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

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There was never tactical error IMHO. Unless you consider McNulty a threat. I didn't, did you?
McNulty at his age and experience is a wildcard. Especially in short stage races where fatigue and recovery is less of a factor. And it gave UAE two bullets in the gun. Plus also you had people like Bilbao moved back into the GC mix.

At the end of the day, I don't think Jumbo set out thinking "let's gift a minute's advantage to a guy whose ceiling we're not quite sure of, our plan is to sit tight and attack four climbs from the end on the descent with the help of Astana on the last stage, that was always the plan and winning the ITT and leading the race was getting in the way of that". If they kept McNulty close, then even if he holds on, they only need to worry about bonus seconds, and Rogla is a lot fresher than having to go from so far today.

If they really didn't think McNulty to be any threat at all, there's no reason for them not to leave it to the last climb of Arrate since everybody else needs to gain time on Rogla, not the other way round - but if that's the case, why risk it by allowing McNulty that advantage?

As it was, a bit like Nairo to Formigal, Rogla was smart and attentive to be in the position when Astana did drill it and the race was kicked into life, and then once presented with that opportunity, he committed all in and won the race in the kind of fashion that thumbs the nose to those who'd pigeonholed him as a dull racer who wins TTs and hilltop sprints. But remember, even when Nairo did that, he was in the leader's jersey, he was being attentive and smart because that's your responsibility as the leader of the race.

I still believe that opening up that opportunity to McNulty was a mistake, especially the amount of time they gave him, and I have absolutely no belief that conceding the jersey on Thursday in that fashion and then attacking and winning the race in the way they did today was part of some higher level plan that was being orchestrated all along. There are just too many moving parts and they have been so risk-averse in the past that throwing away a comfortable advantage for a low-percentage high-risk energy-expending hail mary, when you had all the material in place before Thursday to win in a comparatively minimal effort fashion, would have been a) worth it, and b) realistically believable from the people in the cars, even before you take into account their history of overly defensive low-risk decision-making.

Not that it matters, because whether they decided to attack four climbs out or they took advantage of the situation afforded them by Astana and the situation on the road, it still depended on Rogla being strong enough to make it work - so just as toby said a couple of days ago, the very fact he was strong enough to take it home from there is more than evidence enough that he would have been strong enough on the final climb if he'd been racing in yellow anyway.
 
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Even now, after TJV win, Chris Horner can't just simply congratulate them and still spread his irrational dislike of TJV in his yt comment responses. Ugly tactics he's saying now?
This guy must really hate TJV and their cyclers for some reason.
 
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View: https://youtu.be/eD3tJhHew5E


"Oh man. He had a lot of help. that was ugly tactics."

"They definitely had some unpredictable help to make that happen. "

"They could have just rode into the last climb and taken the win. Instead they needed all kinds of help and deals to win the race. Fun to watch though."

" They could have ridden to the last climb and win the race. Instead Roglic needed help and made deals to win this."


~ Chris Horner

It seems to me that dissing TJV for some reason became his regular practice lately.

Ugly? Lol... Hopefully, it will take a couple of years before all descents are neutralised.
 
View: https://youtu.be/eD3tJhHew5E


"Oh man. He had a lot of help. that was ugly tactics."

"They definitely had some unpredictable help to make that happen. "

"They could have just rode into the last climb and taken the win. Instead they needed all kinds of help and deals to win the race. Fun to watch though."

" They could have ridden to the last climb and win the race. Instead Roglic needed help and made deals to win this."


~ Chris Horner

It seems to me that dissing TJV for some reason became his regular practice lately.
He is trying to defend his silly comments! Lol. I watch him to have a good laugh. But this time he was off the mark. Completely!!
 
View: https://youtu.be/eD3tJhHew5E


"Oh man. He had a lot of help. that was ugly tactics."

"They definitely had some unpredictable help to make that happen. "

"They could have just rode into the last climb and taken the win. Instead they needed all kinds of help and deals to win the race. Fun to watch though."

" They could have ridden to the last climb and win the race. Instead Roglic needed help and made deals to win this."


~ Chris Horner

It seems to me that dissing TJV for some reason became his regular practice lately.
Video is from stage 5?
 
View: https://youtu.be/eD3tJhHew5E


"Oh man. He had a lot of help. that was ugly tactics."

"They definitely had some unpredictable help to make that happen. "

"They could have just rode into the last climb and taken the win. Instead they needed all kinds of help and deals to win the race. Fun to watch though."

" They could have ridden to the last climb and win the race. Instead Roglic needed help and made deals to win this."


~ Chris Horner

It seems to me that dissing TJV for some reason became his regular practice lately.
I'm thinking he's a pretty passionate guy who was also cheering for Brandon McNulty pretty hard (aka a young American rider).

Ironically he comes across in his videos & comments as a bit of a romanticist, whereas Jumbo's tactics were on the contrary very clinical, i.e. the objective on Thursday was to confuse UAE, make them back the wrong horse (McNulty, who cannot live with Roglic in such a hard stage like todays) & lose sight of the fact Pogacar & only Pogacar was their GC option all along.
 
Libertine, we have different opinions TBF. My take is really simpler:

1- This race was between 2 riders with, maybe, an outside chance from Adam Yates. The rest could be dropped on Saturday by the big 2. Of course if you let someone like Valverde or Chaves take 5 minutes you would lose the race. But that was never going to happen. So if you focus only about the ones with chances then everything was OK after Thursday.

2- We can only guess what the TJV was thinking. We just don't know. But to me, TJV releasing the yellow jersey on Thursday before this mammoth of stage was masterful. IMHO. Whether they did it on purpose is another thing. But at the end we can only judge by what we see and praise the coaches when something goes right. In any sport. So are we going to do like Chris Horner be negative either way? So the coaches have no chance to win either way? that doesn't make any sense.

3- The performance by Jonas Vingegard today was a surprise and a big plus for Jumbo. But you can only plan with what you know, and he was here to support Roglic and was never, on paper, supposed to be on the podium.

McNulty had no chance on paper. And on Saturday was proven in real time as well. No mistake was done.
 
How is it masterful to put yourself on the back foot?

Giving away the jersey to Chaves or another lesser rider could have been a good move but giving away the jersey to Pogacar team was dumb as hell.

They were lucky Pog was caught behind on a rare split. Had Pogacar been glued to Roglic wheel the most likely outcome was Tadej winning.

Roglic had to pull while Pogacar could freewheel due to McNulty being chasing.
 
Reactions: Bertram Wooster
How is it masterful to put yourself on the back foot?

Giving away the jersey to Chaves or another lesser rider could have been a good move but giving away the jersey to Pogacar team was dumb as hell.

They were lucky Pog was caught behind on a rare split. Had Pogacar been glued to Roglic wheel the most likely outcome was Tadej winning.

Roglic had to pull while Pogacar could freewheel due to McNulty being chasing.
This might be true but realistically McNulty was simply way too dead. Roglic would've had to work nothing with Pogacar in his wheel.
 
Reactions: JosefK
How is it masterful to put yourself on the back foot?

Giving away the jersey to Chaves or another lesser rider could have been a good move but giving away the jersey to Pogacar team was dumb as hell.

They were lucky Pog was caught behind on a rare split. Had Pogacar been glued to Roglic wheel the most likely outcome was Tadej winning.

Roglic had to pull while Pogacar could freewheel due to McNulty being chasing.
There was no way, Pogačar could beat Roglič for 20+ s today. They are too close right now.
 
Pogacar did bridge across but than waited for BM
No. Rewatch the stage. He never bridged across after the descent.

With the way everyone else was riding (even Padun pulling the group away from Bilbao) UAE was fubar and out of options from the moment Geoghegan Hart lost Landa's wheel on the descent. The motos helped a bit (but only what you could expect for any group that would get away), but against four teams drilling it on the flat against three (mostly Hirschi and Pogi) UAE riders, they had no chance.
 
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Great quote IMO:
"I attacked, and when I saw he was dropped, I gave it my all. I was going flat-out! Franck [Pineau] was yelling on the radio, the Basques were also shouting on the side of the road. My legs didn’t even hurt anymore! I was having goosebumps, it was crazy, mental!”
--Gaudu after wining today
 
How is it masterful to put yourself on the back foot?

Giving away the jersey to Chaves or another lesser rider could have been a good move but giving away the jersey to Pogacar team was dumb as hell.

They were lucky Pog was caught behind on a rare split. Had Pogacar been glued to Roglic wheel the most likely outcome was Tadej winning.

Roglic had to pull while Pogacar could freewheel due to McNulty being chasing.
Pogacar team without Pogacar was worthless. Maybe that answer your comment!

There was only one guy with a chance in that team IMO. I have said that many times. In my book McNulty had no chance. Zero. Zipo. Nothing.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Libertine, we have different opinions TBF. My take is really simpler:

1- This race was between 2 riders with, maybe, an outside chance from Adam Yates. The rest could be dropped on Saturday by the big 2. Of course if you let someone like Valverde or Chaves take 5 minutes you would lose the race. But that was never going to happen. So if you focus only about the ones with chances then everything was OK after Thursday.

2- We can only guess what the TJV was thinking. We just don't know. But to me, TJV releasing the yellow jersey on Thursday before this mammoth of stage was masterful. IMHO. Whether they did it on purpose is another thing. But at the end we can only judge by what we see and praise the coaches when something goes right. In any sport. So are we going to do like Chris Horner be negative either way? So the coaches have no chance to win either way? that doesn't make any sense.

3- The performance by Jonas Vingegard today was a surprise and a big plus for Jumbo. But you can only plan with what you know, and he was here to support Roglic and was never, on paper, supposed to be on the podium.

McNulty had no chance on paper. And on Saturday was proven in real time as well. No mistake was done.
No. We can praise them for doing a great job of pulling themselves out of the hole they left themselves in, cutting deals, taking their opportunities, doing the hard work and winning the race in style. That doesn't mean we ret-con a previous bad decision into a good decision because without that previous bad decision, they don't need to work as hard, get as creative tactically or cut deals. It doesn't make the work done today any less impressive, and they should be praised for what they did today, and Horner really ought to be accepting that. Praising them for today does not necessarily entail him accepting he was wrong about Thursday, because he wasn't. Basso overcoming Arroyo at the end didn't make it any less insane that the big teams let that group get so big as to be completely uncontrollable in the stage to L'Aquila, for example. And, just like back then, thank God that Jumbo did make that call on stage 4, because today's race was infinitely better for it. Like I said a couple of days ago, Jumbo having these occasional bouts of Rabofail and having to work their way out of them is far more interesting.
 
Reactions: Roku and Red Rick
Pogacar team without Pogacar was worthless. Maybe that answer your comment!

There was only one guy with a chance in that team IMO. I have said that many times. In my book McNulty had no chance. Zero. Zipo. Nothing.
You were right about that and pointed it out yesterday. The strange thing is that you would think that UAE knew that too, in which case why would you not have Pogacar sit on Roglic’s wheel no matter what was going on with McNulty?
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Deal??? Either Roglic or Vingegard were going to win anyway.
We are entitled to our opinions and we disagree. No problem. :)
It was kind of on screen him doing the deal on the stage win in exchange for collaboration.

No matter how much you and CyclistAddy, sorry Abi, may insist, I do not believe that Thursday was part of some kind of special masterplan to make it harder for them to win than it would have been to, you know, just keep that break on a bit of a leash and go into the final stage on the front foot. Especially when every historical precedent points to this particular team preferring to race on the front foot as much as possible and being inherently risk-averse in stage racing.
 

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