Dec 9th, 13. Crowd favourite German cyclist Jens Voigt will make his 11th appearance at the ... read more
Dec 8th, 13. Reta Trotman and Grayson Napier were impressive winners in the elite women’s and ... read more
Dec 5th, 13. Injured cyclist Eddie Dawkins will take his place in the team sprint combination ... read more
Outtakes from Greg Henderson interviews
Jul 25th, 12. Racing insights from Greg Henderson during the Tour de France - parts of RoadCycling.co.nz interviews which weren't used at the time.
Funny Cavendish story ... Stage 14, the tack dayHenderson was not up the front of the peloton when the tacks were thrown on the road on Stage 14 from Limoux to Pau, "By the time we came through all the tacks had been used up!" he laughed.
But he still had a story to share from that day.
Henderson can't understand how someone in the crowd didn't see the person(s) responsible for throwing the tacks which caused so many punctures and more than one injury. From his vantage point the spectators are very protective of the riders.
"We were climbing up that last climb where all the punctures were and there was this guy running behind Cavendish just screaming in his ear.
"He had his hand on Cav's back - I don't think he was abusing him, he was encouraging him as World Champion, but he had his hand on Cav's handlebars as well as on his back [picture Hendy's hand signalling a wobbly bike].
"Cav wasn't that stressed but all of a sudden these 2-3 guys came from the crowd and just grabbed this guy and tackled him straight to the ground - it was incredible how hard he hit the ground.
"We just laughed and laughed. I said to Cav, 'did you see that' and his response was, 'the bastard wasn't even pushing me, he was just yelling in my ear'.
An accidental leadout trainOn paper, Stage 15 into Pau looked like a day for the sprinters, but a breakaway group of six riders were eventually allowed the freedom to contest the win themselves.
Henderson, who has a role in how the team manages itself on those kind of days, had determined that since the break was so well clear the team might as well conserve their energies - but almost by accident, the team led Greipel out to win the bunch sprint for 7th place.
"It was funny," Henderson shared. "Greipel came up and said, 'are we going to do the sprint' and I said, 'no, we're not even in for the green jersey anymore, these are the sprints where dumb crashes happen. It's for 7th place, come on, we sprint for the win, we're professionals'. Greipel agreed, saying, 'yeah, yeah, fair enough'.
"So I was just cruising along the back, then I look up and wondered, 'what's going on up there?' I hear on the radio, Greipel took the bunch win for 7th!
"Apparently what happened was he was in 80th wheel just cruising and [teammate Jelle] Vanendert came past saying to Greipel, 'come on we'll get up the front out of trouble', but as they went past [another teammate Marcel] Sieberg with 3km to go he went, 'are we doing the sprint?' - he got told no, but he jumped on the back and the three of them went forward a bit further.
"2km to go and they passed [teammate Adam] Hansen - he looked around and then just put the hammer down without even discussing it. Then they did a full leadout!
"I joked with them afterwards saying, 'You guys had a party without me!'. No one even decided we'd do the sprint, it just sort of happened."
Why they didn't work to reel back the break that same dayOn the team bus on the morning of the stage to Pau, Lotto Belisol worked out their day's tactics. They knew how much work they were willing to work to do to bring back a break, and they knew when they were going to let it go. They needed three teams in the chase, but it didn't happen.
"We started to chase with Sky (who were looking to set Mark Cavendish up for a sprint win), and no one else came to help us.
"Sky were going to put 1-2 guys up, we said we'd only put two up if GreenEdge put two up, and they didn't come to help so we said 'bad luck' GreenEdge. We've won three stages, all our goals have been met - we've got Van Den Broeck sitting in 5th - tick that box. Three stage wins - tick - anything now is more than a bonus.
But later in the stage ..."I'm on the radio hearing the others in the team getting excited saying, 'come on let's catch this break it's just 6min, but I'm saying, 'we had a team meeting on the bus, why are we changing tactics? Calm down.
"6min on a parcours like that against six strong guys is a lot of work for guys in the team, it could end them. They had to go up the mountains next.
"One of the things we said on the bus was let's not get greedy. It was one of the key statements by the DS, sure we could chase it down, but it's getting greedy and maybe then those riders don't get to arrive in Paris because of that chase. I think everyone was pretty happy when he sat up and then Team Sky sat up. It was going to be a hard chase."
The day Greipel won from the very select front group
Stage 13 to Cap d'Agde had crosswinds and a mean 1.6km 10% final climb in the last 20km which left just 43 riders to contest the finish - most were GC riders, but Greipel was in the group and won the sprint to the line.
"Before it split in the crosswinds I asked Greipel, 'Are you going to have a go?' and he said, 'yeah yeah I'm good'," said Henderson.
"I told him we'd put him at the bottom of the climb in first place, then he could slip back up the climb - I told him I was not even going to try to make it, so I just helped him get to the front at the bottom of that climb and then rode on and heard on the radio he had won.
"I haven't seen the finish footage, but it sounds like he won the sprint on his own.
"Greipel is one of those guys that will put out another 200 watts at the 'real' finish line compared to an interim sprint. When it's real, he goes for it."
Henderson's Lotto Belisol team celebrated two birthdays during the Tour - Jurgan Roelands had cake on his 27th birthday on the 2nd of July and Andre Greipel had his 30th bithday on the 16th.
"We had a cake, but before that our cook got Andre bratwursts and sauerkraut from Germany. We also had champagne and sung him happy birthday," Henderson said of Greipel's birthday.
The Kiwi did not have a slice of either cake, he does not eat gluten.
Tweet Follow @roadcycling
Support RoadCycling.co.nz Advertisers