US Postal – Who To Work For?
With the likes of Hincapie falling short and having bad luck for the last few years, is it time for one of the world’s toughest squads to work for someone else? Maybe Van Heeswijk, Maybe Eki? Maybe all three?
With a beefier classics squad since the addition of Dutchman Max Van Heeswijk last year and young Belgian stars-in-the-making Stijn Devolder and Jurgen Van Den Broeck this year, the US Postal presented by Berry Floor team is bringing some serious weaponry to the spring classics season. Add these names on the likes of the steadfast Eki, Benoоt Joachim, Guennadi Mikhailov, Damon Kluck, Antonio Cruz, and of course big George Hincapie, and you have a veritable juggernaut loaded and ready for action.
The team has taken on a decidedly Belgian “sound” since the addition of Berry Floors as a major sponsor, and it’s no secret they want some “roi” in the form of a Spring win on home soil.
Hincapie chases after a flat in Sundays’ Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
Up until now, George Hincapie has been the go-to guy for the squad, and has come up with only one win overseas in recent years, a win by a wheel pip in Gent Wevelgem in ’01. So, is it time to ask the question – Will the team work for someone else other than George? Perhaps the question has been answered already, as Eki has suffered a crash and again George has some stomach bug problems, which perhaps manifested themselves already as Big George chased down breaks on Van Heeswijk’s behalf in K-B-K this past weekend. Granted, the early Spring races are perfect for USPS Belgian crew to shine, as George told us in his January Interview that he’s planning to peak for Roubaix (April 11.)
Benoit Joachim gained 5 minutes on the bunch in the early going at KBK.
Or, should the plan be for the squad to hunker down and play any one of perhaps three winning cards? Van Heeswijk has already proven he’s ready to win this year. Eki is coming off a strong all around 2003 and should be ready for some similar results after full recovery from his crash; and George, despite the stomach, is expected to be bang on form come April, so he can once again mount an assault on the podium of Paris-Roubaix.
Obviously, with a major Belgian sponsor in Berry Floor, the team must have some pressure on it to have some good results in the Classics. With Johan Bruyneel keeping watch over the grand tours, the job of Director for the classics falls on the shoulders of former Paris Roubaix winner and Belgian Dirk Demol – an obviously qualified and commited leader who is completely motivated for good results this year.
Only time will tell as we roll into the meaty part of the Classics season…….
Residence: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Category: USCF Road 4
Teams: Project 5 and Evil Cycling
Why I Love Cycling: “Nothing on the planet can hurt me more than my bike.”
Fave Cycling Moment: “Anytime I sit down and trance in front of ‘A Sunday In Hell'”.
Favorite rides: “Any criterium, anyplace, anytime, and of course, Ragbrai.”
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