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2020 Season Thread

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

First topic message reminder :

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 dummy_half on Tue 10 Nov 2020, 12:26 pm

Azabache wrote:Have the French at long last found a real future star to challenge for the Tour? Very early days of course and a lot can, and probably will, happen before next July!

Presume you're meaning Gaudu? Looks a good rider, but is he likely to achieve much more than Pinot, Bardet, Barguil etc? It needs a lot more than some climbing brilliance to overcome the superteams like Ineos and Jumbo.

It would certainly have neem interesting to see Carapaz and Carthy attack earlier on the final climb, but I'm not sure the outcome would have been different - Roglic found enough friends to help him and he didn't look in that much trouble in the last couple of kms.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Tue 10 Nov 2020, 12:34 pm

Azabache wrote:Most folk are more interested in discussing the runners-up and potential future stars than this zero personality winner and his automaton-like team.

Here's to 2021......

Roglic doesn't do a lot for me either but in time we could be looking back at a Vuelta/Tour double which is no mean feat.

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Post by Azabache on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 1:06 am

Yes, I was thinking of Gaudu. Probably more in hope than any potential reality, which is a pity as it is their race!

Still we have plenty of parallels ourselves...tennis, football.....

Interesting to read about Bernal-apparently a leg length imbalance has caused scoliosis; he must have borne that for some time though, surely?

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 7:56 am

If they can get a strong team behind Gaudu and Pinot for next year that could work. Problem for the last couple of years is FDJ seem to have all their eggs in the Pinot basket and when he breaks down the Tour goes wrong. Dual team leadership and then back who's in the best form once they are out there. If Pinot and Gaudu can work in tandem on the big climbs they should be able to make a play to be up there with the bigger teams.

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Post by Azabache on Wed 11 Nov 2020, 11:20 pm

Yeah-with Pinot "all life is there"! Still, at least he has a personality; you suffer with him, cry with him, shout at him; you aren't numbed into indifference like with You Know Who....

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 13 Nov 2020, 11:56 am

Pogacar showed how to win without an expensive lead out train and Geoghan Hart won in a very different style to the normal Sky Train. Hopefully we're seeing a move away from the dominant train leading the eventual winner up the mountain.

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Post by dummy_half on Fri 13 Nov 2020, 2:05 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:Pogacar showed how to win without an expensive lead out train and Geoghan Hart won in a very different style to the normal Sky Train. Hopefully we're seeing a move away from the dominant train leading the eventual winner up the mountain.

Pogacar basically followed the Jumbo train, which is the same as many contenders have tried through the Sky-dominated era and even back to the US Postal / Discovery era. That he was better in the final ITT than a guy considered to be a very good* ITT rider was somewhat a surprise, but I think was a case of Roglic having reached the end of his reserves for the race, which was also kind of the case in the Vuelta (Roglic's lead proving to be enough this time, but he was definitely not the strongest rider in the last couple of mountain stages)

* Very good rather than outstanding. The sort of rider who will regularly be top 5 or so in a flat ITT but not challenge the specialists for the stage win

TGH's win was just from a very peculiar edition of the race - some of the big stars being eliminated by injury and illness, others being below previous levels (Nibali for example) and two young riders rising through the carnage to compete the last several stages almost head to head.

My up-shot is that I don't think we'll see much of a change of tactics over the next couple of years - the 'Superteams' are so strong and have such a financial advantage when it comes to recruitment that we'll continue to see the likes of Rohan Dennis and Sepp Kuss riding as domestiques high in the mountains rather than the talent being more evenly distributed.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 13 Nov 2020, 2:31 pm

I wonder how long Jumbo will keep Sepp Kuss happy playing the super domestique role. At some point he won't want to be supporting Roglic he'll want his own chance. Ditto Dumolin. Roglic might only get one shot at a Grand Tour next year which could mean the team has to be diluted like what happened with Ineos this year as the team had to be spread across multiple Grand Tours due to the number of riders with ambitions.

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Post by dummy_half on Fri 13 Nov 2020, 4:40 pm

Sam
I think this year was an anomaly for Ineos - Bernal off form (now for understandable reasons), Froome still recovering from injury and Thomas being late into form after lockdown and then knocked out of the Giro thanks to a stray water bottle. Despite this, they came within 25 seconds of winning two Grand Tours. Having said that, Carapaz did it almost entirely on his own in the Vuelta.

With a more normal calendar (hopefully) there is the space for riders taking part in one grand tour as the designated leader and contributing to another as a domestique. Obviously easier with the Giro / Vuelta double, both because of the timing and that they generally favour outright climbers more than the TdF's need for an all-rounder., but over recent years a TdF/Vuelta pairing has been viable. I could see Jumbo next year having Roglic and Dumoulin as the twin leads for the Tour, with Kuss and Van Aert as their main helpers. Kuss might get to lead the Vuelta team, and Van Aert obviously is a brilliant 'jack of all trades' rider who will be their leader for the classics (after all, he sent his formative cyclo-cross years learning how to come second to van der Poel - might as well keep the trend up ;-) ).

Obviously, there is a balancing act to try and keep individual riders happy and satisfy their ambition - oddly, it's easier when you pay them a bigger wedge as a domestique than someone like EF could pay them as team leader...

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Post by Azabache on Fri 13 Nov 2020, 11:34 pm

Good points here, cogently argued. Yes, there are always these super domestiques that are appreciated but overlooked, if that doesn't sound ambivalent. Hincapie a while back comes to mind (OK-I know he was supporting He Whose Name Must Never Be Mentioned!); Landa; Pouls; Kuss and Van Aert are terrific...

Of course, when they are occasionally "let loose" so to speak (either given their head within a race, or given captaincy in a later year), they tend to come up short-I'm afraid that Dan Martin's destiny may be similar to Poulidor's-great shame.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 14 Nov 2020, 8:17 am

I think Ineos knew their troubles before the season started. Bernal, Thomas, Froome and Carapaz all expecting to lead takes up quite a lot of not all of the available grand tour leadership roles. Froome out and Adam Yates in gives them some more freedom as Yates can both lead and play the team role. Issue for them now is that TGH might be wanting the top job to defend his title at the Giro though he seems humble enough to then accept a team role at say the Vuelta later in the season.

On the whole I agree with domestiques struggling to make the step up but if Kuss gets some support on a mountainous grand tour I reckon he could be up there. He sacrificed himself this year for Roglic. Roglic would have have not placed at either Grand Tour without Kuss leading him up the mountains and hurting the competition again and again.

I hope to see Van Der Poel competing against Van Aert next season. Hopefully Evenepoel is back as well so we can have the Belgian/Dutch super kids show down on the roads.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Sat 14 Nov 2020, 8:33 am

Thomas is in all reality a domestique who got lucky to some extent; Froome winning three in a row paved the way for him to win in 2018. The same is also true of Bernal and that horror crash last year which leaves Carapaz as a guaranteed team leader with the rest battling for the Tour and Giro.

TGH was superb in winning the Giro but does anyone see him as anything more than a one time flash in the pan winner?

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 14 Nov 2020, 9:49 am

TGH might be just a one off winner but he'll be looking at Ineos management and saying he wants to get a shot at retaining his title. Bernal and Thomas were both given the same chance after their one off victories. I didn't think TGH would be more than a domestique but he road so well to make up time and then take the victory in the Giro there's clearly a lot of ability there. He's also an English grand tour winner in an English team so you know he'll get another shot.

Once any rider has a grand tour under their belt there's always likely to be a better contract on the table for them because they are more marketable to sponsors. There's always likely to be part of that negotiation which goes something along the lines of I want my chance at a grand tour each season.

I think Ineos will send Thomas and Bernal to the TDF. More time trialling next year helps Thomas not Bernal and Carapaz so going one all rounder and one climber makes sense. Carapaz and TGH to the Giro as two former winners.

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Post by Lowlandbrit on Sat 14 Nov 2020, 3:33 pm

I think GT and TGH are both in a spot now where they either have to be the nominal leader for the Vuelta or Giro, or 'superdomestique' for the Tour. It's going to be interesting to see how the pecking order shakes out next year.
Although apparently TGH doesn't actually have a contract for next season yet, so who knows?

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