Surely this was a misprint. Some April Fools joke told way too early. Some kind of internet hoax, like a Tahitian island for sale for $64 or a dinner date with Tile Tequila, the new cycling sex pot. Apparently and inconceivably Thor Hushovd of Cervolo beat Mark Cavendish in stage 3. Missouri fans were treated to a shocker, like seeing Haley’s Comet twice in one night. Or Paris Hilton reading a book by Marcel Proust.
But no, a further google of the major cycling web sites confirmed the astonishing news. Cavendish was beaten in a sprint by a sprinter from another team. A human being, a person in lycra, on a bicycle. And yes, it was the aforementioned Thor, God of Thunder, swatting Boy Racer aside. Read that a few time until it sinks deep in your brain, past the incredulity of the statement, the absolute bizarre, Twilight Zone freakishness.
Yeah, we were baffled. How was this possible? Was the entire Columbia team except Cavendish a no-show in Rolla, victim of swine flu or Legionaries disease? But it happened and here is how: Bold thinking, friend, new tactics, fresh intel. Teams have been trying to figure out how to mess with the Columbia train all season, Giro and Tour de France. Nothing worked. Garmin never figured it out but Cervelo did.
Chief bad-ass Thor Hushovd summed up the modus operandi: “If we did a proper lead-out than maybe Cavendish will get on my wheel and then it’s easy for him. We just wanted to make it hard: we attacked, we went really fast in the end and I think that’s how we messed up the whole lead-out into the sprint.”
Boy Scouts have a plan, Green Berets have a plan and Cervelo had a plan. This is Mess Up The Other Guys Train 101. Hard to do but the only strategy when a well-drilled unit is killing you stage after stage. Our hats off to the entire Cervelo team for not just talking the talk. It ain’t easy because Cavendish is without question the fastest man in the world.
So we salute the Cervelo train wreckers with a gen-you-wine classic 1913 train wreck. Enjoy, Cavendish Busters.