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Echoes

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Binckbank Tour
« on: August 05, 2017, 13:36 »
Preliminary Note

Out of idealism or romanticism perhaps, I've always chosen to refer to a race with its geographical name rather than its "commercial"/sponsor name. That's why I've always called this race: The Tour of the Low Countries. As in my language - French - we would either call it "Tour du Benelux" or "Eneco Tour" until last year. However since the report that Eneco stopped partnering the race last year organizers Golazo Sports opted to provisionally call it the "Lowlands Tour". Until they found a new main sponsor BinckBank, to rename it Binckbank Tour. So if you don't mind I'll still call it "Lowlands Tour" because I like it that way but I guess you'd like to have the headline with its official name, so in the headline I typed "Binckbank Tour" for you. ;)
http://www.wielerflits.nl/nieuws/243195/lowlands-tour-nieuwe-naam-eneco-tour.html

----------------

The Lowlands Tour was artificially created in 2005 out of the ashes of the Tour of the Netherlands.

The Tour of the Netherlands started out in 1948. That day *lu Jang Goldschmit should have won but in the first stage he was headed off route with his lead group and finished behind the peloton. They were classified in the same time as the peloton, which Emiel Rogiers protested against and was proved right by the UCI, and so the latter won.
 Though not held every year we might say it had a first period until 1965 and then was revived in 1975 until 2004. The race started small but was growing every year until the ProTour/World Tour madness. It was in later edition a nice preparation for the Worlds, especially with the traditional Limburg hilly stage. Its last edition in 2004 was already sponsored by energy company Eneco, hence the name it would get until 2016 while being Lowlands Tour.

One memory I have of the Tour of the Netherlands is 2002, 2nd stage Dokkum - Apeldoorn. The riders started from Friesland and took the huge Afsluitdijk causeway that separated the IJssemeer from the North Sea, open to the wind of course and that day was particularly stormy.

It ended up in a sprint. Steven De Jongh crossed the line first ahead of Julian Dean and ... Tom Boonen still racing for US Postal. The sprint was amateurish, no leadout, every man for himself. Tom Boonen had revealed himself as the next great cobble champion earlier that spring with his 3rd place in Paris-Roubaix but that day 21 August 2002, I discovered that he also had a sprint, something of course specialists already knew but not me.

1 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank 3.46.40
(46.42 km/h)
2 Julian Dean (NZl) CSC-Tiscali
3 Tom Boonen (Bel) US Postal Service
4 Erik Zabel (Ger) Deutsche Telekom
5 Sven Teutenberg (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems
6 Allan Bo Andresen (Den) EDS-fakta
7 Zoran Klemencic (Slo) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
8 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Lotto Adecco
9 Rudi Kemna (Ned) Bankgiroloterij-Batavus
10 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
11 Daniele Galli (Ita) Index Alexia
12 Jans Koerts (Ned) Domo-Farm Frites
13 Antonio Cruz (USA) US Postal Service
14 Oscar Freire (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step



The first edition of the Lowlands Tour was really chaotic. When it was announced, everybody would wonder this was all about. Why scrapping a nice race like the Tour of the Netherlands for that matter. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. All for the ProTour (now World Tour) while the old system already worked very well. What was that?

The prologue was won by Rik Verbrugghe due to dramatic weather change. Stage 1 Geel to Mierlo was won by Max Van Heeswijk, the finish line was just after a speed bump.  :lol

But the best of it was the Ardennes stage Landgraaf-Verviers! Bart Dockx, Jason McCartney and Christian Vandevelde were in the lead, about 5' ahead of the peloton. They had just climbed the Côte de Wanne and the Côte de la Haute-Levée. Jussi Veikkanen  *fi dropped in the climbs and was even dropped by the peloton. All of a sudden the peloton was also headed off route and lost several minutes. Then the organisers took a weird decision... Stopping the lead group for the time that the peloton lost due to their mistake! Bart Dockx was disgusted and dismounted sitting on the ground as a form of protest. It got comical when Jussi Veikkanen who was dropped by the peloton suddenly found himself ahead of it!

Anyway despite all those facts the Lowlands Tour is still there 12 years later. It will always be associated with the mighty Tim Wellens. In 2014 Tim won here his first pro win of note. In the Ardennes stage Heerlen-Aywaille, with an uphill finish on the Côte de la Redoute, with 50"lead on Lars Boom, former leader and 52" on Greg Van Avermaet. The Limburger then showed for the first time his amazing skills under rain. Tim Wellens defended his title in 2015 but not in 2016 out of form after an amazing season and anyway Golazo decided to shamefully flatten the race to accomodate for the Worlds in Doha.


1. Tim Wellens (4u28'19")
2. Lars Boom +50"
3. Greg Van Avermaet +52"
4. Tom Dumoulin +52"
5. Geraint Thomas +56"
6. Andrej Grivko +58"
7. Jelle Vanendert +59"
8. Niki Terpstra +59"
9. Philippe Gilbert +59"
10. Marco Marcato +59"


The Lowlands Tour is also the first race to restore the infamous Kapelmuur after the latter was dropped from the Tour of Flanders new route. That was back in 2013 and  *cz Zdenek Stybar capitalised on it.

The 2017 Edition

The 2017 Lowlands Tour is a very important race for  #rainbow Wout Van Aert as it would be his very first World Tour race. After winning the GP Cerami, the World Champion Cyclocross really ambitioned to show up in this race, maybe at the expense of Dwars door het Hageland, the day before.

The route:

http://www.touretappe.nl/binckbank-tour-2017/route-bbt-2017/



Interesting stages are Stage 2 (9km ITT in Voorburg) and the final 2 stages.

Stage 6 on Saturday is the queen Ardennes stage: Riemst to Houffalize. Just like the 3rd stage of the Tour of Wallonia brilliantly won by Dylan Teuns that stage could not avoid the Côte de Saint-Roch, only there are even more climbs around Houffalize than that one and a lot of other ones in the approach of it. See the Tour of Wallonia thread for Saint-Roch profile. ;)

1 Muizenberg
2 Côte d'Hallembaye (North)
3 Côte de Richelle
4 Barrage de La Gileppe
5 Côte de la Baraque Michel
6 Côte de la Ferme Libert
7 Côte de Aisomont
8 Côte Provedroux
9 Rue de la State
10 Le vieux Chemin
11 Côte Saint-Roch
12 Côte Vissoûle
13 Rue Bois des Moines



The Muizenberg is a traditional Amstel Gold climb and the Côte d'Halembaye from the other side was the last decider of the Amstel Gold route back when it ended in Maastricht. It was quite impressive a climb because you could see it from a long way back but it's probably not as hard as it seems to.

The Gileppe Dam is the main climb of the Queen stage at the Ster ZLM Tour and is probably going to remain for a few years now, as it seems.


The 7th and final stage on Sunday is the now classic Geraardsbergen stage with the famous climb but also the Bosberg formerly the final climb of the Tour of Flanders and also the Denderoordstraat (also named Sanatoriumberg or the Overberg, 600m 8% av.gr, 13% max), which has been part of the Geraardsbergen stage ever since 2015. The Denderoordstraat has not often been used in pro cyclin, except by Stadsprijs Geraardsbergen, the oldest kermess in Belgium.
http://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/bljli_01818596

The provisional startlist is here

The Lowlands Tour is usually live covered by several broadcaster. It should be no problem to at least find a stream.  ;)
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 19:08 »
    well, that was close...



    ...but boring. With a long "o"



    Interesting though that many GC riders and ITT specialists finished in the very back. Probably because the weather tomorrow in Voorburg is likely to get worse over the day, with the chance of rain increasing to around ~90% on from 15:00

    Here is the ~pdf startlist (page 15-16) for the time trial, and some potentially important names:

    Tijd Naam
    13:29      #bora   BODNAR Maciej
    13:30      #movistar   DOWSETT Alex
    13:31      #lotto   WELLENS Tim
    13:32      #orica   KLUGE Roger
             
    13:34      #sunweb   DUMOULIN Tom
             
    13:36      #jumbo   VAN EMDEN Jos
    13:37      #bmc   KÜNG Stefan
             
    13:39      #bmc   VAN AVERMAET Greg
    13:40      #trek   BRÄNDLE Matthias
             
    13:42      #jumbo   BOOM Lars
             
    13:48      #trek   PEDERSEN Mads
             
    14:01      #bmc   QUINZIATO Manuel
    14:02      #uae   GANNA Filippo
             
    14:10      #lotto   GALLOPIN Tony
    14:11      #verandas   DEVOLDER Stijn
             
    14:14      #lotto   BENOOT Tiesj
             
    14:17      #katusha   SCHMIDT Mads Würtz
    14:18      #sunweb   KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren
             
    14:20      #verandas   VAN AERT Wout
             
    14:27      #astana   VALGREN Michael
    14:28      #fdj   ROY Jérémy
    14:29      #quickstep   LAMPAERT Yves
             
    14:40      #katusha   POLITT Nils
             
    14:42      #katusha   MARTIN Tony
             
    14:47      #quickstep   TERPSTRA Niki
    14:48      #katusha   MATHIS Marco
             
    14:51      #orica   HEPBURN Michael
    14:52      #movistar   IZAGUIRRE Gorka
             
    15:02      #ag2r   NAESEN Oliver
    15:03      #cannondale   KOREN Kristijan
             
    15:09      #quickstep   DEVENYNS Dries
             
    15:11      #orica   KEUKELEIRE Jens
             
    15:13      #trek   STUYVEN Jasper
             
    15:16      #katusha   KUZNETSOV Viacheslav
             
    15:19      #wanty   VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume
             
    15:24      #quickstep   GILBERT Philippe
    15:25      #cannondale   MULLEN Ryan
             
    15:33      #cannondale   LANGEVELD Sebastian
             
    15:47      #quickstep   KITTEL Marcel
             
    16:00      #cannondale   VANMARCKE Sep
             
    16:02      #cannondale   VAN BAARLE Dylan
    16:03      #movistar   SÜTTERLIN Jasha
             
    16:09      #fdj   DEMARE Arnaud
    16:10      #lotto   DE BUYST Jasper
             
    16:29      #sunweb   BAUHAUS Phil
    16:31      #astana   DE VREESE Laurens
    16:33      #bora   SAGAN Peter

    Tyler Farrari finished 166th by the way. Not sure if it was intentional in his case though ;)
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 20:50 »
    Anyone going to stick their neck out and give a prediction on how Van Aert will get on this week?

    Eight top-6 finishes in his abbreviated season (19 racing days) shows his consistent level, but he's up against the big boys here.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #4 on: August 07, 2017, 21:25 »
     So, the ITT will be over by the time tv coverage starts.
    Everybody who is anybody at trialing and some GC names loitering at the back of the bunch, probably because of the weather forecast.
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #5 on: August 07, 2017, 21:45 »
    Anyone going to stick their neck out and give a prediction on how Van Aert will get on this week?

    Eight top-6 finishes in his abbreviated season (19 racing days) shows his consistent level, but he's up against the big boys here.


    If the weather is favourable to him tomorrow, he'll be a contender. Even if it's first World Tour race, when you've already beaten Tony Martin in an ITT last year (and finished in the same second this year), you can sure among the best ITT riders on such races. The Ardennes stage will probably be too hard for his 77kg, judging from the Tour of Belgium (though that day, he suffered from the heat but knew in advance that it would be hard). I think he might take a shot at stage win in Geraardsbergen. He's a guy for cobbles and short climbs (+ ITT's), not an Ardennes type. However as I remember from his post-race interview after his win at the GP Cerami, he was specifically motivated for this race as it's his first World Tour race.
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #6 on: August 09, 2017, 10:17 »


    So the weather predictions were correct. The later starters had rainy conditions while the earlier starters had more or less dry conditions but even at the start it was risky. Greg Van Avermaet did not have so bad conditions but he still crashed apparently and yet managed to remain within 30" behind teammate Stefan Küng. Wout Van Aert didn't do too bad but I guess with less than two months before cyclocross start he wouldn't take too much unnecessary risks.

    Tim Wellens is really phenixing there with a great time. I think he should have arranged to start under the rain, he might have been even faster.  :P :lol

    Actually I first started watching RTBF. Gérard Bulens there questioned that all the main favourites deliberately chose the last positions in the peloton because they predicted a possible weather change. He thinks it's impossible to. Only in his opinion it's better for an ITT specialist to start earlier. Psychologically he meant.

    Funny to see Stefan Küng reading a book in the hot seat. Juli Zeh's "Unter Leuten".  :D Hasn't been translated in other languages yet, I think. Renaat Schotte made a summary of it but I don't remember.  :P

    Oh and according to RTBF commentator, Yves Lampaert raced under rain. So he made the best rain time of all, I think.  :cool
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 18:52 »
    Tim Wellens is really phenixing there with a great time. I think he should have arranged to start under the rain, he might have been even faster.  :P :lol
    :onfire2
    :cool
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #8 on: August 09, 2017, 23:34 »
    Sagan's 99th pro win :cool #rainbow
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 09:20 »
    yeah...



    ...as someone mentioned on Twitter yesterday: do you really want your 100th win to happen in a race called BinckBank Tour though?! ;)

    #verandas Timothy Dupont was sent home by the way after having an argument with DS Michiel Elijzen

    http://sporza.be/cm/sporza/wielrennen/1.3042915

    could today's stage be one for the Gorilla to look happy again?!



    :lol
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #10 on: August 10, 2017, 09:44 »
    Ha, fair point!

    The two active riders who've broken that benchmark did it in the Tour of Oman (Greipel) and the Giro (Cav, in the year in which he won the points classification).
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #11 on: August 10, 2017, 11:32 »
    When at least 70% of those wins are bunch sprints, what does it matter where you got the 100th one?  :shh
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #12 on: August 10, 2017, 19:12 »
    I very much doubt Sagan won 70% in real bunch sprints?!

    today was another odd one. Greipel attacked early on, Demare, Kittel, Viviani and so on were all dropped... so Theuns took it in the end, ahead of Kump (wtf) and Merlier (yeah, me neither...)



    tomorrow's stage looks likely to be one for Sagan though (profile via @raffilpt)

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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 00:42 »
    I watched last night.

    wasnt that exciting ... I couldnt really work out why Greipel went in the break - but most of the sprinters ended up getting dropped so maybe he had something     :D

    Lampaert made a great effort at around 5km to go coming into the very tricky corners of the last 5km ... and nearly stayed away.  Caught with 100m to go   :(

    still - good win for Theuns - he was awake and paying attention when many others were not.
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 08:36 »
    the finish looks funny today :D



    but well, it's relatively unlikely to come back together for a big(gish) bunch sprint anyway I guess, with all the up and down all day
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #15 on: August 11, 2017, 08:46 »
    Tom Dumoulin already has a bike park to his name?  :lol
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #16 on: August 11, 2017, 08:48 »
    Echoes! Don't say you didn't follow the Hammer Series taking place there?! :lol
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #17 on: August 11, 2017, 08:59 »
    I'm saying it.  :P Such races ought to be boycotted.  ;)
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #18 on: August 11, 2017, 15:50 »


    watched the last 50 ish km in between stuff, was a bit of summer spring racing Nice to see Lars get the win and take over GC
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #19 on: August 12, 2017, 08:32 »
    It was quite a fun stage.

    I though Sagan, Boom, Wellens, Naeson, VanMarke et all missed a huge opportunity when the main peleton split and the small group got away .... and they wouldnt work with Sagan.  The slow up, while it didnt all come back together let Gilbert, Van Avermaet and Greipel back on to the group.

    They could have got rid of them from the GC fight ... but wouldnt.

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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #20 on: August 12, 2017, 10:12 »
    Yeah Sagan fans and himself are always weeping about the lack of collaboration from opponents. Only they forget that he got the second World title with the help of the whole Belgian team. Here I just the final 5km and when the chase group with Gilbert and Van Avermaet was about to come back, you had Dumoulin in the lead setting the tempo, not Sagan. The only thing he can do is attacking anyway. Thereby disorganising the group. And if he "decides" who can win and who cannot, why did he choose Lars Boom instead of Sep Vanmarcke while the former is a lot more dangerous for the GC? What a ****, dear me! The post-race interview is yet another disgrace for the sport of cycling! When does he retire, dear me!
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #21 on: August 12, 2017, 16:33 »
    Fun racing in Harsh conditions

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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #22 on: August 12, 2017, 17:24 »
    Unbelievable! What a rain rider is Tim Wellens! Though pretty sure he would also have won this in dry conditions. Unlike many thought that stage was hard enough but that was quite guaranteed: Ferme-Libert + Saint-Roch + Rue Bois des Moines always delivers.

    I was quite pleasantly surprised by Jasper Stuyven. In the youth categories he could do something in the Ardennes (at least at the Tour of Namur, I showed you pictures of it  ;)) but with the pros, I think it's the first time I saw him perform that great on such a hard route. With regards to Oliver Naesen it's no longer a surprise though because as I was told he should have won a mountain stage in the Dauphiné libéré, isn't it right? Ollie should race Liège-Bastogne someday. Normally he should work better chances than Greg Van Avermaet for being more lightweight, if the legs are there.

    Hopefully Tim can get GC win from Tom Dumoulin tomorrow and I hope he would do that with the help of time bonuses but not sure that can be possible. So a great battle between Tim & Tom in prospect.  :P

    I don't know how Sagan was dropped but can't help thinking it's good ...
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #23 on: August 13, 2017, 01:52 »
    Wellens was great.  Really good ride ... he sat in and let Sunweb do the work early, and then when it was right, attacked and made it stick.

    Dumoulin was also very good.  Put his team to work and used them up early - which was ok as they were never going to be there in the end anyway.  In fact, when it counted there were no doms for anyone.

    Wellens attacked and GVA and Dumoulin tried to follow.  Dumoulin got accross and GVA couldnt go with him ... so Wellens and Dumoulin joined up and worked really well together.

    Sagan was there - was very strong indeed - but had a flat at the wrong moment ... and no cars or neutral service so he lost a fair amount.  He joined up with the 3rd group on the road, who were only about 1 minute back with 20km or so to go - so still in it.  He ride really hard for a good long time .... and with Gilbert, Sep VanMarke and a few others who were going for GC there, he thought they had a shot .... but no one would work with him.   

    Realistically they were all on their limit I think and couldnt ride rather than not wanting to work with Sagan - But he was a pretty unhappy chappy all the same.


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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #24 on: August 13, 2017, 07:36 »
    Wellens attacked and GVA and Dumoulin tried to follow.  Dumoulin got accross and GVA couldnt go with him ... so Wellens and Dumoulin joined up and worked really well together.

    Eh...that was Wellens riding and Dumoulin hanging on for dear life 80% of the time. Dumoulin put in good, honest leads :)  in short downhills and flat sections where he could find them. It appeared to me that Wellens was willing to tolerate this.
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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #25 on: August 13, 2017, 11:12 »
    Sagan fans are always inventing their own reality. It's not enough that he punctured, there should always be more. In this case, a totally made-up lack of cooperation from group mates ... I mean I've rewatched the finale and tell me then how to explain this:



    He was unhappy because he's always unhappy. He thinks it's his natural right to be up front. Where does this myth come from? The lack of collaboration from group mates !!

    By the way there were a lot of stones on the Rue Bois des Moines. Tim Wellens carefully avoided them. Not Sagan! So no blame on luck...


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  • Echoes

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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #26 on: August 13, 2017, 19:59 »
    Good win for Jasper Stuyven on the bulwarks of Geraardsbergen. He anticipated right on time before the final ascent.

    I think it's still a kind of disgrace that he's still wearing a live strong bracelet, isn't it?  :-x


    Greg Van Avermaet is thereby losing his 4th place and perhaps some key points in the World Tour ranking. He now has a 400+ point lead ahead of Tom Dumoulin. I don't really know what that means. I'm desperately looking for a point system but cannot find any. What do you think? Is 400 points solid enough? Dumoulin is not racing the Tour of Spain if I'm not mistaken (?) but he can win big at the ITT Worlds probably. Van Avermaet will need to secure top10 places at races like Plouay and if possible Hamburg (but there it's now too big a bunch sprint). Normally Dumoulin is more likely to at least reduce the gap than Van Avermaet to extend his lead I think, unless he wins at least one of the Canadians and let's be crazy ... the Worlds! and of course it's essential to stay right on the pedals and fit. But on this race he really did not seem at his best. Already yesterday in the Ardennes it was more a matter of fighting with mental toughness (as he's known for) than flying on raw talent.

    Tom Dumoulin is a deserved winner though. The sun is back shining, so Tim Wellens is no longer (shining).  :P Tim could not outsprint him at the "Golden km" (a crap concept if you ask me, by the way) and even lost time on the bulwarks... But 2nd is also a "joyful resurrection" for Tim and it brings hope for the last part of the season.  :)

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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #27 on: August 13, 2017, 21:18 »
    Greg Van Avermaet is thereby losing his 4th place and perhaps some key points in the World Tour ranking. He now has a 400+ point lead ahead of Tom Dumoulin. I don't really know what that means. I'm desperately looking for a point system but cannot find any. What do you think? Is 400 points solid enough? Dumoulin is not racing the Tour of Spain if I'm not mistaken (?) but he can win big at the ITT Worlds probably. Van Avermaet will need to secure top10 places at races like Plouay and if possible Hamburg (but there it's now too big a bunch sprint). Normally Dumoulin is more likely to at least reduce the gap than Van Avermaet to extend his lead I think, unless he wins at least one of the Canadians and let's be crazy ... the Worlds! and of course it's essential to stay right on the pedals and fit. But on this race he really did not seem at his best. Already yesterday in the Ardennes it was more a matter of fighting with mental toughness (as he's known for) than flying on raw talent.
    This is more thought into the WT ranking than I believe GVA or Tom D. have given it! :lol

    The points scale is on page 81 ff. in this ~pdf PDF.
    For some strange reason, the ITT and RR Worlds don't give WT points[1]. With that in mind, GVA's lead should be virtually insurmountable (unless Dumoulin decides to win Lombardia or somesuch).
     1. they do give World Ranking points, of course
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #28 on: August 14, 2017, 08:33 »
    Thanks. Weird I thought they had added the Worlds. I remember very well that in 2005 for its creation the ProTour was discredited for not including the Worlds but I thought that in the meantime it had been added to it.

    Probably Tom Dumoulin never has given it a thought but Greg Van Avermaet has definitely made it an objective. He raced San Sebastian with World Tour in mind, aiming at a top10 place which he got to grab points. I think he let Stuyven win the stage and take 3rd place in the GC because 4th place brought him enough WT points already.  :cool
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  • AG

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    Re: Binckbank Tour
    « Reply #29 on: August 14, 2017, 09:47 »
    The only reason GVA wants to finish #1 is because Gilbert did in 2011 ....  :-x


    Still - in fairness he has had a super year, and deserves to be #1 in the world. 
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