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Teams & Riders The Remco Evenepoel is the next Eddy Merckx thread

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I wouldn't be mistaken for a Roglic fan in the dark, but it's disingenuous to use his 3rd place in 2023 as a sign of anything as it's rather obvious that the 3 Jumbos were not going all in in various stages.
It was a walk in the park in the end for them. Especially when the main protagonist decides to "I am not gonna play your game", takes his ball and goes home. Creating his own game instead, where he cant lose.

The race was over after that. Both for GC and anything else. Everything was just for show after that for everyone involved.
 
Why on earth would that have been the best path forward for his Vuelta at that point versus what he actually did? To prove to forum critics that he could (except on one really bad day) climb with those guys? He failed. He moved on. He'll try again at the Tour.
At least we agree then that he avoided all confrontations with the best. The point of disagreement then is whether or not that was sensible or best for him.

If he believed that Aubisque was just an off-day, and that he otherwise was one of the better climbers, he should have challenged the best on either Bejes or Angliru. I think it's only reasonable to avoid those battles if he thought he was weak.
 
I had to unblock the post you were reacting on. It seems that poster firmly believes Mas was at the same level in 2021 as in 2022.

Anyways, it’s clear a less-than-ideal prepared roglic won in 2021, and an ideally prepared roglic in 2023 couldn’t even beat his own team mates. This clearly indicates 2023 had much stronger competition, and mentioning roglic won in 2021 despite bad prep, and comparing this to Remco in 2023, is really apples vs oranges.
Jumbo basically destroyed the competition with both superb riders and a superb team this year. They reminded me of the best team sky or the Astana 2014 team in the giro.
Look, you may find excuses as much as you like. I'm only stating the facts here, and the fact is that Roglic had worse preparation for Vuelta in 2021 then Remco in 2023. The fact is that Roglic won Vuelta in 2021. The fact is that Remco finished 12th with 16 minutes deficit in 2023.
That's a huge difference and can not be attributed to a stronger competition in 2023.
 
Why on earth would that have been the best path forward for his Vuelta at that point versus what he actually did? To prove to forum critics that he could (except on one really bad day) climb with those guys? He failed. He moved on. He'll try again at the Tour.
How about to prove to himself that he can climb big mountains with the guys he has to beat to win a GT?
 
At least we agree then that he avoided all confrontations with the best. The point of disagreement then is whether or not that was sensible or best for him.

If he believed that Aubisque was just an off-day, and that he otherwise was one of the better climbers, he should have challenged the best on either Bejes or Angliru. I think it's only reasonable to avoid those battles if he thought he was weak.
This is an insane take.

For the life of me why people get so obsessed about top ten GC placings is beyond me. Nobody cares.

Sure, the sponsors like the visability, but Remco was animating the race in the last eight stages, which was a hell of a lot more visibility. He won two stages just missed on 2 more stage wins and was active on stage 17.

What is there to gain to challenge the GC contenders? Imaginary kudos points from social media.
 
Look, you may find excuses as much as you like. I'm only stating the facts here, and the fact is that Roglic had worse preparation for Vuelta in 2021 then Remco in 2023. The fact is that Roglic won Vuelta in 2021. The fact is that Remco finished 12th with 16 minutes deficit in 2023.
That's a huge difference and can not be attributed to a stronger competition in 2023.
So where did I try to find excuses? I said (and that's the easiest 'fact) that you're comparing apples to oranges.

If you want a fair comparison, the real question is: how would 2023 prepped Remco have done in the 2021 Vuelta?

Because neither an underprepared Remco, nor a well-prepared Roglic, won the 2023 Vuelta. So if you want to argue Remco failed this year, and you want to use Roglic 2021 winning with bad prep in your argument, you actually undercut your own argument as Roglic 2023 who was well prepared, didn't dominate / win this Vuelta either.

Realistically, a well-prepared Remco could have reached the podium this year, but not the top step. Same as Roglic. An underprepped 2021 Roglic winning vs. Mas / Haig shows Roglic can win a Vuelta against weak competition, something that Remco bashers keep repeating after he won in 2022. So don't use 2021 Roglic winning the Vuelta for anything. It doesn't make 2023 Roglic look any better, nor does it make looking Remco any worse.
 
If your target market is people that don't know crap about GT racing. 🙄
That's the majority of cycling fans, whether you like it or not.

ps: I'd rather have Remco at least some days in the GC battle, just to show his worth, instead of another day in the break / stage win fight / mtn points fight, and I guess we agree on that. But the neutral / casual fan / observer will have seen the entertainment he brought to the race. That's nice etc. for the day, but it doesn't produce a lasting memory imho.
 
This is an insane take.

For the life of me why people get so obsessed about top ten GC placings is beyond me. Nobody cares.

Sure, the sponsors like the visability, but Remco was animating the race in the last eight stages, which was a hell of a lot more visibility. He won two stages just missed on 2 more stage wins and was active on stage 17.

What is there to gain to challenge the GC contenders? Imaginary kudos points from social media.
I didn’t write about GC. He should have challenged for the stage win against the best on Bejes or Angliru. In the other stages, I think it made sense to go for breakaways.
 
So where did I try to find excuses? I said (and that's the easiest 'fact) that you're comparing apples to oranges.

If you want a fair comparison, the real question is: how would 2023 prepped Remco have done in the 2021 Vuelta?

Because neither an underprepared Remco, nor a well-prepared Roglic, won the 2023 Vuelta. So if you want to argue Remco failed this year, and you want to use Roglic 2021 winning with bad prep in your argument, you actually undercut your own argument as Roglic 2023 who was well prepared, didn't dominate / win this Vuelta either.

Realistically, a well-prepared Remco could have reached the podium this year, but not the top step. Same as Roglic. An underprepped 2021 Roglic winning vs. Mas / Haig shows Roglic can win a Vuelta against weak competition, something that Remco bashers keep repeating after he won in 2022. So don't use 2021 Roglic winning the Vuelta for anything. It doesn't make 2023 Roglic look any better, nor does it make looking Remco any worse.
First of all, you know damn well that Roglic could've won this Vuelta had the circiumstances being different. You won't admit it though...

Second, I will answer to your question: 2023 Remco wouldn't done much different in 2021 either. The boy is just not a natural climber, he needs ideal prep, ideal route, ideal opponents, etc, and when he faces hard mountains and hard competition he usually cracks. We'll see at the Tour next year anyway, but I'm sure that the crew around here will find some excuse.

And third, do you actually believe in all this *** you write here, in this thread, cause outside of this thread I know you as a pretty objective poster. Or your love for Remco is such, that you just need to explain and justify every failure he has?
 
Almeida and Buitrago were present.
Kuss rode two Grand Tours as a prep.
Vingegaard and Landa rode Tour as a prep.
Mas crashed haevily at the Tour.
Ayuso crashed twice in his prep races for Vuelta.
Roglic, Vlasov and Uijtdebroeks had "so called" ideal prep.
Almeida and Buitrago were early exits of the road race. Almeida did the TT but was not competitive. Nevertheless, Almeida had issues as well during the Vuelta so the WC could have impacted his preparation.

The Tour can be drag if you are completely exhausted, especially after also doing a demanding spring season, but it can also give you a good base level if you are still relatively fresh. Obviously Kuss doing 3 GT's at such a high level is very impressive.

Mas was probably impacted by that crash because he performed below his level of last year. Ayuso looked ok to me so I doubt the crashes had a significant impact.

So Almeida and probably also Mas are examples of GC riders with a less than optimal prep and their results seem to confirm it. I think Remco's preparation is somewhat similar. It's not the whole story of course. Remco had such a bad day that suboptimal preparation can never be the whole story.
 
This is an insane take.

For the life of me why people get so obsessed about top ten GC placings is beyond me. Nobody cares.

Sure, the sponsors like the visability, but Remco was animating the race in the last eight stages, which was a hell of a lot more visibility. He won two stages just missed on 2 more stage wins and was active on stage 17.

What is there to gain to challenge the GC contenders? Imaginary kudos points from social media.

him finishing, say 5th on Angliru while starting in the GC group (losing only around 40 seconds max) would've been a much better gauge of his level than slaying Paul Ourselin and Andreas Kron for 5 minutes the next day was. that proved nothing, he and everyone else already knew he could do that. if it was my favorite rider I would've been very disappointed that he did not at least try against the GC favorites on Angliru.
 
him finishing, say 5th on Angliru while starting in the GC group (losing only around 40 seconds max) would've been a much better gauge of his level than slaying Paul Ourselin and Andreas Kron for 5 minutes the next day was. that proved nothing, he and everyone else already knew he could do that. if it was my favorite rider I would've been very disappointed that he did not at least try against the GC favorites on Angliru.
Of course, it would come with the risk that he could get his ass handed to him. It’d look quite bad if he couldn’t finish in the top-10.
 
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Evenpoel enjoyed last couple of seasons as the Belgium's best Grand Tour contender. This had some negative sides, such as the pressure of the Belgian press and public, and I think he crumbled over this pressure from time to time. I think next season it should be much easier for him, cause he'll be no longer Belgian top contender in those races, much better, natural climber is coming into scene, Cian Uijtdebroeks.
So I hope Remco will maybe perform better without this huge pressure he's carrying.

Boy needs to learn how to ride a TT bike. The GTs should punish riders like that, just as they used to.

It's criminal that GTs are so biased toward pure climbers

Cian Utjdebroeks is the type of rider who should never finish top 5. He's basically a Herrera
 
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Don't see how anyone could come to that conclusion. Roglič, for example, had idea prep this year. Vingegaard no, but at least uninterrupted since the Tour.

Evenepoel never had the Vuelta in his plans until COVID, and the Worlds TT was the goal. That was his peak. He did his best to re-ramp for the Vuelta and peak again. While I think not horrible prep, certainly not optimal. Much worse than his prep last year for the Vuelta or this year for the Giro. That's all anyone is saying.
I agree it was good prep, but the Giro-Vuelta has been much, much harder for riders to nail than it should be on paper. So given he raced and won the Giro, I'm not sure you can call it "ideal" prep. He and Kuss did extremely well in both, but that is the exception, not the norm.
That sounds more about you than him. He collapsed on the Aubisque, then animated the race almost every day afterwards, making the most he could of the race. Great rider to watch. If you think a guy like that avoids "confrontations" (I'd call it competition) with the best, well I'll wonder a bit if you've had little or no competitive athletics in your background.
I think it's possible both to think he is exciting and enhanced the Vuelta tremendously and to acknowledge that he avoided direct, competition, with GC competitors post collapse. I think he is exciting and extremely talented, but I'm also disappointed that he took the easy path of stage hunting rather than testing himself. Wasn't this supposed to be a progression toward Tour success? Based on the Vuelta and previous comments about step-stoning him to the Tour, I'd send him back to the Giro in 2024 if I were Lefevre.
So where did I try to find excuses? I said (and that's the easiest 'fact) that you're comparing apples to oranges.

If you want a fair comparison, the real question is: (1) how would 2023 prepped Remco have done in the 2021 Vuelta?

Because neither an underprepared Remco, nor a well-prepared Roglic, won the 2023 Vuelta. So if you want to argue Remco failed this year, and you want to use Roglic 2021 winning with bad prep in your argument, you actually undercut your own argument as Roglic 2023 who was well prepared, didn't dominate / win this Vuelta either.

(2) Realistically, a well-prepared Remco could have reached the podium this year, but not the top step. Same as Roglic. An underprepped 2021 Roglic winning vs. Mas / Haig shows Roglic can win a Vuelta against weak competition, something that Remco bashers keep repeating after he won in 2022. So don't use 2021 Roglic winning the Vuelta for anything. It doesn't make 2023 Roglic look any better, nor does it make looking Remco any worse.
(1) This is hypothetical and subjective rather than a comparison of actual situations and results. Both end in speculation, but you're moving the conversation a step further into the theoretical, not into the actual.
(2) This is unbelievably disingenuous. You grant Remco a spot on the podium if his prep was better, which, ok, hard to see based on what I saw, but OK based on his win in last year's Vuelta. But then you deny that Roglic would likely have finished first or second - and no worse than second - if not for the strange team tactics situation. Remco dropping actually hurt Roglic quite a bit.
 
Also, it's interesting to see simultaneous arguments that 1) Remco would have won the Giro, which had a brutal series of mountain stages at the end, none of which Remco actually rode, having already dropped out, and 2) Remco did poorly in this Vuelta because he had to sacrifice his climbing ability to compete in the WC ITT. Those two arguments are not compatible.

Also, IMO, the decision to prioritize WCITT over defending his Vuelta crown against 2/3 and 3/5 top GC riders is a tacit acknowledgement of poor confidence IMO. Vuelta >> WCITT. So unless he has strange incentives or priorities, he likely probability-weighted the rewards and thought his WCITT's were sufficiently higher to cause a higher probability-weighted outcome than the Vuelta.
 
...and one more. I am still in the camp that Remco can win more GTs, but, much like Roglic crashing out repeatedly and having poor form in multiple consecutive GTs (prior to this Vuelta), and much like Contador post 2014 (I was also a big fan and was constantly having my optimism dashed), at some point the trends become hard to ignore despite the context. I don't think Remco is there, but there is a pattern:
  • 2021 Giro: Hyper competitive until stage 11, when he dropped 2 minutes to Bernal; underperformed in ITT
    • Reason: Rushed return from injury, age
  • 2022 Vuelta: Hyper competitive until stage 14, when he dropped :50 to Roglic and :39 to Mas the next day (note: still won the overall after Roglic dropped out)
    • Reason: Crash
  • 2023 Giro: Hyper competitive until stage 9, when he underperformed on the ITT (though still won); arguably underperformed on both ITTs
    • Reason: Covid
  • 2023 Vuelta: Hyper competitive until stage 13, when he dropped 27 minutes; underperformed in ITT
    • Reason: None super compelling; maybe lingering effects of Covid, prep for WCITT?
Again, context does matter. But something happened in the middle of all 4 GTs that caused him to suddenly ship time after looking imperious. If it happens again next year, there might be a "there" there. Until then, I'll assume it's a quirky coincidence.
 
At least we agree then that he avoided all confrontations with the best. The point of disagreement then is whether or not that was sensible or best for him.

If he believed that Aubisque was just an off-day, and that he otherwise was one of the better climbers, he should have challenged the best on either Bejes or Angliru. I think it's only reasonable to avoid those battles if he thought he was weak.
The framing “avoided all confrontations” is either trolling or wildly obtuse with regard to the goals left to him at that point. He could win stages and the polka dot, or climb with the GC group for no reason. Not exactly difficult choices for him or hard to parse as a viewer.

Unless one is just trying for whatever reason to paint some of the most exciting and entertaining efforts of the race in as poor a light as possible.