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2023 Season Thread

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Post by Lowlandbrit Fri Jan 27, 2023 3:48 pm

Mark Cavendish has ended up at Astana, Peter Sagan has said this will be his last season.

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Post by Azabache Fri Jan 27, 2023 10:42 pm

The changes at Ineos look interesting-will this be a "transition" year for them?

Let's hope that we don't see another (final) "clash" between Cavendish and Sagan!

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Mon Mar 06, 2023 5:02 pm

Good win for Tom Pidcock in Strade Bianche on Saturday - hopefully the first of a big classics season for him
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Post by dummy_half Mon Mar 13, 2023 1:08 pm

Normal service has resumed - Pogacar absolutely dominant in Paris Nice every time the road went upwards, and Roglic doing something similar in Tirreno Adriatico.

Pogacar has currently won 7 races in 12 racing days this season, plus 2 x GC and a points jersey.

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Post by Azabache Mon Mar 13, 2023 8:51 pm

Still a long way to go till July; and TJV will have learnt a lot from Paris-Nice.

Good to see Yates as tough and dogged as ever.

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Post by Lowlandbrit Tue Mar 14, 2023 2:19 pm

Did really like the TTT format they used there, with the clock stopping once the first rider crosses the line.

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Post by Azabache Tue Mar 14, 2023 9:08 pm

Was it really a TEAM TT though?!

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Post by Lowlandbrit Wed Mar 15, 2023 9:24 am

I thought so, no different than a sprint or climbing train really. Saw a few different strategies used, although a standard would probably form eventually if it becomes a regular thing.

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Post by Azabache Wed Mar 15, 2023 10:24 pm

I'm not convinced.

They might as well call it "team-assisted individual time trial"!

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Post by Lowlandbrit Sat Mar 18, 2023 4:30 pm

Van der Poel wins Milan-San Remo, riding away on the Poggio from Pogacar, van Aert and Ganna (cracking final group that).

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Post by Lowlandbrit Thu Mar 30, 2023 7:11 am

Jumbo are stopping as (title-)sponsor after 2024. Not the complete surprise it might seem, as the old owner (the cycling/skating fan) died, and his son is both more into motorsport (they sponsor Verstappen too), and currently under investigation for money laundering.

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Post by dummy_half Thu Mar 30, 2023 10:27 am

Lowlandbrit wrote:Jumbo are stopping as (title-)sponsor after 2024. Not the complete surprise it might seem, as the old owner (the cycling/skating fan) died, and his son is both more into motorsport (they sponsor Verstappen too), and currently under investigation for money laundering.

If there's any team at the moment that should have no problem attracting a new title sponsor, it's Jumbo. 2 Grand Tour Champions plus probably the best all rounder in the current peloton in van Aert (although Pogacar is pushing him for that mantle - taking on WvA and MvdP on the cobbles at E3 Harelbeke and only losing in the three up sprint).

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Post by mountain man Fri Mar 31, 2023 11:03 am

I see the Womens Tour been cancelled for this year due to lack of funding. That is disappointing.

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Post by Azabache Fri Mar 31, 2023 9:47 pm

A great shame. You'd think that it can't be that difficult to tack on some stages before or after the men's' ones, sharing the sponsorship.

Correction-I thought this was about the French TdF-linked event-it's not, it's the British one; still a great shame.

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Post by Lowlandbrit Sun Apr 02, 2023 4:57 pm

dummy_half wrote:probably the best all rounder in the current peloton in van Aert (although Pogacar is pushing him for that mantle
Pogacar becomes the third man to win both Le Tour and De Ronde after Bobet and Merckx. San Remo and Roubaix left to complete his card...
Van der Poel second, van Aert 4th; they've been fighting it out all spring, what more could you ask for?

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Sun Apr 02, 2023 7:13 pm

Lowlandbrit wrote:
dummy_half wrote:probably the best all rounder in the current peloton in van Aert (although Pogacar is pushing him for that mantle
Pogacar becomes the third man to win both Le Tour and De Ronde after Bobet and Merckx. San Remo and Roubaix left to complete his card...
Van der Poel second, van Aert 4th; they've been fighting it out all spring, what more could you ask for?

You'd think San Remo is going to be the hardest for Pogacar to win of the five, the final climb isn't hugely tough enough for him to drop the main contenders and his sprint isn't quite at the level of MvDP/Van Aert in particular.
Wonder if he does Roubaix this year? Kind of race he *should* be able to do well in, but you'd fancy he'll need a fair few cracks at it to win it
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Post by dummy_half Mon Apr 03, 2023 3:05 pm

Disagree as to which race will be tougher for Pogacar, in that Roubaix is a race that suits big powerful riders who can hold themselves stable over the flat cobbled roads, rather than lighter weight guys, no matter how good. Then again, until last year if you'd told me Pogacar would be a threat in Flanders I'd have told you to get off the meds. It does though have elements in it where being a great climber help, which Roubaix just doesn't have.

San Remo is a bit more of a lottery - get in the right place and attack over the Poggio and then scream down the descent and you've got a chance of holding off the bunch behind, especially if it's been a tough edition and the bunch is very reduced. Actually, might suit Pidcock very well, as he is noted for his bravery going downhill and has a bit more of a sprint than Pogacar.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue Apr 04, 2023 10:26 am

I think Pog's got the watts to be able to pull Roubaix, albeit undoubtedly will be tougher for him than Flanders with no climbs. He's also got incredible bike handling skills, which will help on the cobbles. I would fancy him to go well...but is he going to risk riding it and crashing and that impacting on Tour prep?

Also, hilariously, Valverde has unretired again
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Post by dummy_half Tue Apr 04, 2023 11:55 am

I didn't manage to see this year's MSR, so just had a quick check n the results. Should have been able to guess, based on form so far in 2023 that three of the top 4 would be Van der Poel (winner), Van Aert (third) and Pogacar (4th), with Ganna taking 2nd. MvdP won solo, with the next three a chasing bunch.

Don't think Pogacar has even ridden Roubaix - I think as you said, the risk of crashing and beng injured is too great for someone with serious TdF aspirations and also there are big races in the following couple of weeks that much better suit Pogacar's capabilities - he's already won Liege and must be a contender for La Fleche Wallonne (very steep power climb to the finish line), and Amstel Gold.

As a cycling fan though, I am absolutely loving that there is a guy who is a top Grand Tour rider who is trying to win across much more of the season rather than adopting the approach of all the GC contenders from Lemond onwards of really only focussing on the Tour, using the lead up races just to hone form.

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Post by Azabache Tue Apr 04, 2023 10:24 pm

Shades of Merckx!

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Post by mountain man Wed Apr 05, 2023 9:28 am

Not sure anyone can beat Pogacar this season, he is in scintillating form and winning Flanders against VanAert and VDP shows just how dominant he is. Come the TdF Jumbo Visma will have a job and half to repeat last years success.

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Post by dummy_half Wed Apr 05, 2023 1:04 pm

mountain man wrote:Not sure anyone can beat Pogacar this season, he is in scintillating form and winning Flanders against VanAert and VDP shows just how dominant he is. Come the TdF Jumbo Visma will have a job and half to repeat last years success.

But what seemed to happen last year was that Pogacar ran out of energy after about 2 weeks of the Tour, arguably because he had expended so much in the early season (remeber, he was 2nd in Flanders last year, only out-sprinted by van der Poel). How his Tour performance stacks up against someone who is solely focussed on that objective (Vingegaard, most probably) will be a major point of interest. Is Pogacar actually THAT good that he can race the Spring Classics (not just ride them as prep) and still have enough to win the Tour? As Azabache says above, there are definitely hints of at least Hinault if not Merckx.

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Post by mountain man Wed Apr 05, 2023 1:18 pm

Well last year Vingegaard benefited from a stronger support team than Pogacar and Pogacar seemingly went on attack in just about every mountain stage so blew himself up a couple times in tour so Vingegaard triumphed.
Hard to say for sure but man on man I'd say Pogacar strongest rider at moment. Personally I'd love Vingegaard to win again but as long as we get some great racing again I'm happy.*

*specifically the TdF I'm referring to.

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Post by Lowlandbrit Wed Apr 05, 2023 3:59 pm

dummy_half wrote:How his Tour performance stacks up against someone who is solely focussed on that objective (Vingegaard, most probably) will be a major point of interest.
It's actually also quite interesting to think about how they'd be perceived if that is how it plays out. Given that Pogacar already has wins in the bank, so to speak.

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Post by dummy_half Thu Apr 06, 2023 10:49 am

For those not so famiiar with cycling history, focussing a season solely around the Tour de France really goes back to Greg Lemond in the late 80s - prior to this, the top riders rode a full season at as close to peak fitness as they could maintain.
Indurain spread the peak wider, including a couple of Giro wins, but his season basically ended after the Tour (well, San Sebastian), and then Armstrong took the focus to particularly high levels (arguably because of the requirements of his doping programme), and Sky / Ineos always had a TdF dominant programme.

So Pogacar is going agaisnt 35 years of perceived wisdom in being this good this early and still (presumably) going for the Tour win. Undoubtedly he's an extraordinary rider, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Maybe he'll race the earlier part of the Tour a little easier this time and try to ensure he's got enough reserves to be strong in week 3?

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Post by Azabache Thu Apr 06, 2023 9:54 pm

A Star still needs a good, experienced Team with-essentially-one or two really tough nuts who can ride hard for hours putting the peloton under stress.

At random (and as Dummy Half has broken etiquette and mentioned He Whose Name Must Never Be Mentioned!)...George Hincapie.

(I can also recall Spartacus doing the unexpected leading the pack for ages on an horrendous Alpine stage...)

I leave it to others to cite more examples.

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Post by mountain man Fri Apr 07, 2023 9:45 am

Well team SKY for Wiggins, Froome and Thomas are best example of an all conquering team who delivered for the star. Likes of Wout Poel, Sepp Kuss for Froome and Froome himself for Wiggins and Thomas etc. Plus rest of the extremely strong SKY train.

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Post by mountain man Sun Apr 09, 2023 9:40 am

Paris-Roubaix today, should be a cracker. I'd love to see Van Aert take it as he's such a brilliant rider who can literally do it all. However, apart from the competition the course is brutal(not that I've ever done it!).

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Post by Lowlandbrit Sun Apr 09, 2023 5:00 pm

Inopportune puncture for van Aert on Carrefour de l'Arbre as van der Poel goes, and that's all she wrote.

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Post by mountain man Mon Apr 10, 2023 9:28 am

Lowlandbrit wrote:Inopportune puncture for van Aert on Carrefour de l'Arbre as van der Poel goes, and that's all she wrote.

Yep, unfortunate but that's the way it goes. Shame as I was hoping he'd win. Still got 4th after a puncture which is impressive.

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Post by Azabache Mon Apr 10, 2023 9:21 pm

Bit of a sour taste after Degenkolb's crash-the opinions seem to be divided as to whether vdPoel caused it by forcing his way into a rapidly-diminishing gap; or Degenkolb only had himself to blame by keeping in that narrow gutter....

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Post by dummy_half Wed Apr 12, 2023 12:35 pm

Azabache wrote:Bit of a sour taste after Degenkolb's crash-the opinions seem to be divided as to whether vdPoel caused it by forcing his way into a rapidly-diminishing gap; or Degenkolb only had himself to blame by keeping in that narrow gutter....

Degenkolb's crash was Philipsen's fault - MvdP was attacking through the gap before he started to move across, and then the concertina was inevitable; Degenkolb just had nowhere to go (also, wasn't going to win, but might just about have held on for a podium without the crash). It very nearly cost van der Poel the race as well, as he only just stayed up and lost a lot of speed (which is why van Aert attacked then). Got a bit lucky after catching up that van Aert punctured within sight of the end of the (last major) cobbled secteur, but I don't think van Aert would have matched him in the final sections anyway.

An interesting spring so far, with van Aert and Jumbo dominating the semi-classics but being 0/3 in the monuments so far.
Pogacar proving he is much more than a Grand Tour rider with a sensational win in Flanders
van der Poel going ok: in three Monuments he has 2 victories and a second place.


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Post by dummy_half Wed Apr 12, 2023 12:53 pm

Azabache wrote:A Star still needs a good, experienced Team with-essentially-one or two really tough nuts who can ride hard for hours putting the peloton under stress.

At random (and as Dummy Half has broken etiquette  and mentioned He Whose Name Must Never Be Mentioned!)...George Hincapie.

(I can also recall Spartacus doing the unexpected leading the pack for ages on an horrendous Alpine stage...)

I leave it to others to cite more examples.

Thought I could get away with it as the point I was making was specific to Tour de France preparation and focus - after all, LA did base his entire season around those three weeks. Of course USPS / Discovery were also highly focussed as a team on helping him be first in Paris, and as you say Hincapie was a big part of that.

Sky probably took the level of team focus on the Tour to a higher level at the height of the Froome years, with the whole team understanding what their roles were on the days when they had to led the peloton - just looking at the 2016 team, there was Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe for the flats, Kiriyenka and Poels for power climbing and an absolute phalanx of high mountain specialists in Henao, Landa, Nieve and Thomas. I think this may have also been the year where Poels over-performed and was at the front on almost every climb.

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Post by Lowlandbrit Wed Apr 12, 2023 3:14 pm

Azabache wrote:A Star still needs a good, experienced Team with-essentially-one or two really tough nuts who can ride hard for hours putting the peloton under stress.
That's a quality that somehow often seems to be unearthed in someone when they're riding for the yellow jersey though.

Van der Poel has joined Pogacar on three Monuments, with the two remaining this season still to get.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Sun Apr 16, 2023 7:34 pm

Pogacar takes Amstel - have to admit it's a bit of a shame just how strong he/MvDP/Van Aert are in these classics...kinda takes the fun out of them when ultimately no matter what tactics, they can just go bang and win pretty much providing they stay upright without any mechanicals
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Post by dummy_half Wed Apr 19, 2023 5:13 pm

And today Pogacar wins Fleche Wallone. Only his 12th win of the season...

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Post by mountain man Thu Apr 20, 2023 5:03 pm

As a matter of interest, how many on here are keen cyclists. I mean getting out on bike yourself?
I've only got into road cycling last 7 years but love it. I tend to try and ride 3 times a week. Got a nice 44miles in today in the glorious weather here, even in bib shorts for first time this year.
It's pretty hilly where I live so my 44miles involved over 4000ft of climbing, which is nice for variation of scenery etc but tough going!

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Post by Lowlandbrit Fri Apr 21, 2023 2:43 pm

I'm on the bike every day commuting, but I try to get at least one recreational trip a month in. Clears the head for me, and I find that emptying the battery helps to recharge it, so to speak

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Post by Lowlandbrit Sun Apr 23, 2023 2:41 pm

Won't be another win for Pogacar in LBL today, he's had to abandon after a fall.

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Post by Lowlandbrit Sat May 06, 2023 6:36 pm

Giro started today. Expectation is a duel between Roglic and Evenepoel, and it's the Belgian who'll be in the pink jersey after the opening TT.

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Post by mountain man Mon May 08, 2023 9:57 am

Are there Giro highlights showed anywhere on free to air?

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Mon May 08, 2023 12:58 pm

Lowlandbrit wrote:Giro started today. Expectation is a duel between Roglic and Evenepoel, and it's the Belgian who'll be in the pink jersey after the opening TT.

The final week looks absolutely brutal - some potentially incredible stages, if both make it that far in form
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Post by Lowlandbrit Mon May 08, 2023 1:23 pm

mountain man wrote:Are there Giro highlights showed anywhere on free to air?
On something called DMAX apparently, and possibly on iPlayer (think S4C have it, so it'd be in Welsh).

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Post by Azabache Mon May 08, 2023 9:35 pm

Annoyingly no free to air highlights-was hoping for a Eurosport spin-off with that engaging Orla Chennaoui.

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Post by mountain man Wed May 10, 2023 9:16 am

Lowlandbrit wrote:
mountain man wrote:Are there Giro highlights showed anywhere on free to air?
On something called DMAX apparently, and possibly on iPlayer (think S4C have it, so it'd be in Welsh).

Thanks, I found it last night. Yes it's on DMAX which is freesat channel 150. Basically the GCN+ highlight show.

Unfortunately I cannot stand the commentary on it though! Give me Boulting and Millar any day.

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Post by Lowlandbrit Mon May 15, 2023 2:33 pm

Having survived a loose dog, Evenepoel has been taken out by the COVID wave going through the peloton. Why they still have this full-on testing regime in place at this point I don't know, but that might be another discussion.

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Post by dummy_half Mon May 15, 2023 5:36 pm

Lowlandbrit wrote:Having survived a loose dog, Evenepoel has been taken out by the COVID wave going through the peloton. Why they still have this full-on testing regime in place at this point I don't know, but that might be another discussion.

Apparently his team are the most rigorous testers in the peloton, still maintain most precautions, and yet are also the team that has been hit hardest by COVID.
OK, if Evenepoel is actually ill, then withdraw him from the race, but if he has COVID in the same way that my two daughters did (absolutely asymptomatic - only knew they had it because of the test results), then he really should be free to continue racing.

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Post by Soul Requiem Mon May 15, 2023 5:45 pm

dummy_half wrote:
Lowlandbrit wrote:Having survived a loose dog, Evenepoel has been taken out by the COVID wave going through the peloton. Why they still have this full-on testing regime in place at this point I don't know, but that might be another discussion.

Apparently his team are the most rigorous testers in the peloton, still maintain most precautions, and yet are also the team that has been hit hardest by COVID.
OK, if Evenepoel is actually ill, then withdraw him from the race, but if he has COVID in the same way that my two daughters did (absolutely asymptomatic - only knew they had it because of the test results), then he really should be free to continue racing.

Testing is irrelevant in all of this, you're either fit enough to race or your not, providing a negative or positive test doesn't impact on that.

Opens the race up very nicely for Roglic; Thomas will be there or there abouts come the end but don't seem being able to hurt Roglic in the mountains, same goes for Geoghan-Hart. Ineos need to decide which horse they're backing and pretty quickly.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Mon May 15, 2023 7:41 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:
dummy_half wrote:
Lowlandbrit wrote:Having survived a loose dog, Evenepoel has been taken out by the COVID wave going through the peloton. Why they still have this full-on testing regime in place at this point I don't know, but that might be another discussion.

Apparently his team are the most rigorous testers in the peloton, still maintain most precautions, and yet are also the team that has been hit hardest by COVID.
OK, if Evenepoel is actually ill, then withdraw him from the race, but if he has COVID in the same way that my two daughters did (absolutely asymptomatic - only knew they had it because of the test results), then he really should be free to continue racing.

Testing is irrelevant in all of this, you're either fit enough to race or your not, providing a negative or positive test doesn't impact on that.

Opens the race up very nicely for Roglic; Thomas will be there or there abouts come the end but don't seem being able to hurt Roglic in the mountains, same goes for Geoghan-Hart. Ineos need to decide which horse they're backing and pretty quickly.

I would suggest that Remco was affected by it, considering he was dropped by Roglic/Thomas/Geoghan-Hart on a short climb on Friday, then barely gained any time on any of them in the ITT on Saturday before his positive test was announced - either that or after effects from the dog induced crash.

A real shame we won't get to see him vs Roglic vs Ineos in the high mountains in week three.

Ineos are in a fantastic position to work Roglic now - not only Hart/Thomas up there, but have a super team of support which Roglic simply doesn't have (due to Covid in Jumbo pre-Giro!). Wonder if they will try to send some guys up the road like Sivakov/Arensman on a stage to test Jumbo and Roglic?
Also potentially brings Almeida back into things...although I suspect he probably isn't quite good enough in the tough tough stuff to stay with Roglic
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Post by Azabache Mon May 15, 2023 10:31 pm

Are the rigours of this elite, high endurance sport making the riders more susceptible to "catching" Covid, I wonder?

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