Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tom Danielson: Ready for the Tour

If there’s a PRO with worse luck than Tom Danielson, it could only have been Jonathan Vaughters. Seemingly the only team director able to capitalize on the rider’s phenomenal talent to date has been Tom Schuler for whom the trio of Danielson, Chris Horner and Nathan O’Neil won nearly every race that mattered in 2003. Danielson won Mt. Washington along the way, showing his incredible gift for climbing.

Then he signed for Fassa Bortolo; the move seemed smart because US Postal seemed to have so much talent (and a clear leader) that Danielson wouldn’t have been able to contest the GC at any stage races where his obvious talent lies. So Giancarlo Feretti sent him to one-day races, which is a little like driving nails with a screwdriver.

Danielson has, unfortunately, proven rather fragile. Between injury and illness he probably hasn’t had more than a few weeks at better than 90% since 2003.

But he’s healthy now. Thanks in no small part to the understanding guidance of Jonathan Vaughters, Danielson has been glued back together in a way that would turn Humpty Dumpty green with envy.

Below is a redacted video of Danielson climbing the Mount Montseny southwest of Girona. And yes, the whole thing is in the big ring.

11 comments:

Erik said...

I think Tommy D may be a darkhorse candidate. I so hope he can hold it together healthwise.

CeeDeeAei said...

Feretti may have seen the same thing in Danielson that Vaughters does, the fact that he does not ride well in the peleton and that the way to get him comfortable there is to do one day races. Vaughters tried that this season until Danielson got ill. Danielson has been "the next big thing" for several seasons now, he has continually talked of learning, learning, learning, but you cannot do that forever. Danielson is talanted but there has been no payoff for those gifts.

Art said...

Re: ceedeeaei
Vaughters said as much in an interview with Cycle Sport. Tom Danielson just doesn't know how to ride a bike. He's so sketchy in the pack that he either crashes or wears himself out before getting to the terrain that he can really capitalize on.

Anonymous said...

he can't handle a bike and if he's clean he'll get worked over. doing one climb amazingly stupendously fast isn't the same as being there on the last climb and i just don't think he'll ever have the pack skills. how many years of being brung-along does it take before you tap out for being a rare talent but not having it?
i can't see him survivng the first week without doing time on his bum and being hurt the rest of the race.


seems like a nice dude. doesn't have the mind for it. nothing personal. lets talk about trent lowe!

Anonymous said...

I used to hope Tommy D would live up to all the hype, but I have to believe it's more than just not knowing how to ride a bike in the pack....dude was a Championship MTB'er, and he's ridden in the Pro peloton for how many years now? Let's not even talk about how he completely squandered his stint at Fassa b/c he was homesick and wouldn't learn Italian. He's blown more chances that the next 5 best riders will get in their careers. I'm not hating, just calling it as I see it. Let's give our support to the young riders who actually need it.

Anonymous said...

overrated. every interview I've ever read since the 1st year w/fassa, he just comes across as lacking intestinal fortitude and mental toughness when it counts. Mental coaching would probably help.

BdaGhisallo said...

I simply can't see him surviving the first week of the Tour to make it to the mountains in one piece. If he doesn't crash and injure himself, he'll be so worn out by the effort needed to fight for his position in the group that he will fizzle when the road goes up.

Is he a Tyler Hamilton, but with much less talent?

velomonkey said...

The guy can do "A Climb" very fast. He showed that even Saturn when he ride for mercury. However, he has also shown us, each and every year, that he does not have what it takes. The guy is always having something wrong and his record at finishing a grand tour is lacking - and that's putting it nicely.

He is from my home town (as is Powers) - so I should root for him. Still, the guy just doesn't have it and he is well beyond being a new comer who needs to learn the ropes.

Not trying to be harsh, but I would bet a lot that guy wont be a factor in anyway at the tour.

EL HERBO said...

Tommy D? Time to move on folks! Check out Jr. racer Nick Bax from Bathesda, Md. he rides for HOT TUBES... The kid is a phenom. Definitely a future PRO. He wins the jr. races and then spanks the everyone in PRO 1 2 field the same day.

Anonymous said...

TD is now 30yrs old. Only one thing left for him to try: Get with Riis and his "rider rescue" program; if that is not going to help TD, letting his perception catch up with his talent, nothing will.

jason said...

TD is the "Nuke LaLuche" of the peloton... million dollar legs (and VO2) with a five-cent head... and after seeing JV on the New York Times website (discussing L'Etape) I don't think he's the guy to get full use out of TD. TD is made of fail, not PRO