• The Cycling News forum is looking to add some volunteer moderators with Red Rick's recent retirement. If you're interested in helping keep our discussions on track, send a direct message to @SHaines here on the forum, or use the Contact Us form to message the Community Team.

    In the meanwhile, please use the Report option if you see a post that doesn't fit within the forum rules.

    Thanks!

Are Saxo the most tactically inept team in the peloton?

Page 2 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Apr 8, 2010
1,257
0
0
Visit site
Mrs John Murphy said:
Well it is a discussion forum and people have differing opinions.

As I say, I watched today and had no idea what Saxo were playing at. I watched them in the FW, Amstel and LBL and had no idea what they were doing.

In AGR they had a rider in what would have been the decisive move if katusha had played there cards right.

Didn't watch FW so I wouldn't know.

In LBL the schleck that hadn't just attacked had a mechanical just as things were getting hot(as I remember, could be wrong).

And remember that if the rider's not in shape he's not going to win. Last year Andy was very strong. This year not so much.

Domestique-wise they're not nearly as strong at this years ardennes compared to last (no Kolobnev, no Kroon and Nicki Sørensen and Fuglsang was nowhere near the shape of last years ardennes classics.)
 
Mar 13, 2009
5,245
2
0
Visit site
Magnus said:
You could also take a look at the L-B-L 2009.

Exactly, that was a perfect tactic from Saxo Bank. Here is a video explaining it (I don't like the speaker all that much but it's still OK): "How the race was won"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AIpwcScU3c

Saxo Bank/CSC has been one of the best teams for years, always been really high in the UCI rankings.

You can't win every single race because you can't control them 100%, not even with the best tactics. Usually there are more or less 200 other riders whom you can't control.

You can't say their tactic at last year's TdF was bad just because they didn't win GC, but even the best tactic could not have beaten Contador. Look at the Grand Bornard stage - they did everything they possibly could and just because they didn't drop Contador doesn't mean it was a bad tactic, it simply wasn't possible that day (or any day at that TdF)
 

Barrus

BANNED
Apr 28, 2010
3,480
0
0
Visit site
TeamSkyFans said:
Actually they arent..

This man is..
Alexandre_Vinokourov525.jpg

but youve got to love his tactical ineptitude

That man is the single msot brilliant tacticus in the peloton. His style of riding ensures that the races are always attractive and his tactics ensure that the sport as a whole becomes more liked :p
 
Delicato said:
Can you tell me about some possible scenarios of the attacks? (which wouldn't be doomed since wouldn't be frontal ;))
Try to isolate Contador by forcing his team to do lots of work from early on. Send top-level domestiques ahead, as many as you can. Send Andy too, not Frank (ideally, send both). Make the whole stage hell for Astana; Andy can't win one-on-one against Contador, but maybe Saxo can win against Astana. The key is to make it a struggle of teams, not of individual riders.

What would happen if it was only Contador and Lance having to chase Andy and one or two teammates? Would Lance have helped?

Would this have worked? Probably not. But still, after the direct engagement tactics failed approximately 57 times, you'd think Riis would have gone for something a bit different.

How did Di Luca do it in stage 19 of the 2008 Giro?
 

ttrider

BANNED
Apr 23, 2010
386
0
0
Visit site
I thought this article was wrong but i actually agree
The Shlecks are so over rated, they there silly little double team moves and the other favourite just sit there saying good luck with that as they inevitably waste there energy! its so bad its funny i mean at lbl this year andy when with gilbert which was great, then conti bridged and the others followed but vino the goes and oh look no saxos in the lead group.
Look at TDF last year stage 17 conti gets a perfect tow down the mountain why not both get infront and let a few gaps open up?
Dont even get me started on Ventoux Andy just attacking randomly and contador just getting a free ride, he didnt even care the issue was frank and he was sitting there looking like a d*** whilst andy tired himself out only to surrender the possibility of a stage?!

No wonder why they are struggling for sponsors
 
Aug 6, 2009
1,901
1
0
Visit site
hrotha said:
Try to isolate Contador by forcing his team to do lots of work from early on. Send top-level domestiques ahead, as many as you can.
They did send domesticates like Cancellara or Voigt ahead, they were brought back. But let's pretend that they could have just send however many rider up ahead and that Astana could stop them, what then? How does the presence of Saxo Bank domesticates up the road change the fact that Andy just can't drop Contador?
hrotha said:
Send Andy too, not Frank (ideally, send both).
Yes, we all saw how great that worked out for Cadel Evans who was far back in the GC. Actuallly Andy did join a large group early on one stage, but, and here's the kicker, Astana brought the group back.
hrotha said:
Make the whole stage hell for Astana; Andy can't win one-on-one against Contador, but maybe Saxo can win against Astana. The key is to make it a struggle of teams, not of individual riders.
First of all there's no magical way to make it a struggle of teams rather than individual riders. Secondly Astana was stronger than Saxo Bank.
hrotha said:
What would happen if it was only Contador and Lance having to chase Andy and one or two teammates? Would Lance have helped?
Ok let's assume that Andy Schleck has got a few domestiques up the road and the supper strong Astana team has magically evaporated. That still doesn't explain how Andy himself got this gap to Contador? Andy throughout the 2009 Tour showed that he could reliably drop any rider in the Peloton, except Contador.

hrotha said:
Would this have worked? Probably not. But still, after the direct engagement tactics failed approximately 57 times, you'd think Riis would have gone for something a bit different.
As you admit yourself your idea would almost certainly have failed. In fact it would probably have failed a lot worse than a 2nd place in the Tour 3 stage victories and the Youth Jersey. That's a failure such as few teams dare dream about. Saxo Bank had the second strongest rider and they got the second place, hardly proof of a tactical failure.

The kind of tactics you propose would almost certainly have resulted in worse results than the conventional tactics that were employed. Those tactics are conventional, because they're the ones most likely to work. Attacking from far out is in most cases just a huge waste of energy. It allows you rivals to use their teams against you captain, thus saving their captain energy for putting more time into you on the final climb.

hrotha said:
How did Di Luca do it in stage 19 of the 2008 Giro?
EPO.

Also Contador didn't have as strong a team and he certainly wasn't as strong himself. Riccardo Riccò put time into Contador using more conventional tactics.

The thing is that tactics aren't magic. There's not much "tactics" can do to change the fact that Contador rode a lot faster up mountain and a lot faster in TT's than Andy. It's just the reality. Stupid tactics could easily have lost Saxo Bank their second place and some of their of their stage wins though.
 
hrotha said:
Try to isolate Contador by forcing his team to do lots of work from early on. Send top-level domestiques ahead, as many as you can. Send Andy too, not Frank (ideally, send both). Make the whole stage hell for Astana; Andy can't win one-on-one against Contador, but maybe Saxo can win against Astana. The key is to make it a struggle of teams, not of individual riders.

Guess there's someone who's been playing a little bit too much pro cycling manager - because obviously you just won't be able to send several top-level domestiques ahead without getting an immediate response from the other top teams...

I don't know if to laugh or cry over this topic. CSC/Saxo has been a prominent team all season long for so many years now, which most likely would be more than impossible with a tactical inept DS.

Granted, the Schlecks don't win much. Granted, Riis has his major focus on TDF. And I agree that Frank Schleck should have tried his luck in Il Giro or La Vuelta at this point of his career.. But I don't think you really know if it's Riis' desire to win Le Tour or actually The Schleck Bros themselves.

20 wins so far this season (ranked 3), 44 last year (ranked 2), 48 in ´08 (ranked 2), 35 in ´07 (ranked 5), 52 in ´06 (ranked 1) and 39 in ´05 (ranked 2) - yeah, it's clear as day why a sponsor find that team unworthy....:confused:
 
Apr 14, 2010
1,368
1
0
Visit site
Spartacus held the yellow jersey how long last year? He won the Ronde and PR this year. Jens is one of the crowd favorites in the peloton. Whether or not you think Saxo's GC tactics are sound with the Schlecks lets not get stupid and say they're not doing anything for their sponsors.
 
Kazistuta said:
because obviously you just won't be able to send several top-level domestiques ahead without getting an immediate response from the other top teams...
That other top team being Astana, and if they respond we're forcing them into a team vs team battle, which is what we want. I'd say this is the intended result, yes.

Also, I've never played an actual PCM race, I always simulate. I'm speaking from experience, from races I've seen over the years.

Cerberus, Andy couldn't drop Contador in the final climbs. He tried. Ok, so Andy attacks in one steep climb far from the finish line, and he can't drop Contador. Fine. How many Astana riders manage to follow, though? How many of them would be able to work for Contador? Just Klöden. Who might well go down if enough pressure is applied - or maybe not, but the thing is, they didn't even try.

Now ideally you have a small group with many kilometres to go, you have Andy and Frank, and perhaps some other domestique you sent before. Astana has Contador, Armstrong and Klöden. Eliminate Klöden, and Bruyneel has to choose, and boy, he can't afford to choose. With Contador isolated, you don't need to drop him on a climb. Be imaginative. Attack on a descend. On the flat between climbs. Improvise. Use your numbers to wear him down.

When I speak of Saxo usually displaying bad tactics, I'm not even talking necessarily about last year's TdF, it's an impression I've always had, from previous Tours, including the one Sastre won by saying "to hell with that" to the established team strategy. But very often, Saxo has the advantage of numbers, and they'll still do nothing with them. Half-assed attack by Frank, who looks back to see where Andy is. Then the other way around. The domestiques that may be hanging in there are not even used. Their tactical solution for everything at the TdF appears to be "attack and hope for the best". And it fails every time, and they have no alternative.

What were those conventional tactics Saxo used? "Attempt to drop Contador with individual efforts"? That doesn't count as tactics in my book.

I know there's no magic involved. I know these tactics are likely to fail. My complaint about Riis's teams is that he never, ever, takes any risks. He'll get good results because he has good riders, but he can't win like that unless his leader is absolutely superior to everyone else. He has two guys on the podium or close to it and he'll be perfectly satisfied with that.

As for Di Luca doing it on EPO, that's pretty irrelevant considering the people we're talking about here.
 
Well, given the argumentation I'd say you are right to say that Riis doesn't "risk" anything.... but which TEAM does that in modern bike racing? Please name one - And don't talk about individual riders, as both Cancellara and Voigt are risk-takers on their own (as riders like Gilbert..and Landis in ´06..doh!)...

It's not that Rabobank today was better at tactics, Gesink jumped when Andy did - and happened to be stronger.

Poor tactics is one thing (imo not present) - poor risk willingness is another....
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,257
0
0
Visit site
hrotha said:
including the one Sastre won by saying "to hell with that" to the established team strategy

And how do you know what the established team strategy was?

Oh wait I know... The established team strategy of team saxobank is the worst in the peloton, the worst team strategy can't win the tour, Carlos won the tour hence Carlos didn't follow the team strategy.
 
Mar 18, 2009
4,186
0
0
Visit site
I suspect whoever started this topic has never seen Rabobank at a race where Maassen is DS.

"We have the GC lead and a very weak team to support Gesink. I'd better send them all to the front to run themselves into the ground furiously chasing a break of guys who are over an hour down on GC"
 
Mar 13, 2009
5,245
2
0
Visit site
ttrider said:
they there silly little double team moves and the other favourite just sit there saying good luck with that as they inevitably waste there energy!

I remember after the Grand Bornard stage everyone was saying how happy they were that they attacked, because everyone else just "sat back" as you suggested and nothing ever comes of that. You can either sit back and surrender to the fact that Contador cannot be beaten or you can try your hardest and give your best to beat him. If that doesn't work out then at least you tried and gave the fans a good show. If you consider every unsuccessful attack in cycling a "waste of energy" then you must get really frustrated every time you watch a race because there is probably an average 27 unsuccessful attack and only 1 winning move.

ttrider said:
Look at TDF last year stage 17 conti gets a perfect tow down the mountain why not both get infront and let a few gaps open up?

What you don't understand is that as a cyclist you need to work according to your abilities. You referred to LBL 2010, saying the Schlecks were stupid for attacking so early. The problem is however if they don't attack they'll be beaten in a sprint hands down (cf. LBL 2008). Same with Le Grand Bornard - they needed to drop Contador on the climb, there was no chance they could have ever dropped them on the descent or on the flat.
The difference in abilities is what makes any race exiting! Sammy Sanchez's tactics cannot be the same as the Schlecks and Gilbert's tactics cannot be the same as Contador's.

ttrider said:
Dont even get me started on Ventoux Andy just attacking randomly and contador just getting a free ride, he didnt even care the issue was frank and he was sitting there looking like a d*** whilst andy tired himself out only to surrender the possibility of a stage?!

Now I don't really understand what you're trying to say here but let me explain to you how it went down (Andy explained it in a radio interview in Luxembourg).

Andy asked Contador to collaborate and go for the stage win. Contador refused because of Armstrong - he couldn't work against his own teammate. Andy then tried to go by himself a couple of times in the lower part of Mt. Ventoux but was unable to drop Contador. Now it is only logical that if he couldn't drop him there, there is no chance he could drop him once the vegetation stops because there was so much wind. He would have been forced to do all the work, and for what? You think Contador gives out presents like that and passes up a Mt. Ventoux victory? So Andy took the right decision in not dragging Contador, because Contador wouldn't have had to work, would have been protected from the wind, and would have ultimately won the stage because he would have been much fresher.

There was never a possibility of a stage win at Mt. Ventoux for Andy since he couldn't drop Contador in the lower part of Mt. Ventoux.

Kazistuta said:
It's not that Rabobank today was better at tactics, Gesink jumped when Andy did - and happened to be stronger.

Poor tactics is one thing (imo not present) - poor risk willingness is another....

Exactly what I've been trying to say.

Magnus said:
And how do you know what the established team strategy was?

Oh wait I know... The established team strategy of team saxobank is the worst in the peloton, the worst team strategy can't win the tour, Carlos won the tour hence Carlos didn't follow the team strategy.

... and exactly.

I actually don't understand why people say Sastre said "to hell with strategy". I think it is fair to say that he won the Alpe d'Huez with such a large margin only because of the destructive work the Schlecks did behind. That was perfect strategy, they marked every single attack and no one wanted to drag the Maillot Jaune (Fränk) or the favourite for stage victory (Andy) to the line! Hence no organized chase, hence Carlos' important time margin. I don't think that was impromptu, that must have been planned.
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,257
0
0
Visit site
issoisso said:
I suspect whoever started this topic has never seen Rabobank at a race where Maassen is DS.

"We have the GC lead and a very weak team to support Gesink. I'd better send them all to the front to run themselves into the ground furiously chasing a break of guys who are over an hour down on GC"

Or Cervelo at stage 15 of the 09 giro.
 
Potomac said:
It took 4 pages before anybody to come up with candidates for a worse "tactically inept" team.

I think t hat argues in favor of the OP, since nobody else sprung into mind.

Or just the fact that you can't really talk about a tactically inept TEAM in general. In my objective there's no such team, but I've seen several examples of poor team strategy in single races over the years.

Obviously Team Sky and their pre-sprint efforts has looked pretty poor this season (not poor tactics, just poor execution), Cervelos decision to call Serge Pauwels back last years giro was a major brainfart, BMC's ditto for not bringing a team to support Cadel this year, Rabobank pulling massively in front of the chase group when one of their riders was in the lead in a spring one-day race last year (don't recall which one, I'm sure DekkerTifosi does) and the list goes on...

Can anyone name a major race where a team won due to having two cards on the hand despite them not being the strongest riders?
 
Aug 6, 2009
1,901
1
0
Visit site
hrotha said:
That other top team being Astana, and if they respond we're forcing them into a team vs team battle, which is what we want. I'd say this is the intended result, yes.
No you're not, you're forcing them into a team vs. team battle, you're "forcing them" into a team vs. 1-2 of you domestique battle. Possibly even a several teams vs. 1-2 of you domestiques battle. The result if you press you luck will be 1-2 exhausted domestiques and that Astana and whatever other teams will be warmed up. Did you miss the fact that this was actually tried and didn't work?


hrotha said:
Cerberus, Andy couldn't drop Contador in the final climbs. He tried. Ok, so Andy attacks in one steep climb far from the finish line, and he can't drop Contador. Fine. How many Astana riders manage to follow, though? How many of them would be able to work for Contador? Just Klöden. Who might well go down if enough pressure is applied - or maybe not, but the thing is, they didn't even try.
Are we assuming that Andy has 1-2 domestiques with him? I'll even let you pick which domestiques, Who do you think will win a TTT Andy Schleck and 1-2 others or the entire Astana team with whatever help other teams will lend to see if they can defend their own GC chances or hopes of a stage win from Saxo Bank. The fact that this was not tried is evidence that Saxo Bank aren't tactically inept, not the other way around.

hrotha said:
Now ideally you have a small group with many kilometres to go, you have Andy and Frank, and perhaps some other domestique you sent before. Astana has Contador, Armstrong and Klöden. Eliminate Klöden, and Bruyneel has to choose, and boy, he can't afford to choose. With Contador isolated, you don't need to drop him on a climb. Be imaginative. Attack on a descend. On the flat between climbs. Improvise. Use your numbers to wear him down.
Ok so I guess we're back the the entire Astana team evaporating by magic. Thing is, even in the dream world where that would happen, Andy and Frank Schleck still has to drive the pace to holld of every other team in the peleton for a 100 KM or whatever. Good thing that the Schlecks are so great at descends and TTs.

hrotha said:
When I speak of Saxo usually displaying bad tactics, I'm not even talking necessarily about last year's TdF,
'
Good thing because your suggestion for "improvements" would accomplish nothing save losing the podium spot the got.

hrotha said:
it's an impression I've always had, from previous Tours, including the one Sastre won by saying "to hell with that" to the established team strategy.
What evidence is there that Sastre attackign was against orders?
hrotha said:
iBut very often, Saxo has the advantage of numbers, and they'll still do nothing with them. Half-assed attack by Frank, who looks back to see where Andy is. Then the other way around. The domestiques that may be hanging in there are not even used.
Perhaps they're exhausted
hrotha said:
Their tactical solution for everything at the TdF appears to be "attack and hope for the best". And it fails every time, and they have no alternative.
They got a podium spot, that count for something too, you tactics would probably have lost them that spot. "mission accomplished".

hrotha said:
What were those conventional tactics Saxo used? "Attempt to drop Contador with individual efforts"? That doesn't count as tactics in my book.
So you problem with their tactics is semantics?


hrotha said:
I know there's no magic involved. I know these tactics are likely to fail. My complaint about Riis's teams is that he never, ever, takes any risks. He'll get good results because he has good riders, but he can't win like that unless his leader is absolutely superior to everyone else. He has two guys on the podium or close to it and he'll be perfectly satisfied with that.
Yes, he'd rather have 1-2 guys on the podium than 0 gouys on the podium. Strikes me as very sensible. You're entitled to you preferences for riding styles, but the fact that Saxo Bank doesn't employ suicidally stupid tactics is hardly proof they're inept.

hrotha said:
As for Di Luca doing it on EPO, that's pretty irrelevant considering the people we're talking about here.
Which is why I also offered another explanation.
 
Jan 27, 2010
168
0
0
Visit site
anyone in doubt of the premise here, watch "overcoming". the only thing that "overcomes" is Riis's ego and general incompetence.

* tactics based on personal grudges against minor teams at the expense of own team
* atmosphere of complete panic under even minor pressure
* contradictory instructions
* tactics nearly every day: "let's see what happens"
* injuring one of his own riders while trying to drive the team car, hand out bottles, and fiddle with the radio all at once.

in contrast (whatever you think of them), the competition (Bruyneel's lot) had a reputation for being well-organised, well-prepared, and calm under pressure.
 
Jul 2, 2009
2,392
0
0
Visit site
hrotha said:
How did Di Luca do it in stage 19 of the 2008 Giro?

Because Contador was playing the long game and didn't waste energy chasing him. AC knew there was still a mountain stage and a TT to come, and also knew how much time he could afford to lose to DDL and be confident of recouping it. Meanwhile DDL makes a huge effort and exhausts himself.

What you didn't mention is: Stage 20 - Di Luca loses 4 minutes to Contador; Stage 21 - Di Luca loses 3 minutes to Contador.

DiLuca started stage 19 in 6th place, a minute off the podium. He finished the Giro in 8th, nearly 5 minutes off the podium.
 
galaxy1 said:
anyone in doubt of the premise here, watch "overcoming". the only thing that "overcomes" is Riis's ego and general incompetence.

* tactics based on personal grudges against minor teams at the expense of own team
* atmosphere of complete panic under even minor pressure
* contradictory instructions
* tactics nearly every day: "let's see what happens"
* injuring one of his own riders while trying to drive the team car, hand out bottles, and fiddle with the radio all at once.

in contrast (whatever you think of them), the competition (Bruyneel's lot) had a reputation for being well-organised, well-prepared, and calm under pressure.

This is a team which has had some of the strongest mountain riders - in the Schlecks and previously Sastre, Basso (even going back to Hamilton), some of the strongest domestiques in JV, Spartacus, O'Grady etc, and yet they have been completely unable to turn that strength into TDF victories.

Look at 2008 - Cuddles was completely isolated and vulnerable for several stages and yet Saxo completely failed to make a killer move until Sastre ignored team orders and attacked on D'Huez. It seemed like last year that Riis's plan was to do exactly the same - wait until Ventoux and attack there.

This is a team given the riders it has had at its disposal and its emphasis on the TDF that should have more than one TDF victory in 10 years.

A serious question for Saxo fans who watched yesterday - can someone walk me through what the Saxo tactics were and what they were trying to do with AS, FS and JF.
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,257
0
0
Visit site
Mrs John Murphy said:
Look at 2007 - Cuddles was completely isolated and vulnerable for several stages and yet Saxo completely failed to make a killer move until Sastre ignored team orders and attacked on D'Huez. It seemed like last year that Riis's plan was to do exactly the same - wait until Ventoux and attack there.

So when Sastre attacked he ignored team orders. In 09 the plan was the same as in 08. Wait until the last climb and attack there. But then how did Sastre ignore the team orders if the team orders was to attack on the last climb?

2007? are you drunk?

And you should rewatch some stages of that tour if you think that CSC-Saxo didn't attack until Alpe d'Huez.

As I wrote earlier i didn't watch yesterdays' stage, but it seems it was a matter of poor ability and not poor tactics. Barring yesterday I still don't think anybody has pointed to when Saxo Bank has displayed bad tactics. Conservative tactics that get podiums instead of top tens but in that case I'ld prefer podium to top ten.
 
Jul 17, 2009
4,316
2
0
Visit site
Moose McKnuckles said:
The Schlecks would benefit from the brilliant tactical guidance of one George Hincapie.

Listen to what he says, then do the opposite.

I just spit coffee on the keyboard.

How about that 6 hour wheel suck in the lead group to Big Bear? and Amgen gave him the most aggressive rider that day too.
 
Jul 17, 2009
4,316
2
0
Visit site
It seems like their stage race tactics so far were just to let Andy ride into form for Le Tour, and throw Frank a bone now and again.