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HuwB

TDF Stage 14:St Gaudens to Plateau de Beille:168.5km July 16

Stage 14:St Gaudens to Plateau de Beille:168.5km






Mountain passes & Hills
Saint-Gaudens Plateau de Beille - 168.5 km

   Km 26.5 - Col de Portet-d'Aspet (1069 m) - 4.3 km climb to 9.7% - Category 2
   Km 62.5 - Col de la Core (1395 m) - 14.1 km climb to 5.7% - Category 1
   Km 94.0 - Col de Latrape (1110 m) - 5.6 km climb to 7.2% - Category 2
   Km 109.0 - Col d'Agnes (1570 m) - 10.0 km climb to 8.2% - Category 1
   Km 118.0 - Port of Lers (1517 m) - 3.8 km climb to 5.5% - Category 3
   Km 168.5 - Plateau de Beille - 15.8 km climb to 7.9% - Category H

Quote:
JEAN-FRANÇOIS PESCHEUX’S ANALYSIS : Will the champion emerge?

“This is the last of the big Pyrenean stages. There are six tough tests: the Col de Portet-d’Aspet, the Col de la Core, the Col de Latrape, the Col d’Agnes, the Port de Lers and the finish at the Plateau de Beille. These climbs don’t have the same notoriety as the Aubisque and Tourmalet, but the cumulative amount of climbing will make for a great stage. At 168km, it’s short, but there will be attacks right from the start. It is no secret that the big guns will show what they are made of on a stage like this. Note also, that every rider who has previously won at Plateau de Beille has gone on to the win the Tour that same year…”
smarauder68

Looks like an awesome stage....5 or 6 serious climbs right from the word go...Cav will be lucky to finish this stage inside the limit.
Boogerd_Fan

As they pointed out at CN... whoever has won on Plateau Beille has won the Tour - from Pantani to Armstrong to Contador in 2007.

I expect this to be a fight between Contador, Schlecks and Basso. This'll be the day that finds Evans out, he may be in yellow by this point, and that means BMC will kill themselves to keep it together as long as they can. Which won't be long Smile
kathy

Who's this guy 'SNACHEZ' who's in the poll? Laughing
gerry12ie

Where's Ricco when you need him?
maffy

kathy wrote:
Who's this guy 'SNACHEZ' who's in the poll? Laughing


don't know, but he gets my vote.
gerry12ie

maffy wrote:


don't know, but he gets my vote.


Does that mean you are backing him? Wink
maffy

gerry12ie wrote:
Where's Ricco when you need him?


how do you make that stupid-arsed drink? how about a nice cool refrigerated-beer-thing?

gerry12ie wrote:
maffy wrote:


don't know, but he gets my vote.


Does that mean you are backing him? Wink


no idea, what stage is this again?
HuwB

The weather for earlier in the week for this stage, was dicey, but looks to be holding up.
Wind, strong  up the derriere means no excuse for not attacking on the "mountain that makes champions."

Biosphere

What's with the 'terraces' on the mountains? Artistic licence? AKA mix up at the printers.
smarauder68

FP for Stage 14:

for my money the best stage of this years tour...

The cream will rise to the top here....expecting a break with Roy, Hoogerland and other KOM protagonists...the break will get a solid 6 or 7 min lead before the 2nd to last climb, but that's when the Schlecks and Liqi's tempo will rip apart the peleton...by the start of the final climb, the gap will be just 3:30...by the 5km to go banner, the Schlecks, Basso and Cunego will have dropped AC and all others...

Frank and Andy will take turns attacking until Andy finally gaps them all with 2km left for a tour defining win.

1)A.Schleck......
2)Basso @38
3)Evans @38
4)Cunego @ 38
5)F.schleck @49
6)S.Sanchez @1:32
7)AC@ 1:55
8)Voekler @1:55
9)Danielson @2:45
10)Leip @ 2:45

Voekler Galliantly stays in Yellow!
10)
Bartali

smarauder68 wrote:
...by the 5km to go banner, the Schlecks, Basso and Cunego will have dropped AC and all others...


... apart from Levi who will ride that quitter Cunego off his wheel!  Wink
CapeRoadie

A Schleck has his turn.
MS

Basso, Basso, Basso. A perfect climb for him.

At least Contador will be able to blame his Tour performance on having raced the Giro and his crashes. I have no idea what the explanation for Andy Schleck will be. Or for finishing behind his "inferior" brother.
mazda

I've managed to arrange things so I can watch the whole of todays stage.
So you can blame me when it turns into a snoozefest between the favourites.

I'd like to see Cunego do something today.
I suspect he won't be allowed to.
Nolte

there's an idea for omega pharma. push the pace so hard that mark cavendish and rojas finish outside the time limit Very Happy
smarauder68

mazda wrote:
I've managed to arrange things so I can watch the whole of todays stage.
So you can blame me when it turns into a snoozefest between the favourites.

I'd like to see Cunego do something today.
I suspect he won't be allowed to.


what or who is holding him back???
Biosphere

I'm surprised LL Sanchez has been allowed in the break. Must go check how much time he lost yesterday.
smarauder68

He lost about 17 minutes in stage 12....he's not a threat anymore.
HuwB

I'm on pause live, so just starting the Col de la Core with the breakaway.
Laurent Ten Dam reckons Contador doesn't look great. Levi tips Frank S for the win, today.
mazda

smarauder68 wrote:
mazda wrote:
I'd like to see Cunego do something today.
I suspect he won't be allowed to.


what or who is holding him back???


The collective consciousness of the other riders.
Unless you think he can get away from all the other GC contenders on merit ?
mazda

Interesting move by Casar (in particular).
Over 2 minutes on the other escapees.
Maybe FDJ were fed up at having to set the pace, so he's gone up the road, which relieves his teammates of having to do anything and now nobody else is setting the pace.
kathy

Just got in, although I caught a few minutes of Teledeporte in a bar.  They had 7mim then, now they've got nine!
maffy

lay-o-pard up the pace early. with the brea k composition, this all might turn out interesting.
smarauder68

I reckon the break will need 5 minutes at the base of the final climb to hang on...let's see if Leopard trek close it down on the Agnes...
kathy

The EE guy with the unspellable name is out on his own now!
smarauder68

Gap down to 5:20....break will be doomed if the gap is less than 4 minutes before the ascent of plateau de beille...
HuwB

Catching up slowly. Hope to arrive for the final climb.
Just saw Ten Dam having his annual TDF downhill crash. Embarassed
smarauder68

Gap down to 3:00 at the base of the climb...I think the break is doomed...I'll be shocked if any of them survive out front beyond the 5km banner....
HuwB

Now Jens Voigt. Twice. Falls off a lot these days.
HuwB

Well Gesink didn't last long again. Embarassed
Martin and Tejay gone...
HuwB

Basso needs to stop looking and set the diesel in motion.
Chapeau Tommy V!
(all gone to sleep?)
phildange

The brothers S should maybe think about taking seconds from Cadel, because of the TTT .
They focus on Conti but there are other threats .
phildange

Vanendert gone alone for the stage win .
cyclingtv

go tommy go..
HuwB

Voeckler is going to take some shifting from yellow. Simply awesome, today.
Severo

Fantastic from TV. Plus Pierre Rolland - not as impressive today but it TV has any mechanical, PR is there for him.

And Contador "attacks"...?
cyclingtv

schleck tactics, fucking waste of effort..

bravo vandendert  and sanchez..

tommy too..
HuwB

Jelle Vanendert will win the Tour, then?

Andy takes a whole, huge two seconds.
Beware the Yellow Peril.
Tommy Voeckler simply amazing, today.

Hope this lot swop their handbags for sledge hammers, by the time we reach the Alps.
Bartali

Umm... So what did we learn today?

I'll probably make myself very unpopular here with all you TV fans, but how does a guy with his skill set end up looking stronger than the schlecks, Bertie, Basso and Evans on a HC climb?
kathy

Bart, perhaps all the rest of them are now riding clean, like Thomas - so it's all evened out Wink  Wink
smarauder68

Dissapointing that we never saw a sustained attack today from Andy....Voekler may well win this thing....
MS

Bartali wrote:
Umm... So what did we learn today?

I'll probably make myself very unpopular here with all you TV fans, but how does a guy with his skill set end up looking stronger than the schlecks, Bertie, Basso and Evans on a HC climb?


Because there's a small possibility that most of those guys really are now racing clean. Or not dirty enough to be "superhuman." Perhaps we're seeing the actual abilities of the participants.
gerry12ie

Tommy V and new BCS Vanendert  salut

Other than that it was so much more of the usual predictable starefest.  I think most were on the limit today but it looks like Contador might have turned a corner...
phildange

Looks like there is no great champion this year . The only one, Contador, is in bad condition, and the Schklecks or Evans are good second class champs .
Basso is not bad, but not better than the others .
The good thing is some suspense for the final winner .
If the real Contador comes back in the Alps he could win . If not, Evans being the best in TTT might dream .
And I'm starting thinking about TV, from what we saw in the Pyrenees . It seems impossible but well..
Boogerd_Fan

SM no, cos Voeckler doesnt stand a chance in the TT against Evans... so another big win today for Evans - another MTF down, without losing any time to any of the climbers who need to be ahead of him before Grenoble.

Similarly the Schleck's pretend attacks are getting frustrating - they don't need to worry about Contador they need to start thinking how to shake off Evans.

At least Basso tried a few times with sustained pace setting.

Bertie's problem is that even his hardest attack usually gets him up the road, then he slows down again. The schleck's can react to that, in their own time. Why they're so afraid of it i am not quite sure...

... i hope they're all just keeping powder dry for W/T/F
cyclingtv

of the gc contenders, basso did most of the heavy lifting..
the others just put on a 'I'll have a go for 200 meteres or so' show..
MS

cyclingtv wrote:
of the gc contenders, basso did most of the heavy lifting..
the others just put on a 'I'll have a go for 200 meteres or so' show..


Agreed, Basso was most impressive out of that group.
MS

Boogerd_Fan wrote:
SM no, cos Voeckler doesnt stand a chance in the TT against Evans... so another big win today for Evans - another MTF down, without losing any time to any of the climbers who need to be ahead of him before Grenoble.

Similarly the Schleck's pretend attacks are getting frustrating - they don't need to worry about Contador they need to start thinking how to shake off Evans.

At least Basso tried a few times with sustained pace setting.

Bertie's problem is that even his hardest attack usually gets him up the road, then he slows down again. The schleck's can react to that, in their own time. Why they're so afraid of it i am not quite sure...

... i hope they're all just keeping powder dry for W/T/F


Voeckler holds over two minutes on Evans. If he's a minute and a half advantage on Evans going into the TT, it would be extremely foolish and ignorant of history to write off Voeckler. You have seen lesser riders than Voeckler ride the time trials of their lives to hold onto the jersey.
HuwB

MS wrote:
Boogerd_Fan wrote:
SM no, cos Voeckler doesnt stand a chance in the TT against Evans... so another big win today for Evans - another MTF down, without losing any time to any of the climbers who need to be ahead of him before Grenoble.

Similarly the Schleck's pretend attacks are getting frustrating - they don't need to worry about Contador they need to start thinking how to shake off Evans.

At least Basso tried a few times with sustained pace setting.

Bertie's problem is that even his hardest attack usually gets him up the road, then he slows down again. The schleck's can react to that, in their own time. Why they're so afraid of it i am not quite sure...

... i hope they're all just keeping powder dry for W/T/F


Voeckler holds over two minutes on Evans. If he's a minute and a half advantage on Evans going into the TT, it would be extremely foolish and ignorant of history to write off Voeckler. You have seen lesser riders than Voeckler ride the time trials of their lives to hold onto the jersey.


Conversely, it's not as if Evans is a lock for a great ITT, either.
Andy S "Ivan is the strongest."
MS

HuwB wrote:
MS wrote:
Boogerd_Fan wrote:
SM no, cos Voeckler doesnt stand a chance in the TT against Evans... so another big win today for Evans - another MTF down, without losing any time to any of the climbers who need to be ahead of him before Grenoble.

Similarly the Schleck's pretend attacks are getting frustrating - they don't need to worry about Contador they need to start thinking how to shake off Evans.

At least Basso tried a few times with sustained pace setting.

Bertie's problem is that even his hardest attack usually gets him up the road, then he slows down again. The schleck's can react to that, in their own time. Why they're so afraid of it i am not quite sure...

... i hope they're all just keeping powder dry for W/T/F


Voeckler holds over two minutes on Evans. If he's a minute and a half advantage on Evans going into the TT, it would be extremely foolish and ignorant of history to write off Voeckler. You have seen lesser riders than Voeckler ride the time trials of their lives to hold onto the jersey.


Conversely, it's not as if Evans is a lock for a great ITT, either.
Andy S "Ivan is the strongest."


Exactly. I still have to see Evans put the seal on a GT when within striking distance.
smarauder68

Schleck was most impressive today but Voekler stymied him perfectly...I think Andy, like Berto and Basso I'd still riding into his best form...He probably feels like he can wait til Alp D'Huez to win it...
ullrichfan

France can start dreaming of a TDF champion from what I saw today.  The only worry for Tommy is that the blood bags come out on the rest day.  If I was Europcar DS, I'd be asking ASO to have the vampires out in force come Sunday evening, Monday morning.
Bartali

MS wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Umm... So what did we learn today?

I'll probably make myself very unpopular here with all you TV fans, but how does a guy with his skill set end up looking stronger than the schlecks, Bertie, Basso and Evans on a HC climb?


Because there's a small possibility that most of those guys really are now racing clean. Or not dirty enough to be "superhuman." Perhaps we're seeing the actual abilities of the participants.


Really??? Shocked

I think we either have to accept the distinct possibility that TV is supercharged or that the many other 'unbelievable' performances we've witnessed are probably sound because on a good day and in the right frame of mind these guys can raise their game.  I'm afraid I know where my money is ....

Anyway today was a false war, but to some extent we've seen what happens when first class diesels meets the likes of Bertie and the Schlecks - they pretty much cancel each other out.  Very interesting to see Basso repeatedly gapped in the first half of the climb only to finish amongst the strongest.  For a moment there I though he had them with 2-3km to go.  Oh well.

Evans and TV the big winners today.
MS

smarauder68 wrote:
Schleck was most impressive today but Voekler stymied him perfectly...I think Andy, like Berto and Basso I'd still riding into his best form...He probably feels like he can wait til Alp D'Huez to win it...


Thank you for confirming my reaction that Basso was strongest.

Now I just need you to confirm that Voeckler will not win overall.
Bartali

Smile

Where did LL and Cunego finish today?
MS

Bartali wrote:
MS wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Umm... So what did we learn today?

I'll probably make myself very unpopular here with all you TV fans, but how does a guy with his skill set end up looking stronger than the schlecks, Bertie, Basso and Evans on a HC climb?


Because there's a small possibility that most of those guys really are now racing clean. Or not dirty enough to be "superhuman." Perhaps we're seeing the actual abilities of the participants.


Really??? Shocked

I think we either have to accept the distinct possibility that TV is supercharged or that the many other 'unbelievable' performances we've witnessed are probably sound because on a good day and in the right frame of mind these guys can raise their game.  I'm afraid I know where my money is ....

Anyway today was a false war, but to some extent we've seen what happens when first class diesels meets the likes of Bertie and the Schlecks - they pretty much cancel each other out.  Very interesting to see Basso repeatedly gapped in the first half of the climb only to finish amongst the strongest.  For a moment there I though he had them with 2-3km to go.  Oh well.

Evans and TV the big winners today.


I said a small chance.

Basso is a classic diesel. I thought this climb would be perfect for him. Perhaps it actually needed to be a bit steeper. Hopefully Schleck will be worn down on one stage and Basso can ride him off his wheel.
Severo

Interesting that Cunego is also looking decent again. If it is a cleanish tour, I think it's simply because the technology hasn't taken another leap in front of the testing yet rather than the riders suddenly being good guys.
smarauder68

Basso is a potent diesel but he can't handle the type of excellerations that the Schlecks, Sanchez and AC can attack with...Basso will be gapped when they get more desperate to put time into Voekler.
hengispod

not what i expected. Vanandert a new name for me. The schlecks, not able to shake off their rivals. Very impressed with sanchez. Heading for the podium. Thomas voeckler, amazing effort. Obviously now a real contender.
MS

smarauder68 wrote:
Basso is a potent diesel but he can't handle the type of excellerations that the Schlecks, Sanchez and AC can attack with...Basso will be gapped when they get more desperate to put time into Voekler.


Yep, Basso is now the favorite.
MS

Severo wrote:
Interesting that Cunego is also looking decent again. If it is a cleanish tour, I think it's simply because the technology hasn't taken another leap in front of the testing yet rather than the riders suddenly being good guys.


Have to wait and see by week three how he will do. I'd rather see him target a stage than try and claw into the top five or six.
Bartali

MS wrote:
smarauder68 wrote:
Basso is a potent diesel but he can't handle the type of excellerations that the Schlecks, Sanchez and AC can attack with...Basso will be gapped when they get more desperate to put time into Voekler.


Yep, Basso is now the favorite.
Laughing  Laughing  Laughing
MS

Bartali wrote:
MS wrote:
smarauder68 wrote:
Basso is a potent diesel but he can't handle the type of excellerations that the Schlecks, Sanchez and AC can attack with...Basso will be gapped when they get more desperate to put time into Voekler.


Yep, Basso is now the favorite.
Laughing  Laughing  Laughing


I knew Hushovd was going to win yesterday when he guaranteed Roy was free.
HuwB

CN forum poster produces line of the day, with this, on the Schlecks:

If Contador does abandon, they'll likely climb into the back seat of the Saxo car.


Basso was fresh on LA and strong today. With the longer climbs of the Alps to come, he must certainly be in with a good shout to take the whole thing.
SlowRower

kathy wrote:
Bart, perhaps all the rest of them are now riding clean, like Thomas - so it's all evened out Wink  Wink


I was having similar thoughts as to Bart, tbh. As father in law says about investments, if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is, and the Europcar boys are just a bit too good this year to be true in my view.

Even without any numerical analysis, I don't go for the "they're all clean now" argument, as it's widely accepted that different riders react differently to dope. The relative performance levels of the established big hitters (Schlecks, Berto, Basso, Evans etc.) are broadly  unchanged vs previous "dirty" years (accepting Bert is still suffering from the Giro), whereas if they were all clean, you'd expect some major variations now.

On the numerical front, I clocked the ascent at 46:30, which for 16k climb rising 1235m gives an average power to weight ratio of a smidge under 6 watts/kg, very similar to Berto and Andy S on the Tourmalet last year.

So I would conclude all the major contenders today are as clean as Berto and Andy S were last year, give or take a bit, which is not hugely comforting for the clean cycling movement, I'd say.
kathy

The simple fact of life is, SR, which is generally accepted , I think, is that if all the riders rode clean, then we would still have the same winners.  I don't think Voeckler has a hope in hell of the podium - he might make top ten if he's lucky!  The battle will be fought out once again by the big hitters.
MS

SlowRower wrote:
kathy wrote:
Bart, perhaps all the rest of them are now riding clean, like Thomas - so it's all evened out Wink  Wink


I was having similar thoughts as to Bart, tbh. As father in law says about investments, if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is, and the Europcar boys are just a bit too good this year to be true in my view.

Even without any numerical analysis, I don't go for the "they're all clean now" argument, as it's widely accepted that different riders react differently to dope. The relative performance levels of the established big hitters (Schlecks, Berto, Basso, Evans etc.) are broadly  unchanged vs previous "dirty" years (accepting Bert is still suffering from the Giro), whereas if they were all clean, you'd expect some major variations now.

On the numerical front, I clocked the ascent at 46:30, which for 16k climb rising 1235m gives an average power to weight ratio of a smidge under 6 watts/kg, very similar to Berto and Andy S on the Tourmalet last year.

So I would conclude all the major contenders today are as clean as Berto and Andy S were last year, give or take a bit, which is not hugely comforting for the clean cycling movement, I'd say.


If they were under 6, that is certainly down from the early 2000s. And it's certainly under the numbers Basso was producing at the 2006 Giro.

If you mean to say that the guys at the top of GC are largely unchanged, you are correct. If you're saying their outputs are largely unchanged from several years ago, you are incorrect. Now, perhaps that's explained by age, but maybe the answer lies elsewhere.
SlowRower

kathy wrote:
The simple fact of life is, SR, which is generally accepted , I think, is that if all the riders rode clean, then we would still have the same winners.


Based on what I've read on various forums and been told here in my various investigations as to a certain Texan's inherent natural abilities, this is not the case. On balance, I'm happy to accept your point, but I doubt Mrs Murphy or Bianchigirl will. Smile

Be that as it may, TV's sustained watts/kg today is unambiguously suspicious, I'm afraid, as it's in line with what proven dopers are currently churning out, and represents a large improvement at a relatively advanced age. I've no axe to grind with TV. Good luck to him. I doubt he's doing anything that his new rivals haven't been doing for years!
mazda

But even Basso was losing time to Vanendert, so I have to assume he wasn't going full gas.

Impressed with SS.

As for Leopard Trek, I'm dumfounded.
All that effort by the whole team.
As soon as Gerdeman/Voigt had done their bit the Schlecks slunk to the back of the pack to indulge in their favourite pastime of Bertiewatch.

Is there anything at all behind the smile ?
Do they not recall how Sastre won, with a long breakaway ?
When will they realise they have to gain time, at least, on Evans ?
SlowRower

MS wrote:
If they were under 6, that is certainly down from the early 2000s. And it's certainly under the numbers Basso was producing at the 2006 Giro.

If you mean to say that the guys at the top of GC are largely unchanged, you are correct. If you're saying their outputs are largely unchanged from several years ago, you are incorrect. Now, perhaps that's explained by age, but maybe the answer lies elsewhere.


They're the same as Berto and Andy S last year, so I don't think the top guys are doing anything different this year to what they've been doing post introduction of the passport. Outputs are lower now than in the mid 2000s because of the constraints imposed by the passport and lower still than in the Indurain/Ullrich/Riis/Pantani era because of EPO testing.

Outputs are still significantly higher than what was the highest observed (circa 5.8 ) on Alpe D'Huez pre EPO, though.

The outputs of the established top guys isn't the issue here, though. It's how is TV now climbing at power to weight ratios that neither Merckx nor Hinault managed in their pomp?
mazda

You probably have to add on a bit more power for the climbing style of TV.
Smile

I hope SS is feeling frisky enough to take back even more time on the two downhill finishes we have coming up, or even some of the other much touted descenders.
Of course he'll then become a marked man and likely risk too much up the Galibier.
Mrs John Murphy

Is anyone that shocked at the Schleck's being so timid and tactically naive?

They have Dertie on the ropes and they have completely failed to put him away.

If they don't win this race I wonder if they will ever win anything.

It's worth noting that AS was a lot more decisive when he wasn't looking around for Frank last year.

The Schleck' are mental pygmies.

Cuddles is obviously doing his usual wheelsuck and pray for the ITT routine.

People talk about how Basso has improved since DL, well what about Cuddles who was being shelled out by Wiggins of all people? Wasn't DL a favoured race for taking out blood?
kathy

SR - re the Texan.  There are always exceptions to every rule, and you have to remember that he was towed along for the majority of each difficult stage by his highly-tanked up team.
HuwB

LTD to take the lead in a cheap, Dutch version of "The Mummy"?
ullrichfan

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
Is anyone that shocked at the Schleck's being so timid and tactically naive?

They have Dertie on the ropes and they have completely failed to put him away.

If they don't win this race I wonder if they will ever win anything.

It's worth noting that AS was a lot more decisive when he wasn't looking around for Frank last year.

The Schleck' are mental pygmies.

Cuddles is obviously doing his usual wheelsuck and pray for the ITT routine.

People talk about how Basso has improved since DL, well what about Cuddles who was being shelled out by Wiggins of all people? Wasn't DL a favoured race for taking out blood?


Talking about Wiggins, you have to say he would have probably stayed with the favourites quite comfortably on this showing and, with a time trial to come, may have been odds-on favourite by this point.
Geraint

MS wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Umm... So what did we learn today?

I'll probably make myself very unpopular here with all you TV fans, but how does a guy with his skill set end up looking stronger than the schlecks, Bertie, Basso and Evans on a HC climb?


Because there's a small possibility that most of those guys really are now racing clean. Or not dirty enough to be "superhuman." Perhaps we're seeing the actual abilities of the participants.


AC is injured and tired from Giro, Schlecks are fairly clean and Evans is totally clean as always. A great day for clean riding.
Bartali

ullrichfan wrote:
Talking about Wiggins, you have to say he would have probably stayed with the favourites quite comfortably on this showing and, with a time trial to come, may have been odds-on favourite by this point.

IMO this is a huge leap of faith.  Wiggins had a good DL and LL had a good ToS ... doesn't mean either would have had a great Tour.
smarauder68

Geraint wrote:
MS wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Umm... So what did we learn today?

I'll probably make myself very unpopular here with all you TV fans, but how does a guy with his skill set end up looking stronger than the schlecks, Bertie, Basso and Evans on a HC climb?


Because there's a small possibility that most of those guys really are now racing clean. Or not dirty enough to be "superhuman." Perhaps we're seeing the actual abilities of the participants.


AC is injured and tired from Giro, Schlecks are fairly clean and Evans is totally clean as always. A great day for clean riding.


it's more likely that Voekler's new team are finally providing him with some proper dope...meanwhile, with increased vigilience by the UCI, it's likely that the elite guys are a little less doped this year... In the NFL
they call it parity...Smile
ullrichfan

Bartali wrote:
ullrichfan wrote:
Talking about Wiggins, you have to say he would have probably stayed with the favourites quite comfortably on this showing and, with a time trial to come, may have been odds-on favourite by this point.

IMO this is a huge leap of faith.  Wiggins had a good DL and LL had a good ToS ... doesn't mean either would have had a great Tour.


Surely a "huge leap of faith" is hyperbole?

He was in the shape of his life, climbed better than Evans in the DL and would have had Uran to support him (who finished with the favourites today).  Also, if the likes of Voeckler, Rolland and Peraud can stay with the favourites, I see no reason why Wiggins couldn't.
Bartali

... because he peaked a month early perhaps?
smarauder68

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
Is anyone that shocked at the Schleck's being so timid and tactically naive?

They have Dertie on the ropes and they have completely failed to put him away.

If they don't win this race I wonder if they will ever win anything.

It's worth noting that AS was a lot more decisive when he wasn't looking around for Frank last year.

The Schleck' are mental pygmies.

Cuddles is obviously doing his usual wheelsuck and pray for the ITT routine.


People talk about how Basso has improved since DL, well what about Cuddles who was being shelled out by Wiggins of all people? Wasn't DL a favoured race for taking out blood?



Not sure if you watched the stage but I definitely saw "cuddles" attack or at a minimum take the initiative in the last few KM...

By the way, I find it amusing that Evans' strategy draws so much ire on this forum....what the fuck do you expect him to do???

So, he wasn't born "an enigmatic climber" in a non English speaking, mediterrean nation....get over it!!!

He's playing the hand that life dealt him and he's playing smarter than the rest...why is it such a sin to be a great time trialist anyway?  I find it more deplorable for riders to need their teammates...
Biosphere

SlowRower wrote:
MS wrote:
If they were under 6, that is certainly down from the early 2000s. And it's certainly under the numbers Basso was producing at the 2006 Giro.

If you mean to say that the guys at the top of GC are largely unchanged, you are correct. If you're saying their outputs are largely unchanged from several years ago, you are incorrect. Now, perhaps that's explained by age, but maybe the answer lies elsewhere.


They're the same as Berto and Andy S last year, so I don't think the top guys are doing anything different this year to what they've been doing post introduction of the passport. Outputs are lower now than in the mid 2000s because of the constraints imposed by the passport and lower still than in the Indurain/Ullrich/Riis/Pantani era because of EPO testing.

Outputs are still significantly higher than what was the highest observed (circa 5.8 ) on Alpe D'Huez pre EPO, though.

The outputs of the established top guys isn't the issue here, though. It's how is TV now climbing at power to weight ratios that neither Merckx nor Hinault managed in their pomp?


Three minutes down on Pantani's PdB record and 2 minutes down on TUEs 2004 effort. Haven't come across a comparison with Contador in 2007 but I've not searched for one. Shouldn't be too hard to find though.

Three thoughts crossed my mind watching it 'live' an hour ago:

Voeckler is doped

or

The existence of a plasticiser test (albeit unofficial) has scared them into behaving themselves (mostly)

WTF are the Schlecks playing at? 2 seconds?
smarauder68

Biosphere wrote:
SlowRower wrote:
MS wrote:
If they were under 6, that is certainly down from the early 2000s. And it's certainly under the numbers Basso was producing at the 2006 Giro.

If you mean to say that the guys at the top of GC are largely unchanged, you are correct. If you're saying their outputs are largely unchanged from several years ago, you are incorrect. Now, perhaps that's explained by age, but maybe the answer lies elsewhere.


They're the same as Berto and Andy S last year, so I don't think the top guys are doing anything different this year to what they've been doing post introduction of the passport. Outputs are lower now than in the mid 2000s because of the constraints imposed by the passport and lower still than in the Indurain/Ullrich/Riis/Pantani era because of EPO testing.

Outputs are still significantly higher than what was the highest observed (circa 5.8 ) on Alpe D'Huez pre EPO, though.

The outputs of the established top guys isn't the issue here, though. It's how is TV now climbing at power to weight ratios that neither Merckx nor Hinault managed in their pomp?



2 seconds??? After last year Andy learned to take every second he can get....I was surprised he was able to out sprint Evans over the final 500m because the gradient was only about 4% the last km, which would set up better for Evans....an indication for me that Andy has ridden himself into his best form of the tour.

Three minutes down on Pantani's PdB record and 2 minutes down on TUEs 2004 effort. Haven't come across a comparison with Contador in 2007 but I've not searched for one. Shouldn't be too hard to find though.

Three thoughts crossed my mind watching it 'live' an hour ago:

Voeckler is doped

or

The existence of a plasticiser test (albeit unofficial) has scared them into behaving themselves (mostly)

WTF are the Schlecks playing at? 2 seconds?
ullrichfan

smarauder68 wrote:
By the way, I find it amusing that Evans' strategy draws so much ire on this forum....what the fuck do you expect him to do???

So, he wasn't born "an enigmatic climber" in a non English speaking, mediterrean nation....get over it!!!

He's playing the hand that life dealt him and he's playing smarter than the rest...why is it such a sin to be a great time trialist anyway?  I find it more deplorable for riders to need their teammates...


I agree with this assessment - Evans is doing exactly what he needs to do.  It is up to the others to try and take some time from him.  I would like to see him win.

Bart - it is obviously possible that Wiggins may have peaked too early but the point is that he had form.  Therefore, it is not a "huge leap of faith".  It is a reasonable hypothesis given his DL result: Anquetil, Hinault, Indurain and Armstrong all won it on the way to Tour victories as I'm sure you know.  Therefore, I might just as, if not more, reasonably argue that Wiggins' victory was a sign that he was a real contender.  The lack of serious attacks so far in the mountains would have also helped Wiggins, just as it has Voeckler.  If he could hang with the climbers then the final time trial would have been made for him - he produced an excellent performance in the final time trial in '09.

It could be more justifiably argued that a good performance from Basso in this Tour would have been a huge leap of faith!  There was really no basis for suggesting Basso had any form: his DL performance was abysmal and he appeared to be still suffering from the Etna crash.  He wasn't climbing well and can't time trial as well as he used to, for some strange reason!
Biosphere

smarauder68 wrote:
Biosphere wrote:


WTF are the Schlecks playing at? 2 seconds?


2 seconds??? After last year Andy learned to take every second he can get...


I would have thought he would. Instead we got 10km of dicking around.

Frank Schleck wrote:
"Andy was very strong and it was perfect. I told him to go and when to wait and we had really good communication, but it's just a pity we couldn't take time out of anybody, but that's how it is. There's still a lot of days to come."


Maybe just get on with it instead of the start/stop carry on?

Bjarne Riis on the Schlecks wrote:
"They will wait for each other"
Bartali

Fair enough Ulle ... I retract my statement. Smile
Geraint

The Schlecks might be doing a repeat of last year and planning a huge attack on the last big stage with the whole team doing their blue train imitation.

Evans deserves credit for his new aggressive TdF riding style. He now does an attack with one km to go and almost puts the others in difficulty. This is set up to be a lot like 2008 with him trying to win it with the time trial. If Schleck does a repeat of his Tourmalet ride last yr, I think only a steak-powered AC can stay with him.
Boogerd_Fan

I'm waiting to see an Andy Schleck attack (and we saw 3 false starts yesterday) where he continues at that speed for a lengthy period.

Contador can follow. But i expect Evans, Sanchez, his brother, Basso & Voeckler to all be on the limit trying to follow it.

That Schleck didn't put that type of hammer down yet (and he is capable of doing it) is fear that he will overcook it imo, and that someone like Contador will come past and steal a minute or two.

With less stages left, he won't be so afraid to burn that kind of energy. Let the Alps decide it. If Voeckler or Evans can stay with any of the climbers fair play to them for having a great ride.

It would be something of an injustice for TV to win though... he got away in a break (Pereiro-esque) but also did not wait when Flecha/Hoogerland were taken out. Karma should come back to him before this time next week.
Nolte

i thought of this when watching the stage yesterday


Link
ullrichfan

Lol - Big Train was patchy but brilliant at times.

Fav sketch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JibxHpXqAfc

2nd fav: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88goZsMye2s

3rd fav: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcAqR-Hs9II
Bartali

Boogerd_Fan wrote:
I'm waiting to see an Andy Schleck attack (and we saw 3 false starts yesterday) where he continues at that speed for a lengthy period.

I suspect he doesn't because he can't.  Same with Contador.  Their type of climbing is built on breaking the spirit of the other guys and winning by relatively small margins.  I've always maintained that these 'go-stop' guys will struggle to make it stick against first rate diesels like an on-form Basso.  Especially if they play that game with a big group where there is always someone willing to chase back the 20 or so yards advantage.

Basso said it all last night ... you have to keep the pace high right from the bottom of the climb.  Its a shame Symd was off his game yesterday ... that might just have cost Basso this Tour.

Of course, Bertie could/can get away with this style of climbing because he has an exceptionally ITT.  Unfortunately for AS and FS they don't.  To break Evans and to some extent SS and Bertie, they'll have to whittle the group down to the five or six best men before they play there games ... and that might mean burning one or the other out keeping the pace very high on the lower slopes.
Bartali

This is what Ferrari says ...

Quote:
Tour de France 2011 - Part I
By: Michele Ferrari
Published: 17 Jul 2011

After 11 days of stress, crashes and plenty of broken bones, the race on the Pyrenees seemed extremely tactical, "blocked" by prudence and the fatigue accumulated in the previous flat stages, which were undoubtedly dominated by nervousness and the ceaseless fight to keep to the front of the peloton.

In the 12th stage the main group climbed the Tourmalet in 48’40” (VAM = 1540m/h); Franck Schleck rode the final climb to Luz-Ardiden in 37’15” (1584m/h), slightly ahead of all the main rivals.
In the last 10 km of the climb, his VAM was 1624 m/h on a 7.8% gradient, equal to 5.84 w/kg.

In the 14th stage, after 5 categorized climbs, the winner Vanendert did the final ascent to Plateau de Beille in 46’01” (1627 m/h = 5.85w/kg); Samuel Sanchez was not far behind (20") and the group of favorites did it at 1600m/h (5.75 w/kg).
An excellent performance by Vanendert, who attacked 7 km from the finish, facing the headwind alone but proceeding at a constant pace, contrary to the contenders for the final victory who instead decided to waste precious energy in short and violent accelerations, followed by blatant slowdowns.

This tactical behavior didn't produce the expected selection among the best riders, favoring the yellow jersey Vockler, a light rider who's very strong in quick pace variations.
Thomas is in great shape, as is the whole Europcar team, and he managed to climb Plateau de Beille 4 minutes faster than he did in 2004, when he successfully defended the yellow jersey from Lance Armstrong, who climbed it together with Basso in 45’ (1664 m/h).

The climbing performances have therefore been remarkably inferior to the ones expressed recently at the Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse, more or less by the same riders:

- on the climb to Les Gets (940m difference in height at 8.4%) the best riders (Gesink, Vino, Wiggins, Evans) did 1700-1740 m/h;

- on the Triesenberg ascent (1150m difference in height at 8.8%) Cunego and Leipheimer expressed a VAM = 1725 m/h.

This is because there is never an easy stage at the TdF, either from a physical or mental/nervous point of view: even the strongest riders are forced to spend loads of energy, making it very difficult to recover.
The second rest day comes just at the right time, before the final week in the Alps, allowing those riders with the best recovery skills to store the energy needed to make a difference.
Boogerd_Fan

Say what you will about his methods, but that is an information heavy post from someone who knows what it takes. Great read.
Mrs John Murphy

Michele Ferrari wrote:

The second rest day comes just at the right time, before the final week in the Alps, allowing those riders with the best recovery skills to store the energy needed to make a difference.


Yes, and we know what kind of recovery aiding and storing energy skills Ferrari provides.

But the point about the stop start attacks is very interesting. I wonder if the Schleck's have the brains to do anything different.

Maybe the kicking they have received in the press might spur them to try something a a bit more aggressive.
SlowRower

Mrs John Murphy wrote:
But the point about the stop start attacks is very interesting.


I was wondering about this as well. Given the speed the top guys go uphill, there's not a huge benefit to be had from drafting, so it would be interesting to see what happened if someone committed at the bottom of the hill to effectively time-trialling up it. Something close to constant power output throughout is presumably the most efficient way to tackle a climb.

If said rider had a margin over the opposition in terms of capability on the day then they would eventually ride everyone else off their wheel. It would probably take a good 10k of total commitment for anything decisive to happen, which is much easier to type about than to do at the end of a long stage, one imagines. There's also the risk of blowing up due to a slight misjudgement in pace, so one can see why the conservative approach is so attractive.

Maybe even the limited benefit from drafting at such speeds is enough to make this approach doomed to failure, given the apparant parity in performance levels amongst the big hitters this year.

As an aside, I wonder what the Good Doctor means by "Thomas is in great shape, as is the whole Europcar team"? Presumably he's just observing that they have had a successful winter training regime...
MAILLOT JAUNE

SlowRower wrote:
.......so it would be interesting to see what happened if someone committed at the bottom of the hill to effectively time-trialling up it.

Isn't that what Sastre basically did on Alpe d'Huez in 2008???
Fontfroide

Biosphere wrote:

Three minutes down on Pantani's PdB record and 2 minutes down on TUEs 2004 effort. Haven't come across a comparison with Contador in 2007 but I've not searched for one. Shouldn't be too hard to find though.



46.52 for Voeckler et al this year.
44.08 Contador in 2007
45.30 Armstrong and Basso in 2004
50.12 Voeckler in 2004
43.30 Pantani's record in 1998

From l'Equipe
mazda

SlowRower wrote:
Mrs John Murphy wrote:
But the point about the stop start attacks is very interesting.


If said rider had a margin over the opposition in terms of capability on the day then they would eventually ride everyone else off their wheel. It would probably take a good 10k of total commitment for anything decisive to happen, which is much easier to type about than to do at the end of a long stage, one imagines. There's also the risk of blowing up due to a slight misjudgement in pace, so one can see why the conservative approach is so attractive.

Maybe even the limited benefit from drafting at such speeds is enough to make this approach doomed to failure, given the apparant parity in performance levels amongst the big hitters this year.


Surely the point of the stop-start is that it is inefficient.
It is to try and disrupt the other riders from just putting out a smooth output all the way up the climb, get them to a point where they can't "go into the red" anymore, not even for a short time, and then you can ride away from them if you have better power output and/or can recover more quickly.

You want everyone to be riding on their own, to remove as much as possible any tiny advantage from drafting.

Basso's technique is very hard work as you are effectively conceding the benefit of the drafting to your opponents for a long time.

Wasn't Plateau de Beille another headwind scenario ?
That certainly didn't help Basso either.
mazda

MAILLOT JAUNE wrote:
SlowRower wrote:
.......so it would be interesting to see what happened if someone committed at the bottom of the hill to effectively time-trialling up it.

Isn't that what Sastre basically did on Alpe d'Huez in 2008???

Yes, but it took Evans a long time to realise he should also just ride up as quick as he could. At first he was worried about further counter attacks and dithered for quite a while allowing a large gap to open up.

I would think he has learnt his lesson.

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