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Pro Cycling - Tour de France 2022


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6 minutes ago, artz said:

It's a nice day for a Ventoux to calm the nerves.

Tried to climb Ventoux in Zwift for the first time at the weekend, but whoever was organising the ride switched it to an even longer / higher route. Thanks whoever that was.

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5 hours ago, Gringo said:

Pogacar is facing a weakened GC field but it is still highly irregular for a rider, no matter how much of a good day they are on, to solo for 30+km on the first mountain stage of the tour. They'd be wary of blowing up in the third week like Yates in the 2018 Giro. He at most had a lead of about 2 minutes or so, not putting 3 and a half minutes on his closest rival on one stage.

 

 

Yeah, it's putting in the work to extend what was already a significant first week GC lead that seems particularly anomalous. With two weeks to go, and his principal rivals at home or a very long way back,  it seemed like an unnecessary effort unless he was highly confident of his 'recovery' powers.

 

 

18 hours ago, footle said:

Today’s sprint was interesting. It really does look like there’s only one lead out train left and they’re just delivering Cavendish time after time.

 

Yeah, it is a real pleasure to see a fully in tune lead out deliver a sprinter to the line - that jockeying and bullying for position then all that power bing unleashed is something else. One of the C4 commentators mentioned that Cavendish only had 14 pedal strokes from when he went solo to crossing the line which is pretty incredible.

 

I do hope he is not doping and has just lucked out with a combination of perfect form, opportunity, and a very good team fully committed to him but, either way, he will surely be taking Merckx's stage record before this Tour is over.

 

 

I'v just glanced at the GCN coverage and the always irritating Wiggins is on the back of a motorbike wearing some WW2 aviators jacket type set up. Which has caused me more annoyance than it really should. Thankfully, I have the volume turned down so at least can't hear him (or any of the others) but, still...

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Nice little tr

1 hour ago, Graham S said:

Tried to climb Ventoux in Zwift for the first time at the weekend, but whoever was organising the ride switched it to an even longer / higher route. Thanks whoever that was.

There's a longer/higher route??

 

I love Wiggins' jacket, he's been pretty good, I thought.

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4 minutes ago, choddo said:

Nice little tr

There's a longer/higher route??

It turned out to be the Pretzel, although looking at it now it's longer but not quite as much elevation. It certainly took me more time than I'd bargained for. And I'm already familiar with it. I wanted to see Ventoux, damnit. There are a few events today doing Ventoux, but the football (and work) is on today. I'll wait until it's in the normal world rotation on a weekend.

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On 07/07/2021 at 07:59, Gringo said:

You can also look at the performances of the Bahrain team as a warning sign. 2 WT wins last year. Already 9 this year. Colbrelli finished 3 on a mountain stage.  It was from a break but he still out performed plenty of climbers who were also in that break. Tratnik (TT'er) climbing out of his skin at the Giro. Padun's back to back mountain victories at the Dauphine and then mysteriously left out of the tour squad.

 

 

 

 

 

Gringo called it!

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I have given up on the GNC ad free commentary completely as Hutch and Kirby just irritate me way too much. The calmer, more considered,  ITV 4 commentators are just so much more pleasing to listen to and just about worth suffering the ludicrously frequent and overlong ad breaks for. I did experiment with cutting to GCN during said ads but it was pointless as they were 3 or 4 minutes behind the TV feed.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Gringo said:

Be interesting to see if anything comes from it @Mike S. I doubt it though. The top teams have beating the system down to fine art. Generally only lower tier guys getting busted like the spate of Colombians recently.

 

I read, or heard, earlier that the police have been looking into BV since last year so presume must have had enough justification for the raid but, yeah, I'd be amazed if much comes of it. They have certainly had an extraordinary run of success out of, seemingly, nowhere which I am sure the gendarmes will wish them to explain.

 

 

As for Pogacar, I dunno.

 

He looked pretty effortless again today with no catch up effect of the (mostly) unnecessary exertions of the first week which does look pretty suspect but I still feel a little bad for damning a kid who may well just be better (by some way) than the rest of the peloton. His manager (or some team rep, I forget) said something about the rest of the field just being below his level this year and that Pogacar's  power output is actually lower than last year which when combined with a few of the big GC teams being out of sorts or suffering from the chaos of the first few days crashes might just have been a perfect storm of fortune. Maybe.

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I still maintain that he's looking so good because the others have been so bad. 

All he's done is race exactly the same way as he did last year, surf the back of the bigger teams trains until the group is down to the last few standing, then attacked. The one day he went off early in the alps, it was a good awful day for riding, Jumbo Visma and Ineos were in complete disarray and there was no one to actually race with. He's sort of won by default. 

 

The time trial was a case of being on the road after the majority of the rain had gone, the road was dry and he wasn't injured. He's a very good time trialist, but on a bone dry track Bissegger or Kung would have been minutes ahead. 

 

And this isn't just an isolated race, he's been doing this for the last few years in all the races he does. 

 

Of course you can have your doubts, Armstrong destroyed pretty much all our faith in this. But I think the sport is the cleanest it's ever been right now. I think technology and training have brought the riders to the same point the drugs did. 

 

The fact Bahrain were raided and nothing was found, might just be because there was nothing to find. Maybe.

 

Ultimately, you have to have some faith in it at some point, or its not worth watching anymore. 

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It certainly does rather spoil this year's edition. Once I stopped being able to enjoy Pogacar things became a bit flat, and now I'm watching another Bahrain Victorious stage win (doing a classic Lance shut up gesture as he crosses the line no less). Blind faith believing the sport is the cleanest it's ever been, based on seemingly nothing, is probably more fun.

 

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29 minutes ago, Graham S said:

If I somehow had evidence of pro riders doping that isn't already in the public domain, I think I'd probably be taking it to WADA rather than rllmuk.

 

You have no evidence that they are cheating, just a feeling. 

 

I have no evidence that they aren't cheating, just a bit of faith. 

 

In 10 years time one of us will be happy. 

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Just now, Sidewaysbob said:

 

So with no evidence, just a "hunch", you are condemning the entire pelaton as cheats. 


This is exactly the sort of rational that people used to defend riders years ago who have turned out to be prolific dopers.

 

For me, it’s completely healthy to be sceptical, even highly sceptical of questionable results in a sport with the history of doping cycling has.

 

Bahrain went from 2 WT wins last year to 10 this year and counting. Padun winning back to back mountain stages in the Dauphine whilst being so fresh to wave and smile at the spectators on his second breakaway solo victory. Colbrelli dropping climbers on a TdF mountain stage.


It’s harsh on riders today but they operate with high levels of scrutiny which are warranted from the previous generations actions. It boggles my mind that people seem to think riders should be given the benefit of the doubt with cyclings history of PED’s.

 

If my team was raided by the cops and I was clean why would it be an issue? What I wouldn’t do is celebrate by mimicking a cheat and bully who tried to ruin people’s lives and forced them out of the sport.

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@Sidewaysbob
 

No, I continue to assume 20-90% of the peloton are probably cheats, because that’s what the peloton themselves believe according to that anonymous survey. Team managers are briefing the press that other teams are doping. Cyclists (normally extremely circumspect) are muttering darkly about some of their rivals. The police are likely to have at least some grounds for suspicion to raid a team. 
 

I freely accept that performance based suspicion is bad for sport, but being suspicious of a performance isn’t something entirely under my control. I can try and add to this by keeping a mental blacklist of teams and staff with particularly bad records. I can try not to cheer for riders who’ve cheated in the past. I can remember that Quintana had that police raid last year which found some stuff and not cheer for him when he attacks (even though I liked him on the Netflix doc). I can try and believe in teams like EF Education, who explicitly set out an anti-doping stance, knowing it might still be so much bullshit. But it’s a lot of mental juggling. It would definitely be more fun to pretend. Because being highly dubious of it, even if I think that’s rational, does spoil the sport and make me think about switching it off. If I had more options for pleasure in my life right now I’d probably have done it already. 

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On 16/07/2021 at 10:52, Sidewaysbob said:

The fact Bahrain were raided and nothing was found, might just be because there was nothing to find. Maybe.

 

It is far too early to conclude that nothing was found in that raid. Given that there has been police interest in the team since last year I would expect them to have acted on reasonably credible evidence, even allowing for how much of a show the police like to make of teams with such raids being highly public reminders that they are serious about doping offences. 

 

BV's run of wins across many races this year are, at best, a credit to some new training regime/system they have implemented and that may well be a conclusion reached after their data is examined but, either way, it certainly looks very suspect and well be what finally lead to the raid. 

 

I am way more sceptical of BV than of Pogacar who, as I said in the last post, may just be that much better than a depleted field this year. Same for Cavendish who has surely gained a bonus stage win or two after the departure of Caleb Ewan.

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Cav beat Ewan at the tour of Belgium earlier in the year, without the full wolf pack lead out train. 

I think it would have been damn close. But the lead out train has been an absolute beast this tour. And that's what Cav has always fed off. It he has a team that love him around him, he will absolutely deliver the good. It like watching the HTC high road squad all over again. 

And you kind if have to feel for Sam Bennett here. Whatever the problem he had was, I think if he'd made the tour he would have gained so much confidence these last three weeks that he could have laid to rest the demons he has. 

 

I don't think Bora have anything like the lead out of dequernik. He might well be faster than Sagan was, but he's not the same climber or stage hunter. 

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18 hours ago, Sidewaysbob said:

Cav beat Ewan at the tour of Belgium earlier in the year, without the full wolf pack lead out train. 

I think it would have been damn close. But the lead out train has been an absolute beast this tour. And that's what Cav has always fed off. It he has a team that love him around him, he will absolutely deliver the good. It like watching the HTC high road squad all over again. 

And you kind if have to feel for Sam Bennett here. Whatever the problem he had was, I think if he'd made the tour he would have gained so much confidence these last three weeks that he could have laid to rest the demons he has. 

 

I don't think Bora have anything like the lead out of dequernik. He might well be faster than Sagan was, but he's not the same climber or stage hunter. 

 

 

Yeah, the DCQ train has been incredible to watch, certainly the highlight of the Tour for me as it is is such a demonstration of laser focussed team power.

 

On that note, it's been a shame to have two ITT's this year, and no TTT, as ITT's are pretty dull viewing whereas a streamlined, tucked in, team bombing along is at least cool to watch.

 

 

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