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Is UAE Over the Top?

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Good point, not saying they're not on some purple juice too. But I don't recall any of the Jumbo riders riding away from people on multiple mountain stages on any of those tours and putting nearly 3 minutes into everyone each stage. I even recall a few bad days, for them anyway.
Martinez and Thomas let Pog go. They knew that the fight for 2nd was between them. The win was long gone. When Martinez "attacked" and Thomas followed the gap to Pog stabilised. It didn't grow as much anymore. The same happened in Tadej's 2nd win in the Tour. In that rainy stage where nobody followed his attack as they were already thinking of who will finish 2nd in the Tour. There is no question that Pogačar would still win with a big margin if everyone behind paced to their limit. But the gap would be much lower. Similar to how Yates and Joao gapped their opponents in Suisse. In the end it was over 3 minutes, but in stages they mostly got chunks of 15-30s. Pog would likely put close to a minute to them but the end gap wouldn't have been close to 10 minutes imo.
 
Are we really just gonna boil it down to W/kg estimates?

Cause then this Switserland was more extreme than this Vuelta
Climbing speed ≠ W/kg estimates.

The Jumbo guys set the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fastest times up Angliru in history, saying "well, the level of the opposition was low so it wasn't that dominant" rings false when five of the guys they beat
also set times among the 20 fastest ever on that ascent
.

Landa was faster than 2013 Horner. Landa and Poels were faster than 2008 Contador. Almeida was faster than Valverde's best time. All of them were faster than Froome, Sastre, Jiménez, Menchov, Escartín, Purito or Cobo. It wasn't that the level was low.

Yes, the stage was short and not especially tough which might explain something compared to, say, the 2008 times which were in a 210km stage with multiple prior ascents. But since then we've never had a 150km+ Angliru stage, the 2011 and 2013 stages had easier run-ins and only the 2016 stage had a strong chain of climbs leading into the final ascent.

Let's wait for the the Tour....if somehow the four guys of Emirates dominate the race, then something is really "wrong".
TBH this is the flip side, however. This is what we were told in 2012 too. "Oh, Sky aren't doing anything out of the ordinary, they're only dominating cos everybody else is focusing on the Tour. They might be dominating for five months*, but there's nothing ridiculous about it, because it'll be different come the tour because everybody else is preparing for the Tour."

Then they were just as if not more dominant at the Tour, and the same quarters were defending it as "well, Sky haven't been ridiculously, it just looks that way because the entire péloton other than Sky messed up their preparation for the Tour".

*actually, in fairness, Froome wasn't, he was riding like absolute turd most of the time until the Dauphiné when 2011 Vuelta Froome miraculously reappeared. Wiggins, Porte, Rogers and their like were going great guns all season though.
 
Climbing speed ≠ W/kg estimates.

The Jumbo guys set the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fastest times up Angliru in history, saying "well, the level of the opposition was low so it wasn't that dominant" rings false when five of the guys they beat
also set times among the 20 fastest ever on that ascent.

Landa was faster than 2013 Horner. Landa and Poels were faster than 2008 Contador. Almeida was faster than Valverde's best time. All of them were faster than Froome, Sastre, Jiménez, Menchov, Escartín, Purito or Cobo. It wasn't that the level was low.

Yes, the stage was short and not especially tough which might explain something compared to, say, the 2008 times which were in a 210km stage with multiple prior ascents. But since then we've never had a 150km+ Angliru stage, the 2011 and 2013 stages had easier run-ins and only the 2016 stage had a strong chain of climbs leading into the final ascent.


TBH this is the flip side, however. This is what we were told in 2012 too. "Oh, Sky aren't doing anything out of the ordinary, they're only dominating cos everybody else is focusing on the Tour. They might be dominating for five months*, but there's nothing ridiculous about it, because it'll be different come the tour because everybody else is preparing for the Tour."

Then they were just as if not more dominant at the Tour, and the same quarters were defending it as "well, Sky haven't been ridiculously, it just looks that way because the entire péloton other than Sky messed up their preparation for the Tour".

*actually, in fairness, Froome wasn't, he was riding like absolute turd most of the time until the Dauphiné when 2011 Vuelta Froome miraculously reappeared. Wiggins, Porte, Rogers and their like were going great guns all season though.
The problem is you measure against riders from different eras, when everyone knows climbing speeds have gone more biblical every year since 2020.

Multiple riders beating the 2013 Horner time should be 0 surprise for that reason. That happens on every single climb you compare betweem 2013 and 2023/2023.

Climbing speed compared to 10-15 years ago is by no means a measure of relative dominance.

The real context of Angliru is that 2 generational GC riders put like 15s into Landa and Kuss, and Kuss finishing with Landa isnt that unheared of either
 
Not as much as JumboBots. The rivals were apparently able to make medical progress with the upcoming scientific paper: From Intensive Medical Care To Winning Tour de France In Four Months Period.
Jumbo making riders out of nothing. Just like Sky did with Froome and Thomas. Straight out of nowhere. Thats really fishy.

At least all the UAE guys have actual talent. Greatness, in one special case.
 
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You definitely implied it, but I'm happy to learn that it wasn't your intention.
The thing is that it's easier to suspend one's disbelief with a rider perceived as a great talent, or the right kind of rider for the performances they put out. If Geraint Thomas in the mid-2010s had gone on a tear and turned into what Mathieu van der Poel is now, sure people would still find it suspicious because it's Sky in that era, but for me it would be a lot more believable than the Geraint Thomas that we got, because we had the best part of a decade of understanding his rider type, and then he flipped it 180º. Similarly, the thing that has me baulking most about Pogačar is his Classics performances, and the thing that has me baulking most about Vingegaard is his TT - he's built like a climber so suspending disbelief at his mountain performances is easier than when he obliterates the entire field against the clock.

Sky did not create talent out of nowhere to the extent suggested as it is grossly unfair to suggest Wiggins or Thomas were not talented cyclists when they were pretty elite at their chosen field (people often overlook the insane increase in Wiggins' TT performances in the early 2010s, from "top contender for prologues and good contender for podiums and top 5s in longer TTs" to "obliterates prime Cancellara and Martin", because his climbing improvement takes all the attention) - but they got the kind of achievement out of completely transforming the type of rider an athlete was, twice, all while having known doping doctors on the books and proclaiming from the rooftops how clean they were, which amplified the disdain and polarised the discussion even further than it already was.

This is also why I treat the likes of Cândido Barbosa with such disdain; they were people that even in my more naïve times as a less jaded or cynical fan of the sport could not fathom, could not accept as being remotely plausible. My ability to suspend my disbelief was completely destroyed every August by his exploits - even by Volta a Portugal standards.

With people who had been outlying supertalents from childhood, like Alejandro Valverde or Peter Sagan, there is at least the ability to say "if everything was 100% clean, I can still believe they would be top competitors" - we know with Valverde that there was a point where doping began, but where that was in the timeline is impossible to tell. I don't think 11-year-old cadet rider Valverde who went on the unbeaten run that gave him the "El Imbatido" nickname was doping - but by the time he's podiuming the Vuelta on Kelme in 2003 I think we can feel safe in assuming that it comes before then.

For some people, even if they are jaded and cynical and aware that a lot of doping is going on, they do at least need to cling to some kind of suspension of disbelief that they are watching a competition that is at least on the surface between sportsmen rather than lawyers or doctors.
 
And that demonstrates that the level is not low.
If we're gonna go by that metric then we can confidently dismiss Froome's Finestre raid cause it was the slowest Finestre, the slowest Sestriere and the slowest Jafferau we've seen and conclude that Froome wasn't even impressive but his opponents were just that terrible.

I think measuring riders in their own time and era is more useful than measuring riders a decade apart.
 
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Was the opposition really that disappointing though?

Landa set the 5th fastest ever time on Angliru, Poels 7th, Almeida 11th, Uijtdebroecks 15th and Buitrago 16th. The level was not low, Jumbo were just so hilariously OP that they could hand out GTs to domestiques to stop Benji's twitter followers getting angry.

The way I saw this Vuelta is the other teams "gifted" the race to Kuss. Followed by what happened to Remco.

You don't let a talented climber who's is a top 10 contender anyway (D'd or not) go up the road and gain minutes. That's on the the other teams. Arguing it any other way is like saying the times when Kuss stayed with Roglic on his bad days was gifting him races. Just like those times, Jonas and Primoz should have supported Kuss. At least to a scenario where Kuss was being dropped. Which never happened. He was clearly as good, or bettter than everyone else in the mountains even if he was a hair behind his two teamates.

Never got a clear answer on what happened to Remco? What happened? It just looked like he sat up on that stage and lost a ton of time. Then he proceeded to go in the breaks and outclass everyone else.
 
Not as much as those frauds mentors of Ricardo Ricco, Gianetti and Matxin who now have a big budget from the oil to spend on they're new Ricardo Ricco.
Its obviously an arms race. After Gianetti stole the 2020 Tour de France right out of Visma's grasp on La Planche des Belles Filles in 2020, Visma got fired up.

So when Roglic crashed out in 2021 they discovered a super responder and doubled down to capitalize in 2022 and 2023.

For 2024 Gianetti said right, lets see whose boss since you think you can beat me at my game. So Gianetti created Pog 2024 supported by UAE who has now leapfrogged any team strength advantage enjoyed by Vingegaard in 2022 and 2023.

The natural progression of the arms race is Visma find a sponsor with bottomless pockets. The fly in the ointment for both sides of the "battle" is crashes. Gianetti couldn't predict Pog's crash at LBL and Visma were helpless with Vingegaard's huge crash at Itzulia. I think that's called a business risk. You cannot control everything, there is always luck in the mix.
 
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Its obviously an arms race. After Gianetti stole the 2020 Tour de France right out of Visma's grasp on La Planche des Belles Filles in 2020, Visma got fired up.

So when Roglic crashed out in 2021 they discovered a super responder and doubled down to capitalize in 2022 and 2023.

For 2024 Gianetti said right, lets see whose boss since you think you can beat me at my game. So Gianetti created Pog 2024 supported by UAE who has now leapfrogged any team strength advantage enjoyed by Vingegaard in 2022 and 2023.

The natural progression of the arms race is Visma find a sponsor with bottomless pockets. The fly in the ointment for both sides of the "battle" is crashes. Gianetti couldn't predict Pog's crash at LBL and Visma were helpless with Vingegaard's huge crash at Itzulia. I think that's called a business risk. You cannot control everything, there is always luck in the mix.

There was already an arms race going on before the 2020 Tour between JV and INEOS.

And Vingegaard wasn't suddenly discovered during 2020 Tour. They already knew he was very strong before the race, since they have allowed him to be on a more extensive doping program from the start of the season.
 
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