One rider we’ll be watching closely once we get to the US Pro Cycling Challenge on Wednesday will be Rory Sutherland. Land plane, drive three hours from Denver to Steamboat Springs, call Rory, wassup?
The Aussie who lives in Boulder and Girona, Spain, is a strong GC rider but try as he might be could never get past 7th in the Tour of California. Same goes for Colorado. While riding for the US-based UnitedHealthcare squad, he simply didn’t have the grand tour endurance base of guys like Tejay van Garderen.
Well, now he does.
A move this year to Saxo-Tinkoff meant he got the opportunity to ride the Giro d’Italia — or should we say, survive the wind and cold and snow in this year’s Giro.
So we’ll be keeping a close eye on Sutherland who may or may not be riding for team captain Michael Rogers. After recovering from the Tour de France, Rogers has been in sand-bag mode concerning his ambition and form for Colorado.
“I think that’s always a bit of a copout, from my friend Michael,” said Sutherland. “It’s quite easy to not take on the pressure, and that’s what I choose to do as well. Michael has come off a good Tour de France, and he’s always dependable and strong. We decided that if I’m better, we go for me, and if he’s better, we go for him, and luckily, we’re good friends.”
We’re hoping Sutherland gets his shot at riding for GC in front of hometown crowds. Last year at the US Pro Cycling Challenge, he pulled off a dream win on Flagstaff mountain and everybody in Colorado was thrilled.
After training for five weeks at altitude, he should be ready. With some luck, maybe he can crack the top five in Colorado. If he does, he can thank that miserable Giro.