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Flo

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Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
« on: April 01, 2017, 15:29 »

Euskal Herriko 57. Itzulia
57th Vuelta al País Vasco


:web

Previous winners:
2016 CONTADOR Alberto
2015 RODRíGUEZ Joaquim
2014 CONTADOR Alberto
2013 QUINTANA Nairo
2012 SÁNCHEZ Samuel
2011 KLÖDEN Andréas
2010 HORNER Chris
2009 CONTADOR Alberto
2008 CONTADOR Alberto
2007 COBO Juan Jose

Top-10 previous edition:

1CONTADOR Alberto22:44:43
2HENAO Sergio Luis0:12
3QUINTANA Nairo0:37
4PINOT Thibaut1:13
5RODRíGUEZ Joaquim1:22
6SÁNCHEZ Samuel1:29
7COSTA Rui2:19
8ŠPILAK Simon2:47
9CRADDOCK Lawson2:52
10KELDERMAN Wilco3:14



1. Iruñea / Eguesibar-Sarriguren

Quote
First stage of this edition will start at the capital city of Navarre, Pamplona. With few difficulties, riders will have to climb 2nd category Erro twice and 3rd category climb Mezkiriz will follow after on. Considering they will still have 60 kms to finish, winner could be decided among fastest riders of the bunch. Last 3 kms in Eguesibar are very flat, only point to pay attention to is a 90 degrees bend when 300 metres left.
Not a very interesting stage to start off with, start and finish in Pamplona, some climbs in the first part of the stage but it should end in a sprint. A couple of roundabouts and a sharp corner in the final km which could be tricky if wet, but normally this is an uneventful stage for the GC contenders.

2. Iruñea / Eltziego

Quote
Stage will start with a hard climb, Etxauri, 16 kms from the start. Riders will continue to Araba province later and next climb will be at km. 112, la Aldea, in a short get in and out to Navarre, but 60 kms yet to the finish line. However, stage hunters could have their chances attacking in some small hills or taking advantage of wind or bad weather conditions, as they could influence last kms. In case a big bunch arrives to Eltziego, we could see a very fast sprint, as last 3 kms are slightly downhill.
The final of this stage looks a bit tricky but none of the hills are categorized and rightfully so, I've mapped the final 30kms and most of it is false flat. It is an opportunity for a stage hunter though, the lumpy terrain could be good to stay ahead of the peloton, but the roads are long and straight which is a disadvantage. Probably, we will see another sprint.

3. Gasteiz / Donostia (San Sebastian)

Quote
Stage between Gasteiz and Donostia is a hilly one. 6 hills in total, without rest in last 100 kms. From Udana to Mandubia and heading Santa Ageda after on (definitely, hardest climb of the day), strongest riders have enough terrain to start a break in first 3 climbs. Anyway, stage will probably decide during the climb and long descent of Andazarrate and climbing last hill of the day Mendizorrotz. Once they climb it, they have some false flat kms until they start downhill in Igeldo. We know that a few seconds difference in Igeldo can be enough to win in the finish line of the Boulevard.
Interesting stage design, plenty of hills, but looking at the details it seems the climbs aren't too difficult. Andazarrate, the penultimate climb, is very gradual, 5.5km at 5.7%, with no really steep sections. The steepest part comes near the end though, with a gradient of 6.2% between km 4 and 5 and 7.8% average between km 4.0 and 4.5. This could be a launching pad for an attack.
I can't really find accurate data for the last climb, I've seen multiple profiles but the profiles from altimetrias.net are usually very good so let's go with that one. We have to ignore the final 700m on the profile though because the race doesn't go up that final stretch but continues along the road towards Igeldo. As you can see, the first part of the climb is the hardest, while the 2nd part is rather easy. On the official stage profile it doesn't look that way, but it seems there is quite a bit of false flat after the top, about 2 to 3 km, after which there's a rapid descent into San Sebastian. There is some flat at the end of the descent, around 3km. Interesting comment by the organizers in the official stage description "We know that a few seconds difference in Igeldo can be enough to win in the finish line of the Boulevard." Igeldo is around halfway through the descent, at the last point-of-interest mark on the profile. Maybe we will see the stage play out in a way similar to stage 1 of the 2014 Vuelta al Pais Vasco, when Alberto Contador had a 15 second gap to Alejandro Valverde at the top of the final climb with 7km to go and maintained that gap until the line, but the climb was tougher than it is here. The stage is definitely hard enough to cause a selection but I think we will see a sprint with a select group or a breakaway win.


4. Donostia / Bilbao

Quote
Riders will cross basque coastline from Donostia to Bilbao in this stage. Apparently quite flat with no mountain passes during first kms, road is more hilly than it seems. Orio, Itziar or Ereño hills, for example, won´t give riders any points, but will make them start suffering before climbing Sollube and Bibero. Both climbs have an average slope bigger than 8%, and winner will probably be one of the riders that shows his strength in the last climb before arriving to Gran Via avenue in Bilbao.
Another interesting stage. The final climb before the finish is just over 4km long and has an average gradient of 7.8%. It is not the toughest climb and attackers could be discouraged by the 14km still ahead, of which 5 flat kilometers, but we will likely see some attacks here which will thin out the group. The scenario could be the same as in the previous stage, sprint from a select group or a breakaway/late attack.

5. Bilbao / Eibar


Quote
This stage starting in Bilbao will be the hardest or the most mountainous of the race. Already a classical stage, as it ends in Arrate sanctuary, will have a not so known finish this year. After climbing twice the typical Izua pass, stage will finish climbing Usartza from Matxaria. This climb has an average of 10%, so strongest climbers will show there to try to win the stage, but at the same time, to try to distance their opponents for the GC.
The classic Eibar/Arrate stage, with a twist. We will see a different, harder side of the Arrate climb this year. This side, the Matsaria side, has 2 really steep km with a gradient of around 15%. The heavier riders will be dislodged here by the real climbers. It is important for those who get dropped on the steep part not to blow up, because in the final part of the stage some seconds can still be regained versus the featherweight riders. There is 2km false flat and almost a km of downhill at the summit. I think we will see the best climbers arrive in a small group of maybe 2 or 3, possibly divided by a couple seconds, but it's hard to know how this finish will play out because we usually see the easier Arrate side in the race.

6. Eibar / Eibar

Quote
As usual, Itzulia will end with an individual time trial stage. 27 kms in total, riders will need to warm up well as they start climbing Elgeta. After descending direction Bergara, they will turn to Osintxu and will go to Eibar again to Untzaga square, completing a circuit that really fits time trial specialists if they do not waste too much energy in first climb. But also suitable for those riders that have shown they are in very good shape
To finish the race we have the usual hilly ITT. It's not as hilly as last year, there is a fair bit of flat terrain, and it's also quite a bit longer. The climb in the first part of the time trial is 6km long at 6.6%, followed by a not too technical 6km descent and around 15km of flat roads. The winner of this stage will have to be a good climber and a good TTer, whether it will be a TT specialist that can limit losses uphill or a climber that can be among the fastest on the flat section remains to be seen.

Overall, it seems this edition is not as tough as previous editions. With the relatively easy first four stages it seems like the GC battle could come down to the final 5 kilometers of stage 5 and the final TT. It's refreshing to see a different, more selective Arrate side, it will give the lightweight climbers a chance to gain sufficient time over the TT specialists before the long time trial.

The Favorites
Startlist

:* :* :*
*es #movistar Alejandro Valverde
*es #trek Alberto Contador

These two appear to be the men to beat. The Arrate climb should suit them very well and they can both ride a great hilly TT. Normally I'd say the TT should suit Contador slightly better, but Valverde is in amazing shape as we saw in Catalunya and in Andalucia, although it was a shorter TT, he was really close to the win and beat Contador by a few seconds. In Catalunya we saw him drop Contador uphill, perhaps the same could happen here. Contador is usually slightly worse in Catalunya compared to Paris-Nice and Pais Vasco though, but Paris-Nice was extraordinarily hard this year so he may still be feeling it in his legs. I can't really say who is the bigger favorite, my head says Valverde, my heart Contador. I could see Valverde take around 10 to 15 seconds on Arrate, after which it will come down to the TT. As we know, these days Contador delivers a better performance uphill when he is fresh and can ride without worrying about others, so I expect a great performance from him here. He has yet to take his first win this year and this is the perfect opportunity, if he wins here he would become the sole record holder with 5 wins.

:* :*
*si #lottonl Primoz Roglic
*co #sky Sergio Henao
*fr #quickstep Julian Alaphilippe
3 different types of riders. Roglic will inevitably lose time on Arrate, but could slaughter everyone in the final TT. Henao is the complete opposite: he could use the climb to limit the damage in the TT, but he will need a decent buffer to win the race. Alaphilippe is kind of in between the two, he should go better on Arrate than Roglic and better than Henao in the TT. Still, I feel these three will need a lot of things to go their way to win the race.

:*
*si #katusha Simon Spilak
*es #bahrain Ion Izagirre
*pl #sky Michal Kwiatkowski
*fr #ag2r Romain Bardet
Spilak is a dangerous outsider in my opinion. He is always strong in this period and if the weather is bad, he gains 50 Watts. With a great TT he could win the whole thing. I couldn't give him two stars though, because it's always hard to predict how he will do. Izagirre should in theory find a parcours right up his alley, but he hasn't impressed me very much this season. Kwiatkowski will like the final TT but he looks heavier this year which will have an effect on his climbing performance. Bardet will probably lose too much time in the TT.

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  • « Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 16:12 by Flo »
    RIP Keith

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #1 on: April 02, 2017, 21:17 »
    stage profiles via @raffilpt:











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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    Mellow Velo

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #2 on: April 02, 2017, 21:31 »
     Is it just me or is the parcour really rubbish this year?
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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #3 on: April 02, 2017, 22:21 »
    yeah, looks like the Tour de Romandie but without a big climb. How many stages will Albasini win this year?  :P
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 00:27 »
    Is it just me or is the parcour really rubbish this year?
    It's not just you.
    I was looking through the stages in Flo's opening post and thought "surely that big Basque stage will come now?" with each one. Nope, never did.
    There's Eibar, the other stage, and that's it. Meh.
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  • 2017 0711|CYCLING PR Manager; 2016 Stölting Content Editor
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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #5 on: April 03, 2017, 18:52 »
    not much to report today

    https://twitter.com/TeamDiData/status/848952028898480129

    but Fuji is 2nd in the KOM classification! So he didn't come last from a 3 men group, can you believe that?! :lol

    Then Alaphilippe attacked on the final bump (and looked quite good to take the stage win), only to puncture with something like 3.1km out, so that he now sits 2:19 behind in GC :fp. Well, and then there was a sprint won by Matthews ahead of some other Aussie non-sprinters



    The only other sprinter in the race retired after 1km :cool
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  • DJW

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #6 on: April 03, 2017, 19:06 »
    Yep, pretty unfortunate for Julian. Tried to ride aggressively and was in the lead when he punctured, and his GC hopes are gone
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #7 on: April 03, 2017, 20:07 »
     I think it's a terrible decision.
    No banners to check, but if the gps was correct he was still either ahead, or with the front group, when they past the 3kms to go mark.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #8 on: April 03, 2017, 20:35 »
    My brain's filing system isn't working enough to give details and checking PCS isn't jogging my memory, but I have a vague recollection from ~5 years ago of someone puncturing towards the end of a GT stage and getting pushed by a team mate over the 3km mark and being given the same time as the rest of the group.

    Anybody with a better memory or am I making it totally up? :lol
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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 21:01 »
    I think it's a terrible decision.
    No banners to check, but if the gps was correct he was still either ahead, or with the front group, when they past the 3kms to go mark.

    the rules are fairly clear though, stating a "mechanical incident in the last three kilometers"



    and for Alaphilippe this was not the case:



    the bike change may have happened inside the final 3k, but to be fair, that's not what the rules say. Of course, it may have been handled differently in the past though - and had he been in the peloton instead of ahead, no one would have noticed that it happened too early I guess
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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #10 on: April 03, 2017, 21:06 »
    I don't see how the decision on Alaphilippe losing time is fair, or in the spirit of sport. I think he should have gotten the same time as the peloton.I also don't think the rule should focus on the point of the puncture, but rather the point he was overtaken seems more significant.
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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #11 on: April 03, 2017, 21:14 »
     
    stage profiles via @raffilpt:





    Stage 2 seems like it is cast in the same mould as the first one, doesn't it?
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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #12 on: April 03, 2017, 21:20 »

    Stage 2 seems like it is cast in the same mould as the first one, doesn't it?

    yeah, a bit harder it is, and that final (1km at 6%) bump with ~7k to go could give a late attack a better chance to take the win
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 21:20 »
    My brain's filing system isn't working enough to give details and checking PCS isn't jogging my memory, but I have a vague recollection from ~5 years ago of someone puncturing towards the end of a GT stage and getting pushed by a team mate over the 3km mark and being given the same time as the rest of the group.

    Anybody with a better memory or am I making it totally up? :lol

    Closest thing I can remember to that is when Contador punctured near the end of stage 3 of the 2010 Tour and rode in on his flat while Vinokourov still pushed the pace in the group that Contador had been in instead of giving him his wheel or bike. Some said it was a sensible move as Contador would still get the time of the group that he'd been in although he didn't and given subsequent events it didn't really matter anyway.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #14 on: April 03, 2017, 21:31 »
    the rules are fairly clear though, stating a "mechanical incident in the last three kilometers"



    and for Alaphilippe this was not the case:



    the bike change may have happened inside the final 3k, but to be fair, that's not what the rules say. Of course, it may have been handled differently in the past though - and had he been in the peloton instead of ahead, no one would have noticed that it happened too early I guess

     That's the same logic as was applied to the woman golfer leading the major, this weekend.
    Trial by tv, a 4 shot penalty, loses in a play off and most of the golf world up in arms as a result..
    There must have been hundreds of punctures outside 3kms, that were ridden on until inside.

     He was probably still ahead at the 3kms to go mark, so technically he was riding alone.
    So, it could have been that.

     Whichever. A total lack of common sense.
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  • Ram

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #15 on: April 04, 2017, 04:01 »
    Have no issues with Lexi Thompson. Harsh, but she was deliberately being unfair with marking her putt. 5 years ago, she'd have been DQ'd (as Harrington was for something accidental). It would set a more dangerous precedent to not apply the rules.

    Of course, he could've gone Richie McCaw and stretched the rules by riding another 500m before requesting a change. Indeed why everyone should know the rules.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #16 on: April 04, 2017, 08:01 »
    Have no issues with Lexi Thompson. Harsh, but she was deliberately being unfair with marking her putt. 5 years ago, she'd have been DQ'd (as Harrington was for something accidental). It would set a more dangerous precedent to not apply the rules.



     I don't know whether her mistake was deliberate or not.

    The precedent being set was that the ruling only happened after a tv viewer got in contact with officials and complained.
    Meaning such a penalty can only be applied to the groups with designated tv coverage, not the whole field.

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  • « Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 08:16 by Mellow Velo »

    just some guy

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #17 on: April 04, 2017, 08:46 »
    yeah, looks like the Tour de Romandie but without a big climb. How many stages will Albasini win this year?  :P

    Your mate Matthews   :P  :lol
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    Ram

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #18 on: April 04, 2017, 08:47 »
    I agree it's sh*t. The rules officials should be watching that like hawks, not viewers. Bit tough on feature groups, but damn them if they try to break rules. Was exactly the case with Harrington as well. Viewer called in the next day and he was DQ'd for signing the wing scorecard (as opposed to a 2 stroke penalty these days).

    http://www.golfchannel.com/video/bad-mark-choi-withdraws-after-penalty-canadian-pacific/

    My reaction is the same as the commentators above. Harsh, unfortunate, but it was an unfair marking of the ball to avoid a possible pitch mark or so.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #19 on: April 04, 2017, 17:38 »
    yeah, looks like the Tour de Romandie but without a big climb. How many stages will Albasini win this year?  :P

     ;) :lol :lol :lol
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  • t-72

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #20 on: April 04, 2017, 20:49 »
    I kinda like Albasini stages (didn't see this one though) - he must be cyclings best example of a man that has carved out a niche for himself where few others can follow him. There are a few other sports where this is possible, but it is really one of the quite special things about the sport  :cool



    EDIT: #uae Mohoric on the front and Swift at the back, or is it posted upside down?   :o
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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #21 on: April 05, 2017, 09:33 »
    GC composition after stage 2:

    # NAME St. 1 St. 2 TOTAL
    1      #sunweb   Michael MATTHEWS       1      4      5
    2      #quickstep   Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE       6      2      8
    3      #lotto   Sean DE BIE       5      3      8
    4      #bora   Michael SCHWARZMANN       11      11      22
    5      #movistar   Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE       16      7      23
    6      #bora   Jay MCCARTHY       2      21      23
    7      #uae   Matej MOHORIC       18      6      24
    8      #bora   Patrick KONRAD       15      13      28
    9      #sky   Michal KWIATKOWSKI       20      10      30
    10      #fdj   Anthony ROUX       8      22      30

    so if Matthews can make it over the climbs with the lead group today, he should stay in the lead. Otherwise Valverde is probably most likely to take the jersey
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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #22 on: April 05, 2017, 12:23 »
    Talansky is sick DNS as Cannondale season gets worse, didn´t think it was possible but Toms and Dylan did something out of team orders last 2 weeks or so
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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #23 on: April 06, 2017, 07:57 »
    that was quite an entertaining stage yesterday. And apparently Valverde had "a word" with McCarthy after the finish - well, better don't push him into the barriers twice  :lol



    with de la Cruz winning by 3 seconds, the GC battle by positions turned into a pretty meaningless battle for 2nd now

    # NAME St. 1 St. 2 St. 3 TOTAL
    1      #quickstep   David DE LA CRUZ                        -3s
    2      #bora   Jay MCCARTHY       2      21      3      26
    3      #movistar   Alejandro VALVERDE       16      7      4      27
    4      #sky   Michal KWIATKOWSKI       20      10      2      32
    5      #bora   Patrick KONRAD       15      13      8      36
    6      #fdj   Rudy MOLARD      29      8      6      43
    7      #lotto   Tosh VAN DER SANDE      31      14      9      54
    8      #astana   Luis Leon SANCHEZ      23      17      14      54
    9      #ag2r   Romain BARDET      24      36      11      71
    10      #movistar   Ruben FERNANDEZ      13      38      20      71
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  • Armchair Cyclist

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #24 on: April 06, 2017, 10:30 »
    GC composition after stage 2:

    # NAME St. 1 St. 2 TOTAL
    1      #sunweb   Michael MATTHEWS       1      4      5
    2      #quickstep   Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE       6      2      8
    3      #lotto   Sean DE BIE       5      3      8
    4      #bora   Michael SCHWARZMANN       11      11      22
    5      #movistar   Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE       16      7      23
    6      #bora   Jay MCCARTHY       2      21      23
    7      #uae   Matej MOHORIC       18      6      24
    8      #bora   Patrick KONRAD       15      13      28
    9      #sky   Michal KWIATKOWSKI       20      10      30
    10      #fdj   Anthony ROUX       8      22      30

    so if Matthews can make it over the climbs with the lead group today, he should stay in the lead. Otherwise Valverde is probably most likely to take the jersey

    I know it is redundant now, but so that I can better understand tiebreakers for future events, can anyone clarify?

    As I understand it, Richeze is ahead of De Bie (equal placings' total) because his best placing (2nd) is better than De Bie's (3rd); but in that case why would Valverde (7th) be ahead of McCarthy (2nd)?  Or Roux (8th) behind Kwiatkowski (10th)?
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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #25 on: April 06, 2017, 10:32 »
    As I understand it, Richeze is ahead of De Bie (equal placings' total) because his best placing (2nd) is better than De Bie's (3rd); but in that case why would Valverde (7th) be ahead of McCarthy (2nd)?  Or Roux (8th) behind Kwiatkowski (10th)?

    in case of a tie it's about the better placing in the most recent stage
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  • Armchair Cyclist

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #26 on: April 06, 2017, 11:00 »
    That explains it, and indeed sounds like something I had heard before but had forgotten: thanks.
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  • just some guy

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #27 on: April 07, 2017, 18:07 »
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  • Jamsque

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #28 on: April 08, 2017, 00:02 »
    This is your annual reminder that the climb to Eibar Arrate should be referred to as the Alto Samuel Sanchez in honour of his back-to-back-to-back victories on the mountain.



    [edit] So I made this post before watching the stage, and wow. Samu attacked at the spot where he always attacks to go in to the downhill run to the finish in first place... and then hit a stone and crashed out in the middle of the road. Bummer.
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  • « Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 02:38 by Jamsque »

    t-72

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    Re: Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017
    « Reply #29 on: April 08, 2017, 11:44 »
    If we will not name it Alto de Izaguirre as he can hold on and limit his losses up here. Suddenly I understood why this version of the Itzulia comes with less hard climbing. I guess #bahrain Izaguirre is the only Basque GC candidate in the race?  :)
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