The near hysteria with which Mike Tomalaris (SBS television announcer for the TdF telecast in Australia) wound up the telecast of Stage 4 was depressing. Rather than only celebrating the stage win, Big Tommo kept referring to how it would affect his overall chances/when he will get the yellow jersey/how it is his best chance to win it ever etc. etc. – aaarrrggghhh!!! OK, Cadel might have won a significant stage, won it well after a difficult day of punctures and mechanicals and beaten back the GC and stage favourites in the process BUT . . ………
Get this Tommo – First up, Cadel doesn’t WANT the jersey now. He has been there, done that and lost it – several times. He doesn’t want to exhaust his team defending the jersey, particularly on the fast, flat stages with lots of crashes – he has other priorities just now. He might want at the top of Alpe d’Huez but not much before that, I suspect (not that you always get to choose!). For now he needs to conserve the energy of his team and himself for the rest of the week. The punishment starts on Saturday. Stage 4 was a good chance to test his form and to tune up his top end climbing – kind of like the best training you can get.
Secondly Tommo, there are 17 stages to go and some of them are a little bit uphill, I believe. Cadel is an excellent GT rider but his climbing is only very good on the long, long, long climbs of the Alps and Pyrenees, whereas his GC rivals are absolutely excellent at those – he is a diesel, they are Ferraris. He can TT better than Schleck, Van den Broek, Basso and many others but no better than Contador and Martin. He has a very strong team, solely dedicated to getting him to Paris in yellow but so do Andy and Bertie, and theirs may even be a little stronger.
Third, the luck is falling his way at the moment (many would say he is well and truly due!) and he is currently very obviously relaxed, happy and in ripping form! One fall or a dodgy piece of beef (just ask Bertie about that) and all these will go west at lightspeed. He is a complex character but one thing we do know is that he gets stressed realitively easily. Currently no stress for him but it will build at some stage, you would think.
It is going to be interesting to see how he and his team manage the whole package. watching the fottage of JDl, the team Director for BMC during the TTT, one senses that he gets excited too! They need to keep a lid on it and focus on the process, and I am sure they will. I’m not so convinced about big Tommo being able to do the same thing but please try Tommo, even just for the sake of all Australian viewers’ sanity!!