
Only this time, Routley, along with Gregory Daniel (Bissell Development Team), Kevin De Mesmaeker (Team Novo Nordisk), Christopher Jones (UnitedHealthcare), Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare), De Masmaeker, and Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman) managed to fool everyone.
Voigt himself had the same idea but couldn’t manage to escape his reputation as breakaway master. “I was desperately trying to be there. I tried several times to go, to jump across still they wouldn’t let me know. It’s the jersey, the team, now we only let the Continental teams go.”
Still, the man who made “Shut Up Legs” a cycling mantra, was pleased that the break succeeded even if he wasn’t their the enjoy the view.
“For me, as somebody that’s often in breakaways, I like to see things like that — it shows that it’s possible to make the breakaway. You have to take the risk and make your own destiny.
Today, Will Routley, a skinny climber from Canada, did just that.