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Post by Azabache on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 11:12 am

Greetings, and awake from hibernation!

This thread opened for a season when we might see Ineos win all 3 Grand Tours?

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Post by Lowlandbrit on Fri 31 Jan 2020, 5:10 pm

Jumbo-Visma are taking over Movistar's position: they've already announced they're taking Dumoulin, Roglic and Kruijswijk to the Tour.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Sat 01 Feb 2020, 8:46 am

Lowlandbrit wrote:Jumbo-Visma are taking over Movistar's position: they've already announced they're taking Dumoulin, Roglic and Kruijswijk to the Tour.

Ineos could well fight fire with fire and take Bernal, Thomas and Froome if he's recovered enough.

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Post by Just John on Sun 02 Feb 2020, 10:59 am

Jesus, that would be fireworks if those six are all going. Chuck in Alaphillipe & Pinot too, and it could be mouthwatering.

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Post by Azabache on Mon 03 Feb 2020, 10:16 am

Predictions (slightly in jest):
Roglic - flatters to deceive; arrogance at some point alienates fans
Dumoulin - catches something, or has an "incident" at some point; loved by all though
Alaphillipe - similar, some fantastic, heroic stages, leads until it gets important; loved by all
Pinot - bookies will take bets on what stage he has a dramatic collapse and then cries; loved by the French
Kruijswijk - may very well go all the way
Froome and Thomas -  have an altercation and are ejected from the Tour (sorry-couldn't resist!)
Bernal - wins Tour and Vuelta
An Italian wins the Giro

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Post by dummy_half on Mon 03 Feb 2020, 1:56 pm

Azabache wrote:Predictions (slightly in jest):
Roglic - flatters to deceive; arrogance at some point alienates fans
Dumoulin - catches something, or has an "incident" at some point; loved by all though
Alaphillipe - similar, some fantastic, heroic stages, leads until it gets important; loved by all. Wins Fleche Wallonne but otherwise keeps getting out-sprinted by MvdP
Pinot - bookies will take bets on what stage he has a dramatic collapse and then cries; loved by the French
Kruijswijk - may very well go all the way
Froome and Thomas -  have an altercation and are ejected from the Tour (sorry-couldn't resist!)
Bernal - wins Tour and Vuelta
An Italian wins the Giro

Matthieu van der Poel: Wins every Classic he 's entered into except Fleche Wallonne (see Alaphillipe). Wins the Olympics for both MTB and road. Single handedly solves climate change. His Grandad is still loved and mourned by everyone

Remco Evenepoel: Continues to be identified as the Second Coming (of Merckx). Rides and wins Paris Nice by soloing off the front in the first km of each stage.

Jacob Fuglsang: Sets a new record for coming second in races across the season, without winning a single race.

Barguil and Bardet: Win a mountain stage of the Tour. Fight for the polka dot jersey. Hold top 5 positions in the Tour until the last mountain of the race, when Sky Ineos team time trial up at an average of 45 km/h, meaning everyone else misses the time cut. Rumours of team-wide doping are vehemently denied

Sagan: Gets his hair cut and loses all his strength. Loved by all

Cavendish: Actually finishes a race.

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Post by dummy_half on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 12:36 pm

Well, Covid-19 is certainly playing havoc with the early season - Tour of the Emirates shortened after 2 cases amongst team personnel, and now Strada Bianchi, Tirreno-Adriatic and Milan-San Remo at least postponed because of the problems in northern Italy.

Currently looking like the French and Flandrian races will be going ahead, but it's going to be an odd spring.

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Post by Azabache on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 2:51 pm

Have entered the Nove Colli (Italy) end of May this year as the other ones I was interested in (Etape, Maratona, Marmotte) are all on the same day in July, which I can't make; they've brought everything forward-including the Tour-this year to avoid the Olympics.

Let's hope this is all sorted by then!

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Post by No name Bertie on Thu 26 Mar 2020, 1:43 pm

It is possible the Tour de France could go ahead if there are measures put in place to prevent any crowds forming / people mixing.  Cyclists tend to be young and healthy and hence not at high risk of getting the severe form of coronavirus.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/52050109

France could be heading the same way as Italy and Spain.  France went on a national lockdown from 17 March, a week earlier than Britain, and has seen daily deaths increasing to above 200 over the past two days.  That lockdown will be reviewed at the end of March.  The way things  are progressing in France I see that lockdown being extended.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 26 Mar 2020, 3:48 pm

Highly doubt a bike race will happen. Might be pushed to September/October at best
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Post by Soul Requiem on Thu 26 Mar 2020, 3:56 pm

No name Bertie wrote:It is possible the Tour de France could go ahead if there are measures put in place to prevent any crowds forming / people mixing.  Cyclists tend to be young and healthy and hence not at high risk of getting the severe form of coronavirus.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/52050109

France could be heading the same way as Italy and Spain.  France went on a national lockdown from 17 March, a week earlier than Britain, and has seen daily deaths increasing to above 200 over the past two days.  That lockdown will be reviewed at the end of March.  The way things  are progressing in France I see that lockdown being extended.

Aside from the crowd of 180+ cyclists and their teams. I can't imagine Froome with fairly severe asthma is looking forward to getting it.

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Post by Azabache on Thu 26 Mar 2020, 11:49 pm

Yep-it's looking pretty grim.

Best we can hope for is rescheduling to the Autumn-but which one? If the Giro and Tour were both rescheduled there would be a clash between them and also with the Vuelta-assuming that is going ahead still-rather unlikely I would have thought with Spain in a crisis at the moment. At least there would be no conflict with Olympic duties, as the Games are now put back to 2021.

As for Froome...there are two ways of looking at this:
. a longer break gives him even more time to recover from that crash, assuming he continues training (but that presumably couldn't be in peloton mode);
. he's ageing (though he has relatively modest miles on the clock) and he is superhuman!

Maybe it's destiny never to get the 5 victories...

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Post by Just John on Thu 09 Jul 2020, 3:14 pm

Unsurprising news really, Chris Froome is to leave Team Ineos at the end of the season, after they decided not to renew his contract. He will join Israel Start-Up Nation for next season as sole team leader. The team already have secured the services of André Greipel & Dan Martin.

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Post by Just John on Thu 13 Aug 2020, 8:15 am

Ominous form for Bernal going into the Tdf. Froome looks out of sorts.


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Post by Azabache on Thu 13 Aug 2020, 10:52 pm

Difficult to know yet if Froome, Thomas just using this for "training". There's a world of difference between a 5-day race (though admittedly quite hilly) and a 3-week Grand Tour.

(I like the French social distancing among the crowds!)

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Post by Azabache on Wed 19 Aug 2020, 9:52 am

Well, that's been answered with today's news that both are not starting!

I am a little surprised at this. I would have thought that Ineos-of all the teams-would have been maintaining a good training regime and would have been to the fore when racing started up again. True-Bernal and some of the others have performed OK (we have to accept that Bernal's later exit from the Dauphine is a safety/recovery measure)-but to lose two Grand Tour winners?

Has Froome's crash been a career-ender, or is something else going on here? And what's up with Thomas?

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Wed 19 Aug 2020, 10:23 am

Froome clearly isn’t ready to competing for the TDF, and doubt he’d want to go and be a domestique for Bernal.

Bit surprised they’re not sending Thomas, and sending Carapaz instead - would’ve thought they’d let Carapaz try to defend his Giro.

Must be the first time in what, a half decade, Sky/Ineos aren’t clearly the strongest GC team. Jumbo Visma are sending a ludicrously strong team
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Post by Just John on Wed 19 Aug 2020, 10:24 am

Froome has instead been named as team leader for the Vuelta a España, and Thomas for the Giro d'Italia.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Wed 19 Aug 2020, 10:31 am

Would Jim Ratcliffe be happy funding a team for them not to still have an emphasis on British winners? That must have played a part in seeing Froome and Thomas named leaders for the Vuelta and Giro respectively.

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Post by dummy_half on Wed 19 Aug 2020, 1:41 pm

Unsurprised that Froome hasn't made the TdF squad - his form so far looks nowhere near, and I doubt that he's even in shape to be a useful domestique for Bernal. More surprised at Thomas missing out - as Olly said, it seems to make more sense to me to hold Carapaz back for the Giro and use GT as the main climbing domestique for Bernal in France.

I don't think Ratcliffe / Ineos really care that much about the nationality of the winner of each race, as long as it comes from their team...

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Post by Azabache on Thu 20 Aug 2020, 12:25 am

This is fast-moving but it does seem that politics as well as hardheadedness is a factor even accepting that Chris needs some more time to be match fit, and that's assuming that he can still match the "young guns". If you look way back at what Poulidor achieved, then he may well have a surprise for us...

So, any conflict with Bernal is now averted; let's hope he keeps out of trouble and has good support all the way round. I also agree that leaving out Thomas-such a tough, reliable, experienced "domestique"-is a bit of a gamble.

Though, as the French press were speculating back in 2018, when Froome lost out (though they conveniently neglected to consider his phenomenal, but fatiguing earlier comeback on the penultimate stage of the Giro), a Changing of the Guard was imminent.

This may be the case here and the management of Ineos are being ruthlessly hardheaded.

Jumbo Visma-will they ultimately flatter to deceive?

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 20 Aug 2020, 8:21 am

Jumbo Visma look to have a fantastic squad...but the questions will arise of "who is the leader" when push comes to shove - is it Roglic, Dumoulin or Kruijswijk?

And, are any of them, actually good enough to beat an in form Bernal in the high mountains...no matter how strong their team is? You'd figure Carapaz should be able to stick with Bernal most of the time, and maybe Sivakov a fair chunk of the way too, even if they shed many of the rest early on.
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Post by Just John on Thu 20 Aug 2020, 8:51 am

I heard Steven Kruijswijk is injured and will miss the Tdf.

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Post by dummy_half on Thu 20 Aug 2020, 1:48 pm

Kruiswujk has a broken shoulder, so as John says, misses out on the Tour. Not for me a real challenger for the win, but a useful second string in the mountains who could have put the pressure on the opposition and given Roglic an easier time.

OF course the bigger disappointment for the rest of the season is the injury to Evenepoel, who was scheduled to make his GT debut at the Giro (and was the bookies favourite to win it, despite being unproven in the highest mountains and over a longer stage race).

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Post by Lowlandbrit on Thu 20 Aug 2020, 3:06 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Jumbo Visma look to have a fantastic squad...but the questions will arise of "who is the leader" when push comes to shove - is it Roglic, Dumoulin or Kruijswijk?
Kruijswijk is out, but van Aert is also in the squad and with the form he's in they might still end up with three...

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Post by dummy_half on Thu 20 Aug 2020, 4:22 pm

Don't think van Aert is a good enough climber in the high mountains and day after day to be a real challenger, although he is a very good rider and a pretty decent bet to pick up a stage somewhere along the way. Having said that, of course Alaphillipe has a somewhat similar profile and challenged last year.

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Post by Just John on Sat 22 Aug 2020, 1:56 pm

Cavendish also absent from the Tdf. Not sure we will see him again at the Tour.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Sat 22 Aug 2020, 10:56 pm

Just John wrote:Cavendish also absent from the Tdf. Not sure we will see him again at the Tour.

Looked a dead cert to break the all time stage wins at the TDF record a half decade ago - such a shame he hasn’t really overcome that illness of a few years back
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Post by Azabache on Sat 22 Aug 2020, 11:33 pm

This may sound churlish but I'm glad in a way as-remarkable as Cavendish's record in the Tour is-most of us that go way back to Merckx's incredible exploits regard it as almost sacrilege that his record was going to be broken, given that he was an exceptional All-Rounder.

Many thought the same when Virenque beat the Eagle of Toledo's (Bahamontes) long-lasting climbing record.

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Post by Lowlandbrit on Sat 29 Aug 2020, 4:32 pm

Just over three hours into the race and maybe half the peloton has been on the ground already.

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Post by Azabache on Sat 29 Aug 2020, 10:45 pm

They eventually saw some sense and employed a "truce" that at least prevented carnage.

Terrific coverage on ITV4 with the always insightful David Millar, Ned Boulting, Chris Boardman etc. Plus a long, interesting telephone interview with Chris Froome.

Let's hope the full 3 weeks roll out......

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Post by Soul Requiem on Sun 30 Aug 2020, 11:14 am

I do like Millar, always feels he's unfortunate being labelled a doper especially when you consider when it happened, to make an impact on the sport he had no option but to and his subsequent behaviour and stance has highlighted that further. I always remember his daring breakaway in 2007 which swept through my home town.

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Post by No name Bertie on Sun 30 Aug 2020, 12:25 pm

Any signs that the BLM taking the knee protest has extended to cycling?   It seems to be wall to wall in English domestic sport (Football Premier League, FA, Championship, Rugby Union English Premier League) as well as some international sports (Formula One, English Cricket team), not to mention US sports.

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Post by Azabache on Mon 31 Aug 2020, 12:55 am

The other ones on the ITV4 team are Matt Rendell (author of the book on Pantani)-he's a somewhat gentlemanly commentator-and Peter Kennaugh-whom they seem to be nursing into the role. I recorded the 6-hour transmission of Stage 2 but couldn't get to it until 10PM Sunday; I though I'd be doing some fast-forwarding but it's so addictive that I'm in for the long haul and won't be in bed until after 3AM!

Millar-yeah, for goodness sake, these spiteful people who won't let go of him...he long ago redeemed himself and he's the finest commentator out there IMHO.

BLM-no signs yet thankfully, but ominous that the 2 podium gals (always gorgeous) have been whittled down to one + a bloke-why? I hate to think what's coming up in the Giro!

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Post by No name Bertie on Wed 02 Sep 2020, 1:36 pm

The BBC seems to be calling everything out for being racist.  Today is the turn for cycling:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/53663002

It seems to me that life is difficult for everyone but nowadays journalists and activists can blame everything on "identity".  Lenny Henry some time ago produced some amusing "Is it because I'm Black" comedy sketches.

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Post by Lowlandbrit on Wed 02 Sep 2020, 2:51 pm

World championships being moved to Imola, reduced to ITT and road race.
24/9 TT women (32 km)
25/9 TT men (32 km)
26/9 RR women (144 km)
27/9 RR men (259 km)

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Post by Azabache on Wed 02 Sep 2020, 11:45 pm

The BBC is fast becoming an irrelevance/joke and, anyway, has never really been into cycling; I'm just thankful that they are not covering the TdF-they'd turn it into a snobby/"diverse" phenomenon.

As regards the article Bertie linked, it's interesting but seems short of discussing whether they were good enough in the final analysis.

PS-just heard that Alaphilippe has lost the leadership due to illegal hydration inside the last 20KM.

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Post by Lowlandbrit on Fri 11 Sep 2020, 5:00 pm

Lowlandbrit (2019 Vuelta) wrote:and 20 (twenty) year old Tadej Pogacar wins the stage and moves up to 5th overall.
Update: Tadej Pogacar turns 22 the day after the Tour finishes, is currently in second.

Standings after 13 stages:
1-2 Slovenia
3-6 Colombia
7 Adam Yates

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Post by Azabache on Fri 11 Sep 2020, 10:44 pm

Sunday may be key but it looks like Bernal has had it (he was very honest in the post-race interview saying that he couldn't do anymore).

I just pray that there isn't a scandal lurking round the corner re. the two Slovenians!

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun 13 Sep 2020, 5:33 pm

Azabache wrote:Sunday may be key but it looks like Bernal has had it (he was very honest in the post-race interview saying that he couldn't do anymore).

I just pray that there isn't a scandal lurking round the corner re. the two Slovenians!

Well he's certainly had it now. Dropped on the last climb of the Col de Colombier and finished over seven minutes behind the leaders. The jumbo Visma team controlling things superbly and kept a firm grip on the yellow jersey for Roglic. Pogacar beat Roglic to the stage win but Roglic will be pleased with his day's work. Adam Yates deserves a mention finishing just 15 seconds back and climbs up to 5th in the General Classification.
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Post by Just John on Sun 13 Sep 2020, 6:05 pm

Bernal blows

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Post by Lowlandbrit on Sun 13 Sep 2020, 6:15 pm

Bernal looking maybe just a little bit like yet another rider that can destroy the field as a domestique but can't do the job as the main man. Obviously has plenty of time to prove he's the real deal (and he's not doing that badly really), but I could easily see him ending up as a sort of Pereiro-esque weird footnote in history given the way he won.

Would have been nice if it was less surprising that Quintana fell out the back with him. Probably going to be up to Pogacar to keep things interesting because I suspect Uran and Lopez are going to end up trying to beat each other more than Roglic.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun 13 Sep 2020, 6:30 pm

Lowlandbrit wrote:Bernal looking maybe just a little bit like yet another rider that can destroy the field as a domestique but can't do the job as the main man. Obviously has plenty of time to prove he's the real deal (and he's not doing that badly really), but I could easily see him ending up as a sort of Pereiro-esque weird footnote in history given the way he won.

Would have been nice if it was less surprising that Quintana fell out the back with him. Probably going to be up to Pogacar to keep things interesting because I suspect Uran and Lopez are going to end up trying to beat each other more than Roglic.

Jumbo Visma though are controlling everything and keeping Roglic very nicely wrapped in cotton wool. Pogacar has his hands tied you feel as Roglic has such great support to call upon to cover any moves.
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Post by Lowlandbrit on Sun 13 Sep 2020, 7:06 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:Jumbo Visma though are controlling everything and keeping Roglic very nicely wrapped in cotton wool. Pogacar has his hands tied you feel as Roglic has such great support to call upon to cover any moves.
You can't help but wonder how things would have played out if Dumoulin hadn't been so quick to throw in the towel on his own race. Might have been a bit more room to manoeuvre for everyone else.

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Post by Azabache on Mon 14 Sep 2020, 1:36 am

This is starting to be-dare I say it-almost boring-shades of the old U.S. Postal days and the recent Sky/Ineos train.

Let's back Pogacar, eh, just to be contrary!

He could do it, given last year's Vuelta form; and he's also a very good T.T.er.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Mon 14 Sep 2020, 8:26 am

I'm fully expecting Pogacar to blow up at some point this week and leave Roglic with very little defensive work to do; Yates will be kicking himself that he came into the tour in anything but ideal circumstances as his form considering looks very good.

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Post by Azabache on Mon 14 Sep 2020, 10:52 pm

The trio of pundits on the ITV4 highlights show had two going for Pogacar; David Millar has the same view as the last three posters here.

It might be down to whether the youngster does indeed have the energy to sustain to the end, and the "old" (!) leader falters at some point...

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Post by Just John on Wed 16 Sep 2020, 9:52 am

Bernal withdraws

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Post by Soul Requiem on Wed 16 Sep 2020, 10:59 am

Was fairly predictable, of the opinion that Bernal as well as Thomas lucked out in winning the tour with Froome being either physically broken or exhausted from three grand tour wins on the bounce.

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Post by Lowlandbrit on Wed 16 Sep 2020, 4:38 pm

Standings after 17

Contenders:
1 Roglic
2 Pogacar 57"
2 Lopez 1'26"

Best of the rest:
4 Porte 3'05"
5 Yates 3'14"
6 Uran 3'24"
7 Landa 3'27"
8 Mas 4'18"

Fight for the top 10:
9 Dumoulin 7'23"
10 Valverde 9'31"
11 Martin 10'35"
12 Caruso 12'30"

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