By Jeff Jones
Fabian Cancellara's victory in Stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico was a bright moment in an otherwise gloomy week for Team CSC. With five riders out of action after crashing this week, team director Scott Sunderland looked at the weather today - 3 degrees Celsius, melting snow and rain - with some trepidation. Had it not been for that, Sunderland told Cyclingnews that the course would have been "probably one of the nicest TT courses you could have," as it wasn't overly technical.
"Cancellara did a really good job, and we're happy with how Ivan [Basso] is going; he's feeling very good," he added, pointing to Basso's eighth place in the stage. "We just came four seconds short of team classification for the day.
"It was a good boost of confidence for Cancellara. He's been working hard, and we're generally happy with the overall result. Karsten Kroon has also shown a vast improvement in his time trialing [he finished 16th today]. He's never pursued his time trialing with Rabobank, because he was always working for someone else. Now he's got here, Bjarne's repositioned him on the bike and he's pulled out a really good performance."
As for the long-term injury list, it grew by one today when Bobby Julich didn't start the final stage of Paris-Nice. "We suspect he has a fractured rib when he fell yesterday. He was in a lot of pain. That's five riders out for periods of a couple of weeks now [Julich, Breschel, Vandevelde, O'Grady, Blaudzun]. Christian Vandevelde cracked a collarbone, it turns out - we did some x-rays. There's just no end! But we know it's all going to pass. This is where the team spirit is so important. And it was good to get the victory today, to put a bit of light back into it."
Sunderland also commented on tomorrow's changed stage, with the major climbs taken out due to the bad weather. "I don't know what's going to happen with tomorrow. I'm looking out in San Benedetto and seeing the seas in front of us. They're just heaving. It's not weather to be out the bike. Let's hope it clears up for Milan-San Remo."