Cycling Thread - Pan y agua

Don’t get me wrong, it’s massively impressive. It just makes the racing boring. Hopefully the tour is more eventful.

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Pog up for another stage win here, still have another time up the grappa and only a minute and a half behind the break

TdF starts tonight.
Very much looks like a battle between Vingegaard and Pogacar providing they’ve recovered from their injuries in Jonas’ case and from the Giro for Tadej.
I’ve got Carlos Rodriguez down for third but think he’ll be 5+ minutes behind the first 2.
Primoz Roglic and Remco Evenepoel to round out the top 5.

Jasper Philipsen to win the Green Jersey. How can he not take multiple stages with MVdP leading him out?

KOM more than likely will go to either Vingegaard or Pogacar but I have Felix Gall and Louis Meintjes as outsiders for it.

Found it really difficult to put together my fantasy team. It’s next to impossible to get both Vingegaard and Pogacar in the same team which I don’t mind, there’s just not a whole lot of first choice options in the All Rounder category. I ended up with:


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I can’t remember a TdF that was this uncertain going into the start of the race, usually it’s pretty clear what everyone’s form is and who is mots likely to win. I’m really excited to see how it all shakes out.

I think it’s probably Pog’s to lose given that there’s lots of opportunities in the early part of the race to pick up time on Vingegaard that should put the pressure on, and I’m thinking the top five looks like this:
A. Yates

I still don’t buy the Remco-is-a-TdF-contender narrative, he just hasn’t proven himself to be consistent over high mountains and I just don’t think he’ll be capable of holding it with the other big boys. Yates, meanwhile, has a long history of demonstrated consistency and should have enough rope like last year to be able to hold onto wheels for his own GC ambitions. I’d rate him over Ayuso for that too.

My fantasy team is currently looking like this but I may change things up:
Cras (really a gamble because on a good year I think he’s capable of top 15 but it’s not clear where he’s at - I was tossing up Meintjes instead but he hasn’t shown enough for me this year)
Pedersen (couldn’t afford Philipsen)
Geschke (guaranteed to try for breaks and maybe polka dots)
Naesen (may get some freedom on the gravel stage at least)

I’m probably a bit too top heavy but I really wanted three top five contenders.

I’ve been reading a few things today and I’m worried about Vingegaard. Everyone else involved in that crash has some racing in their legs in the lead up to the TdF but he doesn’t.
Visma Lease a Bike have also had a fair bit of illness go through their camp and has resulted in Sepp Kuss pulling out and Wout van Aert coming in horribly underdone. Jorgenson will more than hold his own but Benoot and Kelderman aren’t what they used to be.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see UAE try and ride him out of the race in this first week. Their team is as strong as anything the Sky used to send to the Tour and they’re all in form. 6 of their 8 riders have a top 10 finish in a GT on their palmares.

I’ve been listening to this podcast about possible motor doping at the professional level of cycling. I keep oscillating between plausible and Batshit crazy conspiracy. I don’t follow cycling any more but curious what those of you closer to the sport know/think about how feasible this is.

Motors are heavy and require batteries and they generate heat. There’d have to be a meaningful power to weight advantage but a big enough motor to create a meaningful advantage would need a big battery and would generate plenty of heat. It’d be hard to hide in an environment where every bike is scrutinised and there are simply hundreds of still and video cameras around. There have been IR cameras around at times for specifically this reason.

There’s also the thing that while pharmaceutical or haematological doping can be done between the rider and their doctor, who presumably has a pretty big incentive to shut up about it, mechanical doping needs the entire technical staff to be across it and keep their mouths shut, and I doubt the incentives are there to keep them all quiet.

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Made a late change to my Fantasy team.
Out went Sam Bennett and Sebastien Grignard, in came Stephen Williams and Alex Aranburu.

Also, motor doping is absolutely a thing. I doubt it happens at World Tour level but at the races with less scrutiny I’m sure it occurs.
There’s no way that someone has come up with the idea and it becomes a widely known form of mechanical doping without it actually being a thing.

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Yeah the actual documented instances of mechanical doping are very few and far between compared to the allegations of it. I remember the allegations going back to Cancellara and they have been proved bullshit just about every time since. As said though, it almost certainly happens at a lower level. I think the risk of being caught at the top level is just too high.

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Cav done. He’s going to miss the time cut at this rate.
Astana really should’ve taken Scaroni & Lopez rather than Cav and Morkov.

He’s cycling’s equivalent to Kazu Miura.

Wash your fucking mouth out./s. He’s one of the all time greats of the sport. Kazu, not so much.

This really was one year too many for him, Astana desperately need the UCI points from this and he’s just not going to provide them. They’ve just got a very thin squad and took a dumb gamble on Cavendish that anyone could have told them was not worth taking.

This is a hell of an opening stage.

Edit: Even if Cavendish and most of the Astana team are outside the time limit, the Commissaire will be lenient, in the interest of the competition.

What a finish, Jesus. That’s got to be one of the most popular results you’ll see. Bardet owes Van den Broeck a case or three.

Just saw the finish for it. EOFY and other shit at work has seen me miss most of the race so far.

That celebration of the stage win is one of the best I’ve seen. Van den Broeck has a contract for life.

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Tadej is just too good. Be interesting to see if Jonas can bounce back, otherwise it’s going to be a race for the best of the rest.

Cav shoulders his way through the bunch sprint to win #35.

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Soo good!

This Tour is delivering all the feel good stories. Bardet, Bini, now Cav. Unbelievable stuff.

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I’m going to pay for this tomorrow but I’m not missing the end of this stage.

With 20km to go I was sure the Tour was over but come the end of the stage I’m starting to get the feeling that Jonas might be able to pull time back little by little, particularly when we get to the really high altitude. This is poised to be a fascinating last week and a half.