Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What to do with Simon Gerrans now that Orica has put him in yellow?

They didn't put a lot of time into preparing for the team team trial. They weren't among the favourites. But Orica Greenedge won the discipline that some teams invest lots of time and effort into, edging Omega Pharma Quick Step by one second and Sky by three on Stage 4 in Nice.

Omega entered as the world champion. Sky was favoured because of its dominance this year. BMC and Garmin make no secret of the amount of time they put into practicing the subtleties and tout the aerodynamic innovations they champion.

Then, along comes Svein Tuft, former Canadian time trial champ who finished third in the 2008 Tour of Missouri. He casually mentions to Velo's Neal Rogers, after his Australian-based team stole the TTT from the faves, "we didn't really practice."

Allen Iverson must be very proud. We wonder if Jonathan Vaughters and Jim Ochowicz will reconsider the amount of time they put into the discipline. Probably not.

The victory served to put Orica's Simon Gerrans into the yellow jersey. But how long will he keep it? The answer is a huge concern to anyone playing NBCSN's Fantasy Cycling Challenge.

A brief explanation: each participant gets $500 fantasy dollars with which to build a team of 15 riders. Each riders is assigned a dollar value. Chris Froome will cost you $95. Alberto Contador and Mark Cavendish are $91 apiece. Peter Sagan goes for $89. 

The top 15 riders on each stage earn points. The stage winner gets 100, the second-place rider 91 and down to the 15th-place rider, who gets 16 points. The yellow jersey winner earns 50 points a day; the green and polka dot jerseys earn $25 apiece. The person whose team accumulates the most points wins a ride with Christian VandeVelde.

With about 3,400 points, our son won the competition in 2008, when the competition was sponsored by Kenda tires. His prize was a four-day trip to Paris, hotel, air, spending money and VIP passes to the final stage. Guess it helps to have a sponsor for the contest.

For the first four stages, participants have been able to change the 15 riders on their teams. They have to lock in tonight to a mix of GC contender, sprinters, time trialists.

Gerrans costs $31. But if the race goes according to script, the sprinters' teams should want to get victories over the flat roads for the fast men without victories: Omega's Mark Cavendish, Lotto's Andre Greipel, Cannondale's Peter Sagan and Orica's Mattie Goss. So, Orica should get lots of help from teams who want the stages to end in bunch sprints, which would mean no change in the overall standings. Thus, Gerrans could stay in yellow until Saturday, the first mountain stage in the Pyrenees. That means he'll earn 150 points.

But what of him after that? Is he worth it? I'll churn that one over in my brain at least a dozen times in the next 12 hours.

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