Former Rider and Current Cycling Commentator Brian Smith Takes a Look at Americans in the Tour
Brian Smith has been involved in cycling at the highest level for more than two decades. He won the 1991 British professional road race championship in his first professional season and was champion again in 1994. In the 1994 season, Brian signed for one of the world’s top teams, Motorola. It was a predominantly American squad with some talented riders: Giro d’Italia winner Andy Hampsten, Canadian classics specialist Steve Bauer, Australian legend Phil Anderson . . . and a young, ambitious American by the name of Lance Armstrong. After he stepped off the bike, Brian found himself a career behind the microphone, enlightening cycling fans worldwide with his expertise.
US Cycling Report is so very pleased to have had Brian's insights during the 2012 Tour de France and want to thank him for his contribution.
The blossoming of Van Garderen!Tejay Van Garderen has given the US plenty to think about for the future. Rooming with George Hincapie and being part of the defending champion’s team with Evans, Tejay has turned himself into a real Tour contender for the future. Winning the white jersey as best young rider puts him alongside 2 other greats Lemond and Hampsten. The boy has done well.
Sky continued with their domination as everyone else had to fight it out for the minor placing. Many teams will walk away from the Tour with their tails between their legs wondering what went wrong. I will tell you…..you need to work and train harder. There is not easy way to success in the Tour. Sacrifice and hard work is the key. No doubt many know where the bar has been put by Sky so will come out fighting next year. It certainly was a tour for the Brits with 7 stage wins and 1-2 on the overall. The Tour will also be remembered for Sagan, Van Garderen and Tommy V.The US has 7 riders left in this year’s Tour de France. I have rated them 1-7 and given my reasons why.
1. Van Garderen
Nothing but good to say about this young man. What he has witnessed and experienced in this years Tour will serve this young man well in the future. I have no doubt that he will have plenty of success in the future and keep US faces smiling.
2. HornerThe old boy was strong in the end. Chris was consistent all the way through the Tour and this is what you need in a strong team. With Schleck going home RSNT focus became stages and the team classification. Chris was won of the key riders in the mountains to help the team win that competition. Not an easy competition to win on the back of Sky’s dominance.
Mr Tour de France…….it was a great site and honor for George to be allowed to lead on to the Champs Elysees for the first time on the final stage. With Evans in difficulty in the Pyrenees, George used his experience to get himself into a significant break. This was obviously the plan by BMC to make sure Evans had company in the final. Lets hope George can find a place in cycling where he can pass on his vast experience.
4. Vande Velde
Very disappointing Tour for Christian and his team. We seen him in a break and get second on the stage but its been a difficult Tour for all the team having lost their GC guys. Lets hope their luck changes.
Dave decided to go missing for a few stages and try and save himself for the final TT. A good result was all he could manage against the flying Brits but it just goes to show you he still has the focus to deliver good results in this discipline. Captain America will continue to ride well wherever he rides but I think his best Tour years are in the past.
As expected Tyler failed to have any impact on the Tour de France. This must be a huge disappointment for him but many other sprinters would probably have climbed off but Tyler stayed there to the end and gave it 100%. This shows guts but with so much bad luck in the first week and little time for injuries to heal it was always going to be a mammoth task to expect him to be back at his best. Hopefully we will see Tyler back to winning ways soon as this has not happened for a while and this can play significantly on your confidence.
Probably the worse Tour ever for Levi. Where does he go from here?
As for the US Teams...
RSNT: Managed to hold on to the team classification, which shows consistency even without their leader.
BMC: Disappointment with the old but in with the new.
Garmin: Looked like they were happy just to get round the last week. Good to see Dan Martin finish well as it has been a hard Tour for the team.