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t-72

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Re: UAE Tour
« on: February 27, 2019, 20:52 »
Yeah, sprinting is a young mans game.  He should focus on Classics.

Kristoff reply ^

There are a couple of guys that sprint well even if they are in their 30's. There seems to be no problem with Kristoff's power, but the bike manufacturer should check if the carbon fibre lay-up  patterns for the chain-stay are optimal.  :o



Back to the sprint issue, Kristoff is focused on the classics but he can still do a decent job in sprints and win a handful + contested sprint stages in a year with the right team. Last year he was often forced to close gaps on the lead-in (if I can call it that, I mean in the final, but before the lead-out). UAE just didn't have the right riders to form a train capable of keeping their sprinter and leadout man in the right position.

I don't think anyone doubts Gaviria is an even faster sprinter, but it takes more than straightline speed to win a sprint. Marcel Kittel called and told me  :) "1.  you need to be there when the sprint starts 2. your legs must still be reasonably fresh for that final kick".  Kristoff has a lot of this 'more' part as he has an endurance that few can match (Peter Sagan does), he is good at positioning (even if Viviani is the master of the craft) and it also seems Kristoff can sprint almost as good if his legs are made purely of crystallised lactic acid. 
In the extreme example from last year, Kristoff did the lead-in himself with his lead-out following his wheel, then they switched for the lead-out to lead out, and finally Kristoff did the sprint, not for a victorious result, but a good result.

Winning a sprint stage is a team effort, watch Volta ao Algarve 2019 stage 4 final 10 km for the #jumbo bee-train's state of the art performance, bringing Groenwegen up to an optimal sprinting position after a technical of some sort with 7 km to go. This could never happen in last year's #UAE. I don't think the team as such is very much better this year, the lead-in still lacks control of the situation but alright, with both Gaviria and Kristoff in the race, if Gaviria has a meltdown at 7 km Kristoff alone is strong enough to bring him back again - but Kristoff could also contest the sprint himself. Who's going to do the split-second decision making here?

It may look good now with the Gaviria victory in the second stage of UAE tour, but they were not up against the best in the business. UAE remains a team with stellar captains and mediocre midfielders. That usually doesn't land too many victories, but it keeps them in the headlines whereever they go. It doesn't change the game much that this year,  the mediocre midfielders have yet one more star to look after.  Most likely they will end in 3rd position (on average), behind #jumbo and #quickstep : teams that work better together and that have equally fast or even faster sprinters than #uae.

You say "focus on the classics" but the big race for both Kristoff and Gaviria is the one that suits both of them very well : the Milano-San Remo. Kristoff still feels at home on the Belgian cobbles but never really liked racing the P-R. Why shouldn't Gaviria focus on the classics too? If he can make it to the velodrome he should be on home turf  :)

One of the differences between classics decided in a sprint and stage race sprint stages is that a 2-captain setup makes more sense due to the lucky/unlucky factor being important when people start tumbling left and right and attack number 231 decides the final selection. The exception of course is the MSR where it's all about the Poggio. IMHO the #uae team and not just Kristoff can do better in the classics than in the sprints.
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