“In professional cycling, success is all about picking battles you can win,” said Frank Overton, who coaches Health Net-Maxxis rider Frank Pipp, who is competing in the Tour de Georgia this week.
On Saturday’s stage 6, which ended with the brutal Brasstown Bald climb, the numbers don’t lie, Overton said.
“The men who can make greater than 6.3 watts/kg choose to come to the front of the race on the winner-take-all Brasstown Bald. They knew they could climb that fast and therefore they conserved their precious energy in four previous stages for one climb.
On the other hand, Overton said, Pipp and his team knew that competing with those who can produce 6.3 watts/kg would not be a winning battle. Instead team Health Net-Maxxis used Pipp for battles he could win or help the team win before the Brasstown Bald climb, like opportunistic breakaways and KOM points.
“Those were good objectives to go for rather than riding an anonymous race,” he said.
Pipp was on break duty again Saturday and found himself in a move of 11 riders 30 minutes into the race, but it only lasted 5 minutes. He then rode up Hogpen Gap at 350 watts for 14:50. From here Pipp was in a group that rode up Unicoi Gap as easy as they could (285 watts for 14 minutes) with just enough effort to make it over to and up Brasstown within the time cut. For the record Pipp did Brasstown @ 311 watts for 24:26.
“Back to picking battles, may I remind everybody that there is one more stage left to win,” Overton said. “Frank wasn’t going to win today, but he and his team could tomorrow. By not killing himself today there’ll be more power tomorrow.”
With one stage to go, Pipp’s power stats after 6 stages “are gi-normous,” Overton said:
Total Training Stress Score (TSS) = 1,421
You can see the full record at www.fascatcoaching.com