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

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The last image of the bunch before the Astana attack have UAE at the front with Majka and Ulissi with Pogacar and McNulty behind them. Then we see Carapaz drill the descent in the break, and back to the bunch at the very top of the climb, Astana suddenly moves very quickly to the front to take the lead on the descent:





The order on the descent is decided in maybe less than 10''. On the second image, the riders ahead of Hart gets away, the rest stay behind.
So it's all Hart's fault?
I mean, he's responsible for this great stage? So Ineos played an important role in this race after all?
 
Epic stage decided mainly on...descents and flat. Such short dynamic stages usually deliver! All was decided in the middle part of it. Roglic outsmarted UAE, who made two big mistakes.

  1. Smart move by Primoz on the descent from Elousa-Gorla, when he (and a few other strong guys) followed Astana's attack. Why neither of UAE top guys followed him? Mistake number one.
  2. Roglic's group joined the breakaway and suddenly top UAE guys found themselves losing ground against a strong group on flat! Hirschi worked, Poga did his turns but why didn't McNulty (a strong TT-ist) work? Riciculous. Did they think that he would catch Roglic and match Pogi in the carnage, which was just starting? This proved costly for Poga soon afterwards. Mistake number two.
  3. UAE started Krabelin almost 40'' behind Roglic's group and it was clear that Poga would go full gas there. McNulty was dropped soon and Poga was reducing the gap fast. At one point it was only about 10'' but he fell short. Maybe these 10'' wouldn't be missed had McNulty worked hard on the flat. Near the top of Krabelin Roglic started building the gap again and after the descent he was about a minute ahead of Poga. The gap fluctuated since then, Poga worked a lot but it was game over.
Congrats to Primoz on a great race today. Not the result I preferred but it was exciting.
Pogacar did bridge across but than waited for BM
 
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Meanwhile, why was McNulty so far back on that descent in the first place, why didn't he crest with the first? Not feeling good uphill?
Well I suppose only he knows, although it is evident from the outcome that he was not going well uphill. It's conceivable that he wasn't initially aware of the dangerous situation for his squadra that was unfolding on the descent. If he had been (both in terms of his own performance and what was happening on the descent) then he should have shouted to Pogacar to not wait and go, go, go!
 
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Might just be an issue of the types of climb though. I mean, somebody like Tejay van Garderen started out with some useful puncheur skills, but he neglected these as he aimed more for GC battles, aiming more at climbing endurance and so on, but largely found his best results restricted to those races with longer and more consistent climbs, so Catalunya was the only Spanish race he ever really showed up well at, and he was better suited to the Tour than the Giro or Vuelta and that's where his best results are. Later in his career he got back to being good at steeper stuff and had a great showing on Rettenbachferner for example, so it might just be that consistency is McNulty's issue or he hasn't yet figured which are the races that best suit his skillset to maximise his results. No shame in this at all.

I mean, it does kind of bail Jumbo out because it meant Thursday's tactical errors became irrelevant, but they weren't to know that. As I did say though, we as fans ought to be grateful for some of the classic Rabofail now that they have some of the strongest riders in the péloton, because it necessitates things like today. It doesn't vindicate Thursday, because Rogla had to go a lot deeper for the win today than he would have done otherwise and they could have had a much easier day of it since McNulty wound up not being a factor, but it does mean that they don't have to pay for their errors this time, and we the fans get a much better spectacle than had it been like the 2011 edition where everybody in the upper echelons of the GC was just happy to sprint up the classic side of Usartza, which this year would have seen it leading to a six man sprint for time bonuses, maybe 5 if Gaudu dropped but that seems unlikely given he and Rogla didn't lose a great deal of time on the climb and he wouldn't have been working so hard had he been just in the group and not with the win on the cards. Maybe we need to start begging for Jumbo to throw things away earlier in races rather than at the last minute like in Le Tour or Paris-Nice, because they're a lot more interesting when they are fighting from behind or when they have to rescue something from the race. Yes, even Sepp Kuss.
I disagree, that"tactical error" helped them today, Pogacar would be a lot fresher to attack if he didnt have to work for BM,JV knew that the only threat is Pogacar
 
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I disagree, that"tactical error" helped them today, Pogacar would be a lot fresher to attack if he didnt have to work for BM,JV knew that the only threat is Pogacar
...and Roglič wouldn't have needed to attack, so would have just been able to sit on Pogačar's wheel and dare him to attack. They could even let a break go up the road and take the time bonuses out of the equation. Roglič had to do a lot of work today that he needn't have done had they not dug themselves into a hole. But either way, from a racing perspective, we got a much better spectacle as a result. Winning doesn't mean you can't have made mistakes along the way, but it does mean that you overcame any mistakes that were made along the way.
 
We might be neighbors :). I raced against Tyler a bit when he was on his way up, and I was on my way out (I was going to say down, but that would imply that I was up at some point). He was a really nice kid!

EDIT: One time he asked if it was OK if he attacked our lead group to get a little extra work in. He crush our group for an hour, but pulled over at the 1K banner to let the old guys fight it out for the win.

I don't root against anybody. I have a lot of negative sh*t in my life so I try to stay positive about cycling (even though I slip on that).
We might be neighbors :). I raced against Tyler a bit when he was on his way up, and I was on my way out (I was going to say down, but that would imply that I was up at some point). He was a really nice kid!

EDIT: One time he asked if it was OK if he attacked our lead group to get a little extra work in. He crush our group for an hour, but pulled over at the 1K banner to let the old guys fight it out for the win.

I don't root against anybody. I have a lot of negative sh*t in my life so I try to stay positive about cycling (even though I slip on that).
Cool story about Tyler. And good point about not wasting precious energy on the negative stuff.
 
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You answered to yourself. Of course we cheers for and appreciate both and yet in their direct match big majority prefer Roglic "because he's older and Pogacar will have plenty of time to win everything what's possible to win ... " and we breathe with Roglic riding every moment.

Even national media described Pogacar TdF win as "bittersweet" implying that this should be Roglic's moment "because he's older and Pogacar will have plenty of time to win everything what's possible to win ... ", so yes, generally looking when it come to direct match of those two Roglic get the most of our love while Pogacar is "just" appreciated - for now.
And don't get me wrong, it is what it is ... but both are awesome. I am just describing our collective bias and perception when we follow them both on the same race.
If that's justified and we do justice to the Pogacar or not, that the different topic. Both guys success spoiled us.

I don't know from which part of Slovenia are you from, because everyone I know cheers for both of them. Sure most of them slightly prefer Roglič, but only because he is older. They think that Pogačar will have plenty opportunities to win in the future.
 
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On another note, if Roglic was in fact Lennard Hofstede he would have dropped at the first climb and not won this race.

This is kinda of a nonsensical statement. Sorry
Nah, disagree. Before Arrate there were people (me included) suspecting that Roglic went too deep into the red and might blow up as soon as the next climb started. At least I think he looked clearly worse than Carthy at some point. All I'm saying is that if Roglic had suffered as much as some thought the attrition of the stage could have been high enough for him to lose the race, backed up by the fact that this actually happened to another rider who was originally strong enough to make the front group.
 
Exactly like I was expecting. These are the type of stage designs where it is so hard for a team to control. Strade, Tirreno stage 5, and this stage are really good designs. You have action from far away.

As for the strategists in this forum hyping McNulty. There was no way that McNulty was going to resist all the attacks. At one point I saw UAE killing the healthy chicken to give soup to the sick chicken. Finally they came to their senses. Good to see Chaves recuperating and proving that he can be consistent. What about Valverde being the best Spanish climber? They need a new hero, pronto!!
 
Meanwhile, why was McNulty so far back on that descent in the first place, why didn't he crest with the first? Not feeling good uphill?
I am not sure but there was an attack by the Astana riders at the top and Roglic follow very quickly. It was a matter of seconds and the opportunity was there. The type of stage and race would have still killed McNulty. Every hill and every descent was a trap for him. I saw that before the race from 10 miles away. Just look at the design. It was horrible for him. That's why I was surprised that everyone was hyping him. Oh well. He will learn.
 
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Exactly like I was expecting. These are the type of stage designs where it is so hard for a team to control. Strade, Tirreno stage 5, and this stage are really good designs. You have action from far away.

As for the strategists in this forum hyping McNulty. There was no way that McNulty was going to resist all the attacks. At one point I saw UAE killing the healthy chicken to give soup to the sick chicken. Finally they came to their senses. Good to see Chaves recuperating and proving that he can be consistent. What about Valverde being the best Spanish climber? They need a new hero, pronto!!
Valverde will always be the hero.
 
...and Roglič wouldn't have needed to attack, so would have just been able to sit on Pogačar's wheel and dare him to attack. They could even let a break go up the road and take the time bonuses out of the equation. Roglič had to do a lot of work today that he needn't have done had they not dug themselves into a hole. But either way, from a racing perspective, we got a much better spectacle as a result. Winning doesn't mean you can't have made mistakes along the way, but it does mean that you overcame any mistakes that were made along the way.
There was never tactical error IMHO. Unless you consider McNulty a threat. I didn't, did you?
 

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