Throw one of Garmin-Cervelo’s cards away.
Coming into this Tour of California, the team of Jonathan Vaughters had several cards to play, from consistent runner-up Dave Zabriskie, to stage winner and Tour de France revelation Ryder Hesjedal to Christian Vande Velde, 4th in the 2008 Tour, to the mercurial, brilliant or mediocre Dan Martin.
The first mountain stage of the tour was stage 4 from the flats of Livermore to the brutality of Mount Hamilton and the final anaerobic misery of Sierra road outside San Jose.
After that finish line, Garmin-Cervelo is now down a card in this two wheeled poker game.
Vegan, free spirit, nutball Zabriskie finished 4 minutes and 40 seconds behind winner Chris Horner of Radio Shack. Would things have been worse if he’d hit the drive-thru at In & Out Burger for a double bacon cheese burger? A fair question, methinks.
The Malibu, California resident finished in 32nd position behind such non-notables as Rafal Majka (Saxo Bank), Tyler Wren (Jamis-Sutter Home), Yannick Eijssen (BMC) and Luis Romero Amaran, also of Jamis. No slight on these riders but they weren’t odds on favorites to perhaps win the whole ball of California organic wax.
Shit happens, that’s bike racing, just didn’t have the legs. Three good reasons to say well, maybe Vande Velde can do something for the podium. Jonathan Vaughters, like the rest of the cycling world, finds it hard to figure out just what’s in the head of the quirky, cerebral and funny Zabriskie. Nobody really knows what drives him or perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t.
The man is a free spirit which is cool for hippies and alternative film makers and wacky theoretical physicists but maybe just doesn’t get the job done in a smash- mouth bike race.
Personally, we’ve always liked Zabriskie’s off center sense of humor, his outsider fringe vibe and his general disinterest in the media spotlight. That said, he lives in a world of numbers, results, sponsors and expectations. Not even a clever tweet from Jonathan Vaughters can take the sting out of this disappointing result.
While everyone celebrates the exploits of the 39 year old Horner who dropped the 22 year old contender Tejay Van Garderen of HTC-Highroad, we’re also left wondering which way Zabriskie is going and the explanation for the route.
We look at 32nd in the biggest stage race in the United States and we think, not good, bad day, holly crap-amundo.