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Juan Ayuso discussion thread

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I've been disappointed with his Vuelta. In fairness, he had a terrible (pre-)season riddled with injury, and I want to see where he stands next year after a full winter, but I had expected to see more flashes of greatness. He's young, performances can go up and down, but there was never this aura of holy smokes, he's arrived. He's been living like a pro for so long now, I'm questioning how much more progression he can make. Next year certainly won't be do or die by any means, but it's time for that big breakthrough to superstardom.

This could very well be the other side of the medal of junior professionalism.
 
Really not sure that UAE are the best at developing young talents. To my recollection, Ayuso is signed through 2028 and like Almeida, with the stipulation that he doesn't need to ride with/for Pogačar (which I suppose made sense to someone at the time), so we'll see which way the cookie crumbles.

Of course, with the injury curtailing his season, a GC 4th place in a GT at 21 years of age is not to sneeze at.
 
I've been disappointed with his Vuelta. In fairness, he had a terrible (pre-)season riddled with injury, and I want to see where he stands next year after a full winter, but I had expected to see more flashes of greatness. He's young, performances can go up and down, but there was never this aura of holy smokes, he's arrived. He's been living like a pro for so long now, I'm questioning how much more progression he can make. Next year certainly won't be do or die by any means, but it's time for that big breakthrough to superstardom.

This could very well be the other side of the medal of junior professionalism.
Or that his progress will be more in line with what we're used to. It's not as if he took a step back, in the sense that this Vuelta had a stronger field and harder parcours than 2022. He may never have a breakout moment but being a consistent podium contender would put him on line to win a GT if conditions come together. He has all the tools already.

I was very concerned about the tendonitis earlier in the year. It's almost always a sign of over training or mistraining.
 
Really not sure that UAE are the best at developing young talents. To my recollection, Ayuso is signed through 2028 and like Almeida, with the stipulation that he doesn't need to ride with/for Pogačar (which I suppose made sense to someone at the time), so we'll see which way the cookie crumbles.

Of course, with the injury curtailing his season, a GC 4th place in a GT at 21 years of age is not to sneeze at.
Almeida is listed as signed through 2026 on PCS. Pog 2027 and Ayuso 2028. The "no work for Pogacar" stipulation I've only recently read about in their contracts blow my mind to be honest. But then again that probably explains why the signed Adam Yates on presumably big money considering they weren't lacking for leaders at all. It also makes me doubt the thoughts I had that Yates would surely target the Giro next year while Almeida would likely finally do the Tour.

Also, I wonder if Pogacar doesn't do the Vuelta not because he doesn't want to or because he's too tired, but because UAE has to let Ayuso and Almeida lead those races as per their contract.
 
Almeida is listed as signed through 2026 on PCS. Pog 2027 and Ayuso 2028. The "no work for Pogacar" stipulation I've only recently read about in their contracts blow my mind to be honest. But then again that probably explains why the signed Adam Yates on presumably big money considering they weren't lacking for leaders at all. It also makes me doubt the thoughts I had that Yates would surely target the Giro next year while Almeida would likely finally do the Tour.

Also, I wonder if Pogacar doesn't do the Vuelta not because he doesn't want to or because he's too tired, but because UAE has to let Ayuso and Almeida lead those races as per their contract.
Interesting possibility. If true I question the wisdom of guaranteeing a 20 year old that kind of protected status. He could learn a lot by Pogacar's side in the Tour.
 
Compared to last year's Vuelta winner, Ayuso did significantly better. The level was probably just a bit higher this year. Makes sense, with Roglic who was properly prepared, and the reigning Tour champion both at the start.

I don't think Ayuso had optimal preparation, but he did manage to keep a decent to good level for three weeks, and that's a good sign for the future.
 
Almeida is listed as signed through 2026 on PCS. Pog 2027 and Ayuso 2028. The "no work for Pogacar" stipulation I've only recently read about in their contracts blow my mind to be honest. But then again that probably explains why the signed Adam Yates on presumably big money considering they weren't lacking for leaders at all. It also makes me doubt the thoughts I had that Yates would surely target the Giro next year while Almeida would likely finally do the Tour.

Also, I wonder if Pogacar doesn't do the Vuelta not because he doesn't want to or because he's too tired, but because UAE has to let Ayuso and Almeida lead those races as per their contract.
That's what Thijs Zonneveld said. Haven't read it anywhere else though. But he's not someone who would just make that up... not a Jerome Pineau, so to speak.
 
Compared to last year's Vuelta winner, Ayuso did significantly better. The level was probably just a bit higher this year. Makes sense, with Roglic who was properly prepared, and the reigning Tour champion both at the start.

I don't think Ayuso had optimal preparation, but he did manage to keep a decent to good level for three weeks, and that's a good sign for the future.
I think Mas was better last year than this time around, but is otherwise the best comparison. In 2022, Ayuso lost 2'22" in the mountains to Mas, I think. This time around the only real difference between them was when Mas went over his limit on Javalambre and dropped from Rogla and Vingegaard in the last km.
 
Interesting possibility. If true I question the wisdom of guaranteeing a 20 year old that kind of protected status. He could learn a lot by Pogacar's side in the Tour.

This.

Also, since UAE sponsors are keen on the Tour, it makes no sense to not maximize their possibility of success and send the best team - to support their captain and in case their captain crashes or gets sick.

2023 TdF should have squashed any bizarre UAE assumption of Pogačar winning regardless of what support he has, what the tactics are, or what his form is.
 
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Ayuso had clearly a suboptimal preparation for this Vuelta. Not only he had tendonitis in the early season but also crash twice in the leadup to the Vuelta, first in the Ordizia Klasika and then in Circuito de Getxo.

He still managed to be the best of the non-Jumbo which unfortunately for him meant one place lower than last year and the fact that he didn't win any stage will leave a bitter taste in his mouth as it was a goal for him.

I would like to see him ride either the Giro or the Tour next year, I think that with a better preparation he could challenge for the overall win at the Giro or a podium at the Tour while being used to put more pressure on Jumbo.
 
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I've been disappointed with his Vuelta. In fairness, he had a terrible (pre-)season riddled with injury, and I want to see where he stands next year after a full winter, but I had expected to see more flashes of greatness. He's young, performances can go up and down, but there was never this aura of holy smokes, he's arrived. He's been living like a pro for so long now, I'm questioning how much more progression he can make. Next year certainly won't be do or die by any means, but it's time for that big breakthrough to superstardom.

This could very well be the other side of the medal of junior professionalism.
Yeah, could be.

C-Rod is probably the best Spanish GT specialist right now. He would have likely finished 4th at the Tour without that nasty crash.

I think most of us just assumed that Ayuso was more talented than him. I'm still leaning towards that, but barely.
 
Said yesterday that he's obviously disappointed with the result, but he's done a step forward this year. Just that the rivals this time were stronger than last year.

Had a cold on the 3rd week and a crash 2 days before Angliru so that didn't help either. Not a bad Vuelta, but not a good one either. Team's decision now for him to go to the Tour (if Vuelta went well) or Giro (if he wasn't good enough in Vuelta) will be interesting for next year.


Will be interesting to see if he races more or if he just shuts down this bad season, and just start with a fresh mind next year after all the mishaps this year.
 
I think Mas was better last year than this time around, but is otherwise the best comparison. In 2022, Ayuso lost 2'22" in the mountains to Mas, I think. This time around the only real difference between them was when Mas went over his limit on Javalambre and dropped from Rogla and Vingegaard in the last km.

Disregarding Jumbo for a moment, IMO Ayuso being roughly the same level as Mas in the mountains is not a good sign considering that Mas crashed in the Tour and could not train on the road for 3 weeks after and then crashed again once he got back to training.

Certainly pre-season and early season were not good for Ayuso, but being able to win stages and podium the TdS was indicative that he was over his health problems.

But maybe his crashes pre-Vuelta and during the Vuelta had a bigger effect
 
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Yeah, could be.

C-Rod is probably the best Spanish GT specialist right now. He would have likely finished 4th at the Tour without that nasty crash.

I think most of us just assumed that Ayuso was more talented than him. I'm still leaning towards that, but barely.
I don't think Rodriguez would have done much better than Ayuso in this Vuelta. Yes, he could have been 4th in the Tour, but he only featured when Pogi and Vingo were doing track stands on a climb.
 
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Disregarding Jumbo for a moment, IMO Ayuso being roughly the same level as Mas in the mountains is not a good sign considering that Mas crashed in the Tour and could not train on the road for 3 weeks after and then crashed again once he got back to training.

Certainly pre-season and early season were not good for Ayuso, but being able to win stages and podium the TdS was indicative that he was over his health problems.

But maybe his crashes pre-Vuelta and during the Vuelta had a bigger effect
Agreed, but it's still a step up from last year. It's also the reason why I have Mas higher than Ayuso in the GC power ranking.
 
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My view is mainly that many overreacted to his stage wins in particularly Tour de Suisse while kinda ignoring the times he got dropped there and then extrapolated from there. I don't remember when but at some point before the Vuelta he said he wanted to be ready to win the Tour de France next year. I wonder if he didn't just look only at himself improving and kinda ignored the general quality of the field improving. He basically hadn't raced riders of Roglic and Vingegaard quality ever before.
 
Given the circumstances it's been a decent 2023 Vuelta a Espana for Ayuso. His delayed season start meant that he was fresher than other favorites, but certainly missed some improvement that was anticipated given his talent & age.

Without the breakaway towards Javalambre he might end up 3rd @ the 2023 Vuelta a Espana, given GC Kuss never fully materializes. That's okay. He's still 4th now. But had a cough up towards Angliru. In the worst possible moment. Still hang onto that best of the rest placement, despite strong challenge from Landa & Bahrain.

It's not as if last year was completely free of mishap (Covid-19, crash) and luck (Roglic out) either. This time around the pendulum deflected the other way around. Mas was ill after last year's Tour de France as well. So it's not fair to say he only was significantly weaker for Ayuso to beat him.

Depending on the routes I would send him to the 2024 Giro d'Italia. Unless the 2024 Vuelta a Espana comes up with a parcours that screams his name. But a typical Giro d'Italia route with long cols for a diesel motor and a hilly TT should favor Ayuso. Especially if he fully focuses on the corsa Rosa from this fall on and really reaches peak level in Italy.

At the Vuelta a Espana eventually you never know who comes in which shape from the Tour de France. So it's a bit of a risky gamble to have a shy season start and slowly build up towards the Vuelta a Espana. Although it absolutely can work out in contrary to this year.


UAE desperately needs to win a Grand Tour in case Teddy Pogacar can't beat Vingegaard even with ideal preparation. Of course it's a much more closer battle if Teddy is fully prepared. But they should send Almeida in company. Who can help a bit, but still ride for a Top 5 spot like Azevedo used to do for Lance Armstrong. Then, with Ayuso, they can focus on the Giro d'Italia and secure a successful season even if Vingegaard is a nut that can't be cracked.

3 years without a Grand Tour win is unacceptable for a big budget team like UAE!

Frankly that's the benefit of having a super talent like Ayuso on your team. You can send him to the Giro d'Italia and have Grand Tour success independent from the Tour de France outcome.
 

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