82nd Volta a Portugal em Bicicleta Santander (August 4-15)

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If Moreira looses this one because of the feeding related time penalty someone at Efapel should be fired. The same happened with Carvalho last year...
But our criticisms of Efapel's tactics are unjust and unfair.

How the hell W52 managed to win this, especially after yesterday when they were attacking their own rider in the camisola amarela and dragging 2nd on GC with them. Massive kudos to Abner for holding on to his high GC place, even if the Volta wasn't as thermonuclear as peak César/Balarcón this year still having the recovery to manage a good GC here at 20 is a very promising sign indeed. Credit also to Parra, but worth noting he got back into the mix in a break and although still a prospect, is almost 4 years older than Abner. Melcior Mauri crashing in the TT and losing the GC by 10" after everything that's gone on is just a complete damp squib of an ending, but nevertheless...luck or not, how Efapel contrived to lose this race after all their stage win dominance is quite something.
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Moreira was the strongest, there was evident rivalry within the W52 team, but he
came second. Take either the crash or penalty away and Moreira would have won.
I don't think it was a damp squib of an ending. The scenery is beautiful. The racing is crazy. This is a circus. Just enjoy it.
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Figeiredo seems to be a class act who is happy when his teammates win. Same as Rodrigues, who had no problems working for Amaro last year as the defending champion, take notice Joni!
With Figeueiredo his potential is top 5 or a podium spot if everything goes right. He's just not good enough as a TTer, but what do you expect from a 56kg climber. He looks at his best on the really steep stuff, but his only chance to win the Volta would be a long range attack and everyone being afraid of Moreira.
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If they end up with the camisola amarela, then it is their responsibility to chase in future stages, not Tavira's.

Really, defending Efapel's tactics is the hill you want to die on? Go on, tell me how they masterfully played their cards right in 2013.
Well, considering what they did in the following stages if they had ended up with the yellow jersey, they'd probably have spent less time pulling and chasing than they did. Scrap the probably, they most certainly would.

Second, why on earth would they be scared of that? You just keep making those wild, insane, assumptions, without justifying them. They had the best and deepest team. An Antunes vs Figueiredo mano a mano with everyone else minutes away, with the stages remaining, would mean a victory for them 99% of the time. Yet you keep insisting they'd be totally horrified at this scenario - which would be fine if you add a freaking explanation on why. Of coruse, the reason you don't it's because it's pure nonsense and there isn't one.

Third, even despite all that, they still wouldn't have chased - they would have told Antunes to stop pulling and allow Veloso/Mas to quickly closed the gap to Figueiredo. A point you insist on trying to ignore.

Sometimes it's perfectly fine to just say "yeps, I got this wrong".

Really, defending Efapel's tactics is the hill you want to die on? Go on, tell me how they masterfully played their cards right in 2013.
This is very telling about how you see this stuff.

I couldn't care less about Efapel or Efapel tactics per se.

I don't have any sort of emotional or otherwise connection to these teams or riders, and I'm happy to criticize their tactics when they're actually bad. Heck, W52's tactics on the stage to Bragança, where they spent half of the stage pulling in the breakway and the other half pulling in the peloton was beyond ridicule; not exactly racing tactics, but Efapel lost the race by having an ill prepared rider taking two bottles in the illegal feeding zone, etc

My point goes well beyond tactics: the bizarre criticism of perfectly fine tactics with over-the-top wild-eyed shrieking is just part of the same pattern where a guy suddenly has become a climber by not being dropped in a 6kms/4.7% climb that was soft-pedalled and over half of the peloton went through; the insane claims about wattage being WT level, the constant claims that teammates are chasing each other whenever some loon sees riders with the same jersey in front of different groups on tv without considering the race circumstances, comparing Monte Farinha with Contador's Verbier ascent in the Tour, or that Pogacar wouldn't win the race even though we now have two Gonzales and Neilands showing how even wt neopros can keep up with the pace for most of the race, or a DS being obviously facetious about having a good day after a terrible day is to be taken literally, etc.

As I said, it's a constant stream of nonsense, distortions, fabrications and misreprestations, apparently because, and I'll quote one of the private messages I got on this forum "have a lot invested in the narrative that the VdP is an amazing memeastic race, with out-of-the-world power outputs and unique, whimsical, magical moments and not just another dull conti race".

I mean, do you want another example?

You wrote this:
Nah, GCV is just chilling on the back of the bunch for a bit to try to preserve his own GC, lmao
This never happened. It's simply a fabrication, either you're aware of it or not.

The dude clearly imploded after putting a brutal shift for his teammate. He somehow managed to hang on to the back of the very small peloton for his dear life - actually distanced a few dozen meters - until the end of the climb; once they were in flat terrain, he actually managed to make his way to the front of the peloton, put in another shift for a few more kms and then literally stopped pedaling. He lost over 7 minutes in that stage. The guy who was supposedly faking weakness to keep his 2nd place in the GC.

The man died on the road trying to keep his teammate's jersey safe and yet your claim is that he was "chilling" to "preserve his own GC".

But I suppose the idea that the race is full of hilarious, picaresque, episodes like racers feigning weakness to keep their GC instead of just doing their job gives you more trepidation and attention (cue a long ramble on how GCV wasn't faking that stage but he or a teammate or someone else altogether did it back in 2007 or something so it's only fair to claim he was doing it this year)?

I'm not defending Efapel tactics or whatever you need to tell yourself to justify your fabrications; I'm just calling out the nonsense I see here.

Go on, tell me how they masterfully played their cards right in 2013.
Here's how this has gone.

Libertine's initial claim: Efapel tactics on stage 3 were an epic fail

Reality: Nope, they were perfectly fine, they got the stage, they kept their two riders in contention, it'd be daft to remove Mauricio out of competition for the sake of a virtually hopeless Antunes vs Figueiredo duel

Libertine: Yeah, but they chased themselves

Reality: Nope, it was merely an acceleration on the approach to the uphill finish in order to launch their puncheur

Libertine: Yeah, okay, but how about 2017, they chased themselves, they almost cost their breakaway rider the victory

Reality: Nope, they went to the front of the peloton for 2/3 kms in a fast decent to obviously slow down the peloton

Libertine: How about all those years they had Rui Sousa in the team and could have won Voltas if not for horrible tactics?

Reality: Nope, in every single one of those years Rui Sousa was their only credible contender, the one other plausible contender was 2013 when they had Broco

Libertine: Okay, so what about 2013!??!

Well, I could point out that there was no chance whatsoever they were winning in 2013, especially if they had gone all in with Broco, considering he took MINUTES from the Quinta da Lixa guys in the final time-trial and wasn't even close to the podium time wise.

Quickly checking: Marque put 3:07 minutes on Broco in the final TT. Broco was 16th; Rui Sousa was 3rd and lost 1:28 to Marque. And supposedly they should have betted on Broco because Sousa was.... too weak in the final TT?

Now what?

Anything from the Carlos Pinho days?
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Brandao is pulling Marque because, well, god knows why.
He never really was. He was trying to drop him with a sustained acceleration to a higher pace, didn't succeed at first, went back to Marque's wheel after 10 seconds or so, attacked again, this time succeeded (it's normally easier if you come from behind the rider you want to drop).

I'm not sure how anyone can regularly follow road cycling and yet can't tell the difference between this and "pulling Marque".

Edit: Looks like Efapel thinks Moreira can win this entire thing
This was abundantly clear for everyone out of this forum at the very least after the Guarda stage - although Moreira's performances before the Volta suggested this would likely be something they could at least ponder as a credible hypothesis since the start.

Yeah, Balarcon is the Volta's version of Thomas becoming a Tour winner while Veloso is just Froome with clearly better results before his transformation.
Bizarre comparisons.

Thomas was a greatly talented pistard, a strong cobbles prospect (winning Roubaix juniors, top-10 Flanders early on), then an elite roulleur/TTist/big motor who slowly and steadily changed his body and improved his climbing/recovery skills (even if results don't make this apparent, it was obvious by actually watching the races), becoming an increasingly stronger domestique and starting to win stage races himself.

Alarcon was an uninspiring prospect who went through his 20s as a bottle-carrier journeyman, with the (very) occasional sprint success. Then when he was turning 30, he suddenly develops elite climbing and TT skills and becomes a superdom overnight and in a couple of years he's crushing the field.

The only WT equivalent to Alarcon is someone like Bjarne Riis. They even had their breakout year at the same age and did the thing of sticking in their respective pelotons by being friends to an influential top rider.

As for Veloso, he was a decently talented rider that, due to circumstances mostly beyond his control, dropped down a level and became the proverbial big fish in a small pond. By definition, there can't be an equivalent in the WT. I genuinely can't see the connection to Froome in any way - relative strengths, stylistically, development surprises, whatever. They were both dominant GC riders at their level with very good TT performances I guess.

Who would have thought that Antunes were to beat Marque today?
In this thread or the real world?

In the real world, it's hardly that surprising. It wasn't even the first time: Antunes beat Marque at the Algarve's TT last season for example, as he did in 2018 (this year he clearly had order to save his legs to work for the team the next day). And only lost 4 seconds in last year's Volta final TT - considering Marque is now an year older, is it really that unexpected Antunes would now beat him? Antunes has been a decent enough time trialist for a few years. Even before his WT sojourn, he was never a catastrophic TT as long as he's trying.

Obviously, if you keep going back in years, Marque would be at his absolute peak and Antunes still young and improving, therefore the differences will be huge. But there was no reason to believe Antunes couldn't at least be close to Marque; unless you have no idea what you're talking about and think Figueiredo is a better time-trialist than Antunes because he did better in the prologue.
He never really was. He was trying to drop him with a sustained acceleration to a higher pace, didn't succeed at first, went back to Marque's wheel after 10 seconds or so, attacked again, this time succeeded (it's normally easier if you come from behind the rider you want to drop).

I'm not sure how anyone can regularly follow road cycling and yet can't tell the difference between this and "pulling Marque".
I actually meant Brandao's domestique (Rodrigues IIRC?) pulling for Brandao and Marque for a long time. Also, Brandao himself pulled Marque for a while before dropping him for good. Finally, Brandao and Rodrigues were completely useless for Antunes, for again, no actual reason.
The comment on GCV was tongue-in-cheek because the pace slacked off enough that after exploding on the front he was still part of the group. And because of the way he threw his toys out the pram before. And I wasn't claiming W52 would be horrified at the thought of having to defend yellow. I was claiming that it would be beneficial to Efapel because they would be no further back on the GC (gap between Antunes and Figueiredo would be the same) but W52 would have to expend domestiques on controlling the race, giving them fewer resources to defend against attacks later on. While much of your point may be sound, however, this bit about the defending of the jersey and you thinking I was thinking Efapel had the jersey on the day and so on was something you misread in my original post you referenced, and have attacked the misconception rather than what was originally said, however I don't think this is a strawman argument but an honest misconception as I think this is a language barrier issue, either in terms of how I expressed the post or how you interpreted it.

The rest of it, yes. Efapel have done enough dumb stuff enough times which most of those of us who follow Portuguese cycling (including the ones who actually have connections inside it) concur is dumb that there is an element of "even a blind squirrel finds a nut" about when they do something successful.

In retrospect, Figueiredo not helping Antunes and them chasing it turned out to be the right call, because Fred wasn't as strong on the latter mountains and Mauri, having been something of an anomaly on Torre (although in stupendous form, the Volta ao Alentejo and the one-day-race version of the Vuelta a Castilla y León do not have comparable climbing, had he done it on Montejunto in the GP Torres Vedras, more people would have bought him as a GC threat early on) borne out of the pace being something of a game of chicken which had allowed Marque up the road. But with Figueiredo having been on last year's podium and comfortably the best of Efapel's riders in last year's race, as well as he and Antunes looking the best climbers early in the race but nevertheless needing to make gains against those who were stronger TTers (after all, not having sufficient room before the TT was how they lost the GC with Rui Sousa on at least one occasion) and Antunes not being a formidable TT opponent himself, chasing the time gap down in order for Moreira and Carvalho to jockey for a few seconds in the last kilometre looked a lot like trading the washer and dryer where the lovely Smithers is standing in for the mystery box.

But still, ironically enough even if we accept the hypothesis that the Efapel directeurs in fact did do everything right in the end, it was still the team car that cost them the race because it ended up being those 20-second penalties for illegal feeds on Torre cost them the race.
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