One of the most endearing oddities about cycling is how a few race results can turn into a truism in no time. When Indurain won Giro and Tour in the same year, the Giro was “the perfect preparation” for the Tour. When he stopped riding the Giro and still won, “cycling was too hard ‘in the modern era’ to do both”.
Then Lance proved that you can only win if you have the entire team focused on winning the GC, that you cannot combine GC and sprints in one team. This was further proven by HTC, whose GC riders never got very far. Never mind that their GC riders were always on the second tier to begin with. I’ve said many times I thought this was silly, but it’s been one of the most persistent truisms of the past decade.
Anyway, I would like to propose the following new truism:
To do well on GC, you need a top sprinter on your team.
You see, there are three sprinters who have won three stages each this Tour; Cavendish, Sagan and Greipel. They ride for Sky, Liquigas and Lotto, who occupied positions 1, 2, 3 and 4 on GC in Paris. Therefore, irrefutably, you need guys who win sprints to score on GC. Also note BMC, whose sprinter Hushovd could not participate this year, and we all know what happened to Evans.