2016 season thread

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2016 season thread

Post by Lowlandbrit on Thu 07 Jan 2016, 9:11 pm

First topic message reminder :

Here's your 2016 hub, pick out your own good, bad and ugly from the new crop of jerseys.


AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)

Astana Pro Team (KAZ)

BMC Racing Team (USA)

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA)

Dimension Data (RSA)

Etixx - Quick-Step (BEL)

FDJ (FRA)

IAM Cycling (SUI)

Lampre Merida (ITA)

Lotto Soudal (BEL)

Movistar Team (ESP)

ORICA GreenEDGE (AUS)

Team Giant-Alpecin (GER)

Team KATUSHA (RUS)

Team LottoNL-Jumbo (NED)

Team Sky (GBR)

Tinkoff (RUS)

Trek-Segafredo (USA)
World Tour races:
RaceWinner
Tour Down Under (19/1-24/1)Simon Gerrans (OGE)
Paris-Nice (6/3-13/3)Geraint Thomas (SKY)
Tirreno-Adriatico (9/3-15/3)Greg van Avermaet (BMC)
Milano-San Remo (19/3)Arnaud Démare (FDJ)
Volta a Catalunya (21/3-27/3)Nairo Quintana (MOV)
E3 Harelbeke (25/3)Michał Kwiatkowski (SKY)
Gent-Wevelgem (27/3)Peter Sagan (TNK)
Ronde van Vlaanderen (3/4)Peter Sagan (TNK)
Vuelta al Pais Vasco (4/4-9/4)Alberto Contador (TNK)
Paris-Roubaix (10/4)Mathew Hayman (OGE)
Amstel Gold Race (17/4)Enrico Gasparotto (WGG)
La Flèche Wallonne (20/4)Alejandro Valverde (MOV)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (24/4)Wout Poels (SKY)
Tour de Romandie (26/4-1/5)Nairo Quintana (MOV)
Giro d'Italia (6/5-29/5)Vincenzo Nibali (AST)
Critérium du Dauphiné (5/6-12/6)Christopher Froome (SKY)
Tour de Suisse (11/6-19/6)Miguel Ángel López (AST)
Tour de France (2/7-24/7)Christopher Froome (SKY)
Tour de Pologne (12/7-18/7)Tim Wellens (LTS)
Clásica de San Sebastián (30/7)Bauke Mollema (TFS)
Vuelta a España (20/8-11/9)Nairo Quintana (MOV)
Cyclassics Hamburg (21/8)Caleb Ewan (OBE)
Bretagne Classic Ouest-France (28/8)Oliver Naesen (IAM)
GP de Québec (9/9)Peter Sagan (TNK)
GP de Montréal (11/9)Greg van Avermaet (BMC)
Eneco Tour (19/9-25/9)Niki Terpstra (EQS)
Il Lombardia (1/10)Esteban Chaves (OBE)


Last edited by Lowlandbrit on Sat 01 Oct 2016, 6:22 pm; edited 13 times in total

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Mon 18 Jul 2016, 11:12 am

Guessing Cancellera will be gunning for today. I've gone for Cummings or Matthews.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Mon 18 Jul 2016, 7:19 pm

Azabache wrote:Cavendish-yes, he's upfront about his abilities and shortcomings. Though if he does overtake Eddy's record (stage wins) it would indeed be sacrilege to say that he were the greatest Tour rider, and I don't detect that he would be comfortable with such an accolade. Fantastic achievement nevertheless.

Froome/Sky-I'm liking him more and more and the team are so well-disciplned. What's the matter with the opposition. I would have liked Quintana by now to be testing him with attacks-what's he got to lose? Is it, in the final analysis, a case of " a good biggun will always beat a good littleun"?

I think Quintana is a bit over rated that's why, he tends to attack when the GC is out of reach and Froome is in damage limitation mode, he's did in both 2013 and 2015. Also Froome has shown this year to have far more strings to his bow, he can launch brutal attacks in the alps, do exceptionally well in the TT's and now attack on both the descent and the flat.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Mon 18 Jul 2016, 9:45 pm

Quintana is quite a limited rider, he's got poor race management & doesn't have the tactical mind to really capitalise on situations unfolding. Been a poor TDF for the GC, there really isn't a great pool of elite riders in cycling atm, Froome is on another planet & Nibali focused on the Giro, so was never going to be competitive. Contador needs to retire too.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Azabache on Tue 19 Jul 2016, 10:14 am

Quintana won a Giro though. Can't remember now what the opposition was like...

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Tue 19 Jul 2016, 11:34 am

Rigoberto Uran & Cadel Evans, I think. Certainly not top opposition.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by dummy_half on Tue 19 Jul 2016, 8:27 pm

So in hardly shock news, Cav has withdrawn on the 2nd rest day to focus on Olympic preparation. Given that there are now four days in the Alps (including one mainly uphill ITT) and then Paris, there'd be a lot of Cav slogging his guts out for only limited reward.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Tue 19 Jul 2016, 8:44 pm

dummy_half wrote:So in hardly shock news, Cav has withdrawn on the 2nd rest day to focus on Olympic preparation. Given that there are now four days in the Alps (including one mainly uphill ITT) and then Paris, there'd be a lot of Cav slogging his guts out for only limited reward.
If he gets the gold medal in the omnium then I suppose it would have been worth it for him.  He could have completed the Tour de France ("respecting the tour") and won another final stage, but he wouldn't have been in contention for the Green Jersey (unless Sagan had pulled out).  Personally I think the TdF is the pinnacle in the men's cycling, while the Omnium is a bit of a piecemeal medley.  But hopefully he will repeat whatever he did this year next year for the TdF and win a few more stages.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Tue 19 Jul 2016, 8:57 pm

Was gonna say this is probably his last chance to win an Olympic gold - he has a few more years left in him to win TDF stages - makes no sense for him to carry on any further
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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by dummy_half on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 7:22 am

NS

If Cav hadn't already won some stages I guess there'd have been a chance of him trying to win in Paris, but given he's already had more success than probably even he expected, pulling out now was a no-brainer.

Cav's Olympic aspirations go back to 2008, when he was the only member of the track team to not win a medal, so it's something he's talked a lot about and is probably his biggest unfulfilled ambition in the sport. As Olly says, this is also likely his last good chance.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 10:31 am

dummy_half wrote:NS

If Cav hadn't already won some stages I guess there'd have been a chance of him trying to win in Paris, but given he's already had more success than probably even he expected, pulling out now was a no-brainer.

Cav's Olympic aspirations go back to 2008, when he was the only member of the track team to not win a medal, so it's something he's talked a lot about and is probably his biggest unfulfilled ambition in the sport. As Olly says, this is also likely his last good chance.
Yes fair enough.  For Cavendish's team four stage wins from the Manx Express must be more than one could have been expected given Cavendish's performances in recent years.  It certainly seems to be the case that this years track training has helped Cavendish in the road sprint stages and so hopefully he can repeat that training for the next year.  I suppose Cavendish is going to have to go for the Merkx record of most stage wins at the TdF which he might do next year or in two years.  After that I suppose he could focus more on getting the right muscle balance to go for another green jersey and some classics,  But maybe Sagan is too good for Cavendish ever to win another TdF green jersey.

With regards the next four TdF stages - it seems brutal.  Let the fireworks begin.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by whocares on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 12:18 pm

Brutal is seems indeed. Hope to see some action this week. Expect the likes of Bardet and Aru to attack when they have he opportunity. Cant see Froome being in trouble at all (specially with the rest of team sky being as strong as ever) but will be interesting to see if Bollema and Yates can hang on to the podium. Not sure what to make of Quintana yet - maybe he has been saving himself for those stages. Looking at the shape of those 4 stages I can understand why Cavendish did not see the point of going through them!

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by dummy_half on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 12:19 pm

NS

It certainly seems that the track training has given Cav that little edge in top end speed that seemed to have faded over the last couple of years. Not convinced he'll pass Merckx's record though - doesn't matter that much as Cav has certainly shown himself to be the best pure sprinter in road cycling.

Sagan's ability to keep picking up points during the uphill finishes and intermediates on the harder days mean that the green jersey is now pretty much out of reach, especially as Sagan is still improving while Cav is likely to fade.

Anyway, the Tour moves on and hopefully we might actually see some challengers to Froome, who so far has had it (relatively) easy. Not sure though who is going to take the initiative - Quintana looks to be struggling and I've not seen anyone else from the top dozen or so (i.e. riders within 6 minutes of Froome) that looks in a position to go on the offensive. Mollema and Yates are probably over-achieving already with their positions in GC, and I anticipate them being relatively defensive, Valverde has never been a quite good-enough climber to challenge for the win, same for Van Garderen, while Porte is always likely to have a bad day. Might end up with someone like Aru being the race animator today.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by whocares on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 12:32 pm

the pace set by sky while climbing is what makes attacks very difficult to sustain : you could see Quintana or Bardet or someone else making a gap of 20 meters but not being able to increase it (otherwise they would get burnt quickly) and then slowly but surely sky train increasing slightly its speed to catch them up a 5 minutes later. You need more attacks and also counter attacks to challenge Froome and his sky team mates really.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Azabache on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 12:38 pm

Let's hope we see some action; Froome needs to be challenged or else he's being virtually handed the victory on a plate. That's not to lessen his and his team's remarkable performance.

Stage 20 was this year's Etape (amateurs). The final climb-the Joux Plane-is a pig. The earlier descent of the Gran Colombier is pretty hairy-I saw two nasty-looking accidents and about 40 punctures! Due probably to overinflated tyres/excessive braking/rims overheating. That won't worry the pros-they don't seem to use their brakes much!

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Lowlandbrit on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 1:00 pm

Azabache wrote:Due probably to overinflated tyres/excessive braking/rims overheating. That won't worry the pros-they don't seem to use their brakes much!
There was that incident where Wilco Kelderman's tyre came off on a descent on stage 8 due to the heat.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Azabache on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 2:27 pm

May have been a tubular? They can spectacularly flay off with great sound effects!

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 3:06 pm

It was melting tubular glue

Looks like a Majka, Zakarin or Pantano for this stage. It's Colombia day, so I would imagine Quintana might finally wake up.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by dummy_half on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 3:24 pm

Azabache wrote:Let's hope we see some action; Froome needs to be challenged or else he's being virtually handed the victory on a plate. That's not to lessen his and his team's remarkable performance.

Stage 20 was this year's Etape (amateurs). The final climb-the Joux Plane-is a pig. The earlier descent of the Gran Colombier is pretty hairy-I saw two nasty-looking accidents and about 40 punctures! Due probably to overinflated tyres/excessive braking/rims overheating. That won't worry the pros-they don't seem to use their brakes much!

You're in good company - Robert Millar said something similar in his preview of the stage on cyclingnews. Said it was one climb he never mastered, and he was a KoM winner,,,

Of course the descent into Morzine from the Joux Plane has a place in Tour history, as it was where Roche put time into Delgardo the day after his great comeback in 87.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Azabache on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 3:55 pm

And I recall the great (sorry-I think he's great!) Richard Virenque win there and the sole other rider crash into the left-hander near the finish.

1987-the last great Tour (24 stages, over 4,000KM). When men were men.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 3:59 pm

Great win for Zakarin

Unfortunately for the tour, the GC has been a non event, Froome is extremely comfortable, the rivals are battling between themselves for the remaining podium places.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 4:06 pm

There seems to be so many strings to Froome's bow.  I don't think he has ever looked more impressive.  Still another three tough days to go, but he probably will make up some more time tomorrow.  Quintana will be back and will likely win the Tour at some point in the future.  Adam Yates has been a surprise - a podium finish looks like an achievable target.  I read somewhere before that Quintana doesn't handle heat very well (??) - and maybe that is having an impact.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Azabache on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 4:41 pm

I can see Froome winning 5 if he maintains this fitness and commitment, barring accidents of course.

If Quintana comes from the high Andes then, yes, the burning power of the tropical sun is phenominal but it's against a cooler atmosphere, as opposed to the sweltering heat in France in July; and don't forget that the French mountains are not as high.

But I also wonder whether Quintana is maybe a bit too solid or muscle-bound.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 5:34 pm

Really impressed with Yates today. I thought he might start to struggle a bit into the third week, but he looked pretty much as strong as anyone. OK he couldn't respond to the initial moves by Porte and Froome, but showed very strong form behind them. He's ridden pretty defensively so far - not helped by the fact he doesn't have any sort of team around him - but wonder if today's ride will give him some ideas for the upcoming stages.

Froome just looks too strong, and his team too good.

Quintana doesn't have the legs for whatever reason, and today showed the first real signs of weakness from Mollema. The latter of course has had problems towards the end of GTs before, and the other riders looking at podium places must feel in with a shot now.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by CJB on Wed 20 Jul 2016, 7:24 pm

http://2016riopreviews.sportsblog.com/posts/21617869/rio-2016-road-cycling-preview.html

Road Race Olympic Preview

http://2016riopreviews.sportsblog.com/posts/20782258/rio-2016-track-cycling-preview.html

Track Olympic Preview

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by dummy_half on Thu 21 Jul 2016, 7:16 am

A bit of an odd stage today - billed as a mountain ITT, but it isn't the normal way of racing bottom to top of an HC climb. 17km in total, with the first 4km being flat before a steep climb of 2.5km followed by about 7.5 km of easier climbing and about 2km descent at the end.

On form, Froome looks a near certainty, but it will be interesting to see what happens behind, as this is likely to reshuffle the top 10.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Thu 21 Jul 2016, 4:30 pm

Froome wins the TT

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Thu 21 Jul 2016, 4:35 pm

Froome, as expected, crushes it, and with it, you suspect, any lingering hopes any other rider may have had of challenging him. Yates went out too hard and paid for it, while Porte, Bardet and Aru all had good rides. Quintana actually did OK, and we could have a right ding dong for the minor podium places at least.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Azabache on Thu 21 Jul 2016, 4:36 pm

It's Lance all over again!

Hopefully without any "doubts".

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Big on Fri 22 Jul 2016, 1:50 pm

So much for my not a Postal/Discovery like procession comments... clearly thinking with heart over head! Crashes aside (and I wouldn't wish that on anyone) I can't see anyone taking time out of Froome at all, let alone enough to challenge for yellow.

Ah well, at least the race for the other podium positions is exciting.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Big on Fri 22 Jul 2016, 1:52 pm

Having just posted that I have had the slightly evil thought that I wouldn't wish a crash on anyone, but that an ill timed puncture could add some spice! I know I shouldn't be thinking that but...

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Fri 22 Jul 2016, 3:31 pm

Quite an exciting stage, heavy rain on the descents. Rolland has crashed heavily in the lead, Dumoulin has apparantly broken his wrist, Reichemback has fallen, along with Ritchie Porte.

Rui Costa had a minute lead

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Fri 22 Jul 2016, 3:54 pm

Froome has fallen with Nibali. Navarro fallen & Mollema. Anything could happen

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Fri 22 Jul 2016, 4:27 pm

Well that was quite the stage!

Bardet wins and I think moves up to second overall. Yates had a tough day and I think Quintana may have slipped past him also into third, though he limited his losses pretty well overall.

Tough times for Froome and he drops a handful of seconds (about 12) to Quintana, and 34 or so to Bardet, though he's actually increased his lead overall I think with Mollema going backwards. Just a question of whether he can recover for tomorrow.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Fri 22 Jul 2016, 4:41 pm

Comfirmed. Bardet into second, 4:11 behind Froome. Quintana third, 4:27 behind. Yates drops to fourth a further 9 seconds down. Mollema drops all the way down to tenth.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Azabache on Fri 22 Jul 2016, 4:44 pm

Can't wait to see the highlights tonight!

Just goes to show that anything can happen. No fair person would wish to see Froome lose it so late in the day, but it only takes a slip.

Feel sorry for the likeable Dumoulin.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Fri 22 Jul 2016, 4:54 pm

Yeah feel very sorry for Dumoulin, suspected broken wrist, and that will probably mean he'll miss the Olympics too, where he was favourite in the TT. Such a shame for the lad.

Pleased that Bardet's got some reward, he's been probably the most attacking rider out of the GC contenders.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Lowlandbrit on Fri 22 Jul 2016, 10:22 pm

Imagine how close this race would be now if they'd stuck with the original Bastille day result.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by dummy_half on Sat 23 Jul 2016, 1:11 am

A slight curiosity that Froome had a bit of a bad day yet actually extended his lead in the GC despite losing ground to about 6 of the top 10, as Mollema and Yates both had worse days.

I wonder if tomorrow will see some aggression, as Froome is clearly a bit hurt after his crash. Also only just over 2 minutes between Yates and Meintjes for the white jersey, so that could be in play

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Sat 23 Jul 2016, 3:28 pm

Fabio Aru looks like he's blown

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by whocares on Sat 23 Jul 2016, 4:02 pm

Tricky descent. Izaguirre actually surprising me here given Nibali is a normally good at that.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Sat 23 Jul 2016, 7:38 pm

Huge Cycling fan, was under-whelmed with this Tour, compared to previous years, but a deserving winner none-the-less, in Chris Froome. Congratulations to Team Sky. I too, was thoroughly surprised at Izaguirre's performance on that descent, especially up against Nibali & Pantano, given their skills in descents. I think Pantano's legs had gone after numerous stage attacking & Nibali's crash yesterday, seemed to suck the confidence out of him, in encountering another descent, especially a wet one.

Look forward to Olympics & Vuelta & discussing it on here.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by whocares on Sat 23 Jul 2016, 7:56 pm

The fact that team Sky is looking to hire Diego Rosa from Astana for next year is quite depressing. They have so much quality already and yet keep adding to it.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Sun 24 Jul 2016, 11:53 am

I don't even think that Froome needs all the support he gets, in 2013 he was often left on his own and still didn't break once; having four domestiques who could finish top ten is taking things to the extreme really.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Guest on Mon 25 Jul 2016, 2:13 am

Coming into this TdF I thought Quintana would beat Froome.  But this TdF Froome seems to be better than before - he seems to be a better all round cyclist.  Several years ago who would have thought Britain would have so many good cyclists in the TdF and even winning it.  A three time British GC winner is just unreal.  What has happened in the sport?  I think the removal of drugs from the sport was probably the biggest change that has allowed the Brits to excel and commit to the sport.  In women's road racing have to give a shout for Liz Armistead - who seems to dominate her sport even more than Froome in his sport.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Mon 25 Jul 2016, 7:08 am

Yes a brilliant tour for the Brits - a shoutout for young Dan McLay on his first tour as well - a top 3 and competing in all the early sprints, faded as the tour went on but battled through the mountains to make it to the finish - one to keep an eye on in future years

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by dummy_half on Mon 25 Jul 2016, 7:45 am

Nore Staat wrote:Coming into this TdF I thought Quintana would beat Froome.  But this TdF Froome seems to be better than before - he seems to be a better all round cyclist.  Several years ago who would have thought Britain would have so many good cyclists in the TdF and even winning it.  A three time British GC winner is just unreal.  What has happened in the sport?  I think the removal of drugs from the sport was probably the biggest change that has allowed the Brits to excel and commit to the sport.  In women's road racing have to give a shout for Liz Armistead - who seems to dominate her sport even more than Froome in his sport.

Not sure he's 'better', but has certainly improved his descending and tactical awareness. Was always a dominant climber and the best ITT rider of the climbers. I thought though the rest of the field was poor this race. Obviously Contador was hindered by injury, Nibali hadn't recovered from the Giro, so they get a pass. However, how many of the other GC riders really put in an effort to break Froome and the Sky team dominance? Bardet was about the only one, and he got 2nd for his efforts. Quintana a major disappointment.

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by Azabache on Mon 25 Jul 2016, 10:33 am

Well, Quintana was still third! Maybe he'll win it one day, then again...

Re. the wealth/dominance of Sky, here's a thought (but it'll never happen):

> restrict the amount of money each team is allowed to spend (similar to the
Formula One set up)
> restrict the number of "quality" team members (would have to be based on
some sort of ranking system/past results)
> prohibit teams "training" in altitude/mystery locations; set up common training
grounds that all teams would have to use (a bit like the US horse racing system)
> provide a common "Tour" bike that all teams would have to use

All a pipe dream of course!




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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by dummy_half on Mon 25 Jul 2016, 1:13 pm

Aza

The disappointment with Quintana was that he never took the initiative, and never really looked likely to put Froome under any pressure. He's at least managed to do that in defeat previously.

Froome won by what looks like a very dominant 4 minutes, but I don't think he showed that sort of dominance - was rarely off the front on the climbs (Ventoux excepted, and then things went pear shaped...), but just did a very good job of not losing time to any of his competitors, while each of them had a bad day or two.

In part agree with you regarding Sky's dominance - they've 3 or 4 domestiques supporting Froome who could contend for top 10 GC placings in their own right plus the likes of Poels and Thomas who are capable of winning shorter stage races (can't quite manage 3 weeks of consistent high placings).

Budget / salary cap is a bit difficult because there is such a disparity in the costs of running teams between northern and southern Europe, but undoubtedly Sky's budget advantage contributes to their dominance.

I don't think Mount Teide counts as a mysterious location, given that lots of teams use the area now. I do think though that the UCI / WADA should be even stronger on OOC testing during these training spells.

There was talk a few years ago of using a standardised spec bike. The problem I think is that the bike manufacturers want to use the Tour and racing in general to show off new products. I'm not convinced there is any significant advantage to any World Tour team over another based on the equipment they have available* though, as they all ride fantastic bikes

*Well, other than those that have motors embedded in the crank or wheels Wink

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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by McLaren on Mon 25 Jul 2016, 1:38 pm

For those of you who are into cycling, is Froome the first clean three time winner?
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Re: 2016 season thread

Post by dummy_half on Mon 25 Jul 2016, 2:28 pm

McLaren wrote:For those of you who are into cycling, is Froome the first clean three time winner?

Probably not (and ignoring the implied question of whether Froome is clean)- it's pretty well accepted that Greg Lemond was clean, and Bobet claimed never to have taken drugs. As for the 5 times winners, Hinault seems untainted by any doping allegations, Merckx failed 3 dope tests during his career, Anquetil was open about his use of amphetamine (at a time when drug testing was barely beginning.

Indurain is an interesting one, in that although he denied doping, he and his team did associate with Professor Conconi, who is widely accepted to have been the sports scientist to introduce EPO into the peloton. Also, Indurain is the 'mutant' often cited by the likes of Lemond and Hampsten as the big guy going up hill like a climber (implying he was an early beneficiary of EPO use). Certainly, his success by 94/95 was against a peloton in which EPO use was widespread, and the increase in speed over the first half of the 90s is consistent with increased EPO use generally. However, his failure against the uber-doped peoloton in 96 suggests that he maybe was clean(er)...

Of course it needs to be remembered that doping in cycling can be divided into 2 - pre 90s, where doping products were used as stimulants and for recovery, but which did not necessarily have a direct affect on altering a rider's physiology, and the 90s onwards with oxygen vector doping (EPO and blood doping*), where the doping in and of itself has a direct physical benefit to a rider's capabilities. Basically, until EPO was introduced, it was possible to compete and win clean, but during the EPO and blood doping era (about 1990-mid noughties), it was pretty much impossible (certainly for longer stage races). As for the present day - who knows?

* Blood doping had been used previously, but the available evidence suggests that it was not widespread as the beneficial effects were small and the logistical difficulties and health risks were great enough to make it impractical. These problems were somewhat overcome by the 'post-EPO' era.

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Re: 2016 season thread

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