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Actually that California race was very telling about how much his climbing had fallen. He was actually gifted time in one stage where he was given the time of the lead group but he really hadn't actually gotten back to it.
That was when he got caught behind a crash outside the 3km. He'd already made it over all the day's climbs.

In hindsight, losing the jersey when he gave up a minute and a half to Pogacar on Mt Baldy doesn't look like such a bad performance.
 
Actually that California race was very telling about how much his climbing had fallen. He was actually gifted time in one stage where he was given the time of the lead group but he really hadn't actually gotten back to it.
He wasn't really "gifted" time, it was more like they've bent the rules so he didn't lose time he should after a crash.

He took the leader's jersey on merit and finished 9th overall. I wish he was at that level during the current Vuelta. As I said- he did decline between his prime and 2019 but his decline from 2019 to 2020 was probably a few times bigger than the decline from his prime to 2019. At his best he would've ridden that California maybe 2 minutes quicker. This year he would've probably lost at least 20 minutes.
 
That was when he got caught behind a crash outside the 3km. He'd already made it over all the day's climbs.

In hindsight, losing the jersey when he gave up a minute and a half to Pogacar on Mt Baldy doesn't look like such a bad performance.
I thought Pogacar could be really good after that, but he's exceeded that. I agree it's not as bad in hindsight.

He wasn't really "gifted" time, it was more like they've bent the rules so he didn't lose time he should after a crash.

He took the leader's jersey on merit and finished 9th overall. I wish he was at that level during the current Vuelta. As I said- he did decline between his prime and 2019 but his decline from 2019 to 2020 was probably a few times bigger than the decline from his prime to 2019. At his best he would've ridden that California maybe 2 minutes quicker. This year he would've probably lost at least 20 minutes.
Well either way, he should have lost some time there, although in the end it didn't make any real difference. I'd look more at the Tour than Vuelta to his 2020 level as I'm not sure he's ever really even tried 2 GT's in a season and this year probably isn't the best year to start.
 
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I thought Pogacar could be really good after that, but he's exceeded that. I agree it's not as bad in hindsight.



Well either way, he should have lost some time there, although in the end it didn't make any real difference. I'd look more at the Tour than Vuelta to his 2020 level as I'm not sure he's ever really even tried 2 GT's in a season and this year probably isn't the best year to start.
He finished the Giro (20th) and Vuelta (10th) in 2017. That's the only time he finished 2 GTs in a season.
 
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Thanks. That's the "easy" GT double with several months between. I didn't think he had don't Giro/Tour or Tour/Vuelta. That could be part of the issues with this Vuelta.
I mean, I guess it could partly explain his poor Vuelta form, but it doesn't explain his Tour form; his best stage finish was 60th, and that was rolling in 2 minutes behind the peloton on that stage to Lyon that broke up over a couple of cat 4s in the City and Soren Kragh attacked and won.

As said, even if he's carrying bottles, you'd expect a rider with his trophy cabinet to be closer to the front, closer to the finish.
 
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I'd look more at the Tour than Vuelta to his 2020 level as I'm not sure he's ever really even tried 2 GT's in a season and this year probably isn't the best year to start.
I was looking at his 2020 as a whole, not just the Vuelta. If he had been competitive earlier this year, it would have put his Vuelta's performance in a completely different light, but unfortunately he had not. I seem to recall he climbed so poorly during TdF that he was even unable to get into a breakaway if there were some climbs early in the stage. He was the team's weakest climber, even weaker than Keukeleire who's more of a sprinter than a climber!
 
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I mean, I guess it could partly explain his poor Vuelta form, but it doesn't explain his Tour form; his best stage finish was 60th, and that was rolling in 2 minutes behind the peloton on that stage to Lyon that broke up over a couple of cat 4s in the City and Soren Kragh attacked and won.

As said, even if he's carrying bottles, you'd expect a rider with his trophy cabinet to be closer to the front, closer to the finish.
How about it's 2020? Kyle Bush and Alexander Rossi just settled on that for their seasons being poor.


I was looking at his 2020 as a whole, not just the Vuelta. If he had been competitive earlier this year, it would have put his Vuelta's performance in a completely different light, but unfortunately he had not. I seem to recall he climbed so poorly during TdF that he was even unable to get into a breakaway if there were some climbs early in the stage. He was the team's weakest climber, even weaker than Keukeleire who's more of a sprinter than a climber!
Maybe just go with it's 2020? Seems to be working for a few race car drivers.
 
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His climbing has been declining for awhile now. Also his TTing has always been very good and that still is, which is why he's still helpful to a team on flats and rolling hills.
Agreed although he was always more of a steady state climber on even, lower pitch grades. His exclusion on climbs could be as much a measure of how fast, young and aggressive the climbs have become. He's also got kids now and knows the best is behind him. Attitude and motivation counts for a lot and he seems like he's getting empty. He'll keep up as long as he's paid but would you see him hired by any other team once his deal is up with EF?
 
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Agreed although he was always more of a steady state climber on even, lower pitch grades. His exclusion on climbs could be as much a measure of how fast, young and aggressive the climbs have become. He's also got kids now and knows the best is behind him. Attitude and motivation counts for a lot and he seems like he's getting empty. He'll keep up as long as he's paid but would you see him hired by any other team once his deal is up with EF?
I suspect he's on his last contract.
 
He was invisible in the Tour, but that race at least had a really deep field with everyone in top shape, so I assumed he'd be better at the Vuelta. If anything he's even worse - How does a guy go from finishing 2nd in the Dauphine to having a stage best of 75th in the Vuelta, in just over a year?
 
I have no idea why Woods was in the break on stage 14 - Someone has to support Carthy's GC bid.
Woods doesn't seem to have any trouble in combining frequent breakaway presence with being there for Carthy in the mountains on other stages. There's not that many mountains left anyway so there's no point for him being too conservative.
 
I had a dream today that EF announced the signing of Robert Power.

A few hours later I read on cyclingnews that he is actually still without a contract for 2021, which I was actually surprised by.

I'm just mentioning this in case this actually happens. :tearsofjoy:
 
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Huge result for Carthy! And a great season for the team. 6 GT stage wins (as many as in 2015-2019 combined) and 17 wins overall in a shortened season in which they weren't even racing outside of WT after early March. They were a factor in pretty much every major race (either high placings or at least having a few riders in a final selection and narrowly missing a good result, like in Flanders). This is very impressive with reportedly 2nd lowest budget in WT. Why can't Vaughters have a decent budget to work with for one...

I wonder about the prospects for 2021. Classics look very good. I'm not quite sure about GTs. I'm not necessarily confident in Carthy being a permanent addition to the group of podium contenders. This was a weird season and many riders might struggle to achieve the same results in a season with a more typical calendar. Hugh has his issues, he doesn't respond very well to accelerations and he needs attrition racing to excel, which his team can't provide him as they've lost a lot of climbing power, unfortunately. He would be a perfect match for the Sky-train. :) Uran is declining and I'm not quite sure if Higuita is a real GT prospect- I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up with much better results in classics and shorter stage races than GTs. There aren't that many options and for typical domestiques they'll need to rely on versatile riders like Cort and Guerreiro as there are few pure climbers left in the team and not many prospects left on the transfer market (and spots in the team after they decided to offer everyone a contract extension).
They also have no noteworthy sprinters after Halvorsen didn't turn out to be what they had hoped him to be. I hope they'll have the sponsorship security to go on hunt for some talent in 2021 as they'll need that to stay relevant. 2021 could have been a beautiful year had they been able to have an uncompromised transfer period this year. :(
 

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