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Who knows. Some people though he would be better now after a strong TT at Tirreno but today he dropped so early and looked so spent that I'm even considering some kind of a health issue we don't know yet as a possibility.

This is going to be a difficult season for the team when one of the few top guys that have not left is underperforming to such an extent. This team, being unable to afford the biggest names of the peloton, has always relied on numbers of many semi-leaders and some of them would get results while the others would not. This year they have fewer good riders and it hurts because those few that are left have been unable to deliver and there aren't others to take over and save the day with a surprise result.
 
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Magnus Cort was the leader with everyone else there to support him, said Breschel said in the live transmission from the race, but he was nowhere. Don't know if it was because of a bad day or some incident.
 
That's why I highlight their inability to do anything in this race- because it stands out so much when compared to their performance in other monuments and important races (they have been on the podium of all 3 GTs in the past too).
If I was to formulate a theory on this, it would probably run along the lines of, Vaughters' teams have always been at their best when disrupting, pulling off the unexpected. Sending men up the road and leveraging off that. Pulling off surprise attacks, from surprising riders.

MSR is the race where that works the least. The Poggio is about the only place where you can pull off the "surprise" attack, and to even do that you need to be the pretty much strongest in the race. And you also need to keep that strongest rider hidden in the bubble of the pack for 6 hours, protected by the rest of your team. None of these things work in favour of EF.


Similar to my theory; they've never had a podium at Paris-Tours, and Dan Martin always coming from waaaaay behind on the Mur de Huy.
 
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What an abysmal season for EF so far. Not only have they finished all classics of significance outside top10 this year, but in E3 their only finisher was Bettiol in 44th!

Also Wednesday saw Uran's lowest finish in years on a MTF (excluding last year's Tour Colombia which was his first race a very serious injury, so understandable).
 
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Anderis, I don't think Uran is very worried to place high in Catalonya. This is the first race of the year for him and his mind is in diapers for the time being. Him and Carthy will come along slowly.
It was not his first race of the year, he already rode Etoile de Besseges.

And yes, he might have never intended to fight for GC here but the plain fact is that in the last 6 or 7 years he has finished every single MTF he rode (except those I mentioned earlier) inside top50 or around 50th place at worst, no matter what (illness, prep race etc.). That's a change of pattern you might take either as a worrying sign or something completely insignificant but most definetely not as something to cheer you up during a bad year. :p
 
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Best place in each cobbled race so far:
OHN: 35th
KBK: 53rd
E3: 44th
GW: 50th
A team that has riders like Bettiol, Keukeleire, Langeveld, Cort, Valgren, Bissegger and Rutsch in their roster. On paper that's better than their climbing depth and I'm not even mentioning sprinters.

One thing that life has taught me so far: no matter how badly your favourite team is doing, they'll find a way to have even worse results in a few years time!
 
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The one part of their roster that I thought was still solid after last year’s defections was the classics roster. Simply inexplicable their performance to date. If not illness, than this is an all time epic fail as far as team preparation goes. I hope we hear someone within the team provide an explanation. Whatever that explanation is, has to be better than letting the results speak for themselves?
 
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Keukeleire got hit pretty hard by the coronavirus according to Belgian media, it might take him a long time to get back to his former level, if that's even possible.
I think it's been almost a year already? If he's still affected, he may as well be for the rest of his career.

But I thought he was at a pretty good level during last year's Dauphine and Tour de France so it wouldn't seem as if his career was ruined because of it.

EDIT: He was 27th in Flanders too last year, so I don't think coronavirus alone explains anything at this point.
 
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Well, how did EF prepare for the season? I think there were some major differences in the approaches the teams took this year, due to the uncertainty of the calendar, travelling rules, riders from different countries with different rules, and everything?
 
Valgreen has looked alright since returning after his crash in Bessèges. He is targeting the Ardennes, but he might still be their best option for DVV and RVV as things stand.
Yeah, I already mentioned Bettiol, during the off-Season he was recovering from Ulecerative colitis and couldn't start training before January, but he was really good in the Tirreno-Adriatico ITT (exactly the same time that he did before he won the RVV).
 
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Yeah, I already mentioned Bettiol, during the off-Season he was recovering from Ulecerative colitis and couldn't start training before January, but he was really good in the Tirreno-Adriatico ITT (exactly the same time that he did before he won the RVV).
I did read your post about him in the Strade thread, so I fully understand why he hasn't performed at his top level yet. Hopefully he will recover fully this year, but it will probably not happen during the next two weeks.
 
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Just looked at cqranking’s top 100 riders. Hugh Carthy sits at 52. Not one other EF rider in the top 100. Higuita has been disappointing and the classics campaign has been a mess. I have no idea where success is going to come from this year. Maybe Higuita has a great summer? Maybe Cort wins a breakaway stage in the Tour? Vaughters said somewhere recently that Lachlan’s gravel/adventure racing is a focal point for publicity. They better hope Lachlan has a great season. Problem is, he just left the states for Europe. Looks like he will be on bottle duty for the Giro. Not exactly high profile.
 
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This season has been an absolute calamity! Since and including OHN, they've only finished Strade Bianche in 11th place and no other top20 in classics! Arguably stage races have been a bit better but still nothing to be proud of. This is the worst we've seen from this team ever and one of the worst springs for any WT team in the last 10 years, I'm afraid.
Not totally unexpected when you have one of the smallest budgets in WT and still have to make significant cuts to the budget due to pandemics, letting half of your best riders go in one transfer period without proper reinforcements, including a few who even had valid contracts for 2021. But perhaps the scale of the problems is even bigger than one could have predicted before the year. This has been painful to watch and this season is very likely to be a complete write-off for the team and there's a question if they can survive for long with this kind of results. All this after an impressive upwards trend for a few years resulting in a very good 2019 and excellent 2020. Shame it couldn't continue for longer.

Higuita at least would've had a nice T-A result if not for hyphotermia on that hilly stage.
 
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