Before each stage of the Tour de France every team sits down to discuss their tactics for the day’s racing. Whether they have an overall contender, a sprinter or both, every rider will have an important job to carry out during the race. Cyclingnews gained access to the Garmin-Transitions team bus before the start of stage 2 from Brussles to Spa to hear what the team were going to plan for the stage. The follow conversation took place.
Present: Matt White, Bingen Fernandez, Lionel Marie, Christian Vande Velde, David Millar, Dave Zabriske, Ryder Hesjedal, Julian Dean, Robbie Hunter, Martijn Maaskant, Tyler Farrar, Johan Van Summeren
Dave Zabriskie: Am I going to have to wear wool socks?
White: Okay guys, first thing is Bingen is going to explain the route today.
Bingen: We have seven kilometres on narrow roads at the start and then we go onto big road and then we have small roads again until the feed zone. After that you cross some major roads. Some are the same as the roads in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and there are very steep and twisty descents. Then you have ten kilometres but this year we climb the Rosier because there was a fire near there.
Summeren: It’s not that hard, the climb. Some bits are steep but it’s good asphalt.
Hunter: How many guys are going to get over there?
White: The Col de Stockeu is the hard one mate, if you pass that you’re going to be in the final. Unless your lights go out of course. The nightmare for us today is if Thor Hushovd wins the stage and Tyler gets no points. If that happens the green jersey will be finished today because of what happened yesterday. There are a few scenarios that could play out and we’ve said that there will be opportunities to do your own ride and today is one of them. We’ve got to be in breaks at the start because ten guys could go up the road and if Saxo bank is in it…
Millar: Climbers jersey is up for grabs as well.
White: Yep, there are lots of things up for grabs today. And not too many teams are going to be that willing to bring it back today because the sprinters teams are going to be committed to bringing it back. So from the start be in breaks and well see how it goes later on. Obviously with Tyler he’s going to ride as good as a position as possible because if Fabian and Thor get over the climbs then maybe Tyler does as well. If he’s not good he’ll let us know. If Tyler passes the Stockeu and the other one we could have a fifty up sprint on our hands.
Hunter: If you’ve got the [expletive] the yellow jersey you’re not going to want to smash it over the climbs.
White: No, exactly because then they’ll drop Fabian.
Hunter: Exactly. They’re going to ride a good tempo. I don’t see anyone really smashing up the climbs today. They might ride hard but that’s it.
Vande Velde: We all know the climb it’s just a small road.
Summeren: It’s all about position. You have to be at the front there.
White: We’ve got to have Tyler in a good position from 150K. Fight, fight, fight. If Tyler is dropped and it is going down then Ryder it is your job to cover us on the climbs. You know these roads.
Christian, do your shit and follow the boys, the key boys and everyone else Tyler is going to let us know how he’s going but don’t be asleep at the start and think it’s all in the final so a break goes and we’ve got no one in it today. Be in the breaks is always better.
Hunter: If Fabian sends someone in the break then one of us has to be there.
White: For sure, otherwise who is going to bring it back? Astana or Shack might ride tempo so it doesn’t blow out but they might give the stage away. If Saxo send Fuglsang they’ll be happy to let it go. Martijn, Johan, Ryder anyone, jump in the break. JD, Robbie you too.
White: Dave [Millar], if it’s a select group and Thor is there or even if he’s not don’t wait for the sprint because Thor is going to be beat you nine times out of ten or Rojas or Friere, they’ll beat you. Try something for the win try something at 2k to go and surprise them.
And like always, we’re not the only team having the same meeting. We’ve just got to stay together and fight for it. The weather today, it could rain later on but it’s not cold now.
Millar: The other thing as well is just before the Stockeu, don’t be afraid for us to start riding hard into the stocky. [expletive] just put the shit down because we’ve done that before and caught everyone out. If we come into it first just ride up it slow.
White: I’m sure Saxo will do the same.
Zabriskie: What happened to just one day of cobbles?
JD: That’s tomorrow Dave.
White: As far as yesterday goes we did everything we could. Shit happens. We played it exactly how we wanted it but it didn’t play out. Today’s another day. Alright guys.