Tour of Croatia: Stage 2 – Trogir to Biokovo
For Gazprom-RusVelo rider Anton Vorobyev things couldn’t be better. He’d been in the break all day and taken points at two intermediate sprints. He’d even nicked KOM points from a dumbfounded Jonathan Millan of Bicicletes Strongman. Vorobyev was on a roll – cooking on Gazprom — and planned on rolling all the way to the finish line.
So he probably ignored the message from the team radio, or assumed there was some sort of altitude-related interference, when he heard than his team leader, Artem Nych, was breaking free of the peloton a few minutes behind, and trying to join them. Don’t be ridiculous, he must have thought. That would be crazy.
But while he thought it, the cameras saw it. Nych, 22, was breaking free of the group and was setting off up the road. It was at this point that the cameras caught Vorobyev’s reaction, having realised the radio message was true, gesturing at the team car as it pulled up alongside to explain the situation.
Apparently Artem Nych’s move had been pre-planned. That made it Team Gazprom’s Plan A. That meant Vorobyev was their Plan B, even though Plan B had come before Plan A. That made Vorobyev consider that, what with all the effort he’d already put in, perhaps he should be Plan A, and Nych, the team leader, should now be Plan B?
It was a reasonable point, to all but everyone on his team. But that was okay, because they were about to enact Plan C.
Plan C involved Vorobyev leaving the others in the breakaway to press on without him, while he dropped back to rendezvous with his team leader. Having made that connection he would pace his man back to the break, and on to a memorable victory, albeit one set to destroy Vorobyev’s self-esteem.
It was a bold plan, but it would soon be a doomed plan (Plan D?).
A few minutes later Nych had caught up with the now ambling Vorobyev who without saying anything, (not to Nych at least, he muttered plenty to himself), pressed, using spite to recover the distance he’d just concede. Meanwhile the peloton loomed.
But this was no ordinary plan. This was the rarely seen Plan D. It wasn’t Vorobyev pacing Nych to the break, but Nych pacing Vorobyev back to the peloton.
They were both swallowed up soon enough, which technically made Plan D a roaring success. Just not Plan A, or was it B? Or was it really A?
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