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A look at the US elite national road champion's bike
Jens Voigt's final pro bike – complete with 'shut up legs' mantra
Disc and rim brake options plus impeccable prep for the 10-time US champion
What happens in Vegas… we share
Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp) on the front
Top-six a realistic ambition
Thomas Dekker, Jack Bauer, Martijn Maaskant, Andrew Talansky, Johan Vansummeren and Ramunas Navardauskas make up the team after David Millar trained with the team but was withdrawn.
“Realistically, this team that we’ve got here is probably a well balanced team that fits well together. I think if they can start a little bit conservatively and get into a good rhythm, hopefully we’ll have a shot of fourth to sixth place,” Peiper told Cyclingnews.
The team is without Dave Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson, who all raced in the US Pro Challenge, which Vande Velde won. Peiper said that their absence was down to all three riders having long seasons and not due to any links to USADA’s investigation into the US Postal team.
“They rode in Colorado and did a great job there but you can’ keep backing that up. Although we would have loved to have had them here, it just hasn’t happened. I think we’ve got a great line up of even balanced riders,” Peiper said.
Garmin is not the only team to find itself stretched after a long road season. Sky is competing without Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, while Vincenzo Nibali and Thomas de Gendt are the only two Grand Tour podium riders from 2012 listed to start.
“I think it’s the same for a lot teams. At this time of the year in September with all the goals that have been done, the Giro, the Tour, the Tour, the Olympics, a lot of riders are on their knees and at this point it’s about finding the six best of what you’ve got. We’ve brought David Millar here and he’s trained with us for the last three days, but he’s just not up to the job. He was the first one to admit that.”
Peiper spent Saturday morning previewing the course with the Garmin-Sharp riders and believes that the key to success on the 53.2km course will be down to consistency and a measured start.
“I’ve been around it four times and it doesn’t appear to get any easier. It’s not super hard but it’s never really flat but there’s wind and it’s technical and it’s a difficult course to time really well. The climbs that are in there, they need to be taken with the team being alert, awake and making sure that they stay together. On any one of those climbs if a team explodes or a gap opens you’re going to lose a lot of time.”
“I don’t want to overstretch ourselves. Riding podium would be fantastic but they’ve got to keep their feet on the ground, and there’s a lot of great teams out there. If we could be that close to the podium it would be super but maybe we get it together and we make the podium.”