Matthew Keenan

Matthew is a regular SBS commentator at the Tour de France. Prior to heading into the commentary box Matthew spent two seasons racing in Europe and rides as often as possible to remind his legs of that feeling of grovelling up a climb.

Rabobank, Plan B

08 July 2009 | 0:00 - By Matthew Keenan

Team Rabobank needs to switch to Plan B in order to fight it's way back, writes Matthew Keenan.

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Rabobank's Oscar Freire (Getty)

On the back of his victory at the Giro d’Italia, the Rabobank squad arrived in Monaco with high hopes for Denis Menchov to wear the yellow jersey in Paris but so far nothing has gone according to plan.

Menchov disappointed in the opening time trial. Then in the team time trial he crashed on the first corner, which set the tone for the rest of the stage for the Dutch team.

The entire team, with the exception of Oscar Freire, has been built around the Russian. With his chances of winning the Tour all but gone Rabobank should reshuffle the deck chairs to give their Spanish sprinters some support.

Yes Menchov may well still be able to claw his way back into the top five on general classification but Freire is a proven performer worthy of some support.

Plus, from a completely selfish perspective, wouldn’t it be nice to see him have at least a fighting chance against the seemly unstoppable Mark Cavendish.

Freire wouldn’t need much - just two guys to protect him in the final five kilometres to reduce the amount of fighting for wheels he is currently required to do.

They should also give the young Dutchman, Robert Gesink, his freedom in the mountains to go in search of a stage win. After all it is a Dutch team with a Dutch sponsor and such a move is sure to win plenty of support on home soil.

For Menchov the fatigue and emotional release after winning the Giro has obviously been significant so taking a bit of the pressure off his shoulders may even improve his performance.

There’s still a long way to go and Rabobank is bound to have an impact on the Tour somewhere along the line.

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Comments (6)

09 Jul 2009 21:31 AEST

paul worksafe

From: coburg

bikes

Matthew tell cadel I am willing to help him up the mountain with my mazda 323

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09 Jul 2009 18:46 AEST

steve

From: perth

the tour has just begun

look, if the tour was over as so many like to assume based on the standings then i suggest you don't know much about the tour... once a rider gets on his bike for the day he knows it's another race where things happen.. as for armstrong .. he'll be dropped like a sack of potatoes at the busy end of the race and whoever has the duty of looking after him will also be out of contention too. may the gutsiset man win...

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09 Jul 2009 9:00 AEST

Robert Merkel

From: Melbourne

Coalition of the willing?

Look, I'm sure the riders (and the DSs) from Silence-Lotto, Rabobank and Cervelo are thinking very hard about how they can work together to break the Astana express, but unless *all* the Astana riders have a bad day in the mountains there's not that much they can do. If the Astana riders are all in good climbing form, there's nothing that Evans et al can do, individually or as a group. All the Astana riders need to do -assuming they can all stay with the lead group up the big climbs - is take it in turns to chase down attacks. So if Sastre goes, Contador chases it down. Evans goes, Armstrong chases. The Schlecks attack, Kloden chases and brings him back....and on and on it goes However, we don't yet know who really is climbing well. This thing ain't over, as ill-judged by the organizers as that ridiculous TTT course was.

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09 Jul 2009 8:38 AEST

richard

From: franklin

coalition of the willing

Hey George I like the concept! Bring on 'Mountain Storm'. SaxoBank is playing a very cunning waiting game I feel, and this TdF has clearlyreinforced once and for all my belief that Armstrong is a Leader and Organiser without peer , an iron will who relishes the destruction of other teams and rivals. Wow, what a rider! If he goes down the path of forming his own team, moulded on his principles, lookout cycling as it will change some of the tactics of racing forever.

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09 Jul 2009 7:40 AEST

Jonathan Burns

From: Geelong

Teams event

Why did they re-introduce the teams sprint.? If you are a good rider in a slow team then you havn't got a chance. Should Cadel look at changing teams ? Is that east to do ? Im new to all of his

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08 Jul 2009 22:56 AEST

George

From: Central Coast

Coalition of the Willing

It will be interesting to see how the GC riders in teams like Rabobank, Silence Lotto, etc, who have been put out by the TTT, change tactics. Perhaps they should form a Coalition of the Willing to take on the Astana/SaxoBank Axis of Evil.

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About this Blog

Matthew is a regular SBS commentator at the Tour de France. Prior to heading into the commentary box Matthew spent two seasons racing in Europe and rides as often as possible to remind his legs of that feeling of grovelling up a climb.

Matthew Keenan Matthew Keenan

 
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