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2024 season

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Post by Lowlandbrit Mon 1 Jan 2024 - 15:29

While MvdP dominates the cyclo-cross season, it's nearly time to get back on the road.

Pogačar will be riding the Giro this year. Does that mean they're throwing in the towel on the TdF? Well, the plan is for him to ride that alongside Almeida, Ayuso and Yates, so probably not.

The 'Yellow B' team (as they've renamed the official licence holder, seemingly as part of a plan to make that the team name/brand going forward) will now be Visma | Lease a Bike, and there's another big money discounter sponsor (following Lidl-Trek) in Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 1 Jan 2024 - 19:34

Pogacar had great form in the Spring Classics last year. If he's going to come into the year strong again he might as well have a crack at the Giro before the Tour. Quite a few of the big tour riders double up. Great chance for him to add to his palmares, he's won the Giro de Lombardia in each of the last three years and he's only raced a Grand Tour that wasn't The Tour once in 2019 when he raced the Vuelta and came third winning the young riders classification. If Pogacar can pick up multiple grand tour wins then why not, not many have accomplished it.

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Post by mountain man Tue 2 Jan 2024 - 8:48

Pogacar is riding the Tour, he has confirmed it.

Don't know if anyone watches the Matt Stephens Cafe Rides on Youtube but a recent one with Pogacar has him talking about TdF and that he'll be riding it. Due to Olympics the finish this year is in Nice which is where he lives so they were discussing that etc.

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Post by dummy_half Tue 2 Jan 2024 - 12:43

Will be interesting to see if Pogacar races the Giro to win, or just to hold form. Obviously last season he started like a house on fire, until the injury in LBL, and then he was good for the first two weeks of the Tour but faded in the third week. Lack of preparation or fatigue from too much early season racing (as opposed to riding round for conditioning)?

I get the impression that Pogacar is a guy who finds it hard to ride races without trying to win them - it's great to have such an old-school approach from a rider who is a serious contender in Grand Tours, something we haven't really seen since the era of Hinault. The problem is that it will probably cost him some Tour successes against more focussed opponents.

Another thing I'm watching for this year is whether Pidcock can have more success on the road - I didn't realise until a few days ago (when Eurosport were re-showing Strade Bianche 23) that he has only 4 wins in road races so far, although has picked some good ones (Tour stage at l'Alpe d;Huez, Strade Bianche and Brabantse Pijl). OK, a coupl eof other very near misses with 2nd in Amstel Gold and Liege. Obviously he's an exceptional all round rider, probably the best XC mountain biker, top 3 or 4 in cyclo cross and potentially a superstar on the road, but currently seems to not quite be defined as to his niche - probably going to end up being a hilly classics and shorter stage race rider rather than a Tour champion, but currently Ineos seem to be pushing him in the direction of the big stage races.

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Post by Azabache Sat 6 Jan 2024 - 21:41

I admire Pogacar for being an old-fashioned Tryer and not a "focussed" rider (great euphemism for the You Know Who Team!). I agree that he should limit his Spring efforts, pace himself in the Giro (though I would prefer him missing it and doing the Dauphine) and be a bit more wily in the Tour.

Tall order when he is as he is.

Pidcock-I fear for him in his off-road exploits....

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Post by mountain man Thu 25 Jan 2024 - 9:18

Geraint Thomas riding both Giro and Tour.
Realistically can't see him getting on podium let alone a win, certainly in TdF but he'll be a useful domestique!

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Post by dummy_half Thu 25 Jan 2024 - 11:30

Azabache wrote:I admire Pogacar for being an old-fashioned Tryer and not a "focussed" rider (great euphemism for the You Know Who Team!). I agree that he should limit his Spring efforts, pace himself in the Giro (though I would prefer him missing it and doing the Dauphine) and be a bit more wily in the Tour.

Tall order when he is as he is.

Pidcock-I fear for him in his off-road exploits....

I didn't actually use 'focussed' to suggest targets enhanced by PED programmes - the first rider who really built his season around challenging for the Tour was Lemond, and he is widely accepted as having been a clean rider in the transition from the steroid era to the EPO era.

I love that Pogacar will take on van der Poel at Flanders and Vingegaurd at the Tour, and pretty much anyone else he is riding against wherever he is racing - right out of the Merckx school of being a racer, but I'm not sure whether in the modern era, here the Tour de France is, to the general public, the behemoth of bike racing, that giving up (because of fatigue) a couple of Tour titles to win Flanders and Liege, plus compete in the Giro is a wise course of action for probably the best rider on the road at the moment.

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Post by Azabache Thu 25 Jan 2024 - 22:12

And may I clarify my earlier post-by "focussed" I merely meant restricting one's appearances to concentrate on the Tour; and the "You Know Who Team" being Jumbo Visma (Team Visma/Lease a Bike), for which at present there is absolutely no proof of PED enhancement.

Pogacar gets my vote and admiration any day vs. them.

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Post by mountain man Fri 26 Jan 2024 - 8:56

Pogacar seems a great guy and obviously one of best riders in world. Don't know why but I've always wanted Vingegaard to win so I back Visma. Having Wout van Aert in team another reason as I think he's probably best overall cyclist in world. And Sepp Kuss seems a really nice guy as well.

If you've not seen, I recommend watching the GCN video of Jonas and Sepp v Dan Lloyd. Pretty funny and just shows the gulf between what is still a good cyclist and the worlds best.

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Post by Azabache Fri 26 Jan 2024 - 22:56

Speaking of the gulf, I recall yonks ago the local paper (remember them?) listed club runs and TT results of a club down in the Dorking, Surrey area. One of their star members was Sean Yates and he would typically come in a minute or so ahead of everyone else...

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Post by dummy_half Tue 30 Jan 2024 - 11:01

Azabache wrote:Speaking of the gulf, I recall yonks ago the local paper (remember them?) listed club runs and TT results of a club down in the Dorking, Surrey area. One of their star members was Sean Yates and he would typically come in a minute or so ahead of everyone else...

And this was presumably at the age of 55 or so...

There's some footage from a few years ago (when go pro's or similar were new) of a good club ITT rider being passed by Brad Wiggins - only thing missing was a vapour trail. I't only when you see the top guys in context of mortals that you realise quite how fast they actually are. Back when young and fit, I could just about hold 30 mph on a flat road for about a couple of minutes (given an easy run in to get the speed up) - these guys can average that in a race of 6 hours, or comfortably exceed it for a hour of an ITT. And as for when the road starts to go up hill...

My nephew is a decent football player (had trials at semi-pro level), and still plays Sunday league games. A couple of years ago, his team were playing against a team started by Joe Cole so he could play with his mates. Even 5 years after retiring and not particularly fit, Cole was far too good for anyone else on the pitch. It's easy to underestimate how exceptioanl someone who has made a living close to the top of a sport really is.

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Post by Azabache Tue 30 Jan 2024 - 23:37

"Vapour trail"-I love it! And the cadences these blokes maintain are impossibly high.

A good read is "Lanterne Rouge" by Max Leonard. If you examine the stats there the range of the average speeds of the stage winners and the "losers" is not that wide, but us mere mortals could never even come close to those "losers".

Similarly, if you look at the published times of the winners of the Etape du Tour (amateurs' attempt at a TdF mountain stage) the "winners" will invariably post times slower than the times of the pros who finish at the back when the actual stage is run.

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Post by dummy_half Yesterday at 12:27

Well, Pogacar started his season with a bang: first race was Strade Bianchi, which he decided to use the last 90 km as a solo training ride in front of the peloton. Won by 3 minutes from a 2 man break and nearer 5 from the remnants of the bunch.

Would love to see him take on van der Poel and van Aert at Roubaix, just for the hell of it.

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