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t-72

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The late rest-day round-up thread: 8 thoughts
« on: September 07, 2020, 22:29 »
The late rest day 1 summary from T-72.

1. The weather has a larger role to play, and we may see more of it in the coming weeks,.
The first stage patinoire was hopefully the more extreme event for the racers this year, but weather in Tour de France usually means heat – this year we get everything else, probably.
It is not the end of the crosswinds yet, and chances are there will be more rain. Already the temperatures are more at Giro levels, and that means occasionally it snows on the highest passes. It is not completely unlikely we get another shortened stage as high-altitude descents can become dangerous, but then they aren’t going as far as up as the Iseran this year.
The Col de La Loze can probably be shortened without too high consequences for race quality. They may even have the lower-altitude alternatives mapped and ready, as there are climbs a plenty too choose from around that walley.

2. The trend from the Dauphine continues: The big trains don’t work according to the set schedule!
Ineos is trying to become a bit more like their old sky selves but that role is taken by #jumbo except they can’t fill it either. We saw in teh Dauphine that the trains lost all their horsepower long distance from the top of the decisive climbs, leaving the team leaders exposed for longer time than what we have been accustomed to seeing with Froome’s skytrain in thee old days.
I don’t think there are that many in the audience that thinks this is a bad thing as the race is now more open than it was in 2013.  The captains of the lesser teams also have a chance, and random incidents like dropped chains and flat tyres can decide a lot when the next teammate comes up a minute behind.

3. Thibaut Pinot just can’t stand the pressure.
I mean, there is always a reason but of all team captains the French duo, Pinot and Bardet are probably the ones who have been in charge of their teams since 2013. They have both been on the podium in Paris, which was great, but Pinot is never going to win it, even if he is the most sympa guy out there and has a farm with goats and so on. Bardet actually has the better results of the two, but he’s the one who has decided it is time to look for other opportunities before it is too late – yet now he is still in the race for a third podium?
I have had enough of the Groupama / FDJ death marches (altough Demare shares guilt for that), but  French TV producers definetly have not, it is very strange to see that even with Groupama out of contention for the GC they focus almost exclusively on Pinot and Bardet rarely gets a mention.  Third, I mean
.
4. Guillame Martin is this late summer’s French breakthrough rider. Maybe someone could tell the French about him because he is almost never mentioned on French TV. If he gets to the podium I am buying at least a cofidis t-shirt and maybe a credit card payment machine!
 PS: he did a rather good race in the Dauphiné too, but I don’t think he knows what a time trial bike is. He lost 3 minutes to Alaphilippe on the Pau team trial and if you would like to compare with an ordinary GC rider, that is still 2 min 15 secs to Kruijswick. That’s a lot of time to claw back later, but the Belles Filles may find him more likable when he gets there. Until now Le philosophe doesn’t get the attention he deserves.

5. There’s another breakthrough rider as well, and you might have heard this story before and it may get a little bit better every time it is told, but it goes like this:
A former racer, a bronze winner in the world championship road race, is emplyed by the national cycling union to travel around the country and look for talents that should have a special follow-up from the union. One weekend he arrives a little late for the start when he has scheduled to watch a kids race.The smallest kid (much smaller than the others) is chasing the peloton, and the talent scout feels a little pity for him. He turns to the race director and says «look, someone’s got to pace that kid back up to the peloton so he can be part of the race too!»
The race director just smiles back at him and responds: «This is not the way you think, he’s leading the race with almost a full lap’s margin».
 If you hadn’t heard or hadn’t read the story before, you may guess by now which racer is involved – this guy was Tadej Pogacar, racing against kids two years older than him.
Fast forward to 2020 and he’s on the attack and at the moment he looks like the stronger GC rider in the race. No one could follow him on the Peyresourde. A likely explanation for that is simple, he didn’t get himself into major accidents in the preparation phase, whereas the other two that seem able to match him both were in trouble come final two stages of the Dauphiné.  He doesn’t have a strong team backing him (#uae seems to be a little all over the place and never on the right place in crosswinds unless Sven Erik Bystrøm is present) – and then, on the other hand, the two strong teams in the race seem to perfectly well spend their energy destroying themselves and each other, not Pogacar.

6. Jumbo-Visma is cracking. They did some really great things so far, but they are spending too much energy on the simple stuff and then they end up with all the support gone half way up the decisive climbs (what is Sepp Kuss doing, really?) - and some really weird tactical decisions like Tom Dumoulin pulling very hard up the Peyrseourde – the only guy he got off the GC list was himself. Primoz Roglic has never been riding so nervously for all the time I have watched him riding. His confidence is shot. He used to be an ace decender, Sunday he lost 40 seconds or so to Marc Hirschi (occasionally referred to as Marcel Hirscher by Norwegian commentary :) - down the backside of Marie Blanque. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Roglic falls on a descent now, just hoping it will not be like Planica. Ski jumpers’ advantage should be a very good control of his fear, because without the confidence to go for max speed straight forward , jump into the void, fly like a bird and stick the landing they don’t get to do the telemark on the podium. Roglic seems to struggle with his self-confidence every day now, and it is relegation from ace to «normal» in the descents that is the most obvious symptom.

7. ineos got the race to where they wanted. Before the last weekend, Inoes DS Gabba was interviewed. He said: «we think it is too early to challenge the (other) captains yet, but optimal outcome of these stages would be if we could discard some of the plan b captains and strong lieutenants that otherwise suddenly might befome important in the GC. (Of course, the two previous TDF’s was won by such riders, from their own team.) «Bernal recovers well and he will be stronger relative to the other’s in the final week» said Gabba.
After the interview, Tor Hushovd (expert commentary for tv2.no) said: Gabba doesn’t say so, but everyone is thinking about Dumoulin, who has been showing some signs of weakness. Later in the stage, Dumoulin put in his strange «final accelration» and dropped out of GC. Ten points to «ineos» Gabba for that tactic.

8. Third week, you say? Quintana lost some time on Sunday but he seems better than he has been in a long long long time and if his performance profile is it used to be, it is worth noticing that he has survived the first week with less losses than in 2015 despite. He is not off my list of potential winners, for sure, especially if the tour is extended to four weeks because of the virus situation!

   
   

 
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re the weather: I had a long look at France meteo yesterday.
    My conclusion is that considering it's September, for much of the remainder of the race, it will continue to do a fair impression of July.
    If there is going to be a blip, it looks likely to be around the Col de La Loze stage, but not with the "Biblical" conditions we got last Summer.
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

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    4. Guillame Martin is this late summer’s French breakthrough rider. Maybe someone could tell the French about him because he is almost never mentioned on French TV. If he gets to the podium I am buying at least a cofidis t-shirt and maybe a credit card payment machine!
     PS: he did a rather good race in the Dauphiné too, but I don’t think he knows what a time trial bike is. He lost 3 minutes to Alaphilippe on the Pau team trial and if you would like to compare with an ordinary GC rider, that is still 2 min 15 secs to Kruijswick. That’s a lot of time to claw back later, but the Belles Filles may find him more likable when he gets there. Until now Le philosophe doesn’t get the attention he deserves.

    he actually does get quite a bit of coverage in the French press. Short statements basically every day, sometimes longer articles. This is from today, for example:

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

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    8. Third week, you say? Quintana lost some time on Sunday but he seems better than he has been in a long long long time and if his performance profile is it used to be, it is worth noticing that he has survived the first week with less losses than in 2015 despite. He is not off my list of potential winners, for sure, especially if the tour is extended to four weeks because of the virus situation! 
     

    #arkea Arkea seems to be confident. From today's interview with Ledanois: "It would be a good result, but I cannot be satisfied with a 5th place. [...] I'm not going to lie, we have the chance to win the Tour. There are five or six guy which have shown that they have the legs to do so, and Nairo is one of them. With the legs he currently has, a 5th place in Paris would be a disappointment."

    https://www.letelegramme.fr/cyclisme/tour-de-France/yvon-ledanois-on-est-la-pour-gagner-le-tour-08-09-2020-12612413.php
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  • AG

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    Quintana is looking better, happier and more comfortable than he has in a long time.  I would not be surprised to see him challenging for the podium - which is a lot different to what many experts where expecting from him coming into this Tour.

    Yates - pretty much what was expected.  Enjoyed his days in yellow, and used good tactics to stay in ther jersey as long as possible - but it wasnt all that likely that he would hold it for any significant period.

    Roglic - I actually think he is doing ok. Not the super-strength showing of the Dauphine, but he is doing all he needs to.  I agree his teams tactics have been a bit interesting at times, but it is great to see a team take it up to Ineos and strangle them out of the race for a bit.  Sep Kuss is not on the same form he has been.  Hopefully he is just backing off for a bit to save himself for week 3

    Martinez - I agree, the ITT (and the rigours of a 3 week race in gneneral) will test him.  I am not expecting him to podium ... but these young kids coming through are really encouraging for the future.

    Pogacar - I think is the real deal.  Good chance of a really top class finish from him this year.

    Bernal - I dont know.  He seems a little shakey to me.  He should be pretty happy that he hasnt lost significant time, and will be hoping to build for something special in the third week.
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  • LukasCPH

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    4. Guillame Martin is this late summer’s French breakthrough rider. Maybe someone could tell the French about him because he is almost never mentioned on French TV. If he gets to the podium I am buying at least a cofidis t-shirt and maybe a credit card payment machine!
     PS: he did a rather good race in the Dauphiné too, but I don’t think he knows what a time trial bike is. He lost 3 minutes to Alaphilippe on the Pau team trial and if you would like to compare with an ordinary GC rider, that is still 2 min 15 secs to Kruijswick. That’s a lot of time to claw back later, but the Belles Filles may find him more likable when he gets there. Until now Le philosophe doesn’t get the attention he deserves.
    If he's as inept at ITTs as you say, then this year's Tour is the ideal chance to get onto the podium! The only ITT there is finishes with a climb.
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