Mike Tomalaris

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Gerro on the bench

25 June 2009 | 0:00 - By Mike Tomalaris

Yesterday we were shocked when news broke of Simon Gerrans' omission from the Cervelo team at the Tour de France.


Simon Gerrans (AAP)

Yesterday we were shocked when news broke of Simon Gerrans' omission from the Cervelo team at the Tour de France.

Today, after seeing the final selections, I'm downright angry that one of Australia's finest cyclists has been denied the opportunity to race again.

Here is the final selection for Cervelo TT: Iñigo Cuesta López, Volodymir Gustov, Heinrich Haussler, Thor Hushovd, Andreas Klier, Brett Lancaster, José Angel Gomez Marchante, Hayden Roulston and Carlos Sastre.

According to the Ride Tour Guide, Marchante has had two Tour starts, DNF'ing in 06 and 08 and wasn't there in 07. Klier has had one Tour start, while Gustov's best performance was in 2002.

In addition to being the oldest rider in the Tour de France, Cuesta (40), didn't start 06 or 08 and finished 51st in 07.

The speedy Kiwi Roulston has never raced the Tour and Lancaster DNF'ed in 07, finishing 08 in 127th place.

And while I'm happy to see Brett Lancaster get a start - Gerrans, a proven Grand Tour finisher and stage winner sits on the reserves benches?

I'm led to believe there is plenty of unrest within the ranks and some disgruntled riders who want out - if only they could.

After speaking to several people who have worked with or are linked directly and indirectly with Cervelo, I'm convinced the team's management leaves a lot to be desired.

Gerrans' omission is the latest in a line of some dodgy decisions made by Cervelo's boss Thomas Campagna.

The first goes back to the beginning of the year - remember when former Aussie rider Scott Sunderland (without notice) walked out just months after arriving with a big fanfare?

He was hired to lure big-name riders to the fledgling squad only to leave fuelled with frustration.

More recently, some of the tactical decisions made at the Giro d'Italia had people scratching their heads, especially when Belgian Serge Pauwels was called back to the peloton when poised to possibly win the stage.

To add insult to injury, this week Gerrans attended a team time trial training camp in the belief it was the squad that would ultimately be selected to start in Monaco next week.

I'm told Gerro's teammates were all shocked when learning they won't be riding alongside their friend and partner at the Tour.

Some have suggested Carlos Sastre was also an influence for his being dropped and there's no truth to the rumour that Gerrans was in deep discussions with Armstrong during a recent altitude camp in Colorado.

I sincerely believe harmony still rules among the riders but making such a decision does nothing for team morale days before the start of the Tour.

Cervelo winning a stage or coming close to topping one of the Classifications will come as a huge surprise.

Will Thor Hushovd be in a frame of mind where he'll now be able to challenge Mark Cavendish when the whips are cracking in the sprints?

Who will be in the mood to help Sastre for the climbs through the Pyrenees, Alps and Mont Ventoux?

The Tour de France is a three week marathon where complete focus and professionalism is required in order to gain success.

Gerrans' omission may be seen as the final nail in a coffin for a team which, despite strong performances on the road, has been festering internally for several months.

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Comments (26)

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19 Jul 2009 18:45 AEST


From: Sydney


Two stage wins, Thor in Green, Cervelo going pretty well so far!

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03 Jul 2009 11:27 AEST


From: melbourne


can they test the selectors for SWINE FLU ??? gerro would be like a bellows when they are on their last breath ... LANCE, the bullant in their pants could not save them / GRRREEEAAAANS

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02 Jul 2009 9:03 AEST


From: Seattle


I "down right" love Tom's colourful coverage of the Gerrans Incident and the TDF in general. Lets hope Tom never gets put on the bench. Simon Gerrans is a top guy, a good cyclist and a fine ambassador for his country. I hope to see him in many more races to come.

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01 Jul 2009 10:26 AEST

Anthony NEW

From: Sydney


It's a bloody discrase! Cervello need to give themselves an uppercut. How stupid can they be? There must have been some serious disagreements and political decisions behind the scenes for this to happen, as it make no sense otherwise. Carlos said he wanted Simon in the team to help him in the mountains. Last time I looked Carlos was still the GC leader for the team. What happened? Stage wins in two grand tours, top ten finishes in the classics, what more could you ask for? Bloody morons! I hope another team can pick up Simon for next season and give him a run, as he is just too good to waste watching from the sidelines.

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28 Jun 2009 12:45 AEST


From: Victoria


Mondo88... Mine has already left the warehouse :( So I'll either have to wear it or hope they win the GC so I can sell it on ebay! haha Pretty cool kit and Im a big fan of a lot of the riders that they have signed this year but if it wasnt too late, I would probably cancel my order too!

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26 Jun 2009 17:39 AEST


From: perth


can gerrans... ...lead out or sprint better than : Hushovd, haussler, lancastrer or klier ... tt better than : roulston or lancaster ... climb better than marchante, gustov or cuesta unfortunately i don't think so. yes he won stages at the giro and the tour and his good form in the classics but you have to look at the teams main goals. win the green and yellow jersey. can he benefit the cervelo's cause in these areas? we'll see. i am really dissapointed that gerro didn't make the team but he just doesn't fit in the mould of cervelo's goals.

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26 Jun 2009 16:52 AEST


From: Cremorne, Sydney


I've just canceled my CTT order on PBK. A bloody disgrace that they should omit Gerrans. The sooner an Australian team is formed the quicker we'll be a force to be reckoned with on the cycling stage.

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26 Jun 2009 9:31 AEST


From: syd


i wonder where Gerro goes from here .. does he stay with CCT next year or move on .. im sure silence lotto would love to have him for next year and with Chris Horner not being included in Astana Tour line up for this year tour .. perhaps silence lotto may snap up him for next season ... whatever the consequence im sure gerro will be out to prove a point in vuelta and the worlds

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26 Jun 2009 9:24 AEST


From: Gold Coast


I was very excited to see CTT formed, with Sunderland as DS and a list of Aussies on the roster I was watching them with great interest. When Sunderland departed I was somewhat confused and speculation of disharmony in the team is not surprising. The ommission of Gerro is stupid and I have lost all respect for the team. My hope is that the Aussies, Haussler included, switch teams so I don't have to be too conflicted.

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26 Jun 2009 9:00 AEST

Robert Merkel

From: Brunswick


Sam, most of the "domestiques" on tour squads have major wins to their credit. Go have a look at the record of the Garmin-Slipstream squad, or CSC (Stuart O'Grady, for instance). I'd be very surprised if the ninth strongest rider on the Cervelo squad is going to be anywhere near as effective as Gerrans as a support rider - remember, he was acting under directions in support for Sastre when he got into the breakaway in the Giro, and only went for the win when it was clear he wasn't going to be needed to support Sastre.

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Mike Tomalaris