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  #4821  
Old 05.07.2017, 03:46 PM
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Are you talking about the Slovakian Peter Sagan?

Stick to F1.
Anyone who pulls a Schumacher move like that is a German, no matter what his passport say.
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  #4822  
Old 05.07.2017, 04:29 PM
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What comms team is that? I think most people say G cos they can't pronounce his name but it sounds like that commentator can.
One of the ITV4 ones I'm a just casual viewer so not sure who.
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  #4823  
Old 05.07.2017, 04:58 PM
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I really need to start betting on cycling. Of the last 4 stages I've got 3 winners right now, and I went for Matthews on the other day who came 2nd. Though obviously as soon as I start putting money on it I'll get everything wrong.
Yep, a case of the 'if only's'.

I tend to get caught up between worrying about form riders from the Giro/Criterium
suffering as a result, or living in the past by backing stage winners from previous Tours.
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  #4824  
Old 05.07.2017, 07:56 PM
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Yep, a case of the 'if only's'.

I tend to get caught up between worrying about form riders from the Giro/Criterium
suffering as a result, or living in the past by backing stage winners from previous Tours.
In my case today Aru was outstanding at the Italian nationals the other week, riding away from everyone on a hill that was hard but not that hard. And he seems to like the tougher but slightly less long climbs so I picked him today. If I hadn't picked him I'd have chosen Martin who was 2nd anyway - another one good on shorter steeper climbs. Froome impressed me today but I'd been far from impressed with this climbing leading up to this race. Porte has been good but for some reason I thought he and Froome might mark each other and let Aru get away. In the end I'm not sure you could say anyone let Aru win.

I think Contador is past his best now unfortunately. No injury, no Giro in the legs this year but he just doesn't seem to be at the level of the others anymore.

Let's see about Quintana. Clearly not at the level of some of the others today but I think he might improve as the race goes on. Not necessarily to where he can win the race though. This was an usual day of climbing: no major climbs before the final one and it was shorter but tougher and raced at incredible speed to begin with. Perhaps not Quintana's thing as much as the longer stuff in the Alps, Pyrenees or Jura. I guess we will see on Sunday. There is generally a bit of a shift in the climbing pecking order as a 3-week tour progresses anyway. But Sky look so strong.

Interesting how many nominal team leaders or people you'd think of as GC guys are tanking this year and not going for GC already. Pinot and Mollema we suspected already due to the Giro. But Barguil today, Rolland, Gesink and there are quite a few others as well. I think slowly but surely people have cottoned onto the idea that a stage win is better than coming 9th or 13th anonymously. And it's easier to win a stage if you can get in a mountain break, and you need to be down on GC to get into that break. But if too many guys do that, surely they are going to crowd each other out, loads of them won't win a stage (or the polka dot jersey) and actually you might get a rider sneak into the top six or seven who we didn't really think was capable of it.
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  #4825  
Old 05.07.2017, 08:32 PM
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In my case today Aru was outstanding at the Italian nationals the other week, riding away from everyone on a hill that was hard but not that hard. And he seems to like the tougher but slightly less long climbs so I picked him today. If I hadn't picked him I'd have chosen Martin who was 2nd anyway - another one good on shorter steeper climbs. Froome impressed me today but I'd been far from impressed with this climbing leading up to this race. Porte has been good but for some reason I thought he and Froome might mark each other and let Aru get away. In the end I'm not sure you could say anyone let Aru win.

I think Contador is past his best now unfortunately. No injury, no Giro in the legs this year but he just doesn't seem to be at the level of the others anymore.

Let's see about Quintana. Clearly not at the level of some of the others today but I think he might improve as the race goes on. Not necessarily to where he can win the race though. This was an usual day of climbing: no major climbs before the final one and it was shorter but tougher and raced at incredible speed to begin with. Perhaps not Quintana's thing as much as the longer stuff in the Alps, Pyrenees or Jura. I guess we will see on Sunday. There is generally a bit of a shift in the climbing pecking order as a 3-week tour progresses anyway. But Sky look so strong.

Interesting how many nominal team leaders or people you'd think of as GC guys are tanking this year and not going for GC already. Pinot and Mollema we suspected already due to the Giro. But Barguil today, Rolland, Gesink and there are quite a few others as well. I think slowly but surely people have cottoned onto the idea that a stage win is better than coming 9th or 13th anonymously. And it's easier to win a stage if you can get in a mountain break, and you need to be down on GC to get into that break. But if too many guys do that, surely they are going to crowd each other out, loads of them won't win a stage (or the polka dot jersey) and actually you might get a rider sneak into the top six or seven who we didn't really think was capable of it.
You see, that's the difference between us. I've watched the Tour year in, year out, since the days Miguel Indurain ruled roost, but it's not until recent years that I've watched any other cycling beyond that, and even then it's only really been the Giro. I know the GC contenders, the climbers, the sprinters, the classics riders, but I don't know the intricacies of their styles like you do. Its intriguing to read the views of (and learn from) people who follow the sport in greater depth than I do.

The point about taking stage wins over top 10-15 finishes is something I've thought about recently too. As you say, you cant be seen as a threat to the Overall Classification otherwise any breakaway you're in will be reeled back. In some ways that GC battle was perhaps what allowed Aru to win today. Froome and Porte being more worried about one another than Aru (or Martin). I wonder if one of the Cannondale duo, Talansky or Uran, will be allowed to get away (and stay away) from the pack at some point?

It's tough to look past SKY and Froome though. Porte (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't have the team to go toe to toe with SKY. Other teams have to ride the perfect race from a tactical point of view to put SKY in trouble, and even then it's a big ask. As usual it's going to take 2 or 3 top teams working together to challenge them.
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  #4826  
Old 05.07.2017, 09:20 PM
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You see, that's the difference between us. I've watched the Tour year in, year out, since the days Miguel Indurain ruled roost, but it's not until recent years that I've watched any other cycling beyond that, and even then it's only really been the Giro. I know the GC contenders, the climbers, the sprinters, the classics riders, but I don't know the intricacies of their styles like you do. Its intriguing to read the views of (and learn from) people who follow the sport in greater depth than I do.

The point about taking stage wins over top 10-15 finishes is something I've thought about recently too. As you say, you cant be seen as a threat to the Overall Classification otherwise any breakaway you're in will be reeled back. In some ways that GC battle was perhaps what allowed Aru to win today. Froome and Porte being more worried about one another than Aru (or Martin). I wonder if one of the Cannondale duo, Talansky or Uran, will be allowed to get away (and stay away) from the pack at some point?

It's tough to look past SKY and Froome though. Porte (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't have the team to go toe to toe with SKY. Other teams have to ride the perfect race from a tactical point of view to put SKY in trouble, and even then it's a big ask. As usual it's going to take 2 or 3 top teams working together to challenge them.
Yeah it's a bit like horse racing I guess with looking at the form book, and horses for courses certainly applies in cycling too. The 'going' I guess too with the weather. Certain riders like Gilbert love the wet; others don't do so well in it. Pinot can't handle the heat very well - it's one reason he decided to target the Giro for GC this year actually. I guess it's also a bit like tennis too in that you've got various build up events on the way to the grand slam, and it's all an indicator, except unless with tennis you can't be good at all the big 3 tours, and different routes make a huge difference to who the best guys are (compared to surfaces in tennis).

If you want to watch races beyond the Tour/Giro at some point my next suggestion would be the classics. These are in the Spring (March/April) and Autumn (August-October). Most of the prestigious ones are in the spring but there are a few big ones in the Autumn including the World Championships. The first Autumn classics are a week after the Tour ends actually, San Sebastian in Spain (climbers/puncheurs) and now London too (sprinters/rouleurs).

On your other points:

- Talansky definitely - he's another one who lost time today and who I expect to go in a lot of breaks. Uran finished high up so I think he's in the GC battle proper.

- It's funny how we always seem to get 1 team that's much stronger than the others. In the Tour it's usually Sky. In the Giro this year it was Movistar dominating things (one reason I think Quintana might struggle at the Tour is he really took a lot of his best domestiques to Italy). It's usually Quick Step in the cobbled classics.

- I was thinking about breakaways the other day. Why don't people try mountain style breakaways on flat stages? It seems to be accepted that on a flat stage you have to have a break of about 4 riders mostly from the wildcard teams, and almost always no name guys. But then come the mountains it's OK to have 15-20 guys in a break including loads of pretty good riders. And guess what? The former almost never succeed and the latter manage to get a stage win quite often. The smaller teams and teams without sprinters should get their heads together and try to shove 30+ guys in a break on a flat stage, multiple riders per team, and see what happens. It would probably make for more entertaining racing. I have a theory that these 200km flat stages are on their way out. They show every stage live now start to finish and I think it will mean moving towards shorter stages. On a flat day does it really matter if it's 100km long or 200km long? All the interesting stuff happens at the end anyway. It might increase the chance of a break having the legs to hold on too. The Tour organisers got away with one yesterday as before that crash it was a pretty dull stage.
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  #4827  
Old 05.07.2017, 09:33 PM
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A word on Aru for those who are less familiar with him.

Most people know Italy as one of cycling's traditional heartlands. It is, but only really in the north of Italy. Say Tuscany and upwards. There are no prestigious road races at all south of Florence, unless the Giro goes there. Football is unrivalled in the south. In the north, football is the most popular sport nowadays but it was cycling until probably the 60s (about the same time that football overtook baseball in the USA). Each Giro d'Italia you'll find that probably 80-90% of the Italians riding are from the north, and it's always been the case.

Nibali and Aru are two exceptions. They are both islanders - Nibali from Sicily and Aru from Sardinia. Nibali was the first southerner to ever win the Giro, in 2013 (think about that - the race was first run in 1909!). Aru grew up on a farm in Sardinia. As a teenager into cycling, he had nobody to race against and there were no races. Every weekend he had to go to school on Saturday morning (as was/is the way of things in some countries), then rush home, bolt some food down and get to the airport to catch a flight to somewhere in the north of Italy, take part in a race on the Sunday morning, and then fly back home in the evening ready for school again on Monday morning. It must have taken real dedication to stick with that regime! Nibali for his part had to relocate to the north when it became clear that he had the talent to one day make it as a pro - there wasn't the infrastructure to become a pro in Sicily.
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  #4828  
Old 07.07.2017, 10:46 AM
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That was an interesting aerial shot of the HUGE Cross of Lorraine; the greatest cross our wartime leader Winston Churchill had to bear; at Columbey les Deux Eglises -- a place which sounds a little grander than the site of Mr. Jackson's Two Sheds.
The big, frantic final sprint failed to produce a crash and Kittel was very crafty to stay to the left of the course, avoiding being Cavendished on the shorter, right-hand route round the final curve, on his way to win stage 6.
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  #4829  
Old 08.07.2017, 09:55 AM
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Yesterday's finish had to be one of, if not THE, closest finishes in cycling ever! 0.0003 seconds! It seems so cruel to take the victory from Boasson Hagen by a measurement the human eye can't even detect.

Looking forward to today and tomorrow, makes for better viewing than the predominately flat stages.
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  #4830  
Old 08.07.2017, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by European Bob View Post
A word on Aru for those who are less familiar with him.

Most people know Italy as one of cycling's traditional heartlands. It is, but only really in the north of Italy. Say Tuscany and upwards. There are no prestigious road races at all south of Florence, unless the Giro goes there. Football is unrivalled in the south. In the north, football is the most popular sport nowadays but it was cycling until probably the 60s (about the same time that football overtook baseball in the USA). Each Giro d'Italia you'll find that probably 80-90% of the Italians riding are from the north, and it's always been the case.

Nibali and Aru are two exceptions. They are both islanders - Nibali from Sicily and Aru from Sardinia. Nibali was the first southerner to ever win the Giro, in 2013 (think about that - the race was first run in 1909!). Aru grew up on a farm in Sardinia. As a teenager into cycling, he had nobody to race against and there were no races. Every weekend he had to go to school on Saturday morning (as was/is the way of things in some countries), then rush home, bolt some food down and get to the airport to catch a flight to somewhere in the north of Italy, take part in a race on the Sunday morning, and then fly back home in the evening ready for school again on Monday morning. It must have taken real dedication to stick with that regime! Nibali for his part had to relocate to the north when it became clear that he had the talent to one day make it as a pro - there wasn't the infrastructure to become a pro in Sicily.
I must admit, I was impressed by Aru's win the other day. And it was good to see the Italian Road Race champion wear a proper Italian Road Race tricolour jersey, and not a plaintive modification of the team jersey with just a flash of the national colours, like "His Nibs" wore during his Astana days.
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