Today I received this message from Casey:
"I believe I will be doing a gloat dance when I get home. I will be mixing it up with a bit of "Told You So" shuffling. GreenEDGE rule!"
(Actually, she left out the stupid punctuation, but I added it back in, out of spite)
The GreenEDGE cycling team have been quite the topic of disagreement in our household. I've long been a skeptic, firmly believing the rule that it takes about three seasons for a new cycling team to come together (which I believe is now known as the Team Sky rule). But Casey has been on the bandwagon from day one. "Look at the riders they signed! Bobridge! Meyer! Howard! Stuey O'Gready! They're going to be unstoppable!" Sure, it seems strange, in hindsight, that she didn't mention Gerro, but I get the impression that Gerro's baby face doesn't do much for her.
Now, in light of the results from the weekend, Casey seems to believe that it's time for me to eat my words, or at the very least sit and watch while she prances around doing her "You Were Wrong" dance (Which, incidentally, is perhaps the most performed dance in this household, possibly second only to my "Play The Cat As A Guitar" dance. And, before you ask: Yes, in this house, most debates are settled by dance, especially debates about pro cycling).
But to be fair on me, I never really said GreenEDGE would suck. This probably sounds like revisionism after the fact, but I simply said that while they have a number of riders with a lot of potential, they will take some time to gel as a team. And in order to win races, your team needs more gel than Phillipe Gilbert's hair. What I overlooked, I guess, was that these blokes were already riding together a lot - most of them live in the south of France, the north of Spain, or the middle of Monaco, which is so small it does not have points of the compass - and they train together on a pretty regular basis. They also come together once a year for the World Champs, and, with two podium places in the last three years - one on the top step - have proven that they're pretty good at it.
Like Casey, I also overlooked Gerro. I dunno, perhaps because everyone in Melbourne rides his dick like he's Feminist Ryan Gosling or something I had some weird anti-populist backlash, and this - compounded with a relatively quiet 2011 on his part - made me forget that he's a little guy who knows how to win bike races. I mean shit, the dude has won stages of every grand tour. Sure, there are only three grand tours, and there are a lot of stages in each of them, but there's also about two hundred other guys in each stage trying to beat you. So it's an impressive achievement, and one which should've been more indicative to me.
I guess I was also pretty annoyed by the Australian media, who are renowned for being parochial to the extreme. While Matt White, Neil Stephens and even Gerry Ryan himself were playing down the chances of the team winning a bucketful of races this year, the media were implying that they were going to be more successful than Eddy fucking Merckx. These inflated expectations, which I suggested earlier was due to confirmation bias - in which we only get information on Australian riders, and so therefore think they're the best in the known universe - were annoyingly unrealistic. Or so I thought. And, guessing by the undertone of surprise and shock in this video, the staff at GreenEDGE thought so too.
So here goes. I was wrong about GreenEDGE. Sure, they have stupid punctuation. Sure, anyone who buys their kit probably also secretly owns a replica of the Australia jacket Bob Hawke wore the day Australia won the America's cup. Sure, most of them look like they'd enjoy the odd bewg here and there. And sure, the riders Casey mentioned are young, with their best years ahead of them. Which is why I'm slowly coming around. Finally, GreenEDGE are starting to give me the impression that, like most edge things, they're going to be pretty good.