While some would say that you’ve got to admire the spunk of Philippe Gilbert, I think he’s been a bit reckless with his efforts. There’s no doubt that he’s putting on a good show, but it’s really not accomplishing much, and at the end of the day, that’s the only way to judge a bike race.
Early in my career, a coach told me that you should always have a reason for expending energy in a bike race. We even touched on this earlier when we talked about why you should avoid pulling unless absolutely necessary. To that, we can add attacking.
Taking risks and going for the glory is a big part of bike racing. We’ve already seen the benefits; just ask Thor Hushovd or Thomas Voeckler. But when the odds of success are zilch, a kamikaze if you will, I just don’t see the point. There was no way that HTC was going to let anyone go today with 3k to go, but especially, especially not Gilbert, who is a rival for the Points Competition.
With an incredibly hard week of racing yet to come, and with plenty of opportunities for riders with legs left to gain points, Gilbert should have kept his power dry today. In your rides, heed that advice. Go for it if there’s a chance, but have the courage to skip the showy waves of defiance when they do nothing to benefit you and save something for when there is a chance.
Steen A. Rose is an elite cycling and triathlon coach. He started coaching in 2003, and has been an Elite Coach with Training Bible Coaching since 2009. Steen is also captain of the Sun & Ski/Subaru Cycling and Triathlon teams. He has been racing since 1997, holds a Category 1 license, and has 13 state championships, 3 national medals, and 4 international podiums to his credit. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org