The year 2012 has been a demanding year for cyclists, with the London Olympics following close on the Tour de France and all of the preparatory races which followed the 21-stage Giro d’Italia.
With the third three-week Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España, starting on August 18, just a week after the Olympics ended, most of the major teams are not sending their top-tier stars to Spain for the Vuelta.
Some of the star riders have opted to contest the seven-stage USA Pro Cycling Challenge; some are simply done for the season, some are waiting for the four-day Tour of Beijing in October.
This gives a great opportunity to the support riders who work as hard as the team leaders but never get a shot at the glory.
Sky’s Chris Froome, for instance, exhausted himself pulling Bradley Wiggins up the Alps and Pyrenees, and again at the Olympics; now Froome will have a chance to lead his team. His teammate Ritchie Porte, who also worked hard for Wiggins, might get a chance to compete for stage wins.
Philippe Gilbert and Brent Bookwalter will be looking for wins for BMC, with team leader Cadel Evans going to Colorado for the Pro Cycling Challenge. Garmin-Sharp’s young rider Andrew Talansky will get a chance to show his stuff with his team’s heavy hitters also heading to Colorado.Some teams are sending their top riders: Lotto’s Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Rabobank’s Robert Gesink, and Astana’s Fredrik Kessiakoff will be looking for the Grand Tour wins which have so far eluded them.
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