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