Question Tadej Pogacar and Mauro Giannetti

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It's about time we address Pogacars remarkable rise since he joined UAE in 2019.

His first season as a junior wasn't anything special, but we have to remember that he was born later in year (September) which is a disadvantage at that age.
In his second season he definitely proved his talent by winning the Giro della Lunigiana.
However, in the entire season he only won two stages and never put any distance on his competitors.
His time trial abilities were less impressive. A 25th and 68th spot.

His first season as a U23 rider wasn't too great either.
He won a few youth jerseys, but didn't record a single stage win.

His second season was definitely better, but still hit and miss.
He won the Tour de l'Avenir, but didn't record a stage win.
He also finished 7th at the WC road race.
Promising, but not exceptional.

Then he moved to UAE. Its CEO is Mauro Gianetti, possibly the dirtiest rider and sports director in history.
Suddenly he started to win stage races (Algarve, California, and individual mountain stages in the Vuelta against the likes of Valverde and Roglic.
He also became a much better time trialist beating Mohoric and Tratnik in the Slovenian championship.

Give me a break.
 
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Bardet on the race so far:



I'm pretty sure they're not breaking climbing records on every col. They certainly didn't on Col de Mente or Port de Bales. So perhaps Peyresourde and Marie-Blanque. But Marie-Blanque is almost never used as the final climb, so Peyresourde is still the only real eye-opener I think.

Still, it's interesting to hear that he thinks the level is so high this year. Even if it might be a bit subjective, I think these rider testimonies are worth a lot - and it suggests there might be more too it than just an easy course or favourable weather.
 
Absolutely. But Pogs strava showed some insane Watts, but I don't know how reliable those are.
Yea I don't place an ounce of faith in measured power output. That said, my back of the envelope calculations show his recorded power to be in line with what you'd expect based on Buchmann's recorded power.

(for the part of the climb where they were both sheltered in wheels and assuming 130lbs / 146lbs and a few extra pounds for bikes and equipment)
 
Bardet on the race so far:




Maybe fmk_Rol can find a way to downvote Bardet for saying such crazy things.
So what Bardet is saying, is that if all the others woulde be riding as fast as they were last year, he would be in yellow and leading with a few minutes?

I also think it's not evident to compare this year due to covid. Less races, no classics yet. On top of first week climbs (which is usually never the case in TDF) i do believe some riders would be more fresh than in other years.
 
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He doesn’t say that and that does not at all appear to be his point. It sounds like a reasonable inference to make from his comments, but I’m not sure why it’s relevant.



It seems to me most top Tour riders optimize their prep for the Tour most years. Do we think most riders who are specifically prepping for the Tour consistently come into it not “fresh”? I think that’s a tough argument to make. It’s a fair question but I don’t think it stands up to scrutiny. It seems far more likely that some riders are coming into this Tour undertrained, which explains some of the rather poor performances of a few who have fallen away or who were not selected.

If one accepts what Bardet and others are saying about the level, and given what we’re seeing I have no reason to doubt them, one must ask why. More fresh isn’t convincing to me. A summer with little or no testing leaves open a much simpler explanation. “Preparation” was at a higher level than in previous years. While this is obviously a hypothesis without confirmation, it seems to map to what we‘re seeing quite well.
And yet it still doesn't explain why Bardet can suddenly follow a pace that according to himself, is higher than previous years, when he wasn't able to follow.
 
Can you explain why not?
I would say his impressions are likely just that, impressions. That they are subjective to circumstances and not factual. Otherwise he would be minutes behind by now, according to his own analysis. You can't really take this as any sort of indication. "They are riding so much harder compared to other years when i wasn't able to follow, but now i am actually able to follow". Unless he's making a silent confession?
 
He's neither making a confession or an accusation. He's simply stating that the overall level is higher, and that he's also riding faster and enjoying it. As I said before it's early, and we'll see how things shake out over 3 weeks.
Than i'm having difficulties understanding what exactly is the point of bringing this up repeatedly. We already knew for months the level would be higher. It's clearly not high enough for Bardet to get dropped, like last year.
 
If we're talking pure numbers, Porte is now better than when he finished 50s down on Froome despite doing the dirty work for him.
I'm not really sure what that tells us to be honest. By the way, I'm not really defending Pogacar here, it's an insane, pretty unbelievable performance. But just seeing Porte and Van Aert the other two fastest climbers, does make me wonder if the GC field is a bit weak. Roglic has a history of poor TTs in the last week. And Dumoulin has been below par all race.

I have absolutely no doubts that if Froome was in Pogacar's position at the start of the day. And Roglic put in that TT. Then Froome would have taken yellow by over a minute as well.

Whether or not its a good thing comparing Pogacar with Froome though...
 
I think it's a bit about context as well. For example, Roglic is an amazing time triallist, in the first two weeks of stage races. Not all that great in the third week.

Dumoulin and Roglic rode the climb slower than Van Aert, Barguil, Landa, Martinez, Mas, Bilbao etc... And barely beat an injured Quintana on the climb. They clearly were quite a long way from their best here.

I think we should try to put Pogacar's ride into some perspective. And shouldn't pretend that he put a minute or two into the best Dumoulin or the best Roglic.
Let's say Dumoulin does a bike switch and does the ITT 30s faster. Then he's still beaten by 50s by a non ITTer who didn't have the legs to attack Roglic 2 and 3 days ago.
 
The man beat full alien Aru and Froome performances on the same climb in the 3rd week while matching Dumoulin on the rolling part of the TT. This is a 2007 Albi or 2013 Mont-Saint Michael off the scale level of performance, and he was not exactly a 2009 Cancellara on his previous TT performances.
Right, I agree, there is a hell of a lot to be suspicious about. So I don't really see the point in trying to pretend that he wasn't already an excellent time trialler before? It just takes focus away from this performance.

The other issue is, how did so many other riders also put in great climbing times today? Is there something new in the peloton and Pog is just better anyway? Or is he doing something different?
 
His amateur TTs were pedestrian. Last year he was a bit above average in his lone GT. He was nothing to write home about as a TT rider last year, putting

All of a sudden he comes out of a world enforced lay-off and wins the Tour TT by Indurain gaps. It was like watching pre-cancer Armstrong then post cancer Armstrong in less than a year.
Except that he is 21 not 28. He's at an age when the best riders in the world will be taking huge strides forwards.

Which again, is not to say that the performance wasn't really suspicious. But there can be multiple factors at play. I don't think the only explanation is the he has to be on a different program to everyone else. He might be doing the same as everyone else and also be a super talent?

A 21 year old making big strides forward in a season isn't quite the same as a 25 year old Ricco or Froome transformation imo.
 
I do not know what exactly is going on with him and Peloton, but riding with Giannetti and Saronni is not the best yardstick for riding clean.

Edit: Again, no one was claiming that he is a Purito or 2005 Rasmussen in TTs. But he was also NOT a 2009 Cancellara or a 2007 Vino when it came to TTs.
No, of course he wasn't putting in performances on that level. And if that is your bar for being a TT specialist than fair enough. But the only other TT he has ridden in the last 12 months he did beat Roglic and put nearly 2 minutes into everyone else. Suggesting a big improvement on what were already very good results the year before.
 
Ok, you are being disingenuous here, he put 2 minutes on a washed Brajkovic or whoever else.

Again, this is not a very good performance, this is an off-the-scale performance. His previous decent to very good results do not warrant such a performance, not even close.
It's not disingenuous at all. He's ridden one TT before this year and won it - beating one of the best TT riders in the world in the process. He was already very good last year.

Yes, this performance is a new level. But it's a new level from an already extremely strong TT, who, at the age of 21 will still be improving. How exactly would you expect a super talent's progression to look like, if not this?
 
So because he's almost 22, every possible development is just normal right? Others have made developments later?
Another straw man? Of course it's not normal; but it is possible for kids that age to take huge strides forward.

All I think is that his progression over the last two years does leave open the possibility that he is actually a genuine super talent. I'm not certain about it, and, in any case, even if he is a super talent it obviously doesn't mean that he's definitely clean. But it may mean that he is not doing something so much different than everyone else.
 
Calling Pogacar a non ITTer is ridiculous, and the kind of thing that makes the Clinic lose credibility. He's a 21 year old who has never finished outside of the top 20 in any TT's he's ridden since turning pro. And who also beat Roglic the last time he rode against him in a TT.
I think this debate about specialist or not is really missing the point. It used to be that a TT specialist was only good at TTs, and really only flat to rolling (i.e. would not have done that well here). Tony Martin would have fit that mold. TP can TT. But this was not a weak field, it was not an easy race, it was not in line with his rate/type of progression, and his performance was a huge outlier compered to others as well as himself. And I just laughed a bit. Nothing to get incensed about ... this is pro sports we are talking about.

BTW - love the photo of WvA and Dumo! That also speaks volumes!
 
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Well I am not a fan of Pogacar and I can't agree. He was showing great potential all last season and in 2020.

2019 ToC - 20 years old
2019 Vuelta podium
2020 Slovenian National Time Trial, beating Roglic

I think was under rated before this Tour. Obviously he won't be under rated now.
For me it's all about this ITT. Not so much about his climbing or overall performance, since for me there were too many "loose ends" to make that case. He's shown in the past he was a decent/good timetrialist, but both Slovenian nationals aren't a benchmark. Last year, it was against guys who would easily lose 2-3 minutes in a long ITT against van Aert, Dumoulin & Roglic. He beat them with 29 and 45 seconds (Mohoric & Tratnik). This year there was Corona, the bike change incident and it was a purely climbing TT. He beat Roglic by a few seconds.

A year ago he was 18th in Pais Vasco, 5th in Algarve, 11th in the Vuelta. Two years ago he was only 16th in the Euro championships U23. And today he beats van Aert, Roglic and Dumoulin (easily three of the 10 most prominent/top ITTers, along with Dennis, Evenepoel, Ganna, Campenaerts, Küng) on the 30k flat part and further extends his lead on the climb. And while the three Jumbo riders are within half a minute of each other, he beats the best of them by 1m20s. It's a very remarkable progress to say the least. He's gone from subpar to decent to ridiculing worldbeaters in 2 years time. When you see him on the bike, he isn't compact like Evenepoel, Campenaerts or even Roglic, so i also don't think he's that aero or has progressed on his aero position on the bike to an extend that can explain what we're seeing.
 
For me it's all about this ITT. Not so much about his climbing or overall performance, since for me there were too many "loose ends" to make that case. He's shown in the past he was a decent/good timetrialist, but both Slovenian nationals aren't a benchmark. Last year, it was against guys who would easily lose 2-3 minutes in a long ITT against van Aert, Dumoulin & Roglic. He beat them with 29 and 45 seconds (Mohoric & Tratnik). This year there was Corona, the bike change incident and it was a purely climbing TT. He beat Roglic by a few seconds.

A year ago he was 18th in Pais Vasco, 5th in Algarve, 11th in the Vuelta. Two years ago he was only 16th in the Euro championships U23. And today he beats van Aert, Roglic and Dumoulin (easily three of the 10 most prominent/top ITTers, along with Dennis, Evenepoel, Ganna, Campenaerts, Küng) on the 30k flat part and further extends his lead on the climb. And while the three Jumbo riders are within half a minute of each other, he beats the best of them by 1m20s. It's a very remarkable progress to say the least. He's gone from subpar to decent to ridiculing worldbeaters in 2 years time. When you see him on the bike, he isn't compact like Evenepoel, Campenaerts or even Roglic, so i also don't think he's that aero or has progressed on his aero position on the bike to an extend that can explain what we're seeing.
Thank you. A good post. I hope Ripper takes note how it should be done.

But as you would also know stage 20 TTs are not just about the best time trialist or climber but about who is recovering the best after three weeks of racing. With the exception of Dumoulin none of those names you listed in your second paragraph are Grand Tour leaders. And since he only came on the scene last season at 20 years of age I don't think we can say Pogacar came from nowhere. He is simply young. When Contador arrived at 2006 Tour de Romandie at 23 years of age I don't recall instant claims of doping then and that was despite his rumored implication of Puerto.
 
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