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Itzulia Basque Country 2021, Spain, April 5 - April 10

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View: https://twitter.com/deceuninck_qst/status/1377664027183173635?s=20
 
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UAE team is super strong in theory but only Pogacar and McNulty have shown any real form this season so far.

Hirschi finished with the lead group of stage 7 of Catalunya last week, so he seems to be going good
 
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Realistically I think team strength is only really importnat on the final stage and Poggers can just solo that.
From the rider startlist it looks for me a bit of a pretaste what we can expect for the Tour de France this year.
Pogacar vs. Roglic vs Ineos.
Ok, Roglic team will be better at the tour and one has to add Thomas and Porte to the Ineos team.
But otherwise?
From the route I agree with Red Rick, that the last stage is the only one where team strenght will be an important factor. At all the other stages there will only be action at the last mountain.
 
From the rider startlist it looks for me a bit of a pretaste what we can expect for the Tour de France this year.
Pogacar vs. Roglic vs Ineos.
Ok, Roglic team will be better at the tour and one has to add Thomas and Porte to the Ineos team.
But otherwise?
From the route I agree with Red Rick, that the last stage is the only one where team strenght will be an important factor. At all the other stages there will only be action at the last mountain.
Even there team strength is important in case of crashes and mechanicals particularly with the narrow steep climbs where getting team cars up to the rider in need quickly can be an issue.

No Wout is obviously a handicap for Roglic and Pogacar will have probably his strongest squad of the entire season at his disposal in this race as when it comes to the Tour some will either be absent or have the Giro in their legs.
 
Now for an unexpected statement, but I feel sorry for Sepp Kuss. Like, this race embodies steep climbs that justify Sepp effort more than any other race on the calendar - even the TT finishes on a steep climb - he's clearly on good form as shown in Catalunya, and he doesn't even get to start.

Like, what's the point in deploying him at all if you aren't going to use him in a race which would seem tailor-made for him, as it is historically all about stages that finish on the steep climb? Is that little descent from Usartza to Arrate really so much of a deterrent?
 
Kuss, Kruiswijk and Bennet are getting A LOT of opportunities to lead the team - more than one might expect on a team with Roglič and WvA. But so far they were not very good at making anything out of those chances. The only one who truly shined so far is Vingegaard. Sooner or later the managment will realise they prefer having better support for the riders that actually win things (and so that Paris-Nice stage 8 scenario plays out diferently with a better squad) than having those three fighting for some anonymous top 15 result. In my oppinion the team currently only has two riders who can (and do) win the biggest races in the world. And they should so everything to make that possible. As it is now, they are sending Wout and Primož to races with the B-team so that the others can "get their chances". Questionable tactics at best.