TEAM SKY CAN RACE TAC­TI­CALLY, BUT THEY CHOOSE NOT TO

Procycling - - REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2018 -

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The bold­est move in any bike race in 2018 was Chris Froome and Sky’s smash-and­grab on stage 19 of the Giro. The Bri­tish team may be renowned and reg­u­larly be­rated for the oned­i­men­sional cate­nac­cio tac­tics of their six Tour wins, but they showed their col­lec­tive strength in a very dif­fer­ent way at the Giro. They have of­ten im­posed their moun­tain train at the Tour to set up a Froome at­tack on the fi­nal climb – they did ex­actly the same, only mid­stage, on the Finestre. In do­ing so, they blew up the race and put Froome into the pink jer­sey. It was risky, but when you look at it log­i­cally, it was the only thing to do. Ei­ther they car­ried on as they were and Froome would def­i­nitely not win, or they tried this and Froome had maybe a five per cent chance of win­ning. Five per cent is bet­ter than zero, so they gave it a go. (Other riders might not have been so san­guine about risk­ing ev­ery­thing, but other riders don’t have Froome’s pal­marès.) It still shouldn’t have worked. Du­moulin wasted time try­ing to per­suade his com­pan­ions to help him chase, when he should have put his head down and made the race into a man-against-man chal­lenge; the ev­i­dence of the Giro lead­ing up to that point was that he was the stronger rider. The oth­ers would have at­tacked him on the fi­nal climb (as they did any­way), but they weren’t close enough on GC to threaten Du­moulin’s po­si­tion. But Froome just did enough. He won and Du­moulin lost, in equal parts, and Sky showed that they are ca­pa­ble of great tac­ti­cal bold­ness, they just choose not to use it.

Elis­sonde pulls over and Froome at­tacks on stage 19 of the Giro

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