Q&A With DS Matt Wilson on Dauphiné Stage 1

Sun 2 Jun 2013

The first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné had Simon Gerrans’ name all over it. ORICA-GreenEDGE devoted their day to his service. Over the category one Col du Corbier at the mid-point of the stage, Gerrans fell off pace. The Victorian went on to finish 10’40 down on stage winner David Veilleux (Europcar). Wesley Sulzberger was the first finisher for the Australian outfit in 69th place on bunch time at 1'57.

Veilleux launched the first attack on the short hilly stage that started and concluded in Champéry, Switzerland. He was joined by Ricardo Garcia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Jean-Marc Bideau (Bretagne-Séché) and Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano) in an escape group that would build a maximum advantage of 10’10 after the first hour of racing. ORICA-GreenEDGE joined forces with Vacansoleil-DCM, Team Sky and Movistar to keep the break at a comfortable distance over the categorised hills that peppered the route.

Two kilometres before the summit of the Corbier, Veilleux left his breakmates in his wake. The peloton swept up Bideau, Garcia and Damuseau but Veilleux remained out of their reach. Forced to sprint for second, Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) edged out Tom-Jelte Slagter (Blanco) in the bunch kick.

Deviating slightly from our usual race report format, we invited fans to ask Sport Director Matt Wilson questions about today’s stage. We plan to do this throughout the entire week. Questions can be submitted via Facebook and Twitter in response to race reports or stage updates. Below, Wilson tackles the questions Facebook fans posed following stage one.

Q: Who was the team riding for today?

Simon Gerrans. The stage today had a really good finish for him. We were all around him during the first half of the stage, and we rode as if we expected him to do a really good ride.

Turns out he felt absolutely terrible on the road. He didn’t realise this until about the mid-point of the stage, and we weren’t left with another plan at that point.

Q: When Gerrans was dropped, did the team send anyone back to help him?

Simon would have needed to be on his best to be in contention for this type of finish. It’s not like a difficult sprint stage where if the sprinter gets dropped, the team can work for that sprinter to bring him back to the bunch. Once Simon got dropped, it was done.

Q: If Gerrans had an ‘off day’, is that something to be worried about for the rest of the week?

Not at all. Cycling is a funny sport like that. A rider can have one day where he is terrible and can’t explain why, and he can wake up the next day and feel like a brand new person. We race so many days during the year, it’s not possible to feel good during every race day. In fact, ask any rider who has raced a Grand Tour, and he’ll tell you that he has every feeling possible during those three weeks.

Gerro is a pretty reliable rider. When he says he’s good, we can believe that. Today, he thought he was good. He’s had a good build to this race, and he’s been going well in training. He felt good until he didn’t. We have every confidence that he’ll be twice the man tomorrow.

Q: What was the thought behind having Travis Meyer spend so much time on the front?

When Travy was on the front, we were still riding for Simon, who hadn’t yet voiced that he wasn’t feeling well. The work Travis did on the front was per our plan to bring the break back and go for Simon at the finish. Once we got over that major category one climb, Simon voiced his concerns. He told us he wasn’t feeling good at all, and we stopped doing the chase work.

Q: Did the team want to get into the break today? Are there any stage when we might try to get into the break?

We hadn’t planned on getting into the break today. We’ll definitely look at breakaways on other stages. Expect to see a lot of our guys racing pretty aggressively throughout the whole week.