We know the surprise, dark horse winner of Milan San Remo, Matthew Goss of American team HTC-Highroad. Pretty easy to give them an A+ for the victory and for being smart enough to have a quality Plan B in case Mark Cavendish didn’t make it over the Cipressa and Poggio.
Directeur sportif Valerio Piva thinks he’s got something special in Goss. He was understandably gushy and effusive after the big win, comparing Goss to one of the great Belgian classics riders. “In just a few years he could win as much as De Vlaeminck did,” Piva predicted. “That’s a huge comparison to live up to but he’s a real talent. You have to be to win a huge race like Milan-San Remo.”
For the other American registered teams, the results weren’t near so rosy. They didn’t have the second coming of De Vlaeminck or a sprinter in the final selection. Let’s get out the grading book and see what’s what.
Things didn’t go according to plan — all three of them. Thor Hushovd crashed and was caught up in the mess. Tyler Farrar screwed up the Manie descent and the chase was off. Only Heinrich Haussler made the front group but as argyle genius Jonathan Vaughters pointed out, 300km is a bit too much for him right now. Vaughters thinks he’s still coming back from injuries and maybe needs a grand tour in his legs. We’ll have to put everything down to general bad luck and hand out a C+, the plus being Haussler.
Last year was a rough one for BMC, filled with growing pains, bad luck and the doping nonsense with Alessandro Ballan that led to nothing. Take out the wins of Cadel Evans the results were meager. Cadel is still asset number one but this year BMC looks like a confident, aggressive squad. Van Avermaet animated the race up front, then Ballan made several strong moves and was in the mix until the end, finishing just off the podium in fourth. Big George Hincapie is steadily building his form like a 37 year old locomotive and came in 22nd. All this bodes well for the rest of the classics. A solid B+.
Yaroslav Popovych was the lone bright spot for the electronic gizmo sponsor. He led the race over the Cipressa but was caught on the descent by two US federal agents and interrogated roadside. Aww, just kidding. An aging Bobbie McEwen got himself 36th and that’s not much for Lane Armstrong to tweet about. Our man cycling apparel designer Geoffroy Lequatre of France took 49th and looked stylish doing it. Expectations were low to begin with but a D is still in order.
The team with the best homework, best essay and best presentation. An A+ all around, chapeaux to everybody in the team bus.