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

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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.
I saw the deal. Don't worry. It did not matter at all. That's my point.
 
I think this is the correct analysis. Pog, moreover, was on the verge of entering the Roglic group on the descent, but, either because he was told at the time or following the morning plan, decided to wait to help McNuttley reach Roglic.

I'm only disappointed that we did not get to see a mano a mano fight between Roglic and Pogacar on the last climb to the finish, which is what we certainly would have gotten had Pog been allowed to ride for himself.
I don't think Pogačar was ever on the verge of entering the Roglič group on the descent. The gaps were small all the way, but it was a Bahrain rider (Landa) who was chasing Roglič there.

We had a mano a mano between Roglič and Pogačar, but for 40km instead of only 5km. I think it was more exciting that way. Those mano a manos (lol) like we saw today are more rare than the ones on the last climb of a stage. We'll have plenty of them in the Tour don't worry.
 
I don't think Pogačar was ever on the verge of entering the Roglič group on the descent. The gaps were small all the way, but it was a Bahrain rider (Landa) who was chasing Roglič there.

We had a mano a mano between Roglič and Pogačar, but for 40km instead of only 5km. I think it was more exciting that way. Those mano a manos (lol) like we saw today are more rare than the ones on the last climb of a stage. We'll have plenty of them in the Tour don't worry.
Exactly, we see the best climbers go at the last climb together all the time. We don’t get to see them do this kind of thing nearly often enough.

Anyway, tactical shenanigans are what make road racing more fun than TTs,
 
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...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.
Jumbo's tactical errors from Thursday were overstated. They put Vingegaard in a strong position to win the stage and brought him high in GC. They also put Pogačar in a position where he was somewhere in between, doing domestique work or try to win the race himself. As we saw, in the first part of the stage he was riding like a domestique, while in the second part he was going for the win. They put UAE in a tricky situation. I repeat, saying Roglič only needed to stay in Pogačar's wheel and he'd won, is a to simplistic way to look at things. What other teams (Astana, Movistar, TJV, Bahrain) did to UAE today, they would have done the same to TJV if Roglič was in yellow jersey.

TJV tactics weren't perfect because ideally they would have given McNulty a little less time of an advantage, but they were far from terrible.
 
I don't think Pogačar was ever on the verge of entering the Roglič group on the descent. The gaps were small all the way, but it was a Bahrain rider (Landa) who was chasing Roglič there.

We had a mano a mano between Roglič and Pogačar, but for 40km instead of only 5km. I think it was more exciting that way. Those mano a manos (lol) like we saw today are more rare than the ones on the last climb of a stage. We'll have plenty of them in the Tour don't worry.
It was a bit more complex than that. PR was able to spend a fair bit of time out of the wind before he started working. TP was rotating through a small rotation while trying to keep BM in the race. UAE missed the chance to close down the gap ASAP when it started ... likely too much thinking and not enough doing, it was a split second. You see TP later checking/talking on the radio before leaving McNulty ... again, could have just been a reaction rather than checking with the team. MH up the road was a waste of effort as well. I think UAE messed up on this one, but PR initially lucked out with willing co-conspirators, and then with some riders willing to work with him.

Fun stage to watch!
 
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.
Carthy is No Roglic!!!!
 
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What other teams (Astana, Movistar, TJV, Bahrain) did to UAE today, they would have done the same to TJV if Roglič was in yellow jersey.
Sure, but as Roglič proved today, he was more than strong enough to handle that, plus he would have had the benefit of not having to do any work in that group anyway, because he'd still be the leader in that eventuality.

I have no problem with praising their work today. But I don't accept ret-conning Thursday in to some kind of tactical masterpiece, because today could have played out the same way anyway, but without Jumbo having to take that chance on putting themselves on the back foot. Unless they had a mole within Astana who was able to warn them before Thursday's stage of the team's intent to attack the Elosua descent on today's stage, which I consider reasonably unlikely.

Again - I'm glad they did do what they did on Thursday, because we got a far better stage for it than would have been the case otherwise. And I'll praise them for digging themselves out of the hole and winning in style. But that doesn't mean I need to praise them for voluntarily jumping into the hole so that they could dig themselves out of it later.
 
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Sure, but as Roglič proved today, he was more than strong enough to handle that, plus he would have had the benefit of not having to do any work in that group anyway, because he'd still be the leader in that eventuality.

I have no problem with praising their work today. But I don't accept ret-conning Thursday in to some kind of tactical masterpiece, because today could have played out the same way anyway, but without Jumbo having to take that chance on putting themselves on the back foot. Unless they had a mole within Astana who was able to warn them before Thursday's stage of the team's intent to attack the Elosua descent on today's stage, which I consider reasonably unlikely.

Again - I'm glad they did do what they did on Thursday, because we got a far better stage for it than would have been the case otherwise. And I'll praise them for digging themselves out of the hole and winning in style. But that doesn't mean I need to praise them for voluntarily jumping into the hole so that they could dig themselves out of it later.
Agree!
 
Horner is an ASS%^le
LOL! Horner is having sh*ts and giggles about this, no doubt. But TJV lucked out a bit in the way things worked. They did a pretty reasonable job today, and PR was in good form, which makes it all the better. This said, UAE also rather blew it. It may not have made a difference at the end of the day in terms of actually winning the race, but they missed their opportunity.

I think one of the issues Horner has with TJV is that they seem to have had a long string of making dumb mistakes so he is likely getting biased :p
 
Before the stage I could not see an scenario in which McNulty would win. After the stage I still could not see any scenario in which he would win.

I saw the Chris Horner analysis and he couldn't find enough ways to get out of the hole. LOL.

The biggest mistake by UAE at the beginning of the stage is having a plan in which they ride for McNulty. I could not believe my eyes when Pogacar was waiting for him or thinking about riding for him. I simply don't get it.
 
Before the stage I could not see an scenario in which McNulty would win. After the stage I still could not see any scenario in which he would win.

I saw the Chris Horner analysis and he couldn't find enough ways to get out of the hole. LOL.

The biggest mistake by UAE at the beginning of the stage is having a plan in which they ride for McNulty. I could not believe my eyes when Pogacar was waiting for him or thinking about riding for him. I simply don't get it.
Agree. They were so all in for McNulty that it seemed to blind them to trying to win the race. If they were communicating well and being 100% honest, TP should have bridged immediately. There would have been at least a chance that way.

They will be answering some difficult questions internally over the next day or two.
 
Congratulations to David Gaudu for winning the queen stage.

Woo-hoo!

What a race and especially this last stage this has been. It doesn't get much better then that. For sure cycling fans will remember and recommend this race for years to come.

JV came to this race well prepared and they knew what they wanted and on how they are going to get it. Opening stage, the TT, that alone was a masterpiece. Sending Roglič out, a couple of hours before other GC favorites, just to make a statement. This already hinted we are going to see some unorthodox tactics being used.

Using the youngsters sparingly, until the stage 4, where they knew race leader will be under constant attack, not letting Roglič be exposed for a second. And then that tactical move, the race decisive one, on the same stage, loaning the leaders jersey to McNulty, gift he never asked for or wanted to have. JV giving just enough seconds to take Pogačar from Rogličes wheel and putting him in front of McNulty. Letting other teams closer, to make the race harder. Whoever is still claiming this was a mistake should in my opinion let go and embrace and enjoy it, a masterpiece.

Then the stage 6 came and it became painfully obvious the teams are way too strong and would butcher any team wearing the leaders jersey. Sure, UAE likely did a mistake, sending Hirschi ahead, but by then a really strong group already was established ahead and what followed was bound to happen. Hirschi being there wouldn't make all that much difference. Astana went full gas, Roglič jumped on the train and the rest is history. Tens of kilometers of full gas racing, Roglič and Pogačar basically doing a TT.

Epic.
 
At what point in the race? A km mark would be nice. As I see it, once they were on the descent, with or without McNulty, Pogi had no chance whatsoever of bridging across.
If Hirschi and McNulty had left everything on the flat road before Krabelín, Pogacar would have been very close to the front group there and probably been able to bridge.
 
While Pogi greatly reduces the gap in the first half of Krabelin, and that he would of course have been able to ascend faster if fresher, Rogla waits to take the front from Mas until he is getting quite close, he looks back several times, and once he take the front, the gap goes out again. If McNulty sacrifices himself on the flat (but Pogi doesn't pull at all there), maybe the gap would be 10''-15'' less (IIRC, the gap was never under 15''-20'' on the climb), but I'm quite sure Roglic would attack sooner then. And given how quickly McNulty drops on the climb, I'm not sure how much he had to contribute with on the flat, nor if it would be more than what Pogi did there.
 

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