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Kasia Niewiadoma: The People's Champion

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She didn't have a thread yet. A mistake that has now been corrected,

Another stellar performance from her. It's quite difficult to beat the Beneluxian overlords, but you definitely can't claim she doesn't try.
I don't think she will be too bummed out over losing second place (if only Moolman-Pasio had spend less time plugging Rocacorba Cycling and more time on TT training ;) ), and neither should she. She and the team can be very proud of how they raced.
 
Kasia is almost the perfect underdog. She's strong enough to be a legitimate threat and she's won enough in the past and got enough good placements that she's always believable, and she's always willing to ride aggressive. The amount of running gags about her propensity for attacking cycling and her need to take the reins whenever the road goes uphill happen for a reason. But, she's just lacking that weapon that can give her options to win outside of outright aggression, so she continues to show - and will continue to show - faith in consistent aggression. I'm also really pleased to see her show like this on climbs of this size because a stumbling block for her in the past has been that 7-8k or so of climbing has proven her threshold, so she has consistently been excellent in races like Emakumeen Bira, in the Ardennes, the Italian one-dayers, Ardêche and so on, but not been able to step forward to GC podiums in races like the Giro despite that being where she first made a name for herself.

Well, to those 'in the know' anyway. She's had about a dozen 'coming of age' performances to the pundits, whether that be the 2017 Tour of Britain or even as ridiculous as last year when we were being asked to swallow finishing 3rd in the Tour de France Femmes as a 'coming of age' when she'd literally been in the top 10 of the Giro every year from 2015 until 2021 (and then that was only as she didn't ride it) and podiumed in 2020. And hell, her 2014 performances as a teenage neo-pro being the last to be dropped by Emma Pooley on La Crosetta and being on the attack on the last lap in the Ponferrada Worlds with no teammates left already had people raving about her prospects. I know, I was one of them.

I know, it's hardly the most earth-shattering thing on the forum to see me praise Katie Unknown and declare my support, bearing in mind she's appeared next to literally every post I've made for the last eight years. But we need some people who can take it to the unstoppable SD Worx train and keep some variety in the sport... and even if she may not outperform the likes of Demi Vollering, Kasia is somebody who at least we can trust will never die wondering, and we're all the better for that.
 
I know, it's hardly the most earth-shattering thing on the forum to see me praise Katie Unknown and declare my support, bearing in mind she's appeared next to literally every post I've made for the last eight years. But we need some people who can take it to the unstoppable SD Worx train and keep some variety in the sport... and even if she may not outperform the likes of Demi Vollering, Kasia is somebody who at least we can trust will never die wondering, and we're all the better for that.

although previously SD Worx have said they dont consider her a threat,albeit another one of Dannys off script comments to the media, do you think if she were to ride for them, she'd be in a better position to take the wins we know she is capable of ? is it Canyon Sram who are holding her back in effect ?

as shes been at Canyon Sram for a while, they dont feel like a team thats built around her or capable of supporting her if she were in a winning position, wheres their Marlen Reusser or Christine Marjerus they can just bring to the front of a group and drill a pace that causes splits and launches

they kind of seem to be one of those do the best result kind of teams, but not a this is the target kind of team, plus they now have two quick younger riders who are clearly capable of stage winning themselves, so where does that leave Kasia ?
 
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although previously SD Worx have said they dont consider her a threat,albeit another one of Dannys off script comments to the media, do you think if she were to ride for them, she'd be in a better position to take the wins we know she is capable of ? is it Canyon Sram who are holding her back in effect ?

as shes been at Canyon Sram for a while, they dont feel like a team thats built around her or capable of supporting her if she were in a winning position, wheres their Marlen Reusser or Christine Marjerus they can just bring to the front of a group and drill a pace that causes splits and launches

they kind of seem to be one of those do the best result kind of teams, but not a this is the target kind of team, plus they now have two quick younger riders who are clearly capable of stage winning themselves, so where does that leave Kasia ?
Definitely anybody who doesn't ride for SD Worx who is of sufficient standing would have better chances of winning races if they were at SD Worx, but that's just because they're so dominant. I don't think Canyon-SRAM are necessarily holding her back, more that they have had a bit of trouble with bad luck and injuries when they've made big money signings. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot came over but hardly raced for the team, and of course the big signing of Chloe Dygert a couple of years ago has only been able to bear any fruit this season due to her terrible knee injury at Imola keeping her down for a while, and similarly Mikayla Harvey was not able in her couple of seasons there to replicate her 2020 showings which were high quality and made her look like a future GC podium rider but perhaps with the benefit of hindsight may have been artificially inflated by the way New Zealand was less impacted by the pandemic than others - she is still a rider who has that potential, it's just seeming harder to believe she will succeed in achieving up to that potential after a couple of lean seasons.

They do have a very solid squad of young riders to cover most areas, climbing in particular they have a very strong selection for the future - Neve Bradbury, Ricarda Bauernfeind, Antonia Niedermaier, Shari Bossuyt... it's a very good selection for the future; OK, they're missing out on some of the bonanza potential riders who SD Worx already have their hands on like Niamh Fisher-Black or Blanka Vas, but you can't often compete on a level playing field budget-wise with them, so c'est la vie. Elise Chabbey and Pauliena Rooijakkers give them some strong experienced riders for the mountains as well, so if they can use their weaponry effectively in the climbing races, they will either pick up a lot of escape wins through these secondary riders especially if they are underestimated, or they will provide some useful lieutenants for Kasia to continue her current style hopefully with a bit more success in future.

Rouleuses is the area that the team is lacking slightly in comparison; Szkalniak-Sójka is a strong rouleuse but not at the level of a Reusser type of course, while Paladin and Chabbey are sufficiently all-round. The big wildcard is Dygert and how they choose to deploy her, because she could play that role, or even the role that Kopecky is currently doing for SD Worx (in terms of as a threat and a card to play, not to say that she will chase down her own teammates in the same way). Van Agt will handle sprints but could she be deployed as a rouleuse? Bossuyt definitely can. It's not a weak team by any stretch of the imagination, it's at least as strong as what Movistar can offer for Lippert going forward with Annemiek retiring, stronger than what DSM can offer for Labous, and while Jumbo's rouleuse corps may be stronger, they lack compared to Canyon in the mountains. The only problem is simply that SD Worx are just that strong and that deep... and other teams need to start calling SD Worx' bluff and make them actually expend those domestiques rather than playing directly into their hands all too often. The number of breakaway wins in this Tour and Kopecky's angry banging on the handlebars at the failure of the chase shows that SD Worx have kind of been happy to rely on other teams carrying them along most of the way for a while, and have grown accustomed to it; they have so many chiefs that the few Indians they have left need to be challenged so that the team have to make decisions around the chiefs. We've seen many a time that the team is actually tactically pretty all over the place, they've just been able to get away with those weaknesses because the team is so strong they can just bludgeon their way to the win with the strength of individual riders. Other teams need to put pressure on the decision makers at SD Worx more and make them decide between their riders, make them commit riders that they don't want to commit to a chase to a chase, make them narrow their options down... maybe even go so far as to make them ask Lotte Kopecky to expend some energy on behalf of somebody else.
 
Van Agt will handle sprints but could she be deployed as a rouleuse?

I assume you meant to write Van der Duin ;)
Regarding Bossuyt, we'll have to wait and see if she'll be part of the team going forward.

After the success with Bauernfeind and Niedermaier, it's also going to be interesting whether or not they can continue to get results through the Generation team. Justyna Czapla has had some encouraging results in her first elite season, while Daniela Schmidsberger has had a harder time. So far they don't seem to have found that non-European diamond in the rough, but we also know they've had a hard time actually getting those riders to Europe in the first place.
 

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