Zipp's Tour de France Preview
Last year’s Tour de France was a special one for Zipp. Carlos Sastre became the first rider to win on our wheels and Garmin-Slipstream proved that they can compete with the best on cycling’s biggest stage.
With three teams (officially) on Zipp wheels in this year’s Tour, we can’t wait for the race to get started. Here’s our take on the lineups of Cervélo TestTeam, Garmin-Slipstream, and Team Saxo Bank.
Although Cervélo TestTeam is a first-year program, they’ll have an experienced squad to support Sastre’s attempt to defend his title. For his part, Carlos looked great at the Giro d’Italia in May with two mountaintop stage wins and fourth place overall.
The Schleck brothers will be Team Saxo Bank’s GC threats. The older of the two, Frank wore the yellow jersey last year and is a former winner atop the Alpe d’Huez. Although less experienced than his brother, Andy may be an even better climber and was last year’s best young rider.
Garmin-Slipstream’s Christian Vande Velde emerged as a serious contender last year, finishing just off the podium in 4th overall. Although a crash at this year’s Giro derailed his buildup to the Tour, Christian could be dangerous towards the end of the race if he can ride into form during the first two weeks.
Cervélo’s Thor Hushovd has a palmarès that includes six Tour de France stage wins and the green jersey in 2005, and he’s won four races so far this year. But his teammate Heinrich Haussler showed a lot of speed in the Spring Classics, almost winning Milan-San Remo. Both riders are capable of capturing a field sprint at the Tour.
Also capable is Garmin’s Tyler Farrar. Coming into his first Tour, he’s had an excellent season thus far and has the benefit of teammates like Thor Hushovd’s former lead-out man Julian Dean.
When it comes to “the race of truth”, Fabian Cancellara’s track record is unparalleled and he’s clearly the man to beat in the time trials. The Saxo Bank rider recently dominated the Tour de Suisse, crushing the field in both time trial stages and winning the overall by more than 2 minutes.
Garmin’s Bradley Wiggins made his name riding the 4km pursuit on the track, so he’s well suited to races like the Tour’s opening 15km time trial in Monaco. David Zabriskie is another of Garmin’s TT specialists and has won stages of all three Grand Tours.
GC contenders like Sastre, the Schlecks, and Vande Velde are obvious as possible stage winners in the mountains. But don’t count out Garmin’s Dan Martin. The young Irishman is making his Tour debut but showed earlier this year at the Volta a Catalunya that he can climb with the world’s best. Saxo’s Chris-Anker Sorensen is another up-and-coming threat. When the roads turn up, the GC contenders will turn to the Zipp 202 or Zipp 303.
Team time trial
Garmin-Slipstream is known to focus on the TTT, and for good reason. With Wiggins, Zabriskie, Vande Velde, David Millar, and Danny Pate, Garmin will be among the favorites on July 7 in Montpellier. Saxo Bank also has a shot as Cancellara will be joined by Olympic silver medalist Gustav Larsson and perennial strongmen Jens Voigt and Stuart O’Grady.
Photo: Alessandro Turci