Tadej Pogačar discussion thread

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Most of the stages with where boni's matter the most are before where Ineos likely takes yellow anyway. Sure Jumbo might try to do the same, but if they bet on Roglic they might as well go for the punchy stages too.
Traditionally Ineos target the first mountain stage to put the hammer down to make time and possibly grab the yellow jersey - And if there is an early ITT this even strengthens their position - It's a simple equation - You are a team that wants bonus seconds, then you ride hard to ensure the breakaway doesn't take the bonus seconds, and that means you don't allow Ineos ' To Play the Piano' for most of the stage before you get to the final.
 
You are completely correct that, like in this case, one can not help it when another is simply too dense to understand the premise. On this we can agree. Unfortunately, in this case, i have some bad news for you...

We were discussing Pogacar's kick or punch to win sprints on MTF, not unlike how Valverde or Purito used to do it. In many cases sprint away far enough to take not only the win, a few seconds on rivals in the same group, but also take boni seconds. Everybody who has been following cycling for longer than a week, indeed knows, that in order to take boni seconds, you need to finish (among the) first in that stage. That if a break goes to the finish, that there are no longer boni seconds to receive by the group of favorites. I know, we all know, my 7 year old knows. Thank you for pointing out the obvious. The fact that Ineos doesn't ride when there is a break that is no threat, is completely besides the point and irrelevant. They can all take a piss break of 10 minutes or start playing cards on the side of the road. Like Bonimenier already pointed out 2 days ago and half a page up, Ineos isn't the only team in the peloton, other teams (like UAE) can ride and control the race.

As such, when UAE knows the finish is perfect for Pogacar, and he can take 10 to 20 seconds (time dif + boni) on such a finish on a rider who is either breathing down his neck, or who is within spitting distance in GC, why wouldn't his team control the race and make sure he gets those boni seconds? If there are 2 or 3 such finishes, he could possibly win 30 seconds MORE thanks to bonis.

A GC rider doesn't need boni seconds to make a difference, you say. In theory this is correct. Assuming you are the better climber or ITT'er. But if you are only equal or slightly worse, those boni seconds could very well be the only weapon you have.

Hoping you now understand the premise,
sincerly
Let's put this theory into practice, because it's rarely happened in the Ineos period of domination at the TDF - I have been calling on teams for two or three years to back in their GC leaders by riding select stages hard to win stages and bonuses - I will add to achieve this, you need to select balanced teams which means not having too many climber support riders - Have strong rouleurs along with two top notch climbing domestiques is what you need.
 
Let's put this theory into practice, because it's rarely happened in the Ineos period of domination at the TDF - I have been calling on teams for two or three years to back in their GC leaders by riding select stages hard to win stages and bonuses - I will add to achieve this, you need to select balanced teams which means not having too many climber support riders - Have strong rouleurs along with two top notch climbing domestiques is what you need.
It comes down to fitness. The team can ride hard all day and have Froome (now Bernal) beat their leader on the final climb— was that worth it?
 
Let's put this theory into practice, because it's rarely happened in the Ineos period of domination at the TDF - I have been calling on teams for two or three years to back in their GC leaders by riding select stages hard to win stages and bonuses - I will add to achieve this, you need to select balanced teams which means not having too many climber support riders - Have strong rouleurs along with two top notch climbing domestiques is what you need.
That may be so, but that wasn't the point, and neither is it impossible. There can be a number of reasons why teams of GC riders might not have taken control of the race. Maybe their guy didn't benefit from the stage finish. Maybe he was too far ahead/behind the guy in front or behind him that the 10s didn't make any real difference. Maybe their guy wasn't feeling well and would suffer from the high tempo leading up to the MTF. Maybe their team was indeed too weak and they wouldn't risk burning their matches to win 15 seconds when they might end up losing minutes later on because of it. But again, it doesn't change the fact that they can, it they want and are able to.
 
Traditionally Ineos target the first mountain stage to put the hammer down to make time and possibly grab the yellow jersey - And if there is an early ITT this even strengthens their position - It's a simple equation - You are a team that wants bonus seconds, then you ride hard to ensure the breakaway doesn't take the bonus seconds, and that means you don't allow Ineos ' To Play the Piano' for most of the stage before you get to the final.
Hammer down on first mountain stage is only when they know they're in great form and the stage suits their leaders. Bernal who normally is their best bet isn't all that suited to those punchy finishes. Thomas could be good there, Froome is an unkown to anyone, but Ineos doesn't have the rofldominance anymore to decide a Tour on the first mountain stage.

They could well have the strongest team and rider, but it shouldn't be by such a crazy margin anymore. They can't really expect to win minutes in the ITTs and are even a slight underdog in them vs Roglic and Dumoulin.

I do think they're likely to have the best climber between the 2 teams, and I think Ineos should basically be able to mostly ignore any shenanigans Kruijswijk pulls cause he's never winning while Jumbo would be pretty dumb to let Froome go anywhere. Jumbo could have the problem that Roglic could easily be the best rider in the race in the first 2 weeks before fading in the 3rd, in which case he could be *** in the ITT as well and Dumoulin could easily be 2/3 minutes better than Roglic in the Alps + ITT alone.
 
If there won't be any accidents and things like that i wouldn't count on Roglič fading in the third week. As for Pogačar, he just seems to have a winner mentality and although i feel he is still a bit too young, he likely will go after the win on the Tour.

P.S. Hopefully he will have some team support, doing that.
 
Hammer down on first mountain stage is only when they know they're in great form and the stage suits their leaders. Bernal who normally is their best bet isn't all that suited to those punchy finishes. Thomas could be good there, Froome is an unkown to anyone, but Ineos doesn't have the rofldominance anymore to decide a Tour on the first mountain stage.

They could well have the strongest team and rider, but it shouldn't be by such a crazy margin anymore. They can't really expect to win minutes in the ITTs and are even a slight underdog in them vs Roglic and Dumoulin.

I do think they're likely to have the best climber between the 2 teams, and I think Ineos should basically be able to mostly ignore any shenanigans Kruijswijk pulls cause he's never winning while Jumbo would be pretty dumb to let Froome go anywhere. Jumbo could have the problem that Roglic could easily be the best rider in the race in the first 2 weeks before fading in the 3rd, in which case he could be *** in the ITT as well and Dumoulin could easily be 2/3 minutes better than Roglic in the Alps + ITT alone.
Your analysis is very accurate - Ineos weren't as dominant in 2019 in controlling the peleton which made for a better race - It's undetermined whether this was a one off or part of a shifting in the peleton - Time will tell - But ultimately teams need to back their GC leaders and ride accordingly, instead of being passive followers.
 
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Oct 18, 2012
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According to GCN (sourcing a tweet from Dig Deep Coaching), he rode 422 watts during the 18 & half minute final climb of stage 4 in Valencia resulting in 6.45w/kg.
You can check for yourself on his Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/3083051458/overview, power measured with a Stages device (note for his earlier stage 2 victory it was off for some reason). 423 W for the final climb, which is indeed about 6.45 W/kg for 65.5kg. Not bad, but it is only for a 20ish minute effort after what I assume was a relatively easy, sheltered ride before. And for comparison, both Jack Haig and Moscon were at 6.3 W/kg on that climb (assuming their Wikipedia weights and power meters are correct)...
 
You can check for yourself on his Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/3083051458/overview, power measured with a Stages device (note for his earlier stage 2 victory it was off for some reason). 423 W for the final climb, which is indeed about 6.45 W/kg for 65.5kg. Not bad, but it is only for a 20ish minute effort after what I assume was a relatively easy, sheltered ride before. And for comparison, both Jack Haig and Moscon were at 6.3 W/kg on that climb (assuming their Wikipedia weights and power meters are correct)...
It wasn’t easy beforehand. Check the full stage analysis.
 
Oct 18, 2012
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It wasn’t easy beforehand. Check the full stage analysis.
From what I could gather (cyclingnews stage summary), it looked pretty standard stuff though - break (with GVA etc) up on the road, a few small and medium size climbs, pace picking up leading into the final climb. His average power on the stage minus the final climb was 264W (normalized power would be better to look at but hard to get from Strava for a partial track), so that all sounds pretty 'easy'.
Point is that for an in-form GT podium finisher, 6.5 W/kg isn't all that exceptional or 'incredible' (as per GCN) on a shortish, steep climb. Heck, even Phil Gaimon in retirement does about 7 W/kg for 10-15 minute efforts when fresh... I guess the surprising thing here may be that he is in such good form so early in the season, but the upcoming UAE tour may be the culprit for that...
 
Point is that for an in-form GT podium finisher, 6.5 W/kg isn't all that exceptional or 'incredible' (as per GCN) on a shortish, steep climb. Heck, even Phil Gaimon in retirement does about 7 W/kg for 10-15 minute efforts when fresh... I guess the surprising thing here may be that he is in such good form so early in the season, but the upcoming UAE tour may be the culprit for that...
I'm not really into these things, but in the Evenepoel topic some people were asking for references. So i looked some stuff up and 430 is about what Froome did as AnT in a testlab. That's (as you probably know) over 20 minutes. Froome pushed 6.4w/kg in the 2015 TDF.
Dumoulin pushed 420 watts over 25 minutes in the Vuelta on Ermita de Alba, but he weighed 70kg.

Assuming not every GT contender pushes the same numbers as Froome (or else he wouldn't have won so easily many times), i would say that those numbers are quite extraordinary. It would seem that both Pogacar and Evenepoel are pushing comparable numbers at a young ages as the big GT guys, but both weigh considerably less (Evenepoel even 5kgs less than Pogacar) and not even in peak form.
 
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264 in very uneven doses (normalized well over 300) for four hours isn't easy for a 65kg climber. Sure the big rouleurs would laugh at it, but this is nearly 5w/kg for Pogacar.
The point about Gaimon is true, though the numbers are a bit exaggerated. He would come pretty close to the top GC riders in a one-off MTT. What separates GT contenders from Gaimon is their endurance and ability to repeat 10-30 minute efforts, as is necessary on a 200k mountain stage in a Grand Tour.
6.5 for 20 isn't crazy, but the point is he wasn't fresh, and it's February. If he and his coaches are getting it right, that number should be 6.7 or 6.8 in July.
 
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264 in very uneven doses (normalized well over 300) for four hours isn't easy for a 65kg climber. Sure the big rouleurs would laugh at it, but this is nearly 5w/kg for Pogacar.
The point about Gaimon is true, though the numbers are a bit exaggerated. He would come pretty close to the top GC riders in a one-off MTT. What separates GT contenders from Gaimon is their endurance and ability to repeat 10-30 minute efforts, as is necessary on a 200k mountain stage in a Grand Tour.
6.5 for 20 isn't crazy, but the point is he wasn't fresh, and it's February. If he and his coaches are getting it right, that number should be 6.7 or 6.8 in July.
Gaimon's data would only be exaggerated if he underreported his weight on Strava, or his power meter would be off (I took the number from his KOM effort on Old La Honda road, my local hill) - I don't have any reason to think either of this is the case. And of course I know he was never a GT contender, probably exactly for the reasons you are pointing out. The point here is, this is Valencia, day 4, on a stage that as far as I can tell was uneventful (for Pogacar) up to the final climb. I still argue he must have been pretty fresh before that final climb (unless he or his team did something really wrong), and in that case, the numbers he put down, though impressive, are not extraordinary...
 
You can also take the field for a reference. None of the guys at 6 seconds behind him, less than 1% on a climb like this, have done top 5 in a GT.

Now if I remember correctly, Pog's power output didn't even look all that great when he made his great Vuelta solo, but the thing was he did it when everyone was compeltely dead. That's where you make the big differences.
 
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Oct 18, 2012
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I'm not really into these things, but in the Evenepoel topic some people were asking for references. So i looked some stuff up and 430 is about what Froome did as AeT in a testlab. That's (as you probably know) over 20 minutes. Froome pushed 6.4w/kg in the 2015 TDF.
Dumoulin pushed 420 watts over 25 minutes in the Vuelta on Ermita de Alba, but he weighed 70kg.

Assuming not every GT contender pushes the same numbers as Froome (or else he wouldn't have won so easily many times), i would say that those numbers are quite extraordinary. It would seem that both Pogacar and Evenepoel are pushing comparable numbers at a young ages as the big GT guys, but both weigh considerably less (Evenepoel even 5kgs less than Pogacar) and not even in peak form.
The numbers never mean much without context. I think probably many current pros would beat Froome's 20min wattage/kg in a lab test (assuming 66kg as Froome's weight, 430W amounts to 6.5 W/kg... but then Froome's real weight is as elusive as the recipe for Coca Cola). I think Phil Gaimon would beat Froome in a 20min lab test.

But cranking out 6.4 W/kg after two weeks of hard racing, at the pointy end of a long, hot, tough mountain stage, is something very few can do. Recovery and endurance matter more here than lab performance. What is extraordinary about Pogacar is that he seems to be able to crank out these numbers, or something fairly close to it, in a GT, day after day, at that tender age. Less extraordinary is an isolated result on a single climb in that Valencia race.

Wrt Evenepoel, I haven't looked much at power data (earlier on in his career he did post some power data, but he stopped doing so some time mid-2018), but it is clear he must have a truly extraordinary power/cdA ratio, and probably also an extraordinary power/weight ratio, when fresh (e.g. TT context). The unknown element is whether and how he can replicate that in a GT context, but I think his potential is even bigger - we will find out soon I guess. In his case, I'm actually more worried about how he will survive the craziness of a GT peloton...
 
Froome climbed the Madone at 459 watts in 2013. That’s about 6.8, for 30 minutes. No one else in the world could’ve done that then. We will see Pogacar’s data this July. I expect the numbers will be very impressive considering the firepower Jumbo and INEOS are bringing.
 
Oct 18, 2012
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Froome climbed the Madone at 459 watts in 2013. That’s about 6.8, for 30 minutes. No one else in the world could’ve done that then. We will see Pogacar’s data this July. I expect the numbers will be very impressive considering the firepower Jumbo and INEOS are bringing.
I don't intend to bring up Gaimon at nauseam, but using the link below you can see his OLH data from 2017 (click the 'Watts/kg' button)
https://www.strava.com/activities/983343009/power-curve, 6.95 W/kg for 13min10sec. A 30min effort is a different beast, and I don't know too much about physiology and the expected drop-off with duration, but I would find it hard to place that isolated Madone effort: exceptionally good for sure, but 'no one else in the world able to do it' caliber? (il Cobra Ricco may disagree ;))

Looking forward to Pogacar's data indeed (hope he keeps posting).
 
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