97th Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2011

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Jul 18, 2010
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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.
I recall seeing Frank talking into his radio while riding on the front on one of the climbs. I can only guess that he was asking what to do as if it wasn't obvious what needed to be done. I guess they decided it was better at that point to guarantee their podium spots than risk attacking Gilbert and one of or both them blowing up and getting reeled in by the chase group.
 
Jul 18, 2010
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MartinGT said:
Dont people think that Leopard Trek are in a similar position as Team Sky were last season?

I.e they are a new team and therefore even with the likes of Spartacus, the Schlecks and Voigt etc they cannot expect instant success?
Nope. All they are Saxo Bank in different colors, minus Bjarne. Essentially they are racing under the same management since Riis was so hands-off in recent years.
 
Jul 18, 2010
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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)...
It is never a bad thing but in this case it was mishandled to guarantee their 2 steps on the podium rather than truly attempt to get the win, at least after Andy caught back on.
 
Feb 22, 2011
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La Pandera said:
That is the million dollar question. Did they think they were about to pull a semi Mapei/Gewiss? I've seen this done before by other teams and always found it a bit bizarre but in this case with the current most dominant rider, Gilbert, sitting in the same group of riders, one would think that if you have 2 strong riders that they would attempt to work over that one dominant rider.
One attacks to see if they can draw out the dominant rider or see if he sits in to wait for someone else to respond. In this case LeOpard gave Gilbert no choice. Technically they gave him an avenue to escape from the rest of the contenders without having to do it on his own. Gilbert had the Schlecks to escort him to a sprint finish.
+1 Totally agree
 
Feb 20, 2011
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greatking88 said:
Yeah I agree but maybe the first skirmish could have weakened Gilbert physically and mentally(seeing both brothers attack) but hey its just a thought, it didnt happen so we'll never know.. :)
That's what makes the aftermath of these races so much fun... lots of different scenarios to imagine! I could completely see them stepping on the gas if say GVA had managed to get up to them; it would be a lot more surprising if he was there and worth seeing if he'd pop.

With Gilbert, I just think it would have been like laying all your cards on the table right away... and he'd see you had nothing more than a pair of deuces.. ;)
 
Christian said:
I see: all breakaways are alike because they are improbable. Following the same logic the Giro d'Italia and the Eneco Tour are the same because they are both bike races. But seriously: when you find an example of two climbers outsmarting a puncheur in the form of his life on the flat, let me know. Apples and oranges.

But all sillyness aside, I believe it is quite probable that they would have blown up after their hypothetical attack, and then been swallowed by the peloton. Bear in mind the next group finished only 24 seconds back, and 5 km is a loooong way to go, especially in Ans, and especially after 250 brutal km
That's one gigantic strawman. I didn't say all breakaways are the same, and the Vasseur example wasn't one of how to be successful in a breakaway, but one of how to keep fighting against impossible odds. You're missing the point with that strawman: I'm not claiming history is full of examples of two climbers outsmarting the strongest one-day specialist, I'm saying it's full of examples of people who despite being inferior one-on-one (emphasis on one-on-one) kept trying to play the cards they had. As for the Schlecks blowing up and being caught by the peloton, well, Van Avermaet still managed to finish 7th despite being dropped much earlier, and anyway that conservatism is also what's being criticized here (my first post on this issue was: "are they brilliant, or just embarrassingly conservative?"). Still, with less than 5 km to go the fear of losing the podium shouldn't have even been a factor, because that was a very unlikely scenario. But if you want to be a fan of riders who, despite having already a very good palmares (one of them having already won this race before) still settle for 2nd, be my guest.
 
Jul 18, 2010
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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
I would have kept that admission to myself.:eek: Of course that's what often caused Valverde to miss out on higher finishes in the grand tours before is 2009 Vuelta win: he simply found it too difficult to maintain that focus for long periods of time. He finally got it right likely due to tiring of seeing his chances for grand tour success disappear and to being helped to maturity by his teammates, especially Oscar Pereiro who wouldn't hesitate to let him know when and how he (Valverde) had screwed up.
 
Jul 18, 2010
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El Pistolero said:
Good luck trying to gap the most explosive cyclist in the current peloton on a hill.
The idea is if you have the numbers versus a single superior opponent you want to make him work, tire himself out to bring down to less than dominant.
One attacks, the other waits for the dominant rider to respond and follows him, riding in his draft. The idea is to keep him in the wind/front and working. Stating the obvious, sharing pulls with him is not in any way lessening his superiority/weakening him in anyway. The win was conceded long before they reached the final corner.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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La Pandera said:
The idea is if you have the numbers versus a single superior opponent you want to make him work, tire himself out to bring down to less than dominant.
One attacks, the other waits for the dominant rider to respond and follows him, riding in his draft. The idea is to keep him in the wind/front and working. Stating the obvious, sharing pulls with him is not in any way lessening his superiority/weakening him in anyway. The win was conceded long before they reached the final corner.

The idea isn't the reality. The reality is, Andy was dead and wasn't going to help Frank much in any way. He got dropped by Gilbert on Saint Nicholas. And you're expecting him to attack the one who dropped him so easily? How does that even make sense tactically.

They didn't have a numerical advantage. It was Gilbert vs Schleck bros. Guess which one counts for more.
 
Jul 18, 2010
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md2020 said:
I agree with what Joe Lindsey had to say here<---

My reaction to Liege this year is a bit mixed. The Schlecks were right in saying afterward that Gilbert was unbeatable. But the anticlimactic finale seems to indicate that they decided this as far back as the Saint Nicolas. Risk aversion may work to win a stage race, but it won’t get you a victory in a monument.
^^This.^^^
 
Feb 20, 2011
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El Pistolero said:
They didn't have a numerical advantage. It was Gilbert vs Schleck bros. Guess which one counts for more.
Well, they had a 'numerical' advantage, but not a 'statistical' advantage. Any theoretical mathematicians out there?? This ratio might get pretty big. :p
 
Feb 22, 2011
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El Pistolero said:
The idea isn't the reality. The reality is, Andy was dead and wasn't going to help Frank much in any way. He got dropped by Gilbert on Saint Nicholas. And you're expecting him to attack the one who dropped him so easily? How does that even make sense tactically.

They didn't have a numerical advantage. It was Gilbert vs Schleck bros. Guess which one counts for more.
I think your thinking of the last climb whereas we are talking about the climb when Andy made the initial attack and Frank was the first to respond..
 
Jul 18, 2010
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El Pistolero said:
The idea isn't the reality. The reality is, Andy was dead and wasn't going to help Frank much in any way. He got dropped by Gilbert on Saint Nicholas. And you're expecting him to attack the one who dropped him so easily? How does that even make sense tactically.

They didn't have a numerical advantage. It was Gilbert vs Schleck bros. Guess which one counts for more.
Neither Andy nor Frank were dead when the initial separation from the group of contenders occurred. That is what I'm arguing here which I thought I made fairly clear. My apologies if I did not.
 
Feb 20, 2011
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Since we're on the topic of LBL, anyone recall the great final of 2006?? A COMPLETE free for all on the long drag up to Ans, all the major players firing...

Even though in hindsight ValPiti's win was a bit of a foregone conclusion, it was really something else. I've watched it many a time and it never gets old. Night and day from what we saw yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEape7tNrSw
 
Jul 18, 2010
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beer_thirty said:
Since we're on the topic of LBL, anyone recall the great final of 2006?? A COMPLETE free for all on the long drag up to Ans, all the major players firing...

Even though in hindsight ValPiti's win was a bit of a foregone conclusion, it was really something else. I've watched it many a time and it never gets old. Night and day from what we saw yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEape7tNrSw
You must have been reading my mind! That was one of the most exciting editions of LBL that I've ever seen. Attacks left and right with a cast of riders in contention (Valverde, Basso, Bettini, Cunego, F. Schleck, Perdigreuro, Sinkewitz, etc...) that made it all the more exciting. Valverde at the height of his magnificence. The attackers had to rid themselves of Valverde before the line but his win wasn't a forgone conclusion as you say, not with such strong uphill sprinters as Bettini and Cunego also in rare form at the time. This to me was one of those classics that definitely lived up to its name and more.

Thanks for posting the link!:)
 
beer_thirty said:
Since we're on the topic of LBL, anyone recall the great final of 2006?? A COMPLETE free for all on the long drag up to Ans, all the major players firing...

Even though in hindsight ValPiti's win was a bit of a foregone conclusion, it was really something else. I've watched it many a time and it never gets old. Night and day from what we saw yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEape7tNrSw
The number of clinic denizens is quite outstanding. 5 of the first 11 would get bans, another one would get caught paying a doping doc, another one would be named as dope supplier, another one would be linked to a doping clinic, another is currently under investigation despite seemingly trying to clean up his act. The only relatively untainted people are the phonak boy Perdiguero (who had a massive jump in performance at 31) and the miracle man Horner who had his best season last year aged 76.

Sorry for being off-topic, but it's the sort of thing one gets to notice when there're 11 people sprinting for the win in Liege. Hell, the top 24 makes for some very depressing reading.

Wonder how the main players of the last Liege would be looked upon 5 years from now...
 
Jul 18, 2010
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roundabout said:
The number of clinic denizens is quite outstanding. 5 of the first 11 would get bans, another one would get caught paying a doping doc, another one would be named as dope supplier, another one would be linked to a doping clinic, another is currently under investigation despite seemingly trying to clean up his act. The only relatively untainted people are the phonak boy Perdiguero (who had a massive jump in performance at 31) and the miracle man Horner who had his best season last year aged 76.

Sorry for being off-topic, but it's the sort of thing one gets to notice when there're 11 people sprinting for the win in Liege.

Wonder how the main players of the last Liege would be looked upon 5 years from now...
Considering the Ardennes are often contended by grand tour specialists on occasion and looking at the final top ten in gc each year in the grand tours why would this be a surprise?
 
La Pandera said:
Neither Andy nor Frank were dead when the initial separation from the group of contenders occurred. That is what I'm arguing here which I thought I made fairly clear. My apologies if I did not.
Yes, but that was part one of their strategy on the day. The 1-2 didn't work as Gilbert easily bridged and they couldn't drop him early. Game over as it turned out. Yes again, I wanted one of them to at least, put in an attack later on but it was clear neither had the legs to do so. OR maybe they did, but knew it would be futile and I guess that is what is frustrating a lot on here.
 
Jul 18, 2010
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ferryman said:
Yes, but that was part one of their strategy on the day. The 1-2 didn't work as Gilbert easily bridged and they couldn't drop him early. Game over as it turned out. Yes again, I wanted one of them to at least, put in an attack later on but it was clear neither had the legs to do so. OR maybe they did, but knew it would be futile and I guess that is what is frustrating a lot on here.
I think they had the legs but were instructed to ride for the 2 remaining podium spots. It wasn't a 1-2. A 1-2 as I would define it is one attacks and then the other after drawing out their opponent. Sending both of your best riders off the front at the same time is great if they are the indesputably 2 strongest riders in the bunch, which they of course were not. Them both jumping off the front of the peloton together was just odd tactics to me considering who their primary opposition was.
 
Feb 20, 2011
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La Pandera said:
but his win wasn't a forgone conclusion as you say, not with such strong uphill sprinters as Bettini and Cunego also in rare form at the time. This to me was one of those classics that definitely lived up to its name and more.

Thanks for posting the link!:)
Oh yeah, when I was watching the actual race, no way did it seem like a forgone conclusion. Bettini looked great and when he tried to jump across to Boogerd I thought 'if he gets to them, watch out..'. Watching it over again, when they come around the final corner, man does Valverde ever look relaxed. It's in that final shot to the line, seeing how good he looks, and how wasted everyone else is, that brings out that feeling.
 
La Pandera said:
I think they had the legs but were instructed to ride for the 2 remaining podium spots. It wasn't a 1-2. A 1-2 as I would define it is one attacks and then the other after drawing out their opponent. Sending both of your best riders off the front at the same time is great if they are the indesputably 2 strongest riders in the bunch, which they of course were not. Them both jumping off the front of the peloton together was just odd tactics to me considering who their primary opposition was.
I would have taken you seriously if you would have said this before the race started. :rolleyes:
 
Feb 20, 2011
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roundabout said:
The number of clinic denizens is quite outstanding. 5 of the first 11 would get bans, another one would get caught paying a doping doc, another one would be named as dope supplier, another one would be linked to a doping clinic, another is currently under investigation despite seemingly trying to clean up his act. The only relatively untainted people are the phonak boy Perdiguero (who had a massive jump in performance at 31) and the miracle man Horner who had his best season last year aged 76.

Sorry for being off-topic, but it's the sort of thing one gets to notice when there're 11 people sprinting for the win in Liege. Hell, the top 24 makes for some very depressing reading.

Wonder how the main players of the last Liege would be looked upon 5 years from now...
No reason to be sorry here IMHO; you're not making unmerited accusations, just pointing out the cold hard facts. It is indeed depressing. Definitely a hell of a ride by Horner that year; top 10 in one of the harder ever editions. I always thought he was really well suited to that race.

Hopefully the top 10 from this year will fare better; unfortunately the double edged sword is, if this finale is due to folks being cleaner, then the damn race is too hard for an exciting final. Everyone was just wrecked at the end this year it seemed (though the pace was indeed very high). I don't know.
 
Jul 18, 2010
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cineteq said:
I would have taken you seriously if you would have said this before the race started. :rolleyes:
I certainly wouldn't have thought before hand that their initial dual attack would've been part of their battle plan, or anyone's strategy for that matter.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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hrotha said:
That's one gigantic strawman. I didn't say all breakaways are the same, and the Vasseur example wasn't one of how to be successful in a breakaway, but one of how to keep fighting against impossible odds. You're missing the point with that strawman: I'm not claiming history is full of examples of two climbers outsmarting the strongest one-day specialist, I'm saying it's full of examples of people who despite being inferior one-on-one (emphasis on one-on-one) kept trying to play the cards they had. As for the Schlecks blowing up and being caught by the peloton, well, Van Avermaet still managed to finish 7th despite being dropped much earlier, and anyway that conservatism is also what's being criticized here (my first post on this issue was: "are they brilliant, or just embarrassingly conservative?"). Still, with less than 5 km to go the fear of losing the podium shouldn't have even been a factor, because that was a very unlikely scenario. But if you want to be a fan of riders who, despite having already a very good palmares (one of them having already won this race before) still settle for 2nd, be my guest.
That is exactly what you are doing - you take the most common denominator (all breakaways are improbable) and apply it to "every breakaway throughout history" to support your opinion.

Anyhow, as for playing "the cards they had" - I'm pretty sure they had laid them all on the table in the previous 250 km. I know you couldn't believe your eyes and almost choked on your beer when they didn't attack, but I believe it's actually not that simple. May I remind you the average speed was the third fastest in history and I invite you to go back and watch how brilliantly Gilbert rode in the finale. He blocked Fränk in St. Nicolas and constantly rode in first or second place, always looking over his shoulder and not letting anything slip away.

Finally, Gilbert slowly destroyed their confidence and spirits: first of all by resisting on the climbs, second of all by always staying comfortably seated and pushing incredbile gears and last but not least by attacking and dropping Andy. That was the final blow to their morale and you need exactly that for attacking (especially after 250 km): confidence, high spirits and a good morale. The legs might not always make the difference, since everyone is smashed, but it is often whoever has the highest spirits who can set himself apart. And Gilbert masterfully showed them ever since Roche aux Faucons who was the patron.

Another thing that might not have come across while you were munching away on your chips.

The whole hypothesis of them being afraid to attack starts with the premise that they were physically and morally capable of attacking. However the evidence suggests they weren't.

(And yes I know you were neither munching chips nor drinking beer)
 
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