Dean: Better luck needed after a tough week

JULIAN DEAN
Last updated 05:00 13/07/2014

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OPINION: Seven-times Tour de France rider Julian Dean is the assistant sporting director for the Australian Orica-Greenedge at this year's race. He will be giving a weekly insight into what's happening over the three-week Tour.

Well, that's the first week of the Tour de France over and for us at Orica- Greenedge the theme so far has been Simon Gerrans' bad luck.

It's been the story of the week with that crash he had on stage one at the finish and then that little incident yesterday, when Andrew Talansky collided into him close to the line.

Simon had said yesterday was the first day he felt fine again after the crash with Mark Cavendish on stage one. So he was up for the win in the stage to Nancy, but Talansky ran into his back wheel, and Matteo Trentin won the stage.

I'm can't say whether Simon would have won, but certainly, he would have finished better than the fifth place he got and would have been in the top three definitely.

It's tough for him that he got so close. The whole team did a fantastic job, they stuck to the plan, but it didn't quite come in the end.

It's fair to say that the first week of the Tour for Orica-Greenedge has been disappointing, not because we haven't had the performances, but that luck hasn't come our way. Even on the cobbles on stage five, the guys rode really well and we had two guys on the break but we still didn't end up with a top 10 finish.

All the guys feel the same, that we've done everything right, but the stars haven't aligned for us.

Vincenzo Nibali has impressed in a lot of different situations over the first week and particularly on the stage over the cobbles.

The strength of his team is proving to be a big force and also the rider himself has done fantastically. He rode smart and put chips down when he's felt like it.

He's certainly picked up some time advantages and it will be interesting to see what happens in the harder stages coming up.

Alberto Contador lost a couple of minutes over the cobbles and that's going to affect the way he's going to race. In some ways it can be a bit of an advantage because there's no pressure on him and he can have more of an attacking approach over the coming week, whereas Nibali has to be more defensive and the pressure of having the yellow jersey will cost him a bit.

It was unfortunate to lose Chris Froome on the cobbled stage because it would have been good to have everyone arrive in the mountains and see a ding-dong battle.

One of the talking points after Froome went out was whether Bradley Wiggins should have been included in their team as a Plan B.

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But there are a whole lot of things you have to consider when selecting a team for a three-week stage race and particularly the Tour de France. The guys have got to spend a lot of time together and there has to be a good atmosphere inside that team.

The guys have to get on well, it doesn't matter what level of riders, you have to get the results and I think that this was the approach team principal Dave Brailsford was taking with Sky.

Froome has obviously had better results than Wiggins over the past two years, that's not to say Wiggins isn't a good rider, but he wants be sure he's got the best team possible on the Tour.

For our team over the next week, now we know Simon is back in full flight there are some good stages coming up. Tonight's stage is one we've targeted and we're also going to look to get guys in breakaways in other stages over the week.

- Sunday News

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