Written by Canadian Nippon at 02:46 7/12-2022|
After the Prologue at the Norway Tour, Canadian Nippon was left wondering if they should have just skipped the whole tour outright after their TT/Prologue specialist finished a very disappointing 25th with Conan Guillot as mentioned in the last press release but the team did hold out hope for a good result in the sprint stages and the dreamed of having Irving Watts wearing the green sprinter jersey at the end of the tour.
Fast forward to stage 2 Harstad-Bodø and Irving Watts would get his first chance to really show his worth this season in a slightly hill sprint stage at the tour of Norway. In the end Ensio Jarvinen and Irving Watts just didn`t seem to have the legs and both would have off days. Further compounding the issue for the Canadian team would be a mechanical issue for one of the lead-out sprinters in Quentin Worthen leading to Irving Watts finish a distant 12th overall on the stage.
“Extremely disappointing as we won this stage only a few seasons ago so to come away with nothing is completely; let just say disappointing even though I want to say much worse” commented the frustrated team manager Robert Bouchard after the stage.
The third stage is a hill sprint at the finish but should still be a good chance for Irving Watts to grab some points back in the sprinting classification in again as stage that he won only a few seasons ago. Again, it simply wasn`t meant to be as this time it was Jarvinen that would crash in the final lead-up to the finish of the stage and once again Irving Watts finished a disappointing 15th on the stage.
“If we had hard time in the morning stage then we were always going to struggle even more on this stage, right? So again, it is disappointing but not completely surprising now, is it? I guess we can give up on this tour already since we are likely not getting anything from this tour now.” Stated a clearly frustrated Bouchard.
With the next two stages heading for the mountains, it would be a rest period for the sprint team and a much needed rest break for the Canadian Nippon team as they look to regroup for the rest of the tour looking to play spoiler now more than anything else.
The fifth stage of the Norway Tour and likely Irving Watts best chance to show that he can still sprint with some of the best in the world as Ålesund-Bergen would be a Irving Watts special. And once again Canadian Nippon Cycling team just seems to lack the quality required to finish the job this season as Worthen would suffer his third mechanical of the tour with the second coming in the mountain stages that wouldn`t really factor into the teams` stage results. This coupled with fellow lead-out sprinter Trevor Reis having an off day meant that Irving Watts was shorthanded heading into the final bunch sprint of the day. He wouldn`t be able to hold the wheel of the other sprints and would finish want must feel like a distant 5th on the stage that he clearly should have placed higher. But taking the positives from the stage this was the most points Irving Watts has scored in the sprint classification to date and actually finds himself in the top ten; even if the teams feel he should have been within the top five at this stage of the tour.
“Silver lining is the fact that we finally got a result from this blood tour as we should have been top ten in the past two sprint stages and likely sitting around 5th overall in the sprint classification. This tour has been a reflection of your season so far.” Commented an irritated manager in Robert Bouchard.
With three stages left in the tour one would think that Canadian Nippon would have a chance at Bergen (ITT) but with the lack of form from Conan Guillot, they are not expecting anything.
“Simply put I think we are all tired and Guillot has raced a lot leading up to this tour so I think he is feeling maybe a bit more than the others. I know we have signed up for another tour in Cymru Taith, which I think was a mistake now as it is clear that we as whole team need to take a breather from the racing. We are secure in division 2 for most of the season so taking a week or two off shouldn`t hurt our team overall.” Added the team manager when asked about Conan Guillot chanced at the TT stage.
Gudvagen-Lillehammer is another climbing stage in which Canadian Nippon will take part and a bit of check in tongue but the last stage is heavy sprint stage; which should once again see Canadian Nippon not really take part!! Irving Watts simply doesn`t have enough straight sprint or technique to factor in the final stage. So maybe we will see Quentin Worthen be given the lead during the final stage like two seasons ago after Irving Watts finished the tour injured.
Either way, it has been a disappointing tour of Norway for Canadian Nippon who expected more even though they entered the tour on the back foot being one of the last teams to sign up for the tour and came in on a back of a bunch of races tired.
Paraskevas Abadiotakis low max in the cobblestone states was thought to be a blimp in his further training as the young Greece rider had a ton of potential to be a very good cobblestone captain or at least a decent pave pacer. This has come to a crashing halt as low max in cobble would be the last that Paraskevas Abadiotakis would train as he maxed completely. This is a huge blow to the Canadian Nippon team chances of building a cobble team any time soon as they simply don`t have the riders available to train at the moment.
It is being reported that they team will still keep Paraskevas Abadiotakis around at least in the short term as he should still be able to provide some much needed support to Errol Mansell but just not as much as would have been expected otherwise.
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