Targets of grand tour riders in 2020

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Martinelli has also confirmed once again that he'll ride the Giro, MAL, Lutsenko and the Izagirre brothers will ride the Tour.
Source:
https://www.tuttobiciweb.it/article/2020/05/20/1589825247/giuseppe-martinelli-blablabike-astana-sopravvivera-fuglsang-giro
I'd have him at the Tour as the 2nd gc rider, with Miguel Angel Lopez having a tendency to loose time on flat stages and the Tour being the Tour. Send riders
So decicion for Fuglsang for the giro and against the ardennes classics.
It will be interesting to see if Bora and Schachmann will decide in the same way. With Schachmann´s win at Paris-Nice Schachmann showed his Grand Tour potential for the first time. So it is likely that Bora will decide in the same way and let Schachmann lead the team at the giro. For the tour Buchmann will be the leader.
 
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So decicion for Fuglsang for the giro and against the ardennes classics.
It will be interesting to see if Bora and Schachmann will decide in the same way. With Schachmann´s win at Paris-Nice Schachmann showed his Grand Tour potential for the first time. So it is likely that Bora will decide in the same way and let Schachmann lead the team at the giro. For the tour Buchmann will be the leader.
I think Schachmann will be the clear cut leader for the Ardennes classics, so he'll probably ride the Tour to support Buchmann/as a backup option and then the Ardennes. No idea if Konrad gets to ride the Ardennes or the Giro, but sending him to the Giro seems more plausible. They also have Sagan to support at the Tour, so I guess Buchmann will probably get Mühlberger, Großschartner and the Schachmann to support him, while Sagan will bet 2 or 3 riders to support him.
No idea what they are going to do with Majka, the younger guys like Fabbro and Kämna could be send to the Giro, but that's just pure speculation.
 
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And then they'll send Ackermann to the Vuelta for the sprints?

(And poor Schwarzmann is always forgotten…)
It is possible to start with Schachmann and Ackermann at the giro. It´s not like Schachmann needs an entire team behind him. He is not the GC favourite.
Jumbo also starts with Bennett and Groenewegen.
 
It's really a bit of a dilemma with the Giro and the Ardennes, but I could see Schachmann doing the Giro as well. He's obviously eager to become a GC-guy, and as a good tt the Giro route suits him this year. Also for two reasons I would send Kämna to the Tour: He's a better climber than tt, and in my opinion, personality-wise, he's the best German option for a marketable rider apart from Ackermann...
 
IMHO the Vuelta will end up with a good start list, better than the Giro. Many riders will want to take advantage of however many race days they can get. The only major races that overlap are the Giro (weak GC field), Paris-Roubaix (no conflct) and Il Lombardia (few riders actually target it).
If you say Giro has a weak GC field, what did you think of last year's Vuelta GC field? At that time, Roglic hadn't won a GC yet and had just lost the Giro (his main goal) to two guys who are starting this years Giro, a couple of months before that. The second GC guy was somebody they kidnapped from a retirement home, and the third guy was a wildcard that could have been riding Tour de l'Avenir still.

Not a lot of GC riders will ride both Tour and Vuelta with actual GC ambitions. Due to the timeframe, you can't ride everything, regardless of overlap. The GC guys that will ride both TDF and Vuelta, will likely ride one of those as stagehunter and not for GC. Probably a lot of those starting TDF, will shift their focus towards stagehunting as the race goes by and aiming for Vuelta for GC. More than likely, that won't be the top GC guys like Roglic or Bernal, but rather those that came to the TDF hoping to get a top 10 spot, only to find out the TDF is too stacked, and they have have no chance in hell of doing top 10. Or, those who crashed, lost time in crosswinds etc. So it remains to be seen how strong the actual Vuelta GC field will end up being.

In that aspect, i believe all the GC guys riding the Giro, will actually all be 100% committed to GC, unlike in the TDF or Vuelta.

I can see a lot of riders adjusting their previous schedule still.
 
Mollema confirmed for TDF.

Ciccone will also be at the Giro with Nibali, even if I'm not sure if I'd already call him a gc rider at this stage.
16th in the Giro last year, 2nd in Adriatia Ionica the year before, top 10 in Coppi & Bartali, Tour of the Alps, Haut Var... If he wants to ride for a GC, i think we should count him as a GC guy. Same goes for guys as Knox, Teuns (even Alaphilippe)... Question is, can he ride for himself or does he have to work for Nibali?
 
At that time, Roglic hadn't won a GC yet and had just lost the Giro (his main goal) to two guys who are starting this years Giro, a couple of months before that.

More than likely, that won't be the top GC guys like Roglic or Bernal
Ok, I'm little confused here. How is Roglic now a GC top guy, according to you, when he lost his main race of the season, yet won a race with much weaker field, again according to you?
 
Mollema confirmed for TDF.



16th in the Giro last year, 2nd in Adriatia Ionica the year before, top 10 in Coppi & Bartali, Tour of the Alps, Haut Var... If he wants to ride for a GC, i think we should count him as a GC guy. Same goes for guys as Knox, Teuns (even Alaphilippe)... Question is, can he ride for himself or does he have to work for Nibali?
A bit of both, a 2010 Giro Nibali approach looks sensible to me.
 
Ok, I'm little confused here. How is Roglic now a GC top guy, according to you, when he lost his main race of the season, yet won a race with much weaker field, again according to you?
Yes, it is very very complex. Basically, it's not because you win one GT, that you will... suspense ... be equally great in another GT. The other way around is also possible. It's not because you are disappointing in one GT, that you can not be good in another. The point: there is no reason to claim the Giro has a weak field, when two GC guys at the 2020 Giro, beat Roglic last year, now one of the highest rated GC guys in general. Regardless of Roglic's status, i think last year's Vuelta did not have a better field than this year's Giro. Quite possibly the other way around.
 
If you say Giro has a weak GC field, what did you think of last year's Vuelta GC field? At that time, Roglic hadn't won a GC yet and had just lost the Giro (his main goal) to two guys who are starting this years Giro, a couple of months before that. The second GC guy was somebody they kidnapped from a retirement home, and the third guy was a wildcard that could have been riding Tour de l'Avenir still.

Not a lot of GC riders will ride both Tour and Vuelta with actual GC ambitions. Due to the timeframe, you can't ride everything, regardless of overlap. The GC guys that will ride both TDF and Vuelta, will likely ride one of those as stagehunter and not for GC. Probably a lot of those starting TDF, will shift their focus towards stagehunting as the race goes by and aiming for Vuelta for GC. More than likely, that won't be the top GC guys like Roglic or Bernal, but rather those that came to the TDF hoping to get a top 10 spot, only to find out the TDF is too stacked, and they have have no chance in hell of doing top 10. Or, those who crashed, lost time in crosswinds etc. So it remains to be seen how strong the actual Vuelta GC field will end up being.

In that aspect, i believe all the GC guys riding the Giro, will actually all be 100% committed to GC, unlike in the TDF or Vuelta.

I can see a lot of riders adjusting their previous schedule still.
I don't understand why you are still trying to push your agenda here. I find it quite sad that a cycling fan tries so hard to devalue last year's Vuelta results when the truth is the Vuelta 2019 start list was completely fine and pretty much in line with the strength of previous editions.

Calling Valverde a "somebody they kidnapped from a retirement home"... Valverde is to La Vuelta what Nibali is to Il Giro. A legend. He is a candidate for a top3 everytime he enters the race, that means every year.
Pogačar could have been riding Tour de'l Avenir still, you say. Guess what, the same can be said for Remco.

In this thread have been mentioned names like Fuglsang, Bennett, Knox for high GC placings in the upcoming Giro. You know those guys were also at the start of Vuelta 2019, right? The difference being that in Spain there were a couple of tiers of GC riders above them. Names like Uran, Quintana, Lopez, Kruijswijk, Majka, Chaves, Aru (with the last two obviously weaker than some seasons ago) those are all riders with multiple top3 (and overall GC wins) between them. If you add riders like Kelderman, Carthy, Huigita, TVG, Formolo, Latour, Soler, Poels, De La Cruz, Roche, Teuns... (a lot of top10 between them and more in the future), you cannot with a straight face tell me this was a weak field for a non Tour GT. If you do, you might know less about professional cycling than you think you do, I'm sorry. Or maybe I am the one who is completely wrong and has been living a lie for the past 25 years of following cycling. Help me guys, I need to know! I'm really struggling to see such a weak field for a Vuelta here.

I'm not saying the field was strong, it was normal. It lacked one or two top tier contenders. From what we know for the upcoming Giro it lacks in both top tier and second tier contenders.

Another way might be to give yourself a question: Who is entering the GT to win it?

For the Vuelta 2019 the answers would be Roglič, Quintana, Valverde, Lopez, Uran and I'd add Kruijswijk (he already podiumed the Tour, next step is a Giro or Vuelta win).

For the Giro 2020 (again all speculations because we don't know the actual field yet) the answers are Nibali and Carapaz. That's it. One can add Remco but that would be a stretch IMO for the same reason I didn't include Pogačar above. Both guys are entering unknown territory and same as Tadej, Remco is going to test himself for the first time in a GT.

Also with your logic if Evenepoel somehow manages to win the 2020 Giro and both Carapaz and Nibali flop, I'm sure you will be the first to say:"This was the worst field for a GT ever". Yeah, I thought so.
 
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I don't understand why you are still trying to push your agenda here. I find it quite sad that a cycling fan tries so hard to devalue last year's Vuelta results when the truth is the Vuelta 2019 start list was completely fine and pretty much in line with the strength of previous editions.

Calling Valverde a "somebody they kidnapped from a retirement home"... Valverde is to La Vuelta what Nibali is to Il Giro. A legend. He is a candidate for a top3 everytime he enters the race, that means every year.
Pogačar could have been riding Tour de'l Avenir still, you say. Guess what, the same can be said for Remco.

In this thread have been mentioned names like Fuglsang, Bennett, Knox for high GC placings in the upcoming Giro. You know those guys were also at the start of Vuelta 2019, right? The difference being that in Spain there were a couple of tiers of GC riders above them. Names like Uran, Quintana, Lopez, Kruijswijk, Majka, Chaves, Aru (with the last two obviously weaker than some seasons ago) those are all riders with multiple top3 (and overall GC wins) between them. If you add riders like Kelderman, Carthy, Huigita, TVG, Formolo, Latour, Soler, Poels, De La Cruz, Roche, Teuns... (a lot of top10 between them and more in the future), you cannot with a straight face tell me this was a weak field for a non Tour GT. If you do, you might know less about professional cycling than you think you do, I'm sorry. Or maybe I am the one who is completely wrong and has been living a lie for the past 25 years of following cycling. Help me guys, I need to know! I'm really struggling to see such a weak field for a Vuelta here.

I'm not saying the field was strong, it was normal. It lacked one or two top tier contenders. From what we know for the upcoming Giro it lacks in both top tier and second tier contenders.

Another way might be to give yourself a question: Who is entering the GT to win it?

For the Vuelta 2019 the answers would be Roglič, Quintana, Valverde, Lopez, Uran and I'd add Kruijswijk (he already podiumed the Tour, next step is a Giro or Vuelta win).

For the Giro 2020 (again all speculations because we don't know the actual field yet) the answers are Nibali and Carapaz. That's it. One can add Remco but that would be a stretch IMO for the same reason I didn't include Pogačar above. Both guys are entering unknown territory and same as Tadej, Remco is going to test himself for the first time in a GT.

Also with your logic if Evenepoel somehow manages to win the 2020 Giro and both Carapaz and Nibali flop, I'm sure you will be the first to say:"This was the worst field for a GT ever". Yeah, I thought so.
There is no "agenda"?

I simply find last year's Vuelta weak in terms of GC field and i honestly don't understand there is such an upset about me thinking so. It's an opinion, not an agenda. (Or at least i wouldn't know what makes it an agenda, since that implies you have ulterior motives for something). You claim Valverde is like Nibali... He's not though. As far as GT/GC performances, Nibali is by far the better cyclist. As much as you may like Valverde (there are a lot of reasons to like him, and in some things he's better than Nibali, i agree) he is not nearly as good a GC rider as Nibali. On top of that, he is also 4 years older than Nibali. When a guy, then 38, who once won one GT (the "most mellow" one of all), 10 years earlier, before a doping ban, finishes 2nd, i think it's safe to say the line-up was not very impressive. Pogacar did fantastic, but still finished behind Valverde. The fact that Roglic couldn't beat Nibali and Carapaz in Italy, and the fact that the two guys on the podium behind him weren't exactly guys that "should" be in the mix for a GT win, for me is very telling. The fact that Teuns, Knox (and i do not rate these guys highly as GC riders, and have stated so in the past numerous times) only finish just outside the top 10. That Kelderman, who had been riddled with injuries most of the year, has always been somewhat of an underachiever, finished 7th and still better than the year before. CF Hagen finished 8th. I mean, seriously. Before the race started didn't most of us think it was either gonna be Lopez or Roglic? Lopez disappointed, sure, Quintana did what was expected (or about what i expected at least). It boggles my mind a bit that some people keep seeing it as a personal insult that i found 2019 Vuelta disappointing in that sense. My reference for 2019 Vuelta isn't Pogacar, it's Valverde. We all know what he can do, but we also know, that he isn't a top tier GT/GC rider, and at 38 of age, shouldn't be on the podium of what would be seen as anything but a weak and underperforming line-up.

To compare it to this year's Giro lineup (or the one that was innitially in the cards) holds no water. Nibali, Carapaz, Yates, all won a GT before, and unlike Valverde and Quintana have still been very much in the mix in the past couple of years. This years Giro GC lineup might not have been "bigger" in terms of quantity, but certainly in terms of quality, imho. I'm talking about the pre-corona line-up. That's my opinion. Now with Yates possibly dropping the Giro, it remains to be seen if others take his place (or if he sticks to riding the Giro). If not, then it might end up being similar i guess.

Since you bring up Evenepoel, this is actually a reason why i do want Evenepoel to ride the Giro (instead of Liège), because i'm very aware the opposition isn't the best. The route suits him and, yes IF he proves he can follow the big boys for 3 weeks and in the high mountains (and to me, that is still a big IF, regardless of what i think of him as an allround talent) he might have a chance to surprise. Could he win? I would still say no (few months ago i said top 20 would be great... but that was before Algarve), but on the other hand, if he's good enough to finish top 5, a guy like him might very well be good enough to win it as well, i guess? As an overall talent, i think i rate him higher than Pogacar, but whether he will be better over 3 weeks (especially in his first GT)? At this moment, i'm still inclined to say "no", i'm afraid he will get carried away and pay the price later on. Unlike Pogacar, he's still relatively new to cycling, has very little experience (racing tactics, riding economical etc for more than 5 days), didn't even ride l'Avenir. But i am very aware of the fact that should he prove to be up to perform 3 weeks in a row, and if they can contain him, that this year might be a great opportunity for Evenepoel to do something great. And so if he does, i'll be the first to admit the line-up was not much better than last year's Vuelta ;-) An aging Nibali, no Bernal, no Froome, Dumoulin or Roglic... While it would be glorious for a 20 year old, i'm not a lunatic as you seem to take me for, and as such wouldn't claim it to be anywhere near a top field simply because he did well. Well, unless the line-up changes significantly by October.
 
There is no "agenda"?

I simply find last year's Vuelta weak in terms of GC field and i honestly don't understand there is such an upset about me thinking so. It's an opinion, not an agenda. (Or at least i wouldn't know what makes it an agenda, since that implies you have ulterior motives for something). You claim Valverde is like Nibali... He's not though. As far as GT/GC performances, Nibali is by far the better cyclist. As much as you may like Valverde (there are a lot of reasons to like him, and in some things he's better than Nibali, i agree) he is not nearly as good a GC rider as Nibali. On top of that, he is also 4 years older than Nibali. When a guy, then 38, who once won one GT (the "most mellow" one of all), 10 years earlier, before a doping ban, finishes 2nd, i think it's safe to say the line-up was not very impressive. Pogacar did fantastic, but still finished behind Valverde. The fact that Roglic couldn't beat Nibali and Carapaz in Italy, and the fact that the two guys on the podium behind him weren't exactly guys that "should" be in the mix for a GT win, for me is very telling. The fact that Teuns, Knox (and i do not rate these guys highly as GC riders, and have stated so in the past numerous times) only finish just outside the top 10. That Kelderman, who had been riddled with injuries most of the year, has always been somewhat of an underachiever, finished 7th and still better than the year before. CF Hagen finished 8th. I mean, seriously. Before the race started didn't most of us think it was either gonna be Lopez or Roglic? Lopez disappointed, sure, Quintana did what was expected (or about what i expected at least). It boggles my mind a bit that some people keep seeing it as a personal insult that i found 2019 Vuelta disappointing in that sense. My reference for 2019 Vuelta isn't Pogacar, it's Valverde. We all know what he can do, but we also know, that he isn't a top tier GT/GC rider, and at 38 of age, shouldn't be on the podium of what would be seen as anything but a weak and underperforming line-up.
I'll argue your point about Valverde. Valverde is a much better GT GC rider than he is given credit for. Of GT's he has finished he's only finished outside the top 10 3 times. 2 of those were the Tour which were also both his first GT back after a having not raced a GT the year before. The 3rd was the 2016 Vuelta which was his 3rd GT of the season and 5th GT in a row. He currently holds the record for most all time GT GC top 10's. He is also a very good Vuelta GC rider. A couple years ago Contador even said he's never see a rider and race more perfectly matched to each other than Valverde and la Vuelta. Everytime Valverde lines up at la Vuelta he's a threat to at the very least end up on the podium. He holds the record for most Vuelta podiums and holds is tied for the record of most Vuelta green jerseys (with Sean Kelly). Last year at la Vuelta he was 39 (he just turned 40 about 3 weeks ago). Now I won't argue about last year's Vuelta GC field being weak as when the race started I thought there were only 4 or 5 real threats to win or finish on the podium. That Vuelta podium likely gave him a record of most years between first and most recent podium that may never be broken. He already set la Vuelta's record for that with his 2014 podium. I do think there is something to be said for a rider's abilities being well suited to a specific race and specific terrain plus a love of that race. It was also the one race he had extra motivation for last year as he wanted a stage win and the podium in the rainbow jersey. He even said when he did get that podium that the podium in the rainbow jersey was a dream he dared not dream even though it was something he really wanted.
 
I'll argue your point about Valverde. Valverde is a much better GT GC rider than he is given credit for. Of GT's he has finished he's only finished outside the top 10 3 times. 2 of those were the Tour which were also both his first GT back after a having not raced a GT the year before. The 3rd was the 2016 Vuelta which was his 3rd GT of the season and 5th GT in a row. He currently holds the record for most all time GT GC top 10's. He is also a very good Vuelta GC rider. A couple years ago Contador even said he's never see a rider and race more perfectly matched to each other than Valverde and la Vuelta. Everytime Valverde lines up at la Vuelta he's a threat to at the very least end up on the podium. He holds the record for most Vuelta podiums and holds is tied for the record of most Vuelta green jerseys (with Sean Kelly). Last year at la Vuelta he was 39 (he just turned 40 about 3 weeks ago). Now I won't argue about last year's Vuelta GC field being weak as when the race started I thought there were only 4 or 5 real threats to win or finish on the podium. That Vuelta podium likely gave him a record of most years between first and most recent podium that may never be broken. He already set la Vuelta's record for that with his 2014 podium. I do think there is something to be said for a rider's abilities being well suited to a specific race and specific terrain plus a love of that race. It was also the one race he had extra motivation for last year as he wanted a stage win and the podium in the rainbow jersey. He even said when he did get that podium that the podium in the rainbow jersey was a dream he dared not dream even though it was something he really wanted.
Riding top 10 for a decently talented GC rider is not that difficult though, if you stay healthy and upright. It's winning that's difficult. And Nibali won 3 GT's, that were more difficult to win and more heavily contested. I'm sure you have all the facts about Valverde, but you are hardly impartial when it comes to interpreting those efforts. So turns out he was even a year older (i know he's a year younger than me, but for some reason i was thinking i'm still 40 now, lol), that means he's had an extremely long career, and one where he rode more than 1 GT per year. With one of those always being La Vuelta, it's really not that much of a surprise for him to finish in the top 10 most of those, and at 39, topping that chart. So i don't agree he's a better GC rider than most give him credit for. I would argue quite the contrary. So many top 10's, but only one win... People still, at his age and with his less than stellar TOP GC results (i'm not saying a top 10 or a top 5 is bad, but it's meaningless compared to winning a TDF multiple times) still somehow see him as an outsider for a GC win. Sure, had Roglic crashed he would have proven me wrong i guess, but at 39, motivation and experience only take you so far.
 
Riding top 10 for a decently talented GC rider is not that difficult though, if you stay healthy and upright. It's winning that's difficult. And Nibali won 3 GT's, that were more difficult to win and more heavily contested. I'm sure you have all the facts about Valverde, but you are hardly impartial when it comes to interpreting those efforts. So turns out he was even a year older (i know he's a year younger than me, but for some reason i was thinking i'm still 40 now, lol), that means he's had an extremely long career, and one where he rode more than 1 GT per year. With one of those always being La Vuelta, it's really not that much of a surprise for him to finish in the top 10 most of those, and at 39, topping that chart. So i don't agree he's a better GC rider than most give him credit for. I would argue quite the contrary. So many top 10's, but only one win... People still, at his age and with his less than stellar TOP GC results (i'm not saying a top 10 or a top 5 is bad, but it's meaningless compared to winning a TDF multiple times) still somehow see him as an outsider for a GC win. Sure, had Roglic crashed he would have proven me wrong i guess, but at 39, motivation and experience only take you so far.
He is tied with Miguel Indurain for most ever GT podiums for a Spaniard. Yes most of Indurain's were victories with the 5 straight Tours and two Giro/Tour doubles while 0 Vuelta wins. Contador does have 9 unofficial GT wins/podiums. However, no Spaniard has more than 9 GT podiums. Valverde's biggest issue has always been altitude and that is part of why he only has the 1 Tour podium. The other issue is that he has a high level year round enough that you can't tell when he's peaking, if he actually peaks at all instead of just holding a high level under a peak. This is part of where his consistency comes in to everyone else who has ups and downs depending on when they are peaking and when they aren't. (I'm a couple years older than you, so it's understandable to try to think you're still a little younger than you actually are.)
 
I'll argue your point about Valverde. Valverde is a much better GT GC rider than he is given credit for. Of GT's he has finished he's only finished outside the top 10 3 times. 2 of those were the Tour which were also both his first GT back after a having not raced a GT the year before. The 3rd was the 2016 Vuelta which was his 3rd GT of the season and 5th GT in a row. He currently holds the record for most all time GT GC top 10's. He is also a very good Vuelta GC rider. A couple years ago Contador even said he's never see a rider and race more perfectly matched to each other than Valverde and la Vuelta. Everytime Valverde lines up at la Vuelta he's a threat to at the very least end up on the podium. He holds the record for most Vuelta podiums and holds is tied for the record of most Vuelta green jerseys (with Sean Kelly). Last year at la Vuelta he was 39 (he just turned 40 about 3 weeks ago). Now I won't argue about last year's Vuelta GC field being weak as when the race started I thought there were only 4 or 5 real threats to win or finish on the podium. That Vuelta podium likely gave him a record of most years between first and most recent podium that may never be broken. He already set la Vuelta's record for that with his 2014 podium. I do think there is something to be said for a rider's abilities being well suited to a specific race and specific terrain plus a love of that race. It was also the one race he had extra motivation for last year as he wanted a stage win and the podium in the rainbow jersey. He even said when he did get that podium that the podium in the rainbow jersey was a dream he dared not dream even though it was something he really wanted.
Lining up the form from the last Vuelta is difficult and this year's season, if it even actually happens, will make it even more difficult with riders lacking proper seasonal preparation for grand tours. Valverde always shows up for the Vuelta even if age wise he is over the hill for a potential GT winner. Roglic's performance was no surprise after his Giro ride while for me Pogacar's was the eye opening performance. What helped Valverde and Pogacar was the performances of some of the other riders. Because of the timing of the Vuelta towards the end of the season and not that long after the Tour, performances can be quite mixed. Some riders seem to shut down form wise before others and maybe also had an earlier start to the season. Others use the Vuelta more for the Worlds than being serious options for the Vuelta podium.

Be interesting to see how Pogacar goes in his next few grand tours. I'm not convinced he will be hitting the podium. Valverde has so much experience and is so used to riding long seasons and he always gets motivated for the Vuelta which he generally is anyway. Roglic seemed to go into the Giro with too much racing in his legs and the easiest double to attempt is the Giro/Vuelta because of the time gap in between. Apart from one off day he looked much better than he did in the Giro. Be interesting to see how he lines up against Froome, Bernal and co. His 2018 Tour ride was good but his inexperience at grand tours showed in the final week. Tactically he should only improve from now on. I really thought that Roglic had the Vuelta won quite early in the race. For the majority of the three weeks it never looked in doubt which probably means that Valverde's performance was not that surprising and Pogacar stepped up easier with the lack of challenges from some of the other potential podium riders.
 
There is no "agenda"?

I simply find last year's Vuelta weak in terms of GC field and i honestly don't understand there is such an upset about me thinking so. It's an opinion, not an agenda. (Or at least i wouldn't know what makes it an agenda, since that implies you have ulterior motives for something). You claim Valverde is like Nibali... He's not though. As far as GT/GC performances, Nibali is by far the better cyclist. As much as you may like Valverde (there are a lot of reasons to like him, and in some things he's better than Nibali, i agree) he is not nearly as good a GC rider as Nibali. On top of that, he is also 4 years older than Nibali. When a guy, then 38, who once won one GT (the "most mellow" one of all), 10 years earlier, before a doping ban, finishes 2nd, i think it's safe to say the line-up was not very impressive. Pogacar did fantastic, but still finished behind Valverde. The fact that Roglic couldn't beat Nibali and Carapaz in Italy, and the fact that the two guys on the podium behind him weren't exactly guys that "should" be in the mix for a GT win, for me is very telling. The fact that Teuns, Knox (and i do not rate these guys highly as GC riders, and have stated so in the past numerous times) only finish just outside the top 10. That Kelderman, who had been riddled with injuries most of the year, has always been somewhat of an underachiever, finished 7th and still better than the year before. CF Hagen finished 8th. I mean, seriously. Before the race started didn't most of us think it was either gonna be Lopez or Roglic? Lopez disappointed, sure, Quintana did what was expected (or about what i expected at least). It boggles my mind a bit that some people keep seeing it as a personal insult that i found 2019 Vuelta disappointing in that sense. My reference for 2019 Vuelta isn't Pogacar, it's Valverde. We all know what he can do, but we also know, that he isn't a top tier GT/GC rider, and at 38 of age, shouldn't be on the podium of what would be seen as anything but a weak and underperforming line-up.

To compare it to this year's Giro lineup (or the one that was innitially in the cards) holds no water. Nibali, Carapaz, Yates, all won a GT before, and unlike Valverde and Quintana have still been very much in the mix in the past couple of years. This years Giro GC lineup might not have been "bigger" in terms of quantity, but certainly in terms of quality, imho. I'm talking about the pre-corona line-up. That's my opinion. Now with Yates possibly dropping the Giro, it remains to be seen if others take his place (or if he sticks to riding the Giro). If not, then it might end up being similar i guess.

Since you bring up Evenepoel, this is actually a reason why i do want Evenepoel to ride the Giro (instead of Liège), because i'm very aware the opposition isn't the best. The route suits him and, yes IF he proves he can follow the big boys for 3 weeks and in the high mountains (and to me, that is still a big IF, regardless of what i think of him as an allround talent) he might have a chance to surprise. Could he win? I would still say no (few months ago i said top 20 would be great... but that was before Algarve), but on the other hand, if he's good enough to finish top 5, a guy like him might very well be good enough to win it as well, i guess? As an overall talent, i think i rate him higher than Pogacar, but whether he will be better over 3 weeks (especially in his first GT)? At this moment, i'm still inclined to say "no", i'm afraid he will get carried away and pay the price later on. Unlike Pogacar, he's still relatively new to cycling, has very little experience (racing tactics, riding economical etc for more than 5 days), didn't even ride l'Avenir. But i am very aware of the fact that should he prove to be up to perform 3 weeks in a row, and if they can contain him, that this year might be a great opportunity for Evenepoel to do something great. And so if he does, i'll be the first to admit the line-up was not much better than last year's Vuelta ;-) An aging Nibali, no Bernal, no Froome, Dumoulin or Roglic... While it would be glorious for a 20 year old, i'm not a lunatic as you seem to take me for, and as such wouldn't claim it to be anywhere near a top field simply because he did well. Well, unless the line-up changes significantly by October.
Great reply, thank you. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I'm not arguing Nibali vs Valverde as GC riders in general. Of course Nibali has been better throughout their careers. Like Koronin as our Movistar and Valverde expert explained, Valverde in La Vuelta is a different beast. Shorter and steeper climbs fits him like a glove. He is always a threat to be on the podium there. Even with Froome, Roglič, Dumoulin, Nibali, Bernal... on the startlist.

I think we both agree that you can't use the A>B, B>C therefore A>C logic in cycling. It's not an exact science. There are millions of variables that specify the outcome of a race, especially a three week race like a GT. So I'm not going into details of what went wrong for Roglič in the Giro, because I won't change the mind of those who haven't yet accepted that his illness, peegate and DS incompetence were not science fiction but a reality show. All I say is...If Nibali and Carapaz beat Roglič in one GT, that doesn't tell me a whole lot to me in the gran scheme of things. What happened when Froome beat Contador in a GT for the first time? Did that tell you a lot? And what happened when the next year Contador returned the favour to Froome? Did you change your mind or were you of the same opinion? Oh wait, but the following year Froome came out ready and showed Contador who is the boss. So your opinion now is...ufff, I've lost track already, what about you? Maybe it's better to wait for a couple of years and then decide who is who, what do you think? I honestly can't decide who is better between them and where they stand in terms of best GT riders in the World. We know who Nibali is, he is still going strong. I need to see more from Roglič and even more from Carapaz. Let's give them a couple of years.

Pogačar. Why is he not supposed to be there on the podium? It is maybe because he hadn't achieved a podium before that? No ***, it was his first attempt in his first year as a pro. I don't understand the logic..."Well, he doesn't have the result yet so I don't believe he is capable of doing it. He has to show me first then I'll believe it. " This always applies, doesn't it. Remember a certain Andy Schleck. He was 2nd in the Giro in which he wasn't supposed to, because he hasn't show us before that he is capable of achieving such result. So the only sensible decision is to proclaim the 2007 field weak even though in becoming 2nd he beat former Giro winners and legends like Simoni, Cunego, Savoldelli, Garzelli and a guy named Cobra who somebody of you might have heard of (Nibali was 19th BTW). This Andy guy hears the rumours of a weak field and decides to make all the Tour fields weak in the following years. So he collects a bunch of 2nd places in the Tour. It's a little known fact that he's awarded the Tour title in exchange for one of those second places, not because of clinic reasons, but because Tour organisers had enough of this weak field farce going on. Little they knew that by doing so the field became even weaker ha!

I am half joking with the paragraph above of course. I wanted to use also this year's Tour for reference and Bernal's victory, but things are a little bit different for the Tour. There are almost supposed to be all the best cyclist in the World at the moment, including all the best GC riders. That wasn't the case in 2019, but that doesn't change the fact that Bernal was going to be one of the favourites to win with or without all the best, even though he hasn't done it before.

Even though I find it sillier and sillier the comparison between the Vuelta 2019 and Giro 2020 startlist , because the Giro startlist is only imaginary for now and we won't know who is going to be at the start till October (hopefully), I'm still going to replay to some of your points:

1. I don't know Hagen that well. It was his first GT. He might become a perennial top10 GC rider or even better for what we know. Also he entered in top10 thanks to a breakaway and hung on for dear life to stay in the 10. Congrats to him. You have every now and then riders who enter in top 10 thanks to breakaway more often in the Giro than in other GTs. Jan Polanc has two of those If I'm not mistaken (twice top15 I checked).

2. All the riders I mentioned (20 names cca) in my first post are all candidates for a top 10 spot in any Giro or Vuelta they enter if the startlist isn't an outlier. The 2019 Vuelta had also some casualties at the top (i.e. Uran, Krujswijk). Try to imagine the Giro 2020 without two of the top contenders and think of what the final top 10 would look like

3. For some time we've been spoiled with the Froome vs Contador vs Nibali vs Valverde vs Purito battles in La Vuelta, but the lists of top contenders weren't always that strong. Remember recently it was also a Yates vs Mas vs Lopez battle, a Doumulin (who at the time really wasn't suppose to be not even close in that situation) vs Aru vs Majka battle, a Chris Horner opera, a Nibali (when he wasn't Nibali yet) vs Anton battle, an unknown (are you kidding me) Froome vs Cobo battle and so on...

4. Sorry I forgot what I wanted to say. Maybe later or tomorrow I'll remember.


My whole point is that judging the strength of the GT field is not always black and white and it's extremely hard to do. Anyone can twist things in ways to support their narrative. Having said that, after all I've written, I have to say that our opinions aren't that dissimilar and I agree with you on a lot of things (including on Evenepoel). I can accept if you think that the 2019 Vuelta field is on a weakish side. I think it was average. To compare it with Giro 2020 we'll need to wait. Maybe not just till October but for a couple of years.
 
Great reply, thank you. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I'm not arguing Nibali vs Valverde as GC riders in general. Of course Nibali has been better throughout their careers. Like Koronin as our Movistar and Valverde expert explained, Valverde in La Vuelta is a different beast. Shorter and steeper climbs fits him like a glove. He is always a threat to be on the podium there. Even with Froome, Roglič, Dumoulin, Nibali, Bernal... on the startlist.

I think we both agree that you can't use the A>B, B>C therefore A>C logic in cycling. It's not an exact science. There are millions of variables that specify the outcome of a race, especially a three week race like a GT. So I'm not going into details of what went wrong for Roglič in the Giro, because I won't change the mind of those who haven't yet accepted that his illness, peegate and DS incompetence were not science fiction but a reality show. All I say is...If Nibali and Carapaz beat Roglič in one GT, that doesn't tell me a whole lot to me in the gran scheme of things. What happened when Froome beat Contador in a GT for the first time? Did that tell you a lot? And what happened when the next year Contador returned the favour to Froome? Did you change your mind or were you of the same opinion? Oh wait, but the following year Froome came out ready and showed Contador who is the boss. So your opinion now is...ufff, I've lost track already, what about you? Maybe it's better to wait for a couple of years and then decide who is who, what do you think? I honestly can't decide who is better between them and where they stand in terms of best GT riders in the World. We know who Nibali is, he is still going strong. I need to see more from Roglič and even more from Carapaz. Let's give them a couple of years.

Pogačar. Why is he not supposed to be there on the podium? It is maybe because he hadn't achieved a podium before that? No ***, it was his first attempt in his first year as a pro. I don't understand the logic..."Well, he doesn't have the result yet so I don't believe he is capable of doing it. He has to show me first then I'll believe it. " This always applies, doesn't it. Remember a certain Andy Schleck. He was 2nd in the Giro in which he wasn't supposed to, because he hasn't show us before that he is capable of achieving such result. So the only sensible decision is to proclaim the 2007 field weak even though in becoming 2nd he beat former Giro winners and legends like Simoni, Cunego, Savoldelli, Garzelli and a guy named Cobra who somebody of you might have heard of (Nibali was 19th BTW). This Andy guy hears the rumours of a weak field and decides to make all the Tour fields weak in the following years. So he collects a bunch of 2nd places in the Tour. It's a little known fact that he's awarded the Tour title in exchange for one of those second places, not because of clinic reasons, but because Tour organisers had enough of this weak field farce going on. Little they knew that by doing so the field became even weaker ha!

I am half joking with the paragraph above of course. I wanted to use also this year's Tour for reference and Bernal's victory, but things are a little bit different for the Tour. There are almost supposed to be all the best cyclist in the World at the moment, including all the best GC riders. That wasn't the case in 2019, but that doesn't change the fact that Bernal was going to be one of the favourites to win with or without all the best, even though he hasn't done it before.

Even though I find it sillier and sillier the comparison between the Vuelta 2019 and Giro 2020 startlist , because the Giro startlist is only imaginary for now and we won't know who is going to be at the start till October (hopefully), I'm still going to replay to some of your points:

1. I don't know Hagen that well. It was his first GT. He might become a perennial top10 GC rider or even better for what we know. Also he entered in top10 thanks to a breakaway and hung on for dear life to stay in the 10. Congrats to him. You have every now and then riders who enter in top 10 thanks to breakaway more often in the Giro than in other GTs. Jan Polanc has two of those If I'm not mistaken (twice top15 I checked).

2. All the riders I mentioned (20 names cca) in my first post are all candidates for a top 10 spot in any Giro or Vuelta they enter if the startlist isn't an outlier. The 2019 Vuelta had also some casualties at the top (i.e. Uran, Krujswijk). Try to imagine the Giro 2020 without two of the top contenders and think of what the final top 10 would look like

3. For some time we've been spoiled with the Froome vs Contador vs Nibali vs Valverde vs Purito battles in La Vuelta, but the lists of top contenders weren't always that strong. Remember recently it was also a Yates vs Mas vs Lopez battle, a Doumulin (who at the time really wasn't suppose to be not even close in that situation) vs Aru vs Majka battle, a Chris Horner opera, a Nibali (when he wasn't Nibali yet) vs Anton battle, an unknown (are you kidding me) Froome vs Cobo battle and so on...

4. Sorry I forgot what I wanted to say. Maybe later or tomorrow I'll remember.


My whole point is that judging the strength of the GT field is not always black and white and it's extremely hard to do. Anyone can twist things in ways to support their narrative. Having said that, after all I've written, I have to say that our opinions aren't that dissimilar and I agree with you on a lot of things (including on Evenepoel). I can accept if you think that the 2019 Vuelta field is on a weakish side. I think it was average. To compare it with Giro 2020 we'll need to wait. Maybe not just till October but for a couple of years.

Your paragraph about Pogacar, maybe go back to 2003 and apply that logic to Valverde who at the time was considered a sprinter who could climb. Sprinters who can climb aren't supposed to be on Grand Tour podiums. Although it was his 2nd Vuelta start it was the first one he completed (his first one they had pre arranged to pull him after the 2nd week so they didn't burn him out). He got his first Vuelta podium and 16 years later gets his 7th Vuelta podium and is no longer considered a sprinter who can climb. Pogacar isn't a sprinter so that does help in case. I think for many the biggest reason no one expected that from him was it was his first Grand Tour. I'm not sure how many people thought Enric Mas was a real contender to be on the podium in 2018.
 
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16th in the Giro last year, 2nd in Adriatia Ionica the year before, top 10 in Coppi & Bartali, Tour of the Alps, Haut Var... If he wants to ride for a GC, i think we should count him as a GC guy. Same goes for guys as Knox, Teuns (even Alaphilippe)... Question is, can he ride for himself or does he have to work for Nibali?
He'll be asked to work but, as Mayomaniac says, opportunities might arise depending on how the race unfolds.
Nibali has spoken about Ciccone's GT potential in a recent interview. He believes the youngster is talented but there are a few edges to smooth in order to become a GT top rider. He wasn't specific, but I guess he meant Ciccone is a bit too flamboyant/not tactically sound at the moment. TTing will also need some improvement, especially to win a Giro.

They have a great relationship and Ciccone will surely benefit from riding alongside Nibali in the next couple of years.
 
Aug 1, 2016
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So decicion for Fuglsang for the giro and against the ardennes classics.
It will be interesting to see if Bora and Schachmann will decide in the same way. With Schachmann´s win at Paris-Nice Schachmann showed his Grand Tour potential for the first time. So it is likely that Bora will decide in the same way and let Schachmann lead the team at the giro. For the tour Buchmann will be the leader.
Schachmann in Paris Nice showed 0 GT Potential imho. He suffered to defeat Benoot, was suffering greatly in La Colmiane... Best case scenario, Schachmann is a fringe Top-10 contender in a lesser GT, with a great likelihood of imploding in the last week (maybe he would be able to hang on in La Vuelta). The mountains in the Giro will surely be too much for him. It makes no sense to skip Ardennes where he will be one of the five main favourites for the win and target the Giro where he would be 15th / 20th favourite.
 
Your paragraph about Pogacar, maybe go back to 2003 and apply that logic to Valverde who at the time was considered a sprinter who could climb.
There was a guy once, he was considered a sprinter until he won his first of 11 GT's. My mom sometimes talks about him, they often played together at family parties.

4. Sorry I forgot what I wanted to say. Maybe later or tomorrow I'll remember
Thanks for discussing it without making things personal. I can agree, that the abandon of Kruijswijck and Uran will have played it's role, and that possibly the race might have been different with them in it. Though i don't know if SK was really going to go for GC or simply help Roglic. But for sure, it will have had an effect on how i perceived the race. On the other hand, this happens in every GT. Injury, illness or even crosswinds and half the favorites are gone. But yes, if we would look at the "original" Giro2020 lineup, and take out one or two guys (including one of Nibali, Yates or Carapaz), i would most definitely say that the lineup was possibly weaker than last years Vuelta. (Unless, like you mentioned, maybe a new dominator rises to the fore).

To summarize, i simply asked someone else what he thought of last year's Vuelta, because he said the Giro lineup was weak. And because every time i have said the same about last year's Vuelta, i get a reply not unlike yours, haha. But i agree that you can't compare directly; riders aren't robots (though Roglic sometimes seems to come close), form will vary, and route is a deciding factor. But a feeling or an opinion is simply that. Maybe I also expected too much from Lopez. I also feel like him and maybe others didn't really take Pogacar seriously, until it was too late.
 
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