Bernal vs. Pogacar vs. Evenepoel

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See, this is an example of how the ITT "purists" completely miss the point. All sporting events, including GTs, are supposed to test anything. They existing for one reason only. To entertain the viewer. If there is no viewer, there's no money in the sport and it ceases to exist.

ITTs are boring because it's not racing. It's just people riding a bike, one-by-one. Why would I waste my time watching that? I know it takes talent and a lot of hard work to be elite but I don't care. Just like I know that every Olympic sport is difficult to do well but it's boring to watch so I don't. ITTs are like watching a football match decided by penalty kicks. I know there's skill involved but it's boring so I won't watch it.

Race organizers know this so they've changed the routes to generate more interest. And the ASO is best there is. Minimal TTs and minimal flat stages are the way to go. And the Dauphine course this year is perfect. 5 stages, all medium or high mountains. I'll watch that!

Also, I'll add that Froome isn't an all-rounder. A great climber, a great TT'er but not much of a sprinter and isn't even competitive in one-day races. He's still the best GC rider of his generation.
i just disagree with this on so many levels.

however, point of clarification -- by "all-rounder", I mean what I believe the French refer to as "un coureur complet", a rider who excels both in the mountains and TTs (not necessarily sprinting). A Grand Tour -- whether you like it or not -- has traditionally been a test of the following:

A rider who excels at both climbing and time-trialing (though they may not be the very best at either one) while also (naturally) recuperating better than most (i.e. endurance over three weeks).

Apart from a very few exceptions, the history of GTs, and particularly the TDF, is one where the winner is a rider who fulfills the above criteria.

And the point is also that these riders are indeed rare. Lemond would say that at the start of every tour there were really only a handful of riders who could really expect to compete for the overall and they new who they were largely.

Dumoulin, Roglic and Froome are GC winners in the traditional mold.

Carapaz, Simon Yates and Bernal are simply not. Nor is Pinot quite frankly (and I would love him to win one!). I do not want to call them one-trick ponies, but they largely have one skill way above all others and they can only win on courses that are weighted heavily towards climbing with almost no ITT. This is not to say they should not win a GT at some point in their careers...like Bahamontes or Van Impe did, but imo they should not be the new mold of a GT winner, because then to win a GT, you really just have to climb well, and that's it...

We can also just agree to disagree... ;-)
 
For good reason. Because of its importance teams are more risk averse. I like that air of importance around it... that when something does happen it's a huge deal.

Agreed, though, that they need to do away with their usual 8 to 10 (semi) sprint stages. This time around it's not as bad, but...
It's got way more to do with team strength and route design.

Honestly I can't really blame the Tour for having to deal with French geography, but boy they don't make it better by using the same old climbs and domestique friendly routes all the time. The Tour is generally also the worst GT at pacing/ordering their stages.
 
On the other hand, the riders dominating GTs in the past decade (Froome, Contador, Nibali) were all late to the party.
The most precocious of them didn't win a Grand Tour until he was 24.

We really have no idea what will happen in the next 5 years.
Contador had that brain injury and likely would’ve shown up a year earlier in the high GC if not for the team he was riding on at the time. Saiz is on record saying that in his mind, they were going to the 2006 Tour to support Contador.
 
what exactly do you mean by "old"?

I don't remember 7 sprints in a row in the 70s and 80s...
There were on average 10-12 flat stages before the first mountain stage, but there was at least one long ITT (some times even two), a TTT, and some years the odd cobble stage before they hit the mountains. So no 7 sprints in a row but sequences of 2-4 sprints + TT. 1986 had 6 flat stages in a row. Not all of them were won by sprinters, but none of them was relevant for GC.
 
Reactions: Big Doopie
The Tour is a usually a boring race only partly due to the routes. Too many valleys between climbs. The other problems have nothing to do with TTs which just make a race worse in every single way. Teams bring their best riders so the domestiques are stronger and can control the race. Plus half the teams are happy to ride for minor places so will help chase down breaks in situations they wouldn't in other races. Rider 15th in GC in the break. Uh oh! Team with rider in 11th starts to ride.
 
Let me rephrase, it almsot never has more action than either the Giro or Vuelta.
thing is I don’t really care personally. I just want the best most complete rider crowned that’s all.

how many TDFs have been exciting about who the winner will be in the history? Very, very few. I have watched them since 1972. And the only true nail biter that went back and forth was 1989 and there was a ton of ITT KMs in that (including an MTT and a TTT). What made it exciting is that you had two evenly matched GT riders. Both were top five climbing and TTing. One was slightly better at climbing. The other slightly better at TT. The same could be said about 1975, probably the second most exciting TDF since I started watching. Two complete riders, but this time the slightly better climber won. But Thevenet could also TT with the best. The TDF crowns the greatest GT rider of that time. And as I said those who could win were few... there was never any doubt with Indurain or Merckx or Hinault’s wins.

I also watch it for the drama, the theater, and to me that is not dependent on how close the battle is. Not at all. Merckx won eight stages and beat Poulidor into second by over eight minutes, but the 1974 Tour had plenty of drama. Drama isn’t derived from having more (middling) riders compete for the overall. Not IMO anyway.
 
Reactions: 18-Valve. (pithy)
1986 had 6 flat stages in a row. Not all of them were won by sprinters, but none of them was relevant for GC.
I would argue that this is where the (modern?) fan fails to realize the importance of those flat boring stages. They are there precisely to give other riders a chance, BUT ALSO to wear down the less strong riders. Until blood doping in all its forms took over for two decades or so, riders got worn down, some more than others over a three week tour. The long flat stages not only gave a chance to the break or a sprinter, it also wore some riders down (Simon Yates at the Giro 2018). Having said that, and as I have noted in another thread I do wish they added more mid-difficulty stages — mini-LBLs or Lombardy’s. I think the flat stages are now too predictable and too controllable by the sprinter teams. So instead of maybe half of them ending up as sprints, nearly all of them are.

In 1975, the first stage was split into two mini-stages, both flattish across Belgium to Roubaix. Each one ended with GC favorites sprinting for the win. Only Merckx and Moser made both groups if I remember correctly. Merckx the instigator of course...

and that is yet another reason I like the arrival of Evenepoel, he could attack anywhere. What has truly not been exciting with the recent Tours is that all the favorites wait for the mountains to attack. That was what made last years TDF because Ala was attacking everywhere. Evenepoel will likely do the same.

Carapaz, Bernal, Landa, Quintana, they are NEVER going to start an attack on anything but a mountain... that may be why you find those flat stages so boring, because the complete rider has been pushed off for the only talent that now counts towards GC: climbing.
 
Reactions: red_flanders
No, the Giro and Vuelta aren't more interesting due to being close in GC. They're more interesting because there's more racing going on. In the Tour nothing happens until the last few kms. In the 2018, even every mountain stage was bottrain until the final km and then a 5-rider sprint. Meanwhile, the 2019 was weaker than average, yet still the decisive attack was made on a stage's penultimate climb and 2 stages later the Mortirolo split the GC riders into many different groups despite the peak being 30 km from the finish.

Last year's Tour was more interesting than usual because Movistar broke up the bottrain so that there were less bots in the finale. Movister only did that because they were already out of GC so they had nothing to lose and they aren't Trek or EF who will ride for 7th. But usually, everyone riders super-conservative. If the bots aren't broken, then no Evenepoel or anyone else will be able to attack. That's precisely the reason that no one attacks before the finale ever in the Tour. I hope Evenepoel attacks on the flat despite the Ineobots chasing. But he won't because 1) he won't need to. and 2) he knows he'd fail. He'll follow the bottrain and make his gains in the ITT just like everyone else.

I guess you see things different. You look at who wins or the "type" of rider who winds. That's looking at results and rigid categories, which is meaningless to me. I want interesting stages with racing before the the last km. Flat stages? With pave or crosswinds. Yes, those are much better than mountains, at least in the Tour. Which is why TTs are so boring. There's nothing interesting except for the result.

Edit to add: About those 4 riders who never attack... Quintana made 2 successful attacks in the 2019 Vuelta, one stage win and one big GC gain. Neither of them were on mountain stages.
 
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Reactions: Sandisfan
I can't wait to see these 3 guys compete against each other in a GT when all 3 are on form.
  • Bernal probably got the upper hand in the long mountains at altitude and 3rd week.
  • Pogacar got great punch and can attack far from the finish if needed.
  • Evenepoel have the TT to rely on, he can attack from long range in hilly or easier mountain stages and his 3rd week will be a big question mark.
(and add Roglic, Landa, Quintana, Buchmann ++ in the equation.)

I don't think this massive fight will happen next year, cause I believe Remco will focus on Giro + Olympics like the original plan was this year, so perhaps we must wait until Tour de France 2022.
 

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