Ronde van Vlaanderen: October 18th, 2020

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Lampaert closed a gap to the favorites, solo, after the last climb. He might not be as good as Bettiol, or Pedersen or van der Poel... which is why he gets less stars. And he's much faster than you think. He could possibly beat Bettiol, Küng, Benoot, Van Marcke, Teuns, Andersen in a sprint, maybe even Sénéchal depending on the race. Basically any rider who never won a bunch sprint.
He closed the gap solo because he didn't have the power to follow in the Kemmelberg. Which shows that he is not in top shape. Even Asgreen rode faster than him there and he also seemed a bit gassed.

I don't think he is faster than I think. Apart from that being quite an axiomatic statement, I really don't see why Vanmarcke shouldn't also be able to beat anyone of those you mention. Apart from Kragh and certainly Sénéchal (are you kidding me there?).
 
He closed the gap solo because he didn't have the power to follow in the Kemmelberg. Which shows that he is not in top shape. Even Asgreen rode faster than him there and he also seemed a bit gassed.

I don't think he is faster than I think. Apart from that being quite an axiomatic statement, I really don't see why Vanmarcke shouldn't also be able to beat anyone of those you mention. Apart from Kragh and certainly Sénéchal (are you kidding me there?).
Not kidding, no.
I don't see why you are getting so upset that i gave Lampaert more stars than Van Marcke, but ok. I also gave Asgreen the same amount, btw.

In this case that would mean Van Aert and VdP get their *** together and work together before going at each other late in the race.
What exactly did van Aert do wrong then?
 
Not kidding, no.
I don't see why you are getting so upset that i gave Lampaert more stars than Van Marcke, but ok. I also gave Asgreen the same amount, btw.


What exactly did van Aert do wrong then?
It just seemed a bit weird given that Vanmarcke has a better chance to win than Lampaert. Based on form and history.

So I just thought this was some typical Belgian thinking that "Vanmarcke can never get it right so he can't have more than one star even if he is a good enough rider to get more."
 
Surely that's not a reason to give him more stars, or we could start handing out stars to domestiques of top riders every race. Then all Quick-Step riders should get more stars as well, or Stuyven, even Teunissen could then get a star.
You know this is not how it works. First a rider must be good enough to be in the final selection so someone who is just a domestique doesn't count. Vanmarcke will most likely have a free role unless circumstances force him to work for Bettiol.

And yes, I've given more stars to Deceuninck riders in the classics in the past for this reason. It makes them more likely to win, after all.

And as I said, I wouldn't give Vanmarcke many stars anyway so don't argue too hard with me on that. :p
 
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Also really curious what Alaphilippe can do. If he starts performing on cobbles he could be another case who might start dreaming of the monument slam.
You think some forum members could start dreaming about that, it's a common thing around here. I doubt rider that won only one Monument would start dreaming of winning five different ones.
 
It just seemed a bit weird given that Vanmarcke has a better chance to win than Lampaert. Based on form and history.

So I just thought this was some typical Belgian thinking that "Vanmarcke can never get it right so he can't have more than one star even if he is a good enough rider to get more."
Better chance according to whom? Like i said, Vanmarcke has to finish solo or with Benoot in order to win. And i find that much less likely than i see Lampaert finish together with some of the guys he can beat. One of your arguments is that Lampaert couldn't follow on the last climb... but Vanmarcke was riding in the first group. You assume he would have been able to follow the pace in the 2nd group? I highly doubt that, in fact i wouldn't be so sure he would have been climbing faster than Lampaert either. Also Lampaert is coming back from an injury still, so he's going to get better every race.

Not sure if it's a Belgian thing, but Vanmarcke has indeed a tendency to fumble.

How's Kragh after his fall last weekend?

By the way: Vanmarcke once outsprinted Boonen and very nearly Cancellara. The problem with him is mainly that he constantly seems to make the wrong tactical choices.
When he was 22 he beat Boonen, once. Which sprints has he won the past 10 years since then?
 
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Better chance according to whom? Like i said, Vanmarcke has to finish solo or with Benoot in order to win. And i find that much less likely than i see Lampaert finish together with some of the guys he can beat. One of your arguments is that Lampaert couldn't follow on the last climb... but Vanmarcke was riding in the first group. You assume he would have been able to follow the pace in the 2nd group? I highly doubt that, in fact i wouldn't be so sure he would have been climbing faster than Lampaert either. Also Lampaert is coming back from an injury still, so he's going to get better every race.

Not sure if it's a Belgian thing, but Vanmarcke has indeed a tendency to fumble.


When he was 22 he beat Boonen, once. Which sprints has he won the past 10 years since then?
I just think Vanmarcke is faster than Lampaert and you disagree with that. If, for example, Vanmarcke goes to the finish with Küng, no way he loses that.
 
Well for example, he started closing the gap to Bettiol, Trentin and Senechal and then he stopped. He lost the race there...
He stopped because they were again hanging in his wheel without helping and he would just have bridged to see others profit (MvdP, MP...) from it. He did the right thing because he had been the one that countered most attacks (regardless who they were from).

The only mistake van Aert made was that he shouldn't have done so much work in the chasing group, with Teunissen up the road. had he done less work in the chase, the gap with the front group might have been bigger, and he might have been able to bridge right after the last climb, instead of on the climb itself. So he could have used Teunissen to distance Pedersen, Lampaert etc. But this is a completely different issue, as the question was what he did wrong in relation to van der Poel.
 
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I just think Vanmarcke is faster than Lampaert and you disagree with that. If, for example, Vanmarcke goes to the finish with Küng, no way he loses that.
Is he faster after +240km of hard racing though? Something that is unknown, since each race could have a different outcome. Depending on the race and the form of the riders, that day.

It is always a question of much you have left in the legs in these races. Not just going by someones sprinting ability. Your ability at the end of a hard race is different. You can be beaten by almost anyone, if you simply dont have more to give than the other.
 
The Danes:

This race is the stated season goal for Soeren Kragh, the route is pretty much tailormade for him, and we all saw his form in the Tour and Binckbank, my money is on him.

Mads Pedersen will find the climbs a little too hard with the favorites, and will not be given leeway to get away early, like when he was a nobody (those days are over :p), but then having been primed for Roubaix, his dream race, and seeing it get cancelled, I would not put it past him to do the impossible again (again, again), by sheer power of determination.

Casper Pedersen is a normally too heavy for the Flanders hills, but he climbed excellently at the Tour, and won when Kragh crashed out of contention at Paris-Tours, so he is a dark hose. - Unfortunately he crashed out of Scheldeprijs today, condition unknown. (UPDATE: Casper Pedersen was in a full speed crash and landed hard on his head, so is probably out of the Sunweb squad).

Asgreen is an unknown quantity, the race should suit him very well indeed, but he has not looked great after the Tour, he has seemed fatigued. If he is on one of his best days, he can take it from a long range attack, but it is much more probable he will work for Alaphilippe.

Valgren is another totally unknown quantity. He rode a terrible Tour, but has actually looked good since, albeit having missed the crucial moves at every race. The Ronde is a race that should suit him, when he is at his best, and there is an added motivation of riding for a new contract, in a shrinking World Tour, but the probable outcome is another disappointment.

Chris Juul is in an interesting situation. Under normal circumstances, he would be pegged for working as a dom all day. But on a Mitchelton squad completely devoid of classics results, it may be a wolfpack kind of scenario, and he does thrive in long, hard races. Likely he is a dom though.

Norsgaard is a neo-pro, coming back from a broken leg, but one Movistar has pegged as a future profile in their classics squad, because of his big engine, He will be there to learn, quite possibly in the early break.
 
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Pretty likely. Which can either end up in a somehow miraclous mega impressive victory. (AGR, BB Tour) or him looking like a complete idiot (BR Pijl, Gent Wevelgem)
Don't think Van der Poel or Van Aert have the strongest teams, so I think the race will be super open and aggro as everyone and their mother will want to be gone before they hit the final Kwaremont/Pater combo
 
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The two top favourites are obvious, but if they mark each other too much there will be smart riders who profit. QuickStep doesn't have a clear leader, but they might have the tactical advantage of the numbers in the final, and attack in turns on the flat sections.

****Van Aert, Van der Poel
***M. Pedersen, Bettiol
**Asgreen, Vanmarcke, Küng
*Alaphilippe, Lampaert, Kwiatkowski, Kragh Andersen, Trentin

Women:
****Van der Breggen
***Bastianelli, Van Vleuten, Uttrup
**Kopecky, D'hoore, Deignan
*Vos, Pieters, Niewadoma, Brown
 
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Don't think Van der Poel or Van Aert have the strongest teams, so I think the race will be super open and aggro as everyone and their mother will want to be gone before they hit the final Kwaremont/Pater combo
Jumbo has a weak classics team. I honestly think even Alpecin Fenix has a better squad, or at least on par.
Trek, Sunweb, DQT, Lotto, EF... all have a considerably stronger line up.

Pretty likely. Which can either end up in a somehow miraclous mega impressive victory. (AGR, BB Tour) or him looking like a complete idiot (BR Pijl, Gent Wevelgem)
What did he do wrong in BB Tour? Honestly can't remember him screwing something up. Or you mean the attack itself (too optimistic)?
 

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