97th Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2011

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Mar 13, 2009
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Yeahright said:
Frank dragging Phil across to Andy was one of the dumbest tactical moves I have ever witnessed, followed closely by Frank not making one move in the final two kms to test Gilbert out. Even if he just went for it and blown after 200m it would have forced Gilbert to respond and tow Andy along. Gilbert must have been laughing to himself all the way up the final climb at their ineptitude.
Okay. First of all: where is all this "dragging across" coming from? There was never a gap between the two, Fränk was right on Andy's wheel when he attacked, and Gilbert right behind. The two attacked and accelerated together, and if you really believe different tactics would have changed the outcome on Roche aux Faucons I invite you to watch the footage again - Gilbert pushing a bigger gear sitting down, easily keeping the pace of the Schlecks en danseuse.

Second of all: if Fränk had made a move in the final 2 kms, it would have lead to: Andy being dropped (and not towed along as you suggest) and Gilbert easily counterattacking and dropping Fränk. Worst case scenario the two get caught by the peloton and finish 10th and 17th.

JMBeaushrimp said:
The kicker for me is that both Schlecks came in together. Without trying anything in the last 5km...

They know that keeping Gilbert with them guarantees a loss, and yet nothing...

And that lame 'lead out' at the end? Cummon!

Last week I posted how stoked I was to see Andy actually try to race in AGR, and now it seems to be back to normal - waiting for attrition rather than dictating anything.

Cowardly and lame.
Your theory is based on the premise that it was opposite day, but the Schlecks didn't know it. Gilbert was dropping them on the climbs, hence they could have dropped Gilbert on the flat. You should have told them!

KassyC said:
I find it amazing that you are all slating the Schlecks so much.
You seem to be new to the forum, so let me give you a little bit of context: The Schlecks in general and Andy in particular have taken over the position of most hated rider in the forum, after the position was left void by Lance's retirement 2.0. To a lesser extend, this can be said of LEOPARD TREK as well, taking over the position of most hated team from RadioShack and Team Sky. You should know that in general the middle ground is very thin in this forum and most users take extreme positions. After Lance stepped down the forum was in need of a new target to project their hatred on, and Andy was first choice. Other riders you'd better not defend are Loseheimer, the c0cky c0ck (Cancellara) and Wigans, never bait Vino, Di Luca, Gesink, any Colombian or TGBM. Follow those guidelines and you'll fit in just fine.

Being the most hated rider on the forum, people tend to pick out tiny details that have no importance whatsoever (for example whom he congratulated first, whether or not he took off his hat) and make it into a huge controversy.

Exhibit A:

quiensabe said:
To me, the real disgrace was Andy's behaviour on the podium. Frank literally took his hat off to Gilbert - a nice gesture, with wit. Then up comes Andy, walks past Gilbert, hugs big brother, ignores Gilbert, turns his back to shake hands with a lot of surprised guys in suits, then faces front with a face like the spoiled little brat that he is. A display of bad manners from a sour loser.
Notice how this quote is completely counter-factual ("Andy ignored Gilbert") and goes against everything Gilbert said after the race ("riders with a lot of class"). But then again, what does he know.

ElChingon said:
Then there's the camp of, Gilbert was the strongest in the world there's nothing they could of done. Fine, so why race then?
Yes you are right, they should have hidden in the peloton like everyone else - would have been much more graceful.

ElChingon said:
I wish I could of been within in ear shot of Hinault or Kelly (after they broke away on EuroSport) or any other ex-Pro actual racer on what they thought at the moment of this travesty.
Oh, you mean like Bernard Hinault or Jean-François Bernard: "They tried on Côte Saint Nicolas but understood immediately that Gilbert was one level above them. By collaborating, they helped Gilbert but there was nothing else to do to win. Best case scenario, Gilbert has a mechanical in the last km. Worst case scenario, they finish on the podium, a result that you don't spit on. If they hadn't collaborated, they would have finished 9th and 10th. There is no glory in that. I prefer this final compared to Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders, where everyone races against Cancellara."

But again, what do they know.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Waterloo Sunrise said:
I knew he was no sprinter, but 600Watts as a peak attack - yikes. I hope distance is reducing his anaerobic power by 33% or that is just plain weedy.
Well yes after all it was after 250 km and on a climb (don't know the gradient). I'm fairly certain the only ones capable of producing a bigger effort at that point were Fränk and Gilbert

Libertine Seguros said:
The problem was, Sky had, ultimately a quite mediocre roster, so weren't above being cut down to size.

Leopard perhaps shouldn't expect instant success, but given the quality of their roster, they do and the fans do.
Sky was a mediocre team that was overhyped. How are you supposed to overhype LEOPARD TREK's roster? They set their goals right: win the Tour de France and be competitive all season long. So far, they have been competitive more or less all season, as their many podiums and their CQ position proves, despite not getting many wins. The Tour is only natural as an objective, given the route and their roster. My point being their objectives weren't set too high and they have done well so far this season.

On a different note, they easily took over the position of most hated team on the forum as I said before, aided by Nygaard's strategies and some lobbying from Dim.

Libertine Seguros said:
What makes it so ridiculous is that Fränk has played wingman perfectly before - on the Alpe in 2008 and in this very race in 2009. Why he lost his mind and thought it was a good idea to drag the strongest man in the race over to his brother, thus sealing both of their fates, I have no idea.
Again, where is all this "dragging across" coming from? In order to drag someone across, first there must be a sizeable gap, and there never was. They attacked together, Gilbert, being the smart cookie that he is, happened to be on their wheel.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
In that case, if you have two cards to play, why play them together when both cards are the same?
Shifting the goalposts, are we?

Alright then, I'll play along even though I've told you this before - it was the winning move and they knew it (Rodriguez didn't). Whether the order was Schleck-Schleck-Gilbert or Schleck-Gilbert-Schleck at the moment of the attack is irrelevant since there was no sizeable gap
 
May 27, 2010
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Christian said:
. After Lance stepped down the forum was in need of a new target to project their hatred on, and Andy was first choice. Other riders you'd better not defend are Loseheimer, the c0cky c0ck (Cancellara) and Wigans, never bait Vino, Di Luca, Gesink, any Colombian or TGBM. Follow those guidelines and you'll fit in just fine.
haha you forgot to tell them not to bait BMC, evans and vanavermaet:D
 
It's not shifting the goalposts.

I have made hypothesis A.

You have made hypothesis B, which is irreconcilable with hypothesis A.

If hypothesis B is to be correct, it then raises new questions not posed by hypothesis A.

Hence I have posed this question.

If both of your cards are the same, why put them on the table together? You seem adamant that we are somehow wrong to be disappointed at the lack of spectacle yesterday. I suspect but cannot prove that had that been, say, di Luca and Kolobnev, or Sánchez and Antón, then your tune would be different. And I'm sure, if it were Sánchez and Antón, that the two of us would be on the opposite sides of this debate.

I say the Schlecks let Gilbert walk all over them to an easy victory. You say he would have won anyway so what was the point trying? I say, I understand that viewpoint, but I consider that viewpoint a blight on cycling because it leads to dull racing from people happy to consolidate what they have and never pine for more. It's a one-day race! If it was a stage race, nobody would be complaining at what the Schlecks did. They put time into the opposition and may even have bargained with Gilbert to give him the win knowing that he'd probably beat them anyway. But it wasn't a stage race. It's a one-off, standalone event, and you would have thought that the prestige of winning it was worth sacrificing a possible 3rd for.

Then again, with the UCI points system, maybe that's changing. And there you have another problem with the UCI points system - it encourages conservative riding for placements.
 
dlwssonic said:
haha you forgot to tell them not to bait BMC, evans and vanavermaet:D
ACF has found a true soul mate.
Hard not to bait BMC fans, when the words of Manuel Quinziato, from February, are still fresh.
The PT's strongest "classics" squad fail to get a single podium out of their Spring 2011 campaign.

Apart from Greg van Averaege, another epic fail.
 
May 27, 2010
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Mellow Velo said:
ACF has found a true soul mate.
Hard not to bait BMC fans, when the words of Manuel Quinziato, from February, are still fresh.
The PT's strongest "classics" squad fail to get a single podium out of their Spring 2011 campaign.

Apart from Greg van Averaege, another epic fail.
I have never mentioned that they are the strongest classics squad or manuel quinziato and I do support other riders too.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
It's not shifting the goalposts.

I have made hypothesis A.

You have made hypothesis B, which is irreconcilable with hypothesis A.

If hypothesis B is to be correct, it then raises new questions not posed by hypothesis A.

Hence I have posed this question.

If both of your cards are the same, why put them on the table together?
Actually you're shifting the goalposts. Tactics and execution were pretty good until St. Nicolas but apparently having an advantage in numbers is now a bad thing (which is easy now for you to say after the event since they were unable to execute it)...
 
roundabout said:
Actually you're shifting the goalposts. Tactics and execution were pretty good until St. Nicolas but apparently having an advantage in numbers is now a bad thing (which is easy now for you to say after the event since they were unable to execute it)...
OK, the numerical advantage is a pretty good justification. But then what's the point of having a numerical advantage if you won't, or can't, do any of the things that people with a numerical advantage use to take advantage of that?

Yesterday's race was a huge letdown. We were reliant on the Schlecks to do something, and they didn't. Yes, they got further than most of the contenders. But that doesn't stop it being really disappointing. They say it's because nobody had any gas left in the tank, but Liège-Bastogne-Liège is that length every year and other years people have had gas left in the tank. Why not this year?

Is it because of the high pace of the péloton? Probably. The problem with that is twofold.

1) the high pace of the péloton doesn't bring any excitement so all we see is a group riding together, then a few people riding off the front and promptly doing nothing. Comparing it to other editions, I can't see why we wouldn't be disappointed by that.
2) the high pace of the péloton for much of the day was set by Leopard Trek anyway.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Kudos Libertine, nice analysis of the discussion, always a pleasure debating with you ...

Anyhow I agree with roundabout: until St. Nicolas their tactic was pretty good. I think it is here that we get to "the poodle's core": there is a difference in opinion on whether they couldn't attack due to fatigue or whether they didn't want to attack due to stupidity.

You are disappointed with the race and that is your good right, even though your posting history suggests you generally set the bar quite high. The Schlecks tried a tactic that focused on their winning rather than on Gilbert losing - hence the high pace in the peloton for example. Should they have focused more on Gilbert losing (I'm not talking about the last 2 km, which seems to be what ticked most people off, but about the team's tactics all day)? We'll never know and it is futile to speculate.

In any case, they had the strongest team with two strong favourites - and they assumed their responsibility. People qualified Garmin as "the biggest cowards in today peloton" when they opted for a different tactic, and now we have a team who assumes their status as strongest in a monument and they still get slandered. Note that Fränk was quick to say that Garmin's tactics were "not cheap, just different".

Whoever wins did everything right. But if you finished 2nd and 3rd you still did a lot right. You didn't like the race and that's fine, but I hope you understand why LEOPARD TREK raced the way they did
 
Sep 25, 2009
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Just watched it took a lot of effort not spoiling the results for myself

Great display of OPL's strength as team and I'm glad Gilbert took the quadruple I would take a Belgian flag as avatar but I made no bet. ;)
 
Jul 16, 2010
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So, no hate for Katusha?

You can't use the excuse "they didn't have the legs for it". I mean even if they didn't, they should have at least tried, no? ;)

In the end, Leopard is the only team that tried to get rid of Gilbert. Can't say the same about the other loser teams. Katusha with their great classics roster won nothing. Garmin is second in the list of fail teams.

The only thing they could have done to prevent Gilbert from winning was isolating him. And that's what happened, and they still couldn't beat him.

For those saying that the Schlecks should have just sat on his wheel... What would that have done? Gilbert is STILL the fastest sprinter, so he'd still outsprint everyone that comes back to the lead group. They sure as hell weren't going to drop him on the climbs as they got dropped quite easily on the Roche aux Faucons.

And I don't know if you guys noticed, but Gilbert trapped Frank Schleck twice at the Saint Nicholas just when Schleck was about to start his attack. The guy's a tactical genius. And then he totally broke their spirit by attacking him self. And guess what? He dropped the Schlecklett.

As for the final kilometers. Gilbert played it smart once again. See for your self how much he uses track cyclist tactics in the final. He was looking back all the time, making the Schlecks nervous, forcing them to set the pace, cutting in the corners, etc

I think some of you guys need to rewatch the Saint Nicholas climb ;)
 
Yeahright said:
Well i actually agree with you that it was disappointing that Frank did not at least try to attack on the last hill up to the finish. However Gilbert had already showed on the earlier climb that they were no match for him when he gapped Andy. I guess that after that they figured it was game over.
Yup it was as simple as that. Then cut your losses and get 2nd & 3rd.
Their tactics worked perfectly, but they didn't have the legs in the end.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
OK, the numerical advantage is a pretty good justification. But then what's the point of having a numerical advantage if you won't, or can't, do any of the things that people with a numerical advantage use to take advantage of that?
As always you're always talking after the fact.
The thing is you need to put yourself in that position first to have a chance. And they did it. If the pace was too high, and they didn't have the legs that's another story. Give credit to who deserves it.

I'd rather see that kind of racing than JV's *lucky* way of winning.
 
Christian said:
You are disappointed with the race and that is your good right, even though your posting history suggests you generally set the bar quite high. The Schlecks tried a tactic that focused on their winning rather than on Gilbert losing - hence the high pace in the peloton for example. Should they have focused more on Gilbert losing (I'm not talking about the last 2 km, which seems to be what ticked most people off, but about the team's tactics all day)? We'll never know and it is futile to speculate.
A tactic predicated on winning must, by necessity, be predicated on everybody else losing. Setting a high pace in an 80-man péloton is a useful tactic but unfortunately also the least visually appealing. It looked to have worked, save for Gilbert - the one man they should have had a gameplan to beat. Maybe they did have a gameplan to beat him, but couldn't because they were too knackered. Yes, it's good that you want to go out and win, but you have to gameplan the opposition too. Maybe not to the exclusion of everything else like Garmin did, but you do need to take the opposition into account. You don't keep continually throwing deep over the middle against the Ravens because Ed Reed will pick you off. You try to win the game by other means, throwing to different receivers, trying different packages to take him off his game.

But once plan A had worked against everybody but Gilbert, it was time for plan B to be put into operation. And from the looks of it, either there wasn't a plan B, or the success of plan A had jeopardised any chance of success for plan B because they were too tired to execute it.
 
Dec 13, 2010
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Christian said:
You seem to be new to the forum, so let me give you a little bit of context: The Schlecks in general and Andy in particular have taken over the position of most hated rider in the forum, after the position was left void by Lance's retirement 2.0. To a lesser extend, this can be said of LEOPARD TREK as well, taking over the position of most hated team from RadioShack and Team Sky. You should know that in general the middle ground is very thin in this forum and most users take extreme positions. After Lance stepped down the forum was in need of a new target to project their hatred on, and Andy was first choice. Other riders you'd better not defend are Loseheimer, the c0cky c0ck (Cancellara) and Wigans, never bait Vino, Di Luca, Gesink, any Colombian or TGBM. Follow those guidelines and you'll fit in just fine.
Ah right, thanks for that. Maybe they should make that a sticky so that newbies understand all the bizarre ranting:D

Not really sure that fitting in is going to be my thing with that criteria... I tend to give credit where it is due regardless of whether I like someone or not.

I think the Schlecks did the best with what they had on the day. Gilbert was in a different class in this race, and I think that was evident to everyone.
 
KassyC said:
Ah right, thanks for that. Maybe they should make that a sticky so that newbies understand all the bizarre ranting:D

Not really sure that fitting in is going to be my thing with that criteria... I tend to give credit where it is due regardless of whether I like someone or not.

I think the Schlecks did the best with what they had on the day. Gilbert was in a different class in this race, and I think that was evident to everyone.
And somewhere in Christian's post you should also have figured out that if you say an unkind word about Team Leopard Trek, he's going to be on you like white on rice. :p

In all seriousness, take everything with a grain of salt. In time you will figure out who is a fan of what teams, riders, countries. Who's here just to bust balls. Who's here for the discussion and debate, etc. It's a cycling forum and it takes all kinds to make it work (and that is ALWAYS a work in progress around here).

In any event, welcome.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Mellow Velo said:
ACF has found a true soul mate.
Hard not to bait BMC fans, when the words of Manuel Quinziato, from February, are still fresh.
The PT's strongest "classics" squad fail to get a single podium out of their Spring 2011 campaign.

Apart from Greg van Averaege, another epic fail.
Epic fail is a little strong, don't you think? I think it is a fair to say you didn't rate them initially. Are you not going to 'have a go' at some other teams who didn't live up to their potential?

btw, the 'tired' excuse doesn't rub with me. Everyone is tired after 260km of hard racing.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Publicus said:
And somewhere in Christian's post you should also have figured out that if you say an unkind word about Team Leopard Trek, he's going to be on you like white on rice. :p
Well yes. And that :)
 
Feb 20, 2011
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OK, so after some of the initial dust has settled, if you REALLY want something to go after, how about this gem from (a rider I really like, by the way) Alexandr Kolobnev:

"I wasn't very focused in the very moment when the Schleck brothers attacked. It was a fatal distraction, which conditioned my race"

Seriously, you weren't very focused on Roche aux Faucons, the one place you KNEW an attack was going to happen? I'm pretty sure a certain Mr. Tchmil might have had words with Alexandr regarding that one. :p
 
Feb 20, 2011
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Libertine Seguros said:
You don't keep continually throwing deep over the middle against the Ravens because Ed Reed will pick you off.
Ok, I'm from the US, but if I'm from say Belgium, or whevever, right now I might be thinking "You don't continually throw <where?> over the <what?> against the <whom?> because <never heard of him> will do <what?> to you??

:D:)
 
Jun 16, 2009
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beer_thirty said:
OK, so after some of the initial dust has settled, if you REALLY want something to go after, how about this gem from (a rider I really like, by the way) Alexandr Kolobnev:

"I wasn't very focused in the very moment when the Schleck brothers attacked. It was a fatal distraction, which conditioned my race"

Seriously, you weren't very focused on Roche aux Faucons, the one place you KNEW an attack was going to happen? I'm pretty sure a certain Mr. Tchmil might have had words with Alexandr regarding that one. :p
It is just some coverup for "I wasn't up to it".:rolleyes:
 
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