How to beat Team SKY at TdF?

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Aug 4, 2010
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Red Rick said:
Step one: Be a legit competitor for the win
Step two: Don't mess up your preparation
Step three: Don't crash out
Step four: Don't lose time unnecessarily to force you to go long range
Step five: Drop Froome somewhere
Step six: Win
Well, thats right, because this way you eliminate Sky strenght. I was always thinking about that as a most possible scenario for Quintana/Contador this year but there is a one big problem with this theory...
Time trial(s)

Lets say the Challenger (with not bad tt) drops Froome somewhere around stage 10 by a minute! which is not likely (more like 30s). But then at some point there must be a TT and Froome takes that time back.
Only way this can work is if Tour 2017 has only 1 HILLY tt...and maybe not even then
 
Mar 13, 2009
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With the way it is at the moment even if Nibali, Contador etc are in top form they still need to have a team behind them that is also strong enough to set a pace to dispose of all the teams "domestiques" so it becomes a one on one race between the GC contenders. Otherwise theses guys can't really attack at the moment, as a team such as Sky with multiple riders can just use them to draw back &/or control the attack resulting in the attacker getting to tired from attempts. As seen in the Tour this year when a few tried to get away and the Sky train just drew them back.
An arms war between teams begins to sign up potential GC riders and top class climbers and there's only so many of them around.

If the race criteria were to change then I'd say remove some of the technology such as power meters & radio's during the race so riders have to race on instinct and chance. Safety radio's to one main source would be ok.
Shorten the stage, the short stages have often produced more aggressive racing.
Reduce the numbers in teams to 7 riders so it's far more difficult to dictate.
Do something to open up the final climbs so riders aren't boxed in by the crowd and motorcycle's. You watch some stages and it's single file whether they like it or not and no chance of even trying to attack.

I don't think things like salary caps will work as it will only open up the under "the table payments" nor world ranking caps as the quality domestique's may not actually have high ranking points anyway as they always finish further down the order and get no points or they'll "race fix" so to speak by doing their job then slow right down until out of any range of getting points (they probably should be getting quite a few points for assisting though).

How about having bonus time sprints at various locations on climbs? maybe something like that will help draw out attacks for bonus time.
Although I don't really like that because it's supposed to be a race to the finish line and actual time should be what dictates the winner, not prizes along the way.
 
Having a leader who either can put Froome to the sword in the mountains or is close enough to him on every discipline and able to keep him under serious pressure throughout can do the trick. If Sky is forced to use their mountain train as an attacking device, or just face a much stronger climber, it burns out a lot faster than going at the pace they are comfortable at day after day. He hasn't really had to face his main rivals at top form and with full backing from their teams during his Tour wins. That is such big slice of good fortune, that it makes his victories look like gifts almost, despite his own immense strenght.
 
Aug 4, 2010
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HelloDolly said:
pastronef said:
HelloDolly said:
Disencentify the concentration on the Tour by a team...maybe handicap a team wt PR, Flanders, Ardeenes results at the Tour
Rather than team size look at team composition controls
ehm?

it is not doable. how can you control which riders a team can chose to ride?

I think Cofidis, as an example, would never make the Tour if they had to score points at Roubaix, Flanders, Ardennes etc
I am doing some blue SKY :D thinking here but maybe Cofidis need to earn their place at the Tour ...

As fro controlloing riders ...in every fantasy team ridiers are listed a climbers, sprinters, etc....mayeb riders are categorised by this and you have to bring a sprinter and a rouler , etc....

I feel the Tour is too climber concentrated as it is,,,,why can't roulers be more of the story

My point is we require some thinking and imagination for cycling as a whole as science improves
This reminds me old communists restrictions not an idea of pro cycling world lol :D :D
 
What happened with sprint stages 40 years ago (95+% chance of control to the line of the peloton wants it) happened to the mountain stages in the Armstrong years and again in the Froome years. The problem is not the outlier Froome or Armstrong but the teams, just as it is not a problem Cavendish or Kittel are fast sprinters.

Sky this year were so much better than the rest it was demotivating. There wasn't a stage where they didn't have two riders in reserve (so four total) 4km from the line. This year will be an outlier, teams like Movistar and Astana will not be this weak in depth or in peak power again. However, strength in numbers can only be broken by reducing the numbers.

In that respect this year might be a good wake up call. ASO won't accept this I'm sure.
 
Re: Re:

ILovecycling said:
Red Rick said:
Step one: Be a legit competitor for the win
Step two: Don't mess up your preparation
Step three: Don't crash out
Step four: Don't lose time unnecessarily to force you to go long range
Step five: Drop Froome somewhere
Step six: Win
Well, thats right, because this way you eliminate Sky strenght. I was always thinking about that as a most possible scenario for Quintana/Contador this year but there is a one big problem with this theory...
Time trial(s)

Lets say the Challenger (with not bad tt) drops Froome somewhere around stage 10 by a minute! which is not likely (more like 30s). But then at some point there must be a TT and Froome takes that time back.
Only way this can work is if Tour 2017 has only 1 HILLY tt...and maybe not even then
Did you watch the 2014 Vuelta? If you're stronger than Froome, the Sky train doesn't make that much of a difference. Did you look at last years' Tour. You have to beat Froome, not Sky.

Sky only prevents the really opportunistic moves and brings back everyone who is weaker then Froome. The only instances where they can just reel you in is stages like in the Dauphine. Uphill, a 5 man train matters less than the quality of the last domestique. This year, all the better climbers than Poels, weren't there. Quintana left his shape in Colombia, Nibali left it in the Giro, Contador crashed out.
 
Re: Re:

Red Rick said:
ILovecycling said:
Red Rick said:
Step one: Be a legit competitor for the win
Step two: Don't mess up your preparation
Step three: Don't crash out
Step four: Don't lose time unnecessarily to force you to go long range
Step five: Drop Froome somewhere
Step six: Win
Well, thats right, because this way you eliminate Sky strenght. I was always thinking about that as a most possible scenario for Quintana/Contador this year but there is a one big problem with this theory...
Time trial(s)

Lets say the Challenger (with not bad tt) drops Froome somewhere around stage 10 by a minute! which is not likely (more like 30s). But then at some point there must be a TT and Froome takes that time back.
Only way this can work is if Tour 2017 has only 1 HILLY tt...and maybe not even then
Did you watch the 2014 Vuelta? If you're stronger than Froome, the Sky train doesn't make that much of a difference. Did you look at last years' Tour. You have to beat Froome, not Sky.

Sky only prevents the really opportunistic moves and brings back everyone who is weaker then Froome. The only instances where they can just reel you in is stages like in the Dauphine. Uphill, a 5 man train matters less than the quality of the last domestique. This year, all the better climbers than Poels, weren't there. Quintana left his shape in Colombia, Nibali left it in the Giro, Contador crashed out.
The 2014 Vuelta Sky train wouldn't be fit to clean the shoes of this year's train

If you asked me last year, Froome was certainly beatable. But now that he's suddenly become a very good descender and rouleur, even if you don't get dropped by him in the mountains, he's still better than everyone else at TTs and if he does have an off day, he'll now attack on the descents (where he's certainly better than Contador and Quintana, while Nibali has no chance of dropping Froome uphill and can only rely on wet descents and cobbles to gain time, Froome can even match him on the muritos)

Oleg certainly doesn't think he can beat Froome
 
But I do think if you feel the only way to beat your rivals is to outpace them then the strongest team will always win
But we have seen many instnces in cycling where the smartest and not he strongest win and that is the beauty of cycling

So everyone lines up a strong bunch of climbers (or atleast the top teams do) and then they are all riding the same race...who can outlast the other on the climbs

that will not be any better than SKY dominance
It wil be one dimensonal racing

This reminds me old communists restrictions not an idea of pro cycling world lol :D :D
I donlt see how any ideas I put forward are communist (whose ethos is based on the collective good) ...at least I am thinking beyond team size which i believe favours the strong team more not less

I see nothing communist of every team having to bring a sprinter to the Tour for instance ...
 
Aug 4, 2010
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Re: Re:

Red Rick said:
ILovecycling said:
Red Rick said:
Step one: Be a legit competitor for the win
Step two: Don't mess up your preparation
Step three: Don't crash out
Step four: Don't lose time unnecessarily to force you to go long range
Step five: Drop Froome somewhere
Step six: Win
Well, thats right, because this way you eliminate Sky strenght. I was always thinking about that as a most possible scenario for Quintana/Contador this year but there is a one big problem with this theory...
Time trial(s)

Lets say the Challenger (with not bad tt) drops Froome somewhere around stage 10 by a minute! which is not likely (more like 30s). But then at some point there must be a TT and Froome takes that time back.
Only way this can work is if Tour 2017 has only 1 HILLY tt...and maybe not even then
Did you watch the 2014 Vuelta? If you're stronger than Froome, the Sky train doesn't make that much of a difference. Did you look at last years' Tour. You have to beat Froome, not Sky.

Sky only prevents the really opportunistic moves and brings back everyone who is weaker then Froome. The only instances where they can just reel you in is stages like in the Dauphine. Uphill, a 5 man train matters less than the quality of the last domestique. This year, all the better climbers than Poels, weren't there. Quintana left his shape in Colombia, Nibali left it in the Giro, Contador crashed out.
In the OP there is "if Froome is on top form." I know others can beat him and Sky if he is not, but we would not have anything to talk about then.
Do you think he was in top form during Vuelta itt? He lost a minute to Contador. I cant imagine something like that at TdF 2017.
I know that the rider needs to be better but I still think that Much better, because if its matter of seconds then itt's and his team strenght will play a role and he will win again.
 
Was Contador top form in that TT? I don't think so. Froome was nigh invincible 2013 and still looked average in the 3rd week. Since then, he's had only one performance like that, in that Tour he got dropped again in the third week. This year he was never unbeatable uphill, but other riders basically defaulted. Don't think he's a better rouleur or descender per se, Peyresourde was an easy descent with a gimmick technique, useless on harder descents, and others will pick up on it.

Why do you think Froome won minutes on the TT's? Because the others were in worse shape. Froome is overrated as a standalone tt'er. Mollema of all people barely lost 50s in the first one, after going toe-to-toe on the Ventoux. Unless there's long flat tt early in the race, Froome shouldn't win more than a minute on a direct threat for yellow, and what was the last time that happened?

I don't even think Sky was unbreakable this year, but nobody tried to create chaos. Why? Cause nobody had the form to win in the first place.

If a climb is hard enough, if you're good enough, and if you have teammates up the road, you can force Froome to make a choice between staying with your train, or following. If there's flats involved afterward, just the one superdomestique won't cut it, and waiting for the other domestique's only results in losing more time.
 
Aug 4, 2010
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Re:

Red Rick said:
Was Contador top form in that TT? I don't think so. Froome was nigh invincible 2013 and still looked average in the 3rd week. Since then, he's had only one performance like that, in that Tour he got dropped again in the third week. This year he was never unbeatable uphill, but other riders basically defaulted. Don't think he's a better rouleur or descender per se, Peyresourde was an easy descent with a gimmick technique, useless on harder descents, and others will pick up on it.

Why do you think Froome won minutes on the TT's? Because the others were in worse shape. Froome is overrated as a standalone tt'er. Mollema of all people barely lost 50s in the first one, after going toe-to-toe on the Ventoux. Unless there's long flat tt early in the race, Froome shouldn't win more than a minute on a direct threat for yellow, and what was the last time that happened?

I don't even think Sky was unbreakable this year, but nobody tried to create chaos. Why? Cause nobody had the form to win in the first place.

If a climb is hard enough, if you're good enough, and if you have teammates up the road, you can force Froome to make a choice between staying with your train, or following. If there's flats involved afterward, just the one superdomestique won't cut it, and waiting for the other domestique's only results in losing more time.
Good post.I agree with entire first and last paragraph but I still dont believe that top form Nibali/Contador (quintana,bardet,aru etc are bad tt so this scenario is not possible for them) can match top form Froome in hilly itt later in the race.If that would be the case,then your plan is The plan.

There is a big possibility that there will be at least one itt 30km+ next year and we should better pray that it will not be flat
 
Jan 3, 2012
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RattaKuningas said:
In form Contador and Nibali can do it. The other question is can they beat Froome but there is no doubt in my opinion that if they are in form they are better than a strongest Froome helper.
In form Nibali would never be Froome. Ever.
In form Contador atm wouldn't either. He has lost what he once had. You have to go as far back as the Giro 2011 (which coincidentally was later stripped from him) to find a Contador good enough to beat Froome at this level.
Only Quintana can beat Froome, but he'd have to regain the climbing ability he had at 2015 Tour and he'd have to improve TT'ing.

And that's all ignoring Sky's superiority over the other rider's teams
 
Re:

Red Rick said:
This year he was never unbeatable uphill, but other riders basically defaulted. Don't think he's a better rouleur or descender per se, Peyresourde was an easy descent with a gimmick technique, useless on harder descents, and others will pick up on it.

Why do you think Froome won minutes on the TT's? Because the others were in worse shape. Froome is overrated as a standalone tt'er. Mollema of all people barely lost 50s in the first one, after going toe-to-toe on the Ventoux.
Arcalis was the one chance people had to drop Froome. He was ready to go on Ventoux before the moto decided otherwise and looking at the ease with which he followed Porte on Finault, he would have annihilated the field that day. The descent to Mont Blanc was fairly technical, especially in the wet, and you have to consider the fact that Froome had already gained 10s on the rest of the field on that descent before he f***ed up on the white line, and he'll probably have improved his descending even more by next year. So it's not just an easy descent where Froome can attack.

And Mollema had a very good day on the TT. Just look at how much time everyone else lost. And losing only a minute to Dumoulin despite going full gas the previous day while Dumoulin took the day off is pretty impressive too.

You just have to pray for cold weather to beat Froome uphill because he's untouchable in heat
 
the real problem is that to dismantle the train you need having top climbers in top shape (which's never guaranteed) probably even working together to beat Froome. for sure, the most flat out and optimistic conclusion is Froome being not so great whilst the others contenders going nowhere near his best shape or having crashed out. still I think he was very strong and skillfully capitalized his crop gathered in the first TT yet. after the stage 13 none of big guns believed in their ability to unfix Sky armour. That's very likely the 1st Froome's Tour win that didn't require an uttermost efform from him.

lots of things can easily change in a year. froome can relax losing his motivation in a way, other riders (Aru, Yates, Bardet) may step up, AC is still able to reach the level for beating Sky. we just should wait and see.
 
Re:

Lance Armstrong said:
Smaller teams will result in Froome winning anyway and more dull stages where GC teams are not interested in chasing the breakaway.

Alberto was at the front of the peloton (5th position) when he crashed in Stage 1 - so I am not sure if it was caused by peloton being big. We had no withdrawals until Stage 8 if I recall.
Smaller teams doesnt mean Froome will lose, but the race will be much more open and thus a lot more entertaining.
 
Jun 21, 2010
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Chapeau to Froome and Team Sky; they have a great formula for winning the Tour. 3 Tours in 5 years is AWESOME. Frankly, I think you should also include Wiggins Tour win as part of Sky's recent dominance. I dont see either Contador or Nibali or Qunitana as threats to Froome/Sky next year. Contador's bike handling (@ the Tour anyway) is scandelous and now he's on a new team which is much less likely to cater to his Tour fantasies in the declining years of his career, Nibs (rightfully) knows his bread will be buttered at the lesser GTs, and Quintana is a pure climber who's proven himself to be inconsistent at 'that time of the year'. Someone new and younger will emerge . . .
 
Re: Re:

PremierAndrew said:
Red Rick said:
This year he was never unbeatable uphill, but other riders basically defaulted. Don't think he's a better rouleur or descender per se, Peyresourde was an easy descent with a gimmick technique, useless on harder descents, and others will pick up on it.

Why do you think Froome won minutes on the TT's? Because the others were in worse shape. Froome is overrated as a standalone tt'er. Mollema of all people barely lost 50s in the first one, after going toe-to-toe on the Ventoux.
Arcalis was the one chance people had to drop Froome. He was ready to go on Ventoux before the moto decided otherwise and looking at the ease with which he followed Porte on Finault, he would have annihilated the field that day. The descent to Mont Blanc was fairly technical, especially in the wet, and you have to consider the fact that Froome had already gained 10s on the rest of the field on that descent before he f***ed up on the white line, and he'll probably have improved his descending even more by next year. So it's not just an easy descent where Froome can attack.

And Mollema had a very good day on the TT. Just look at how much time everyone else lost. And losing only a minute to Dumoulin despite going full gas the previous day while Dumoulin took the day off is pretty impressive too.

You just have to pray for cold weather to beat Froome uphill because he's untouchable in heat
Yeah, maybe Froome was really the best climber on every mountain stage, but he still didn't drop riders like Porte one single time. And before the tour did you expect Porte to be the at least 2nd strongest climber? Don't you think that a top shape Quintana, Contador maybe also Nibali would easily beat Porte, a rider who has never finished in the top ten of a gt before this tour (except a giro which didn't really count). Let's say Contador would have been in top shape (of course not given, but just let's say he would have been). I'm pretty sure he would have followed Froome on the Peyresurde descent immediately, he would have been on Sagan's wheel in the crosswind stage, he definitely wouldn't have lost more time than Mollema in the first ITT, probably rather about 30 seconds, and I also don't think he would have lost a lot of time in the 2nd one since he usually is a monster in this kind of TT. He probably only would have had a disadvantage of about one minute, rather even less. And are you still so sure Contador definitely wouldn't have gained one minute on the climbs in the tour this year? Contador at least would have tried everything in Arcalis, Finhaut and Mont Blanc. I also think Froome would have won the tour anyway but if his other contenders are in top shape it will never be easy for him
 
Before beating Froome, the principal task is how to get rid of "Poels" to begin with, then Henao, Nieve & G afterwards....

Not going to go to clinic territory, but the only way, maybe, just maybe the only way I see the possibility of beating Froome is through weather adversity, a key domestique crashing/abandoning or an unforeseen situation where Froome loses 5 minutes in the 1st week.

sorry to say this -even if he's my compatriot, but Quintana ain't the man yet to beat him- Bardet? neither can he- Nibs? not with his new team- Aru? we just got a taste of his Tour abilities. LRP? SKY already knows he can't cope with 3 weeks.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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And before the tour did you expect Porte to be the at least 2nd strongest climber? Don't you think that a top shape Quintana, Contador maybe also Nibali would easily beat Porte, a rider who has never finished in the top ten of a gt before this tour
Not over the the course of the Tour, but for the first few climbs it was reasonable to believe Porte would be the 2nd strongest climber.

The never finished in the top 10 in a Gt thing is a rather reductive assessment that would have you confounded that he managed to do it this year, when it fact it was foreseeable.
 
May 26, 2012
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Exploit Skytrain - leader with similar climbing skills as Froome, but better TT'er who will wheelsuck Froome (maybe Dumoulin in future?).

Late attacks (in last 300-500m) to gain few sec on each MTF ala Valverde, Rodriguez or D.Martin.

Have domestiques peaking for TdF.

One leader and one goal.

Have balls and don't fight for 2nd place from start.
 
Jun 30, 2014
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ILovecycling said:
Red Rick said:
Was Contador top form in that TT? I don't think so. Froome was nigh invincible 2013 and still looked average in the 3rd week. Since then, he's had only one performance like that, in that Tour he got dropped again in the third week. This year he was never unbeatable uphill, but other riders basically defaulted. Don't think he's a better rouleur or descender per se, Peyresourde was an easy descent with a gimmick technique, useless on harder descents, and others will pick up on it.

Why do you think Froome won minutes on the TT's? Because the others were in worse shape. Froome is overrated as a standalone tt'er. Mollema of all people barely lost 50s in the first one, after going toe-to-toe on the Ventoux. Unless there's long flat tt early in the race, Froome shouldn't win more than a minute on a direct threat for yellow, and what was the last time that happened?

I don't even think Sky was unbreakable this year, but nobody tried to create chaos. Why? Cause nobody had the form to win in the first place.

If a climb is hard enough, if you're good enough, and if you have teammates up the road, you can force Froome to make a choice between staying with your train, or following. If there's flats involved afterward, just the one superdomestique won't cut it, and waiting for the other domestique's only results in losing more time.
Good post.I agree with entire first and last paragraph but I still dont believe that top form Nibali/Contador (quintana,bardet,aru etc are bad tt so this scenario is not possible for them) can match top form Froome in hilly itt later in the race.If that would be the case,then your plan is The plan.

There is a big possibility that there will be at least one itt 30km+ next year and we should better pray that it will not be flat
2013 Contador almost matched Froome in a hard, hilly ITT, so Nibali and Contador should at least be able to limit their losses, if Mollema was able to limit his losses in the longer ITT to 51 seconds than they should be able to loose even less time (with all the respect to Mollema, he rode a great Tour and showed some guts, it was a great performance, but Nibali and Contador are usually just better in a longer, hilly ITT).
 
Apr 17, 2014
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The only way someone will beat Froome (barring things like crashes) at the moment is to be clearly stronger in either the mountains or in TT, or by gaining large chunks of time on the cobbles or in the crosswinds (which seems unlikely from past performances). The reason for Froome's dominance is not SKY being so strong (although of course that helps), but rather he is the best climber and by far the best TT out of the GC guys. Given the fact that the last two years have not had any flat TT's, it is quite probable than there will be some significant flat TT miles in next years edition, further increasing the probability of Froome winning. Who in the peleton has the potential to be significantly better than Froome at climbing or TTing? I would suggest Dumoulin if he can improve his climbing, Quintana in top form (maybe), Contador if he can find his best form (again I am unsure if this will ever happen) and Nibali can put in a heroic first week performance like 2014. For some younger riders like MA Lopez and the Yates twins they may challenge but I am not sure if that will happen in the next 2-3 years.

Aside from that, there are ways of at least trying to make the fight for yellow a little more interesting. Salary caps and banning team radios and power meters may decrease the dominance of the SKY train, which although does not deal with the problem of Froome being so strong, but would at least expose if he had a bad day a make him fight for it more himself.

Finally, riders need to ride for the win, not for a place in the podium. It was so disappointing to not see any do or die llong range attacks (or any attack tbh). Obviously it is easy for me sitting on my sofa to demand that kind of racing, but to see everyone give up on winning the race after the first TT is irritating.
 

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