Discovery Channel's GC success
I follow the big tours and am somewhat familiar with racing, but I am not an expert. Now that Discovery Channel has the current GC leader in both the Giro and Catalunya, (plus Lance, of course), I was wondering why. Is it:
A. Because Discovery Channel has the best GC riders.
B. Because Discovery Channel has the best team to protect the GC riders and save them energy for when it counts most.
C. Because Discovery Channel doesn't have any sprinters and therefore puts all its energy into conserving energy for the lead GC rider in a particular race.
D. Other factors.
In those two races, Discovery has two very good GC competitors on good form, Popovych and Savoldelli. The Giro is Savoldelli's main gig this year, so he should be a contender, he won it in 2002, and he's riding well at the moment. Popovych is a talented rider hired on to be a future GC star, and he's displaying his wares at Catalunya.
Discovery doesn't have a stable of great sprinters. True, the team is geared for Lance which means the Tour, so they have good climbers and time trialers. You need these types of riders to be successful in grand tours. Their focus is on a select few big races, e.g. the Tour, the Giro, Hincapie at Paris-Roubaix, and that's about it.
The European teams race a fuller calendar mainly because their sponsors demand it. CSC was killing it early in the year at Qatar, Paris-Nice, etc. T-Mobile dispatches a decent squad at almost every race. Discovery is under no such pressure as an American team that Lance has cast to win the Tour.
Remember that most of the teams have specialized for certain types of races, like Quick Step focuses on the classics, Fassa Bartolo focuses on the sprinter stages, etc. So, Discovery focuses on the big Tours. Their strategy is to keep their GC guy out of trouble for the first week or so then try to get the GC guy into position to get the jersey. Discovery doesn't really try to contest the sprints so they don't try to worry about chasing too much on the flatter stages and let the sprinter teams do that for them.
Originally Posted by AnniesDad
However, for the Giro, Discovery didn't surround Salvodelli with a strong team to help him so he is on his own. On today's stage, he had to drop back and get bottle on the last climb since none of his guys were there to help him out. Luckily, no one attacked but I'm certain that Lampre and CSC have noticed this and will start attacking him since he is in the maglia rosa and isolated. I think the Giro is going to come down to the last man standing...whoever has the legs in the last big mtn stage will be the guy who takes it.
Senior Member (Retired)
And if you recall, LA was already courting him at that time.
Originally Posted by gcasillo