Il Lombardia 2021 (October 9th)

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Congratulations to Tadej Pogačar for winning Il Lombardia.

It was hard to predict who will win but it was likely we will get to see a longer range attack. And the response to that was rather reserved. Could the rest have done something about it? Individually likely not today. If they would cooperate when chasing. Then likely they would have catch Pogačar. Still Pogačar might ended up being the strongest in the sprint. Pogačar hence won this fair and square. Nice finish of the season for this seasons No.1.
 
I hear you, but who else do they have for one days? Aranburu?

Crazy to say but even at 41 he's still their best bet.
I think it’s worth pointing out just how much of an outlier Bala is, especially among his countrymen. Since I’ve been a cycling fan, since the early 90s, only 3 Spaniards have won a monument. And only 4 in total in history; one day racing has just not historically been their specialty.
 
What is going on with Spain? Still relying in the old rider. Valverde at 41!!! come on!!

Who else does Spain have? They've never had many who have been that good at 1 day races to begin with. Then throw in they have basically a "lost generation" of riders in the middle of this as well due to the collapse of the economy a bit over 10 years ago.

I guess Aranburu and Cortina are Spain's next big hopes for 1 day races.
 
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I think it’s worth pointing out just how much of an outlier Bala is, especially among his countrymen. Since I’ve been a cycling fan, since the early 90s, only 3 Spaniards have won a monument. And only 4 in total in history; one day racing has just not historically been their specialty.
Very true though you could add Samu's Olympic gold and Astarloa's and Olano's WCs to make it 6 with top level one day wins in that timespan.

Granted, it was a golden generation for them but not that long ago you had several guys who could compete for the podium in one days with Valverde, Lulu, Samu, Purito, Freire, and Flecha.
 
Very true though you could add Samu's Olympic gold and Astarloa's and Olano's WCs to make it 6 with top level one day wins in that timespan.

Granted, it was a golden generation for them but not that long ago you had several guys who could compete for the podium in one days with Valverde, Lulu, Samu, Purito, Freire, and Flecha.
As you said that generation is Spain's Golden generation of cycling.
 
As you said that generation is Spain's Golden generation of cycling.
I feel like the same can be said about the Italians from climbers and sprinters. With Nibali on the way out he’s the last one with no real apparent and the Italian sprinters were never like Cipo, Petacchi, or Bennati or classic riders like Nibali, Cunego, Ballan, Rebellin, or di Luca. They do have Ganna though.
Heck Norway with Hushovd, EBH, and Kristoff. Americans with their GC riders and TTs.

A lot of cyclists at the top are coming from other countries then what was pro-dominant before.
 
I feel like the same can be said about the Italians from climbers and sprinters. With Nibali on the way out he’s the last one with no real apparent and the Italian sprinters were never like Cipo, Petacchi, or Bennati or classic riders like Nibali, Cunego, Ballan, Rebellin, or di Luca. They do have Ganna though.
Heck Norway with Hushovd, EBH, and Kristoff. Americans with their GC riders and TTs.

A lot of cyclists at the top are coming from other countries then what was pro-dominant before.

Good point. In Spain, as that's where the conversation here started, I think the closest to an heir apparent to any of the riders from their golden age would be Aranburu and Enric Mas. Neither as good as those from the Golden era, but those two should be able to be in the mix for wins and podiums. I think Carlos Rodriguez may be another one.
 
Very nice race. Chapeau to Pogacar. Not a rider I like too much but you have to give it to him. A great rider.

It was very fun last kilometers. Watching how DQS did everything right until the group stopped working. LOL!!!! I mean, they sent Masnada in search of Pogacar to neutralize him. Check. Now Ala can sit on and not work. Check. Everyone else working in cohesion in pursue of Pogacar and Masnada. Check. And all of a sudden they stopped!!!. That's it. They made a collective decision to not to give it to Ala. Oh well.

What is going on with Spain? Still relying in the old rider. Valverde at 41!!! come on!!
Ala should have worked more and been more cooperative. It'd put more pressure on Pogi, giving Masnada a greater chance to beat him, and they would be more likely to catch them, after which Ala and Valverde would be the biggest favourites.
 
An absolute dog turd of a race.

That said, is this the best season by one rider since 1987?
Remco not being on his best form eliminated one source of excitement.

Pogacar's tactical savvy was just as strong as his form. He attacked (well, more like dieseled away) from a group of riders who just did not want to help each other out, and I'm including Masnada/Alaf in that statement.

I thought there was a bit of revisionist history in the DQS camp after the race. Just because Masnada knows the descent better doesn't mean he should drop his team leader and current WC. That said Alaf was uncommonly timid and should have followed Masnada to bridge up to Pogacar. Even if he brought a few others with him he would have had a better chance to win that what transpired...
 
Ala should have worked more and been more cooperative. It'd put more pressure on Pogi, giving Masnada a greater chance to beat him, and they would be more likely to catch them, after which Ala and Valverde would be the biggest favourites.
DQS's problem is the fact they had all their leaders (Almeida, Alaph, Evenepoel) apparently swear to be "honest" with each other during the race with regards to how they were feeling. And I think they were. Especially Alaphilippe.

But the problem is the fact Alaph might not have been feeling at his best... but the others weren't any better either. So it's various shades of "I don't feel so well". Races can be won my riders who don't feel at their best. I didn't see the point in Masnada chasing down Pog to sit on his wheel when he could have pulled the group with Vingegaard to chase down Pog & give Alaph a chance to punch to victory on the final small climb.

I think Alaphilippe had the legs to win, but he didn't have the win in his head nor with the tactics deployed by the team.
 
DQS's problem is the fact they had all their leaders (Almeida, Alaph, Evenepoel) apparently swear to be "honest" with each other during the race with regards to how they were feeling. And I think they were. Especially Alaphilippe.

But the problem is the fact Alaph might not have been feeling at his best... but the others weren't any better either. So it's various shades of "I don't feel so well". Races can be won my riders who don't feel at their best. I didn't see the point in Masnada chasing down Pog to sit on his wheel when he could have pulled the group with Vingegaard to chase down Pog & give Alaph a chance to punch to victory on the final small climb.

I think Alaphilippe had the legs to win, but he didn't have the win in his head nor with the tactics deployed by the team.
Given that he actually made it across at the end of the descent, I think it made good sense to have Masnada on Pogi's wheel. It gave insurance, it could have slowed him down, and it had the potential to make the chase group more cooperative. I don't think Masnada alone could have brought Pogi back, and if he had help from Vingegaard then the gap would have been too big to close by those two alone. So they were always in need of the chase group to pull through, unless of course Masnada would have made the same descent and chase with the group following him. I think he would have gapped them.
 
Good point. In Spain, as that's where the conversation here started, I think the closest to an heir apparent to any of the riders from their golden age would be Aranburu and Enric Mas. Neither as good as those from the Golden era, but those two should be able to be in the mix for wins and podiums. I think Carlos Rodriguez may be another one.
Maybe juan ayuso also can reach that top level in the future.
 
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Regarding Ala/ Masnada I think it is a good assessment that what was said before the race and what was in Ala's head played a big role. The rest is actually not so easy to tell - should Masnada have behaved differently? Should Ala have worked more in the group? I have heard different views on this, personally I thought why does he not work a bit more, to show the others he's not just sitting on their wheels which of course will make them stop chasing, but at the same time the German commentators including Aldag were like "what's he doing?! he's got a teammate ahead, that's selfish", as soon as he started to do a bit of work. So I guess Ala wasn't entirely sure what to do, too.
I also think the fact that Alaphilippe hasn't won any flat sprint this year made him doubt whether he would be able to outsprint Pogacar, Valverde and Roglic at the end; and finally, his interview after the WCs sounded like he had felt a heavy burden on his shoulders this year to do this "aggressive racing" stuff all the time, even when it didn't benefit him, so he probably re-thought that approach now a bit and wasn't prepared to do it yesterday.

I think Masnada just took his chance in the moment, not thinking much about it, he was doing something that at first didn't look bad for his team - they now had a guy in front, in theory Alaphilippe would now be able to sit on. And once he was on his way to Pogacar, there wasn't much he could have done differently to change the outcome. The only thing he could have done differently was to pull the group longer instead of trying to catch Pogacar, but I could imagine he wasn't prepared for this scenario and when he felt that strong on the climb and felt he was able to go after Pogacar while the others where on the limit, he just did it. I'm split how good of a teammate he was there, but I suppose it was in good faith and in the end I don't think Ala would have outsprinted Pogacar anyway.
 
Well this race was a let down after the WRR and PR. I think the DQS plan was reasonable. Masnada catches Pog, sits on, and the group pulls Ala up to them. But Vinnie wasn't catching Pog on his own so the group realises it has to work together. Ala can't work cause his teammate is up the road, Bardet doesn't want to get out punched or out sprinted, two legendary non-pullers in the group and Roglic is cooked. So the chase starts falling apart when Bardet tries to attack. Ala tries a desperate attack on the flat and then gives up. Pog beats Gandhi in the sprint.
 
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TBH I don't think Alaphilippe would have finished second in that scenario, either. His sprint is not that great.
Maybe compared to likes of MVDP and Wout. But against 41y Valverde, visibly dead Roglic (whose flat sprint is nothing to his uphill), 50kg Jonas, Bardet and Adam, I would bet on him every time. Only Pogacar could beat him, but he was riding solo for 30km.
 
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