Belgium Stages - Will we see similar chaos like the Giro

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LA and JB have got to be thinking about how they led the charge over the cobbles the last time, and Mayo lost time.

Also Lance's 2nd place last year was due in part to make a split on a windy day.

I expect Radioschalke will be looking hard for similar situations since they know Contador is a better climber and TTer than Lance.
 
I honestly believe that 13 +- Km of cobbles cannot make significant gaps for the benefit of the Shack at all. The only factor could be the weather-if it gets treacherous-but other than that, I think is just another "mind game" that actually can backfire, considering how Saxo is more powerful & more experienced
team in that terrain....
 
Nov 17, 2009
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hfer07 said:
I honestly believe that 13 +- Km of cobbles cannot make significant gaps for the benefit of the Shack at all. The only factor could be the weather-if it gets treacherous-but other than that, I think is just another "mind game" that actually can backfire, considering how Saxo is more powerful & more experienced
team in that terrain....
I don't know if it will... but I have to think it could.

Omloop het Nieuwsblad has what... 16km of cobbles?

You had gaps in that race of nearly 4 minutes between Flecha at the front and 40th place. Good cobbled riders were in that group.

I have no idea if the tour stage will have that kind of impact... but I don't think 13km of cobbles is miniscule.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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kurtinsc said:
I don't know if it will... but I have to think it could.

Omloop het Nieuwsblad has what... 16km of cobbles?

You had gaps in that race of nearly 4 minutes between Flecha at the front and 40th place. Good cobbled riders were in that group.

I have no idea if the tour stage will have that kind of impact... but I don't think 13km of cobbles is miniscule.
Riders will have to be right up the front when going into the cobbles as there will be some first time cobbled riders in the peleton who will cause chaos.
 
Jun 3, 2009
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The first 3 road stages will likely to be quite nervous.
Stage 1 because of the winds, these come early on in the stage as the race heads inland to Brussels, but some problems could be caused.
Stage 2, the favourites won't want to lose any time on the hilly roads, I doubt we'll see much from favourites but an attacking rider could take over the yellow jersey here.
Stage 3, the cobbles will cause problems with a few favourites, but with the right preparation they'll get through them, Contador was learning them with Van Petegem so he's taking no chances.
 
Jan 18, 2010
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Hopefully SKY can avoid crashing en masse like during the Giro, but dont bet against that happening again. Trouble is everybody scrambles to get to the front to avoid people falling off in front of them, and then something bad tends to happen due to the ensuing chaos.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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kurtinsc said:
I don't know if it will... but I have to think it could.

Omloop het Nieuwsblad has what... 16km of cobbles?

You had gaps in that race of nearly 4 minutes between Flecha at the front and 40th place. Good cobbled riders were in that group.

I have no idea if the tour stage will have that kind of impact... but I don't think 13km of cobbles is miniscule.
Well Omloop is ridden for the win, the Tour Stage will be ridden for the time. There's no incentive to try to minimize the gap in Omloop unless you can close it totally, and even so you don't want to carry someone else to the stage win. The situation is the exact opposite in the Tour. Any seconds taken of the gap is an advantage and no contender will care who wins the stage, not compared to keeping himself in contention. Also of cause the best cobbled riders aren't GC favourites so they can have all the time they want.
 
hfer07 said:
I honestly believe that 13 +- Km of cobbles cannot make significant gaps for the benefit of the Shack at all. The only factor could be the weather-if it gets treacherous-but other than that, I think is just another "mind game" that actually can backfire, considering how Saxo is more powerful & more experienced
team in that terrain....
Only 3km of cobbles in 2004 was enough to destory Iban Mayo's chances in 2004.
 
Potomac said:
Only 3km of cobbles in 2004 was enough to destory Iban Mayo's chances in 2004.
back then, Mayo lost 3:48 to LA, and the next day with the TTT the difference was 2:35, making it in total 6:23 by the 4th stage,Ivan not having the same men power than Lance's team had and taking in consideration that two ITT were ahead --yes, Mayo was done, but not entirely due to the cobbles
this year there is no TTT-and that by itself is the balance for weaker teams with GT contenders to get back to the race later on if some time gaps appear early...

What is clear to everybody is that Saxo & the Shack will make an alliance (AKA package exchange:D) to damage Contador in the first 3 stages, so they're going to take advantage of that---- but what nobody here has mentioned is that those strong teams with lots of experienced riders "also have to protect their GT leaders"- and It's not just to drive the stage hard for the sake of it while they put in jeopardy their own guys.......What if Cancellara is driving a mad phase and Andy crashes? what if LA has a mechanical problem in the longest section? so the problem is not entirely for AC as the PR machine is trying to sell it..
everybody is going to be nervous that day-no doubt-and knowing how much can be lost in that day is going to create some doubts in many riders, but the flip side of it is that some teams like the Shack are "counting blindly & putting their entire game" in those stages to take chunks of time on AC-- what if no real gaps appear at all? it's then game over for them?
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Cerberus said:
Well Omloop is ridden for the win, the Tour Stage will be ridden for the time. There's no incentive to try to minimize the gap in Omloop unless you can close it totally, and even so you don't want to carry someone else to the stage win. The situation is the exact opposite in the Tour. Any seconds taken of the gap is an advantage and no contender will care who wins the stage, not compared to keeping himself in contention. Also of cause the best cobbled riders aren't GC favourites so they can have all the time they want.
While that's true... riders who are behind their GC guy and not in the race aren't going to pedal for Contador. If Contador were in a group back a ways with no other GC riders, nobody but he and his teammates would be riding to minimize a gap.

While the stage could end up having very little impact... it's not unthinkable to imagine a situation where Quickstep pushes the pace at the front and causes the race to break up into smaller groups.

If that were to happen... it's not crazy to think that Lance and Wiggins (both of whom have had some solid cobbled finishes) would be in an earlier group then Contador.

If that happened... and Sky and RS had Steegmans, Rast, Flecha, Boassan-Hagen, Arveson and Thomas all pulling at the front... well one could imagine a serious gap forming.

But more likely... a few cobbled guys take a flyer and nobody gains much. I would love to see Sky be agressive early in the cobbled sections though... Wiggans can handle the road and they've got a team that could do some serious damage, unlike Radioshack who will only have a couple northern classic guys.
 
hfer07 said:
I honestly believe that 13 +- Km of cobbles cannot make significant gaps for the benefit of the Shack at all. The only factor could be the weather-if it gets treacherous-but other than that, I think is just another "mind game" that actually can backfire, considering how Saxo is more powerful & more experienced
team in that terrain....
It's not just the cobbles but the narrow roads and the fight to get to the front that will inevitably take place. Add to that the higher incident of flats that take place on the cobbles and you have what will be an early end to someone's Tour hopes. Some riders and their teams will be in a panic trying to avoid being in less than opportune position going into the cobbled sections.
 
hfer07 said:
What is clear to everybody is that Saxo & the Shack will make an alliance...
...and no doubt they will try to enlist help from QuickStep-- I can see Boonen wanting a rematch vs Spartacus on the pave (such as it is).

Considering Mayo got his ticket punched on only 2 sections of pave and this year there will be 6 sections, I am expecting that the cobbles stage will cause gaps among the GC contenders. Maybe even on the same order as a TTT.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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kurtinsc said:
he's got a good shot at being in an earlier group then some other GC guys because of his experience on the pave. He's no expert... but he's at least competent. I'm not sure any other GC contender has proven even competency.
We need to stop dropping these myhts about Armstrong being some sort of tactical genius with unrivalled experience of all aspects of cycling.

Due to his status and power he is allowed to constantly ride in the most perfect place in the peloton....i'll draw a picture:

x
x
x
x
x
xLx
xxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxx

This is the "throne" in any peloton and it's where every rider wants to be. However, there is either a constant battle for that spot, or "The Boss" is allowed to ride there, unchallenged.

It's virtually impossible to get surprised, gapped, dropped, caught behind a crash etc if you constantly ride here.

And it isn't experience, tactical nous, genius or anything that keeps him here. It's the fact that 179 other riders are helping him stay there.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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Mongol_Waaijer said:
We need to stop dropping these myhts about Armstrong being some sort of tactical genius with unrivalled experience of all aspects of cycling.

Due to his status and power he is allowed to constantly ride in the most perfect place in the peloton....i'll draw a picture:

x
x
x
x
x
xLx
xxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxx

This is the "throne" in any peloton and it's where every rider wants to be. However, there is either a constant battle for that spot, or "The Boss" is allowed to ride there, unchallenged.

It's virtually impossible to get surprised, gapped, dropped, caught behind a crash etc if you constantly ride here.

And it isn't experience, tactical nous, genius or anything that keeps him here. It's the fact that 179 other riders are helping him stay there.
I don't think either Saxo Bank or Astana will feel the need to do LA any favours. Kurtinsc is however correct in stating that LA is a better cobbled rider than most contenders. He finished in the first group in Vlaanderen. Clearly his team isn't as good as Saxo Bank for cobbles, but personally he's clearly better than the Schlecks. I'm not sure which factor matters most. Contador has neither a good cobbles team nor is he strong personally, though he might still be better than the Schlecks.
 
The Schlecks rode cobbled races as juniors and face cobbles every now and then while training in Luxembourg. It's said that Contador's cobble training a couple of weeks ago was the first time he has ever ridden any.
Fränk Schleck's bike handling might still be a problem but I think Andy won't do too bad.

However even experienced classic riders crash on cobbles and nobody is safe of punctures, so fate might be the decisive element in those stages
 

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