Sprinting has always been a very interesting and favorable topic for me in the sport of cycling. I like being involved in sprints, watching them, critquing them, and learning how to particpate more effectively in them. I have learned a lot about sprinting this year and I attribute that to two things.
1. Sunshine Cycle shop Hour of Power rides
2. HTC Columbia's amazing team work and powerful accelerations to the line.
It seems that the HTC Columbia team can not be beaten in a Sprint to the line. Are they a perfect machine or do they just have the fastest sprinters in the world. I think it is a little of both. Probably 60% fantastic lead out and 40% fastest sprinters in the world. This week at the Santos Tour Down Under the Columbia team has been proving that Mark Cavendish isn't the only guy who can win a sprint on their team. Andre Greipel has been dominating the sprint for the line at the TDU and showing me and everyone esle that his Columbia team may be one of the best lead out teams the world has ever seen.
Here's a few videos to back it all up and to entertain:
Stage 21 of TDF: a great example of the tactics of a sprint and Team Columbia's ability to control it.
TDU: Andre Greipel and team HTC control the sprints again in 2010.
Cavendish puts it best:
With some of the best talent in the world in the lead out train and at the Caboose the HTC Columbia team will be nearly impossible to beat again in 2010. Guys like Bernie Eisel, Mark Renshaw, Micheal Rogers, Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel will show the world why they are the best sprinters team in the world.
Oh yeah and not to mention a guy named George Hincapie who was a pivotal part in all of the 2009 wins that Mark Cavendish racked up at the Tour. He will be hard to replace but it seems, at least from the Tour Down Under, that he is not irreplaceable.