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Leadbelly

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Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
« on: September 24, 2020, 14:25 »
Giro d'Italia Stage 1 Monreale  ›  Palermo TT (15km)



It was meant to be the 9th of May. It was meant to be Budapest, Hunagry. It was meant to be Remco winning the opening stage and leading all the way to Milan.

However that was not to be.

It's October. It's Palermo, Sicily. It's.....well, you'll have to wait for Leadbelly's Leading Lights to find out who is going to win, but they're probably not going to be in pink for the rest of the race.





An unusual parcour I think you'll agree. You don't often see a downhill TT, usually for safety reasons and hopefully we won't have to talk about that too much in the aftermath. A little bit of rain though and it could be a nightmare.

There is a short climb to kick things off. It's not as regular as the profile would make you think and the surface is cobbled towards the top. It is also classified (good course design), so as an extra bit of entertainment we should get quite a few riders who normally couldn't care less about this stage giving it a real go for 1km and trying to get the KoM jersey. Some will surely go on road bikes, but even so can they go quicker than the big guns on TT bikes going for the stage win? Should be fun.

At the top of the short ascent the route passes by the Duomo on some narrow twisty roads and then suddenly you are greeted by this view....



We'll get to enjoy it, but the riders won't as it's straight into the descent for them. There are a couple of hairpins, but apart from that it's pretty much no turns all the way down to sea and the second intermediate. Flat after that to the finish with some 90° turns and one more hairpin.

It'll be quick.
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  • « Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 15:06 by Leadbelly »

    Mellow Velo

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #1 on: September 24, 2020, 15:51 »


    Nice photo.
    That's exactly the spot where we parked up last year!
    Not an easy maneuver I can tell you. :o

    Very nice Duomo attracting loads of tourists and of course the accompanying "tat" vendors. 
    Never have a meal in a tourist trap unless desperate. Glad I didn't have the melted cheese on bread that passed for pizza in the place we unfortunately chose to eat.

    Has the potential to be quite a technical descent as there certainly are a couple of tight bends and steep sections.
    After that, Palermo could have been made really tough, but instead it looks like they have stuck to following the main grid layout.
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    t-72

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #2 on: September 24, 2020, 21:33 »
    That is by far the most wacky TT course I have seen. 

    In a year when the cycling season started with pandemia panic - and  you don't want fill up the hospital beds with cylists - "no one plays Nibali!" has been a reminder heard quite a few times around here when people descend the Ekeberg into the city a little bit faster than usual.

    Except, of course, this race features the real Nibali,

    and we are on Sicilia.

    What else could we expect than a downhill TT  :lol

    Tricky hairpin bends on a TT bike sounds ...... images of Chloe Dygert popping up in my head ..... do you guys think some of the top riders might try the road bike all the way? (Bike change on the downhill is far too much time lost.)
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #3 on: September 25, 2020, 20:57 »
    Do you guys think some of the top riders might try the road bike all the way? (Bike change on the downhill is far too much time lost.)

    I think the specialists will go with a TT bike. However once they've done their practice run(s) in the morning, they could always change their minds if they feel it's too dangerous or there isn't much to gain by using it.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #4 on: September 26, 2020, 17:36 »
     There's a severe weather warning already posted for Palermo for next weekend.
     It is October isn't it?
     The warning is for extreme temperatures, with the thermometer possibly hitting 35C on Saturday afternoon.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #5 on: September 27, 2020, 01:22 »


     :S

    Are you sure that's not a glitch in the matrix, or that there wasn't some file corruption, and it's actually supposed to look more like this?
    :slow
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  • t-72

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #6 on: September 27, 2020, 10:12 »
    It would make sense to race this giro backwards, the high alpine stages will most likely be affected by cold weather and maybe cancelled due to snow and frost. They should race them in the first week already, before winter weather gets too severe up north, and then have the last week in Calabria and Sicilia, finishing with this time trial. Backwards.  :)

    A bit of rain and slippery conditions and clunky time trial bikes with smoooth tires like #jumbo in Düsseldorf and several GC contenders will vipe out. The gregarios can afford to go slower, and more carefully, but first stage those that want to win will go all in. Remember how the Jerusalem ITT set up the GC game for 2018.  Ironically, #sky Chris Froome lost 37 secs that day, just to remind us that it is still a three week race. However, this time it will beva weather lottery if they can ride 21 stages.

    Reverse the Giro now!  :)
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #7 on: September 27, 2020, 11:12 »
    Reverse the Giro now!  :)

    #ReverseTheGiroNow
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #8 on: October 01, 2020, 21:24 »
    No LLL this time, we'll have some random guesswork about the blue jersey instead. Remember the climb is just 900m at 4%, but is of variable gradient shall we say and is cobbled towards the top.

    The Kings of Monreale

    Wildcards - All three teams will surely have multiple riders going for this "easy" jersey and podium visit on the first day. I'll go with Rota from Vini Zabu.

    Locals - This could mean Sicilian or Italian. I'll stick with the latter as there are quite a few names to choose from. Vendrame? Ballerini? or the in-form duo of Mosca and Conci at Trek? Mosca is my pick from this group.

    Big Guns - If they go with TT bikes, which I think they will, then that will make it difficult for them to compete here, but you never know. Ganna is the man on a winning streak. However Matthews is a better bet here due to his explosiveness I feel.

    Randoms - Demare's in great form recently and it's not that long a climb. Denz?

    Anybody want to have their own guess?
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #9 on: October 02, 2020, 17:41 »
    https://www.wielerflits.nl/nieuws/giro-2020-starttijden-openingstijdrit-naar-palermo/

    Start times for the stage favourites, outsiders and GC guys:

    13:15 Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) - first starter
    13:18 Victor Campenaerts (NTT)
    14.00 Jan Tratnik (Bahrain McLaren)
    14:14 Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers)
    14:34 Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Emirates)
    14.35 Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma)
    14:36 Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers)
    14:58 Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers)
    15:33 Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb)
    16:08 Edoardo Affini (Mitchelton-Scott)

    13:16 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren)
    13:52 Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers)
    13:59 Matthias Brändle (Israel Start-Up Nation)
    14:39 Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)
    15:26 Maciej Bodnar (BORA-hansgrohe)
    15:41 Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma)
    16:02 Brandon McNulty (UAE Emirates)
    16:09 Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ)

    13:27 João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)
    13:56 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)
    14:25 Ilnur Zakarin (CCC)
    14:36 Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers)
    15:12 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana)
    15:55 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)
    15:56 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
    15:57 Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo)
    16:03 Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)
    16:10 Rafal Majka (BORA- hansgrohe) - last starter
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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #10 on: October 02, 2020, 17:54 »
    spread all over the day, so I guess someone will get it right with the wind ;)

    I noticed that last week in the high-speed part of the World Championship ITT, all #grenadiers Ineos riders significantly lost time, by the way:

    https://twitter.com/velofacts/status/1309502485212602372

    1-2-3 in the first part for Ganna, Dennis and Thomas, 7-12-9 in the second half. Can we see that as a potential bad sign for tomorrow (in terms of bike setup maybe), or was it just due to going out too hard (or lack of stamina)?
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    Leadbelly

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #11 on: October 02, 2020, 18:34 »
    It didn't seem to do them much harm. Maybe "positive splits" are the new "negative splits".

    Something to keep an eye on though in future TTs, but probably not tomorrow.
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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #12 on: October 02, 2020, 18:38 »
    well, but the major part is downhill, and at high speed tomorrow?!

    Maybe I didn't quite make myself clear, but that's what I was trying to point out. I guess there are other gearing options available, but due to the unusual nature of the course, particular bike setups may have a larger influence than on the flat.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #13 on: October 02, 2020, 18:41 »
     So, British Eurosport due to start their tv coverage 25 minutes after Geraint Thomas starts his time trial. :fp  :D
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    Flo

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #15 on: October 02, 2020, 19:39 »
    https://www.wielerflits.nl/nieuws/giro-2020-starttijden-openingstijdrit-naar-palermo/

    Start times for the stage favourites, outsiders and GC guys:

    13:15 Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) - first starter
    13:18 Victor Campenaerts (NTT)
    14.00 Jan Tratnik (Bahrain McLaren)
    14:14 Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers)
    14:34 Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Emirates)
    14.35 Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma)
    14:36 Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers)
    14:58 Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers)
    15:33 Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb)
    16:08 Edoardo Affini (Mitchelton-Scott)

    13:16 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren)
    13:52 Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers)
    13:59 Matthias Brändle (Israel Start-Up Nation)
    14:39 Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)
    15:26 Maciej Bodnar (BORA-hansgrohe)
    15:41 Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma)
    16:02 Brandon McNulty (UAE Emirates)
    16:09 Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ)

    13:27 João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)
    13:56 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)
    14:25 Ilnur Zakarin (CCC)
    14:36 Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers)
    15:12 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana)
    15:55 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)
    15:56 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
    15:57 Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo)
    16:03 Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)
    16:10 Rafal Majka (BORA- hansgrohe) - last starter

    Why are Thomas and Yates starting so early? Weather?

    Majka last starter :dizzy
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    Mellow Velo

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #16 on: October 02, 2020, 19:50 »
    Why are Thomas and Yates starting so early? Weather?

    Majka last starter :dizzy

    No, I don't think so. All sites agree it's going to be fairly windy and hot, but none are forecasting rain.



    Midnight tonight it's going to be 26C, but at 4 am, 27.5C  :S
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  • « Last Edit: October 03, 2020, 07:55 by Mellow Velo »

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #17 on: October 02, 2020, 19:59 »
    I guess it may still be weather related, especially as Ineos has all three big guns (Ganna, Dennis, Thomas) schedules to start right after each other, between 14:14 and 14:15. When I checked the forecasts earlier on, exactly that was supposed to be the time slot with the least gusty winds - but now it seems to have changed again anyway.

    Gusty sidewind could really be an issue tomorrow I guess, going down that road at 100kph...
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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #18 on: October 03, 2020, 07:13 »
    in today's Gazzetta Ganna confirmed that his start time is due to the wind forecast. But the decision had to be made until 6pm on Thursday.

    The current forecast looks (more or less, it varies a bit from site to site) like this:





    so the early starter are likely to have a heavy crosswind on the descent and then a tailwind for the first part in the city, while it should be the other way around for the later starters, but much milder.

    Even assuming this forecast is correct, I struggle to say which starting time is the best, to be honest...
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  • « Last Edit: October 03, 2020, 07:34 by search »

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #19 on: October 03, 2020, 09:50 »
    some more downhill times, from last year's 2nd part of the Tour de Romandie time trial



    https://twitter.com/velofacts/status/1125033632689807363

    you may find some of those names on today's start list as well... any chance for a German day in #pink:angel
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #20 on: October 03, 2020, 20:48 »
    any chance for a German day in #pink:angel

    You got a German day in #blue instead. :P



    Not one of the names that I had mentioned or even thought about tbh. Thinking back though he did have that nice result on Hatta Dam earlier on in the year. Still it's an unusual result.

    Here's the top-twenty:

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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #21 on: October 03, 2020, 21:02 »
    .....and here's the much less important stage result.



    Definitely a good day for the British GC challengers.

    Thomas has gained 57s on Vlasov, 1m05 on Kelderman, 1m06 on Nibali, 1m21 on Kruijswijk, 1m24 on Fuglsang and 1m37 on Majka. Yates will be very happy too considering what he said beforehand.

    Not such a good day for Lopez. DNF after a crash.

    https://twitter.com/AstanaTeam/status/1312463042794323969

    Could have been a lot worse.

    Covili will be the other non-starter tomorrow. He was OTL after two bike changes. They must have been really slow bike changes if he finished over 7 minutes down. You can't help feel a bit sorry for him though. Surely the rules on OTL are to get rid of people who are too weak/fatigued. Not those who have suffered from mechanical failures.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #22 on: October 03, 2020, 21:06 »
    http://israelcyclingacademy.com/sprinter-zabel-claims-climbers-jersey/

    Quote
    Zabel would attack for the KOM-jersey by going all-out straight from the start, on a Factor ONE instead of a SLiCK, with a disc wheel in the back. On top of the climb he would do a bike change.

    “Usually I don’t have a chance for a good result in an ITT,” Zabel said. “But this short climb suited me perfectly as was around a 90-second effort, and if there was a potential jersey at the top, why wouldn’t I try?”

    Did anybody else use a road bike and then swap?
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  • t-72

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #23 on: October 03, 2020, 23:25 »
    This post is clearly a tribute....

    Way back when, in the woods of Vingrom:


    Last year, stage 9 in the Tour de l'Avenir. (He won it!)

    In the post-race victory interviews, he said "Geraint Thomas is perhaps the most inspiring rider to me. He is not a one-trick pony, he has been riding well in the classics, in the time trails and now he is even climbing incredibly well. It is very important to build capacity, and not be overly focused on loosing weight, when you are a young rider. If you manage to develop the capacity, you can loose weight later and become a good GC rider."

    Today:

    They sure learn fast these days!
    Thomas and Foss both started quite early and apparently raced in the same conditions.I haven't seen a single listing of favorites for today's stage that included the young guns #jumbo  Foss and #quickstep Almeida.  How can this be a surprise?

    In the race chat today, I was asking questions if Kruijswijk, now 1 minute 15 seconds behind Foss, really is the GC captain. Is he fully recovered from his crash? Apparently, according to Foss himself, he is - but Foss has go ahead to go full force on the time trials.  We'll see if Kruijswijk can follow on the Etna.  :angel

    My suggestion (pure speculation) Foss is the captain - but they are not saying that until it is very clear  that #uae Aru #jumbo Kruijswijk can't match #uae  Pogacar. #jumbo Foss :P
    I think that is not so realistic as #jumbo most likely will race for the Dutch guy now, having gone all in for one of the foreigners in the TdF. Having said that, they are also a team with a Norwegian name sponsor. If the cruiseship really hits an iceberg, I hope they haven't burned the longship first.




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  • AG

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #24 on: October 04, 2020, 07:50 »
    the wind definitely changed.

    It was extremely difficult for Rohan Dennis, but it seemed to drop by the time Thomas went.   Later when the other GC majors went off, it was much more headwind so slowed them all down.

    Victor Campenearts complained very much about the state of the roads, the wind and conditions ... saying it was not safe.   however, even with those conditions, the majority of riders chose a TT bike, with full disc etc.  And they all got a recon to check the state of the roads.

    Lopez was a bit unlucky - hit a bump at the wrong time when he was changing from tribars so only had 1 hand on.  But if the roads were not in a good state, why was he on the tribars anyway?   It comes down to the riders assessing the conditions properly and making choices about the risks they will take.

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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #25 on: October 04, 2020, 09:04 »
    https://twitter.com/velofacts/status/1312399621478547457

    ......and Ganna said he wasn't taking any pointless risks.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #26 on: October 04, 2020, 09:23 »
    In the race chat today, I was asking questions if Kruijswijk, now 1 minute 15 seconds behind Foss, really is the GC captain. Is he fully recovered from his crash? Apparently, according to Foss himself, he is - but Foss has go ahead to go full force on the time trials.  We'll see if Kruijswijk can follow on the Etna.  :angel

    My suggestion (pure speculation) Foss is the captain - but they are not saying that until it is very clear  that #uae Aru #jumbo Kruijswijk can't match #uae  Pogacar. #jumbo Foss :P

    It would be no surprise if Kruijswijk was a bit rusty after his Dauphine crash and subsequent recovery. Even before that he missed all races pre-lockdown and only has a handful of race days in 2020.

    However I think that even if he loses a minute here and 30 seconds there on the climbs in the first week, Jumbo will stick with him as the captain as their eyes will be on the very tough stages in the final week. Plenty of time to ride yourself into a bit of form and then make hay on those days where a minute could be an insignificant amount of time.

    If he loses 5 minutes on Etna though it would all change and the longer Foss can hang in towards the top of the GC, the freer the role he will have.
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  • t-72

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    Re: Stage 1 Monreale › Palermo TT (15km)
    « Reply #27 on: October 04, 2020, 09:55 »
    As also was pointed out yesterday, Foss isn´t quite the same kind of rider that Pogacar is, and neither is the usually solid (but often falling when on top) Kruijswijk the perfect comparison for the fragile Aru.

    I suspect Foss can´t do much in a free role, at least not over three weeks. He usually climbs well, but he isn´t Sepp Kuss on a good day. He needs a squad supporting him, not just an untied leash from Cruiseship, to perform well in the longer time perspective. Is Torjus Sleen in the line-up?

    I think Foss will struggle in narrow streets, tight turns and punchy small climbs of Italian finish line towns, such as maybe today’s stage 2. He hasn’t been riding a lot in Southern Europe and when he has done it, the results have been poor to disastrous. He needs to build confidence (and competence) in the battle for positions.

    Compare this with Pogi’s ability to slip through any field like a fish and winning (big) with very limited team support. In the TDF he was arguably better on his own and lost time when riding with his team. I don’t think we’ll see that with Foss, but Foss might be more of a captain, in terms of being a team leader, and that is important too, if you want to make the squad count in a race.
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