What was the first half of the 2008 season like for the 18 ProTour teams? Who can be satisfied with their performance and who needs improvement? Or, as the Cyclingnews staff asked, 'What went right and what went wrong?'
By Susan Westemeyer
What went right: Oscar Freire continues to show his stuff to advantage in the orange and blue jersey of Dutch team Rabobank. The Spaniard won the opening stage of the Tour de Suisse to take the first leader's jersey, just as he did in Tirreno-Adriatico, where he also won two stages. And he showed his versatility by winning Gent-Wevelgem. Joost Posthuma has been a surprise in the plus category, winning two smaller stage races, the Tour of Luxembourg and the Driedaagse De Panne. The young Robert Gesink continues to shine. He started well in California with a stage win. He had fourth places in the overall in the Dauphiné Libéré and in Flèche Wallone. He finished in the same spot in Paris-Nice, after his inexperiene saw him lose the race lead on the last descent of the week long race. Frequently takes young rider classifications.
What went wrong: Youngster Thomas Dekker has never gotten on track all season. He has no wins but a number of top ten finishes in, for example, Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. His inconsistency seems to hang together with health problems. A poor performance in the Tour de Suisse knocked him off the Tour de France squad. Sprinter Graeme Brown brought in one win so far, in Murcia, and came in for some rather pointed criticism from team management in the Giro d'Italia. In addition, the team is awaiting a ruling on Michael Rasmussen's wrongful dismissal suit, with the grapevine saying a finding in favour of the Dane would cause the team to shut down.