Blazin' Saddles

Time for a TTT change?

Blazin' Saddles

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Not every TTT can be lit up with an inexplicable David Zabriskie fall or a total team wipe-out a la Bouygues Telecom - and as interesting as Sunday's opening chapter of the Giro was, Saddles couldn't help but think it needed a non-needle injection of something spicy.

As HTC-Highroad coasted to another victory, sending veteran Italian Marco Pinotti into the maglia rosa, BS wrote the live commentary for the Eurosport.Yahoo website half hoping for something extraordinary to happen.

Perhaps an irate Italian butcher would take one for the meat purveying fraternity and run out in front of Alberto Contador's wheel?

Or the BMC squad would fail to recognise each other - well, no one else does - and splinter off into different factions before trickling home in dribs and drabs.

Maybe RadioShack's Ivan Rovny would almost ride into the barriers, prompting commentators worldwide into a universal chorus of "who?".

OK, that one actually did happen, but it was perhaps the only bit of near-drama on display in Turin.

So how about jazzing up next year's TTT. It could be done quite simply.

Before the race, each team picks lots and are paired up together. The 18 riders then leave the starting ramp alongside one another - like in the Olympic boarder cross races - and have to jostle for positions to form separate units while riding alongside their rivals.

Body contact would be banned - or kept to a minimum, perhaps one nudge per person (or two if you're called Mark Renshaw) - but you would be allowed to sledge opponents, and microphones would be worn by all, to enhance the viewer's enjoyment.

Alternatively, the whole peloton could start the race as usual, but as soon as the flag is waved, riders from each team would have to find each other, form a unit, and then race to the line as if it were a TTT.

Once formed, each team would have to take a different line and would not be able to ride the slipstream of another. How much of a spectacle would that be?

Of course, an even simpler change would be to do away with the rule that allows a team's time to be set with a minimum of five riders crossing the line.

Only a handful of teams out there - Vacansoleil and Quick Step for example - finished with a full quota of riders, whilst both HTC and Garmin-Cervelo were down to just five.

The result may have been very different had Mark Cavendish's quintet been forced to hold up for the HTC deadwood.

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