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

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There is no complicated tactics here:

  • In my opinion, after Thursday, it was 80% on Roglic or Pogacar for the win. 20% the rest. With McNulty with a very small percentage on that 80%. I would give Vingegaard and Yates a bigger percentage.
  • Without the Astana attack, it was still the same outcome to me. All because the idiots of UAE had designated Pogacar to defend the leader's jersey. LOL.
  • The expecting to play out the perfect scenario in order for Roglic to win is ridiculous. He would have won in my book under most scenarios. Astana attacking the descent was just one of them but Roglic didn't need it to win. Look at the stage again. McNulty was going to drop in the following climb no matter what. Period. At that point Roglic was the favorite again and Pogacar had to drop him mano a mano.
 
Cycling is not and has never been a 2 team affair of tactics as Tour of the Basque country has shown

  1. The giving away of the jersey was not intentional. It was accidental so none can claim that as superb tactics by TJV and in other circumstances on stage 6 it may have proved a terrible mistake
  2. The split on the descent was caused by Astana not TJV and that was where the race was lost ..little to do with TJV tactics ..more to do with Roglic was on it and UAE were behind
  3. McNulty was not as strong as hoped ...no one could have known this to be true 100% at that point in the race
  4. After the descent other teams rode and Roglic sat on and benefited ...TJV were lucky here
5. UAE had let Hirschi up the road when he should have stayed back ...not TJV tactics
  1. Roglic was so strong...little to do with tactics
  2. Roglic benefited from Gaudu and Carty being able to keep up and then take turns.....not TJV tactics
  3. Behind Pogacar had no one to help pull for most of the race ..except a few times but mostly had to do it himself Not again TJV tactics
So far that is an accumulation of events that TJV tactics did not really influence

Tactics work well in cycling but all teams are at the mercy of many teams tactics
I dont think Chris Horner is an champion. he is bringing entertainment to the sport and his views are as legitimate as anyones...more so than some. Entertainment is about controversy

There have been many occasions when we have wondered what TJV were up to in races and the same for Movistar
They do make questionable decisions at times... But yesterday they benefited without being the masters of tactics ..mostly because they had the strongest rider and were int he right place and the right time..serendipity
Roglic didn't need all those scenarios in order to win. He would have won regardless. Once McNulty was out of the equation is a mano a mano between Roglic and Pogacar. Very simple.

BTW, I need to make a comment about Pogacar and the other riders not helping him. Expect that to happen again. He just discovered that. You don't need to be NostraDamus to know that. The display of power that he has shown in the last year make him the number 1 target, the number rider to beat and he won't find many friends around him. What do you do? get a powerful team to help you. Otherwise he is going to be looking around all over again during the Tour. Is simple. My wife said "that's to be expected" after She watched that nobody wanted to help him. "Help you? so that you can drop me like a sack of potatoes in the last climb?" Similar situations in the classics happened to Sagan during past years. Not many friends around him to help him. That's why I keep saying that Pogacar needs a stronger team for the Tour.
 
My conclusion is that the forum is mourning the loss of Roubaix today and would be on here posting about the P-R outcomes and strategies, but in lieu of that are compensating by continuing to post about yesterday’s/Thursday’s race. And I’m doing the same reading all the comments. Time to go skiing. ;):)
Yeah, it's sad that we have to talk about PR when we could've talked about PR :cry:
 
The whole race up to that point. And perhaps he would not have bridged, but I think using TP to provide cover for McNulty was a mistake. TP would need to react based on what he needed to do, and not check with the DS.

It may have made no difference. And it is not like I was rooting for UAE. But I do think that was a mistake that cost a second or two, and that is all it takes.
A brief moment is all it takes. That is racing.
This is why I asked for a km mark. Are you talking about Elosua or Krabelin? The former had absolutely nothing to do with Pogačar looking after McNulty, zilch. No talking on the radio, no confusion.
 
Sure it does, when you make an unorthodox tactical move and it pans out, that should be considered to be a tactical masterpiece by any standards.

P.S. Claiming having a Pogačar on your back wheel and defending the jersey on stage 6 would be wiser. Just listen to yourself.
Roglic could slip in the leaders jersey in that move just the same as he did without it. There was no tactical masterpiece from JV in this race, just the sharpness and attention of Roglic and great strength and courage later.
Stage 4 was just a big mess, which ended up good because Rogla is such a class of a rider.
 
@Libertine Seguros

Both your situations start with "you have Pogačar on your wheel".

Hell no!
Situation 1 is what we would have had Jumbo not let the break go up the road in stage 4.
Situation 2 is what we DID have thanks to what you called Jumbo's tactical brilliance, until Astana drilled it on the descent of Elosua.

So you have been arguing all along that situation 2 is better than situation 1, as the only difference between the two situations is Jumbo's actions on stage 4, which you described as brilliant, and I can't see any way in which it is superior to situation 1. Don't avoid the point by saying that Pogačar wasn't in the wheel, because that required a third team - Astana - and the gap was not created because of anything relating to the difference between the two situations as created by Jumbo on the earlier stage.
 
I was initially somewhat neutral on JV's "tactic" on Stage 4, because I thought that making UAE ride on a basically uncontrollable stage was a good idea. My main reservation is that I thought Vingegaard should have paced Roglic up to the main group or at least closer.

But in hindsight -- and this was probably totally by chance -- it actually worked out better to give McNulty a plausible gap over Roglic/Pogacar. That forced UAE to try to defend McNulty rather than go all-in for Pogacar in the final stage.

If Vingegaard had paced Roglic, then Pogacar and the rest of that group would have followed -- so even if McNulty had taken yellow, the gap might have been much less and it would have been plausible for UAE to say, well, good job Brandon, but TP is our star, so you're going to be a domestique on Saturday. (I have no idea how that might have played out, however...)

The bottom line is that Roglic was super strong, super smart and keep it wheels down...
 
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Jul 8, 2017
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Situation 1:
You have Pogačar on your wheel, but you're leading the race. He has to do something to you to win the race. You need do nothing unless he does, and if he does do something, you can just sit on his wheel as the onus is on him to gain time.

Situation 2:
You have Pogačar on your wheel, but you're losing the race. He needs do nothing as it is his teammate that is winning the race. You need to attack to win the race, and he is not going to help you if you do. And if you do turn around the time required, you get to the same position as situation 1, only you've had to do more work to get to that position, and he's had to do no work so is fresh. Oh, and if you crash or have a mechanical, you're not the race leader so the 'unwritten rules' won't apply for you either.

Situation 1 is by no means worse, because in situation 2, even the best case scenario emerging from it puts you in an equivalent position to situation

Also the worst thing that can happen to you is to be in a tough position defending the leader's jersey? No way. If you hold the leader's jersey, you're in a good position. The best, in fact. You're leading the race and if nothing happens, you win.
I was reading the discussion up to this point and I have to say I don't fully agree with you. While you certainly making a great points with bringing Formigal and 2010 giro, you are missing the fact that Quintana in 2016 was also required to gain time on Froome. Had he not, maaybe he wouldn't be that awared of other teams tactics and shenanigans. Same with Roglic and Jumbo yesterday. Had he been in the lead without the need f gaining time on UAE, he wouldn't react that quickly on that Astana attack and Jv would've end up in the UAE position, having Oomen, Vingegaard and Tolhoek against Astana, BV and Movistar drilling the flat. Would they be strong enough ? Honestly, I doubt.
So what you're trying to imply as a main point that it was race between slovenians is not true. You have/had more teams and riders actively willing to attack at it's seen in the hindsight.
I mean, plenty of races have been lost by being in prime posiition before the hardest stages if your team hasn't been strong enough. Imagine a (totally possible) scenario when Roglic with Pog on his wheel is isolated on Krabelin, being in yellow, while Valverde and co are a minute ahead?
Now, I was thinking and even shared my opinion that they should've give Mcnulty less time, but had he been at 10 or less seconds, even UAE would've know that Roglic is the effective leader and simply pass the responsibility on Jumbo to answer all attacks.
Now again, do you think Jumbo were strong enough to control everything?
 
That's true, but since people don't respect the system anyway (some Danes are even cheering for Canadians!) I am going to follow that other system and will now support everyone who is or seems German to me.

Somewhere along the lines I've missed this system although I'm not entirely sure how exactly it applies to Americans anyway since we're a mix of many nationalities. My mom did one of those DNA tests to find out for sure what we have on her side. My dad's side is easy (that's just English and Welsh). Mom's side is much more complicated and includes 8 different nationalities, none of which are Spanish and my favorite cyclist is a Spaniard. So with my heritage being: English, Welsh, Scottish, German, French, Swiss, Iroquois, Danish and Norwegian, it really doesn't make much difference who I cheer for.
 
Somewhere along the lines I've missed this system although I'm not entirely sure how exactly it applies to Americans anyway since we're a mix of many nationalities. My mom did one of those DNA tests to find out for sure what we have on her side. My dad's side is easy (that's just English and Welsh). Mom's side is much more complicated and includes 8 different nationalities, none of which are Spanish and my favorite cyclist is a Spaniard. So with my heritage being: English, Welsh, Scottish, German, French, Swiss, Iroquois, Danish and Norwegian, it really doesn't make much difference who I cheer for.
Your favourite rider is a Spaniard? I hadn't picked up on that.
 
Somewhere along the lines I've missed this system although I'm not entirely sure how exactly it applies to Americans anyway since we're a mix of many nationalities. My mom did one of those DNA tests to find out for sure what we have on her side. My dad's side is easy (that's just English and Welsh). Mom's side is much more complicated and includes 8 different nationalities, none of which are Spanish and my favorite cyclist is a Spaniard. So with my heritage being: English, Welsh, Scottish, German, French, Swiss, Iroquois, Danish and Norwegian, it really doesn't make much difference who I cheer for.
Obviously your Danish left pinkie-toe has to cheer for the Slovenians. Such are the rules.
 
No. Does the validity of any of my points depend on that? No.

Now, what is your specific critique, and where was the specific moment when Pogačar waited for McNulty that costed him the race?
Thanks, it helps how I answer.

So it starts with the prerace strategy on the day of, and unfolds from there. The team could have primarily been looking out for McNulty, but TP could have been instructed to have one role, sit on PR ... In other words, a classic two-pronged approach. Had that occurred, I am doubtful he would have been gapped. Then, TP would have one more role, put in a full nuclear attack on the last climb if possible. So think of it this way, it was all the little decisions up until TP and McNulty were gapped. Not sure why they sent MH up the road either, as that appears to have been the wrong strategy given where they were.

Does that make more sense?
 
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I was reading the discussion up to this point and I have to say I don't fully agree with you. While you certainly making a great points with bringing Formigal and 2010 giro, you are missing the fact that Quintana in 2016 was also required to gain time on Froome. Had he not, maaybe he wouldn't be that awared of other teams tactics and shenanigans. Same with Roglic and Jumbo yesterday. Had he been in the lead without the need f gaining time on UAE, he wouldn't react that quickly on that Astana attack and Jv would've end up in the UAE position, having Oomen, Vingegaard and Tolhoek against Astana, BV and Movistar drilling the flat. Would they be strong enough ? Honestly, I doubt.
So what you're trying to imply as a main point that it was race between slovenians is not true. You have/had more teams and riders actively willing to attack at it's seen in the hindsight.
I mean, plenty of races have been lost by being in prime posiition before the hardest stages if your team hasn't been strong enough. Imagine a (totally possible) scenario when Roglic with Pog on his wheel is isolated on Krabelin, being in yellow, while Valverde and co are a minute ahead?
Now, I was thinking and even shared my opinion that they should've give Mcnulty less time, but had he been at 10 or less seconds, even UAE would've know that Roglic is the effective leader and simply pass the responsibility on Jumbo to answer all attacks.
Now again, do you think Jumbo were strong enough to control everything?
The point I was responding to by that time was reducing the entire matter down to the two Slovenes, however, which is why I dealt exclusively with them in the post involved.

And it doesn't really matter if Jumbo were or weren't strong enough to respond because Roglič in and of himself proved strong enough as we saw. As it was, claiming stage 4 was an act of tactical brilliance because a whole set of converging factors that stage 4 had no bearing on put them into a position where Roglič could win the race (but had to put a lot more effort into than had he been leading the race, and even if his entire team disintegrated around him then at least no less effort, but with far less risk (plus of course he had Vingegaard with him in that move) especially bearing in mind all of this talk has relied solely on the situation on the road and taken out the element of chance in the form of crashes and mechanicals)) and we should all bow down to their brilliance, to me is absurd, because they did a great job manoeuvring themselves (with the help of Astana, but Roglič nevertheless needed to take the bull by the horns and react to the situation developing, which he did, and committed 100% and went out and won the race, for which he deserves - and I give - full credit) out of a situation of their own making, and which was more disadvantageous than had they not let the break gain so much time on stage 4, for the reason illustrated in my example above.

You can argue that if others like Bilbao or Valverde attack, in situation 2 they're McNulty's problem not Roglič's, but at such point as McNulty is dropped, Roglič becomes the leader on the road anyway and we just default back to situation 1. Situation 1 is the net result of the best case scenario playing out after the race develops if you have situation 2 as your starting point, and that's why I can't agree with the idea that wilfully sacrificing situation 1 for situation 2 was a genius move and a moment of great tactical brilliance. Plus of course, if they don't let that group up the road in stage 4, then people like Buchmann, Izagirre and Bilbao are not factors and they have fewer people to think about monitoring too. As it was, they just got the right storm of factors plus had sufficient rider strength, commitment and nous to overcome any tactical handicaps, real or perceived, they gave themselves by their actions earlier in the race, and lauding the victory as being the product of tactical brilliance throughout as though it's impossible to win races while simultaneously making mistakes along the way, I can't get behind at all. Reductio ad absurdum would then suggest that Floyd Landis having a pajará on La Toussuire and losing 10 minutes was a stroke of genius, because without that nobody lets him up the road to win that time back the next day, because hey, whatever happened later, he was the guy that stood in yellow in Paris (I'm not one of those people who pretend he is still the winner, by the way) so the masterplan worked.
 
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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.
Bridged implies a gap to bridge over. This is what I replied to, there never was any chance for Pogi to bridge nor had it anything to do with communication nor honesty.

»Bridged« is not everything leading up to the gap, it’s a specific moment you highlight after the gap is there where it would be possible for Pogi to get across. Where was that moment? How many km to go?
 
The point I was responding to by that time was reducing the entire matter down to the two Slovenes, however, which is why I dealt exclusively with them in the post involved.

And it doesn't really matter if Jumbo were or weren't strong enough to respond because Roglič in and of himself proved strong enough as we saw. As it was, claiming stage 4 was an act of tactical brilliance because a whole set of converging factors that stage 4 had no bearing on put them into a position where Roglič could win the race (but had to put a lot more effort into than had he been leading the race, and even if his entire team disintegrated around him then at least no less effort, but with far less risk (plus of course he had Vingegaard with him in that move) especially bearing in mind all of this talk has relied solely on the situation on the road and taken out the element of chance in the form of crashes and mechanicals)) and we should all bow down to their brilliance, to me is absurd, because they did a great job manoeuvring themselves (with the help of Astana, but Roglič nevertheless needed to take the bull by the horns and react to the situation developing, which he did, and committed 100% and went out and won the race, for which he deserves - and I give - full credit) out of a situation of their own making, and which was more disadvantageous than had they not let the break gain so much time on stage 4, for the reason illustrated in my example above.

You can argue that if others like Bilbao or Valverde attack, in situation 2 they're McNulty's problem not Roglič's, but at such point as McNulty is dropped, Roglič becomes the leader on the road anyway and we just default back to situation 1. Situation 1 is the net result of the best case scenario playing out after the race develops if you have situation 2 as your starting point, and that's why I can't agree with the idea that wilfully sacrificing situation 1 for situation 2 was a genius move and a moment of great tactical brilliance. Plus of course, if they don't let that group up the road in stage 4, then people like Buchmann, Izagirre and Bilbao are not factors and they have fewer people to think about monitoring too. As it was, they just got the right storm of factors plus had sufficient rider strength, commitment and nous to overcome any tactical handicaps, real or perceived, they gave themselves by their actions earlier in the race, and lauding the victory as being the product of tactical brilliance throughout as though it's impossible to win races while simultaneously making mistakes along the way, I can't get behind at all. Reductio ad absurdum would then suggest that Floyd Landis having a pajará on La Toussuire and losing 10 minutes was a stroke of genius, because without that nobody lets him up the road to win that time back the next day, because hey, whatever happened later, he was the guy that stood in yellow in Paris (I'm not one of those people who pretend he is still the winner, by the way) so the masterplan worked.
You just got it! Frigging Pereiro is the reincarnation of Rommel for losing 30 minutes in that pyrennes stage back in 2006.

Contador lost 3 minutes purposedly in TdF 2014 in that cobbled stage because he was a master tactician as well.

Remember schleck in Port des Bales and the chaingate? That was a great display of tactics. He even faked being upset about that but we just learned it was a fine act beacuse hey! He ended up winning TdF and AC even gifted him a stage win in Tourmalet!
 
Bridged implies a gap to bridge over. This is what I replied to, there never was any chance for Pogi to bridge nor had it anything to do with communication nor honesty.

»Bridged« is not everything leading up to the gap, it’s a specific moment you highlight after the gap is there where it would be possible for Pogi to get across. Where was that moment? How many km to go?
Oh for goodness sake, we are getting stuck on the semantics of how I said something shortly after I woke up. I meant never let a sizeable gap happen. But I am really talking about up to the point the gap got sizeable. Once it was bigger, it was really mostly game over, unless teams raced differently (which they didn't). So the second occasion, when TP is checking his radio and finally leaving McNulty, I don't think that was a great gap to simply bridge at that point; if anything, that was just more evidence that their strategy for McNulty was 'all in', which is a strategic mistake if they want to win the race.
 

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