Too Late, Too Furious: Tokyo Drift - The 2020 Olympics Thread

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It almost looks deliberately designed to be boring.

Or it was just "big mountain too hard for weak woman" thinking.

edit: might as well just have made them circle the Fuji Speedway if they don't give a *** anyway.
They were apparently beholden to use the same start/finish locations, and although they could get Mikuni Pass into the acceptable distance, decided it would be better to have them circle the speedway circuit instead.

If the men's parcours wasn't so much better, it wouldn't be anything like as disgraceful. If the men didn't do Mikuni Pass but only did the Mount Fuji climb at like 80km to go and then did the speedway circuit, it'd be fine, not really any different. As it is, the men get a really unusual, creative and different type of design that creates suspense, tension and anticipation, and the women get... yet another rolling-to-hilly circuit race that is the most over-represented type of race on their calendar.

After 2016 (no desert, just a glorified crit in Doha), 2017 (no Mount Fløyen in the TT), 2018 (no Gramartboden because "it can't be used for more than one race due to availability issues" except it then transpired there was an 'everyman' ride on the climb DURING the women's race; also no hill in the ITT) and now this, it really seems like there is a paralysing fear that putting on good and exciting women's races might result in people actually clamouring for more and making them commit more money to races. I suspect that's why ASO were so reluctant to broadcast theirs until the Saudi oil money shored up the Dakar Rally, the Amaury family's loss-making pet project, and are now making more steps towards progress now that is no longer under threat.

As we have seen on several occasions, in general when given the same kind of course, the women's races tend to follow a similar kind of pattern to the men's in terms of quality. With races like Rio, Mendrisio and Firenze, the men's races were great... and so were the women's. With races like Copenhagen, the men's races sucked... and so did the women's. But now, we get the situation where the women's races are more likely to disappoint than the men's - and it's through no fault of the women's racers own.

All of the pre-Olympic hype will be about who survives the climbs that the men do but the women don't. All of the anticipation around this course is built around those two major obstacles that aren't in the women's race. Literally zero hype is about Doushi Road or Kagosaka Pass. Course disparity like this not only fails to build suspense and raise excitement for the women's race, but it actively hurts it. It's less enticing for spectators, it makes it harder for the women to put on a show (the riders may make the race, but they have to do it within the constraints of the canvas they're given to paint their pictures on), and it's less fun and less enticing for the riders themselves - see this exchange from 2018:

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig: Hi guys, can you help me⁉ The men’s and the women’s parcours for both the ITT and the RR at @ibk_tirol2018 is significantly different. Why is that? I wrote a blog about it (link below). Let me know your thoughts on this?

Kasper Asgreen: What if is the organizers way of honoring the women by giving them their own course, and thereby their own race. Instead of having to be measured against the men’s performance on the same route all the time? Exciting racing comes from the riders and not the race profile. I for one look very much forward to seeing the women’s race!!

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig: The point is not that we want to be measured against the men. The point is that I want our routes to be as exciting as the men’s routes. This could be done on a different route.

The UCI's own spokesperson's argument regarding this essentially boiled down to "the men ride lots of hard races therefore they can cope with a hard race. The women don't ride lots of hard climbing races therefore they can't cope with a hard climbing race." Not only is that incredibly unfair (a race like La Course 2018, over Romme and Colombière, was one of the best women's races in years) but it's a self-fulfilling prophecy that prevents the women's cycling scene from truly developing the diversity of specialisms that underpin the men's péloton. The women climbed Monte Zoncolan, the Passo dello Stelvio, Mont Ventoux, the Col de la Colombière, the Mortirolo. But who was it that, when setting up the Women's World Tour, afforded World Tour status to races like RideLondon (a city centre criterium undertaken while the general public rides the more difficult course the men get to do a day later) and the Champs Elysées version of La Course, but not to historic and mountainous races like Emakumeen Bira and Tour de l'Ardêche?

Women's riders have been actively begging for harder races for years. Edita Pucinskaite, Emma Johansson, Emma Pooley, Judith Arndt, Annemiek van Vleuten and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig have all spoken up about their desire for more difficult and selective races. Increased professionalism and diversification should not be an either/or matter. They can go hand in hand, and in fact they complement each other well. A diverse World Tour calendar increases the number of potential players in it, increases the number of riders who are able to win World Tour events (right now, there are pretty much no ITTs or major mountain races, especially this year with Bira folded into Itzulia Women which didn't run following restricted budget after Covid cancellations, and Giro Rosa downgraded), means prize money distributed among more riders and teams enabling more riders to earn a living from their sport and generates more suspense and variety that can help encourage more spectators.

And what we instead get is a race which is designed to be as similar to the majority of the WWT one-day races as possible, removes all of the parts of the race that fans are excited about and are anticipating the action on, and essentially does as much as is humanly possible to target the race towards that section of fans who say that women's cycling is dull because it's always the same riders winning.

It's kind of like if the UCI took WT status away from Roubaix, País Vasco, the Tour de Suisse and the Dauphiné in 2011, instead conferring that status on a series of hilly one-day and short stage races like the GP Wallonie, Tour de Luxembourg and Paris-Camembert, then had three GT routes that were all based around short punchy climbs with only 1 or 2 Unipuerto MTFs per race, and then couldn't understand why people weren't all excited about Philippe Gilbert winning every race.

Edit: I went through a lot of these points somewhat more eloquently a couple of years ago when the route was first unveiled, in this post from August 2018. It doesn't seem like anything's changed in the 3 years since in respect of this particular parcours, only ASO, and even then I think that has nothing to do with cycling and everything to do with rally raid breaking even giving them more flexibility to invest more in cycling.
 
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It almost looks deliberately designed to be boring.

Or it was just "big mountain too hard for weak woman" thinking.

edit: might as well just have made them circle the Fuji Speedway if they don't give a *** anyway.
I don't remember if it was the official excuse, but I think the most likely explanation for the Women's RR is that they designed the men's route, which doesn't need the biggest obstacles in the first 100km because there's still another 100km to go. The thought process for the women's race then went: same start, same circuit finish, oh that's the maximum race distance already just getting from A to B.

As for the pitiful size of the startlist, equality on that front is promised for Paris 2024 (and I suppose the routes will probably be equally flat and full of Paris landmarks), but Cycling isn't getting extra places for it, infact the total number of road race participants will be reduced, so both the men's and women's RR will have 90 starters. (Up from 67 for the women, down from 130 for the men)
 
Are there generally actual (former pro) women involved in stage designs for women's races?

Women's riders have been actively begging for harder races for years. Edita Pucinskaite, Emma Johansson, Emma Pooley, Judith Arndt, Annemiek van Vleuten and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig have all spoken up about their desire for more difficult and selective races. Increased professionalism and diversification should not be an either/or matter. They can go hand in hand, and in fact they complement each other well. A diverse World Tour calendar increases the number of potential players in it, increases the number of riders who are able to win World Tour events (right now, there are pretty much no ITTs or major mountain races, especially this year with Bira folded into Itzulia Women which didn't run following restricted budget after Covid cancellations, and Giro Rosa downgraded), means prize money distributed among more riders and teams enabling more riders to earn a living from their sport and generates more suspense and variety that can help encourage more spectators.
I think part of why has to do with the women's competition to be rather lopsided for the moment. At least compared to men's competition. Harder stages/races would suit the strongest women even more, while they are already so dominant as it is now. Unexpected winners seem (from my perception at least) more scarce in the women's peloton. I think the ratio between women that are 100% pro, who get to train in optimal conditions with top grade trainers and material on one hand, and those who have a dayjob and have to train on hand-me-down bikes on the other, is completely out of whack. I haven't really thought this through, but this is what comes up at first thought. Making races harder effectively shuts out even more women for the time being, which might hurt growth more than anything else. Unfortunately, it might be process that takes more time where different facets need to gradually improve and grow across the board. Again, first thoughts.
 
Are there generally actual (former pro) women involved in stage designs for women's races?


I think part of why has to do with the women's competition to be rather lopsided for the moment. At least compared to men's competition. Harder stages/races would suit the strongest women even more, while they are already so dominant as it is now. Unexpected winners seem (from my perception at least) more scarce in the women's peloton. I think the ratio between women that are 100% pro, who get to train in optimal conditions with top grade trainers and material on one hand, and those who have a dayjob and have to train on hand-me-down bikes on the other, is completely out of whack. I haven't really thought this through, but this is what comes up at first thought. Making races harder effectively shuts out even more women for the time being, which might hurt growth more than anything else. Unfortunately, it might be process that takes more time where different facets need to gradually improve and grow across the board. Again, first thoughts.
But if the problem is that the current calendar is lopsided in favour of a particular rider, neutering a race that could be tougher to make it better suited to that same type of rider is hardly going to benefit the sport. How exactly are the different facets and specialisms supposed to grow if all of the races suit the same style of rider?

The main reason there is a lack of unexpected winners is partly to do with the bogarting of the prize money by a select few riders and teams, which gives them better opportunity to dedicate themselves to the sport and enables those teams to sign the best young prospects. And the other reason is that there is far more homogeny in the women's calendar than the men's, perpetuating that situation by marginalising riders with lopsided skillsets. The WWT is chocked full of sprints and flat one-day races, and moderately hilly to Ardennes level races. The WWT has barely had any genuine major mountains, and I can count the number of ITTs on one hand.

What we have is a situation where any specialist has to either settle for a secondary role, or has to try to adapt to a calendar that offers heavily restricted opportunities to any rider that is neither a sprinter nor a puncheuse. It's not an issue of the races being too hard for the specialists, it's that they don't get enough races for their specialism to truly be able to compete. There are precious few races available for a one-dimensional grimpeuse like Eider Merino, but as a result, she's not a valuable commodity to the top teams because if you get a puncheuse who is a decent climber, they can compete in a huge number more events than Merino, and she's of little value as a domestique because if you have a stronger climber than Merino in your squad, she's unlikely to require the assistance on the limited number of mountain stages the calendar includes (most of which are also Unipuerto). The end result is that a rider like Merino can't get a spot on one of the biggest teams (and was one of the riders that made way when Movistar cleared space for Annemiek) so she doesn't develop to the best of her abilities and the all-rounders who are good climbers will beat her even in her specialism. Take Anna Kiesenhofer as another example - she won on Mont Ventoux in the Tour de l'Ardêche, but after less than a year on a pro team she withdrew back to the amateur ranks racing Gran Fondos and the like in her playgrounds of the mountains, and from the sounds of things is much happier for it.

The other issue for the lack of unexpected winners is that the lack of TV coverage and the concentration of so many of the stars into a small number of teams has meant far less of the time-honoured "break of the day" formula that men's cycling typically has, so you see a lot more of the péloton together and various moves attempting to go at various stages until the right composition happens and the elastic snaps, so this tends to be later in the race and with stronger names in it than an early BOTD would usually have - plus, with smaller team sizes, there's more incentive to bigger names to get into those moves because there's less risk attached as if you try it and there's eight top level riders on an Ineos or Jumbo chasing you down.

Plus the nature of parcours along with the lack of long form stage races means you seldom get the kind of stages that in men's cycling we would anticipate to go to the breakaway, nor do you often have races where the route is decisive enough and opens up big enough gaps that you have strong break riders who are far enough down in GC not to be a threat. And in the one race we do have like that, the Giro Rosa, you do indeed often find in the second half of the race that a strong break goes and settles the stage - take 2020's stage 9, won by Évita Muzic, 2019 to Maniago won by Lizzie Banks, the 2017 stage won by Sheyla Gutiérrez, the stages won by Mayuko Hagiwara and Lucinda Brand in 2015, and the 2016 final stage won by Thalita de Jong. If we have more difficult races, then yes, a lot of riders not in the elite tier are shut out of winning GCs and major classics... but their stagehunting opportunities actually improve, because you won't find the van Vleutens and van der Breggens of this world being fresh enough to contest every stage, so saving energy and picking your day for the break will become a more valuable skill.
 
But if the problem is that the current calendar is lopsided in favour of a particular rider, neutering a race that could be tougher to make it better suited to that same type of rider is hardly going to benefit the sport. How exactly are the different facets and specialisms supposed to grow if all of the races suit the same style of rider?

The main reason there is a lack of unexpected winners is partly to do with the bogarting of the prize money by a select few riders and teams, which gives them better opportunity to dedicate themselves to the sport and enables those teams to sign the best young prospects. And the other reason is that there is far more homogeny in the women's calendar than the men's, perpetuating that situation by marginalising riders with lopsided skillsets. The WWT is chocked full of sprints and flat one-day races, and moderately hilly to Ardennes level races. The WWT has barely had any genuine major mountains, and I can count the number of ITTs on one hand.

What we have is a situation where any specialist has to either settle for a secondary role, or has to try to adapt to a calendar that offers heavily restricted opportunities to any rider that is neither a sprinter nor a puncheuse. It's not an issue of the races being too hard for the specialists, it's that they don't get enough races for their specialism to truly be able to compete. There are precious few races available for a one-dimensional grimpeuse like Eider Merino, but as a result, she's not a valuable commodity to the top teams because if you get a puncheuse who is a decent climber, they can compete in a huge number more events than Merino, and she's of little value as a domestique because if you have a stronger climber than Merino in your squad, she's unlikely to require the assistance on the limited number of mountain stages the calendar includes (most of which are also Unipuerto). The end result is that a rider like Merino can't get a spot on one of the biggest teams (and was one of the riders that made way when Movistar cleared space for Annemiek) so she doesn't develop to the best of her abilities and the all-rounders who are good climbers will beat her even in her specialism. Take Anna Kiesenhofer as another example - she won on Mont Ventoux in the Tour de l'Ardêche, but after less than a year on a pro team she withdrew back to the amateur ranks racing Gran Fondos and the like in her playgrounds of the mountains, and from the sounds of things is much happier for it.

The other issue for the lack of unexpected winners is that the lack of TV coverage and the concentration of so many of the stars into a small number of teams has meant far less of the time-honoured "break of the day" formula that men's cycling typically has, so you see a lot more of the péloton together and various moves attempting to go at various stages until the right composition happens and the elastic snaps, so this tends to be later in the race and with stronger names in it than an early BOTD would usually have - plus, with smaller team sizes, there's more incentive to bigger names to get into those moves because there's less risk attached as if you try it and there's eight top level riders on an Ineos or Jumbo chasing you down.

Plus the nature of parcours along with the lack of long form stage races means you seldom get the kind of stages that in men's cycling we would anticipate to go to the breakaway, nor do you often have races where the route is decisive enough and opens up big enough gaps that you have strong break riders who are far enough down in GC not to be a threat. And in the one race we do have like that, the Giro Rosa, you do indeed often find in the second half of the race that a strong break goes and settles the stage - take 2020's stage 9, won by Évita Muzic, 2019 to Maniago won by Lizzie Banks, the 2017 stage won by Sheyla Gutiérrez, the stages won by Mayuko Hagiwara and Lucinda Brand in 2015, and the 2016 final stage won by Thalita de Jong. If we have more difficult races, then yes, a lot of riders not in the elite tier are shut out of winning GCs and major classics... but their stagehunting opportunities actually improve, because you won't find the van Vleutens and van der Breggens of this world being fresh enough to contest every stage, so saving energy and picking your day for the break will become a more valuable skill.
My knowledge of women's cycling is far too limited, so everything i say is simply based on gut feeling. But in this case we are talking about national teams. If you make this race harder, there seems to be only one possible outcome at this time.

As far as those different facets that need to grow, i was indeed talking about tv broadcast, prize money, commercialization, youth development, scouting, coaching etc. Making some changes too sudden, might have an opposite effect of what you'd want to achieve. The teams/countries that are ready for the next step might actually enlarge their lead over the smaller teams. Let's say starting next year prize money, TV time etc is comparable to what we have in the men's races, then the teams benefiting from that most, will be the teams that are already on top right now. Their sponsors get more attention (because they dominate most races), those sponsors will put more money in the team because it starts to pay off. Those teams get more prize money on top of that. And if races become harder, they will win even more races on top of that, because they already have the best cyclists with the best entourage and the best equipment. Again this is what comes to mind right now. When all these things were to change suddenly, i could see the situation become worse before it gets better. Maybe that's a hurdle women's cycling has to take, i don't know. But maybe building from the ground up, might be a better solution in the long run. Investing in youth development, professional entourage, finding a way to get women to be able to quit their dayjob and take a chance as a pro cyclist without having to fear to pay the rent. I think a lot of that would need to come from local initiatives, so i don't know if UCI or local governments can find incentives for teams and local sports divisions to invest in such projects.
 
My knowledge of women's cycling is far too limited, so everything i say is simply based on gut feeling. But in this case we are talking about national teams. If you make this race harder, there seems to be only one possible outcome at this time.

As far as those different facets that need to grow, i was indeed talking about tv broadcast, prize money, commercialization, youth development, scouting, coaching etc. Making some changes too sudden, might have an opposite effect of what you'd want to achieve. The teams/countries that are ready for the next step might actually enlarge their lead over the smaller teams. Let's say starting next year prize money, TV time etc is comparable to what we have in the men's races, then the teams benefiting from that most, will be the teams that are already on top right now. Their sponsors get more attention (because they dominate most races), those sponsors will put more money in the team because it starts to pay off. Those teams get more prize money on top of that. And if races become harder, they will win even more races on top of that, because they already have the best cyclists with the best entourage and the best equipment. Again this is what comes to mind right now. When all these things were to change suddenly, i could see the situation become worse before it gets better. Maybe that's a hurdle women's cycling has to take, i don't know. But maybe building from the ground up, might be a better solution in the long run. Investing in youth development, professional entourage, finding a way to get women to be able to quit their dayjob and take a chance as a pro cyclist without having to fear to pay the rent. I think a lot of that would need to come from local initiatives, so i don't know if UCI or local governments can find incentives for teams and local sports divisions to invest in such projects.
Sure, but parcours does not have much to do with that (other than the finding of willing stage hosts). Keeping the races focused on a particular type of course that favours a particular type of rider will only perpetuate the status quo because the only riders who will come through and become new stars are those that fit the same mould as the old stars. Sure, it'd be good to find a way to get women to be able to quit their dayjob and be a pro cyclist by investing in development... but you need the opportunity to diversify the calendar to get people the chance to compete, otherwise why will they bother.

To this end, take athletics. If every single event on the calendar has a 400m, and there's only one or two 100m or 1500m races a year at major events, more prospective athletes are going to want to be 400m runners than any other distance, and athletes whose physiology lends them to being better at the short sprints, or at distance running, will be marginalised and have a harder time attracting sponsors. And then of those who can specialise in 400m, if they then happen to come around at a time when there are three or four elite level 400m runners who win most of the 400m events, they are going to get disheartened too. Whereas if there is a balanced calendar of all the events, then the top 400m runners still get their chances - and potentially more since there's also the possibility to convert to 200m and the 4x400m relay - but athletes who specialise in other distances aren't going to be marginalised.

Besides, one of the issues with the Olympic RR is not the lack of difficulty but the miserable placement of height metres (and the justification of the abysmal route because of them). As we all know, you can make a route more selective and better for racing without making it harder. The Big Bear Lake stage of the 2010 Tour of California was super hard with endless metres of ascent, but it was all at low grinding gradient and with a flat run-in, meaning it was useless from a racing point of view. There are options to give the women, as Cille requested in the quote I reproduced, a different route that is not so clearly and obviously limited in opportunities to produce an exciting race in comparison to the men's event.

I mean, with the same start and finish, you could go instead of over Doushi Road, over to the south and take the easy side of Dakenodai (it's about 6km at 4%) then have a descent (which tends to be more selective in women's racing than men's) into Hadano, then climb Ashigara pass at about the 110km mark - 10,6km @ 6,4% with the last 3km @ 10% - then descend into Ashigara town and up to a lap and a half on the speedway circuit they've used in the real race - would total between 145 and 150km. Another alternative would be to do the two climbs as we already have them, but then pass through Gotemba and climb toward Ashigara pass from the west, which means the first 5,2km of this climb, averaging 6,7% or even the narrower road parallel to the first half of that, which is up in the 8-9% mark, which is more than a puncheur's race but not out of the realms of achievability for non-climbers, before climbing in to Fuji speedway reaching the circuit at the 138km mark so you could just come through the pitlane and do a lap of the circuit climbing the twisty Tilke bit into the finishing straight at about 143-144km. Two options there, not much more climbing if any than the presented parcours, but both with better scope to make the race harder from afar, and giving the women a route which substantially differs from the men's but gives reasons to be excited about it, rather than it just being an anæmic facsimile of the men's race clearly thrown together in five minutes as an afterthought with far more effort made to make up justifications for the insultingly poor route than was made in producing the route in the first place.
 
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My knowledge of women's cycling is far too limited, so everything i say is simply based on gut feeling. But in this case we are talking about national teams. If you make this race harder, there seems to be only one possible outcome at this time.

As far as those different facets that need to grow, i was indeed talking about tv broadcast, prize money, commercialization, youth development, scouting, coaching etc. Making some changes too sudden, might have an opposite effect of what you'd want to achieve. The teams/countries that are ready for the next step might actually enlarge their lead over the smaller teams. Let's say starting next year prize money, TV time etc is comparable to what we have in the men's races, then the teams benefiting from that most, will be the teams that are already on top right now. Their sponsors get more attention (because they dominate most races), those sponsors will put more money in the team because it starts to pay off. Those teams get more prize money on top of that. And if races become harder, they will win even more races on top of that, because they already have the best cyclists with the best entourage and the best equipment. Again this is what comes to mind right now. When all these things were to change suddenly, i could see the situation become worse before it gets better. Maybe that's a hurdle women's cycling has to take, i don't know. But maybe building from the ground up, might be a better solution in the long run. Investing in youth development, professional entourage, finding a way to get women to be able to quit their dayjob and take a chance as a pro cyclist without having to fear to pay the rent. I think a lot of that would need to come from local initiatives, so i don't know if UCI or local governments can find incentives for teams and local sports divisions to invest in such projects.
If you had harder and/or mountaneous championships, WWT and other women's races, there wouldn't currently be 10-20 Dutch women, who could all potentially win them. Sure Van der Breggen/Vollering and Van Vleuten would still be the favourites, but riders from other countries would actually end up with better opportunites, than they have now, or at least not see their chances get much worse.

The teams with the biggest budgets are already able to get the best riders, so I don't think that would change much, but of course it would be better if the talent pool increases in size. The teams would still only be able to have a limited amount of riders though, so if the races were harder, they wouldn't only sign sprinters, rouleurs and puncheurs, but also have to look for grimpeurs, if they want to be competitive. That could also mean that the best teams wouldn't be able to be as strong in every single race anymore, because they would now have a different selection of riders than before, like how INEOS haven't been dominating classics as much as GTs and DQS the other way around.
 
Proposal #1 (I've also used the shorter Fuji Speedway circuit from the Paralympics RR, because it means less low gradient grinding, and 13,2km is a perfectly reasonable length for a closing circuit here. I hadn't even realised that they make the course even worse by extending the circuit out over low gradient 3% climbing unnecessarily, so the course is in fact even WORSE than I already thought):


Proposal #2:
 
Interesting discussion - and it's something I was wondering fairly recently. The WWT is dominated by what we'd call 'all rounders'; they can do a bit of everything, as that is what the majority of races are like.

After watching the women's MTB World Cup, French rider Loana Lecomte has absolutely dominated it; completely outclimbing everybody else - she'll surely be offered a mega money contract, but would she try/ be offered some road racing? As an out and out climber, how many races are there for her? The Giro Rosa is the obvious one, but if you're a pure climber, it's not really a great programme of races is it?
 
Let me be a bit controversial:

Convince me that the inclusion of Mount Fuji in the women's RR wouldn't mean that Van Vleuten would just take off there and never be seen again, and if not, then convince me how that would make for a better race than what we might have in store now.

Edit: I haven't read all posts above in full so this might have been covered in the discussion already and might not be as edgy as I thought.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Germany:
RR men:
Arndt, Geschke, Buchmann, Schachmann
TT men:
Arndt, Schachmann

Zimmermann and Koch as reserve

women RR:
Brennauer, Lippert, Hannah Ludwig, Worrack
TT women:
Brennauer, Klein

reserve from the track team
 
Yes, and I have already added it to the OP. With Vingegaard out of contention, this is for sure the best team available.
I completely disagree.

Look, I LOVE Chris Juul, I think he is hilarious and a generally good guy - and a great domestique to boot.

But, selecting him for the Olympics, on the back of him doing a full Giro and then a full Tour, slaving away every single day, makes absolutely no sense at all.

For a 1 day race with those characteristics, selecting Juul over Honore, Kron, Skjelmose, Kragh and Cort, makes absolutely no sense to me.... especially when you already have Asgreen fulfilling the exact same role in the road race.

I am even a bit iffy on Valgren. though he has been better this year than the past two - but I would also be hard pressed selecting him today, over any of the other guys mentioned. The one thing that may make me select him anyway, is his championship experience.
 
I completely disagree.

Look, I LOVE Chris Juul, I think he is hilarious and a generally good guy - and a great domestique to boot.

But, selecting him for the Olympics, on the back of him doing a full Giro and then a full Tour, slaving away every single day, makes absolutely no sense at all.

For a 1 day race with those characteristics, selecting Juul over Honore, Kron, Skjelmose, Kragh and Cort, makes absolutely no sense to me.... especially when you already have Asgreen fulfilling the exact same role in the road race.

I am even a bit iffy on Valgren. though he has been better this year than the past two - but I would also be hard pressed selecting him today, over any of the other guys mentioned. The one thing that may make me select him anyway, is his championship experience.
Maybe it was a bit exaggarated to call it the best team available, but I definitely think it makes sense to bring Juul. He is experienced and a good and reliable teammate both on and off the bike, even if you already have Asgreen who can do some of the same things (and better) in the team. I could see the value in bringing Cort instead of Valgren, because he could be used tactically due to his sprint ability and has showed great climbing form this year. I doubt Skjelmose and Kron have really been considered for this.

This team is clearly selected to fit Fuglsang's ambitions, which makes sense, since he's probably the one with the best chances of winning a medal. And with only four spots, Lund can't bring too many chefs. It will be different for him, when he has to select the WC team for Belgium later this year.
 
Maybe it was a bit exaggarated to call it the best team available, but I definitely think it makes sense to bring Juul. He is experienced and a good and reliable teammate both on and off the bike, even if you already have Asgreen who can do some of the same things (and better) in the team. I could see the value in bringing Cort instead of Valgren, because he could be used tactically due to his sprint ability and has showed great climbing form this year. I doubt Skjelmose and Kron have really been considered for this.

This team is clearly selected to fit Fuglsang's ambitions, which makes sense, since he's probably the one with the best chances of winning a medal. And with only four spots, Lund can't bring too many chefs. It will be different for him, when he has to select the WC team for Belgium later this year.
Agreed. And I have higher hopes for Asgreen to contend than anyone else (other than Fuglsang), so I don't think he should be used as a helper. Both he and Valgren should attack in the zone between Fuji and Mikuni.
 
Maybe it was a bit exaggarated to call it the best team available, but I definitely think it makes sense to bring Juul. He is experienced and a good and reliable teammate both on and off the bike, even if you already have Asgreen who can do some of the same things (and better) in the team. I could see the value in bringing Cort instead of Valgren, because he could be used tactically due to his sprint ability and has showed great climbing form this year. I doubt Skjelmose and Kron have really been considered for this.

This team is clearly selected to fit Fuglsang's ambitions, which makes sense, since he's probably the one with the best chances of winning a medal. And with only four spots, Lund can't bring too many chefs. It will be different for him, when he has to select the WC team for Belgium later this year.
I have to disagree.

If he was not riding the Tour, or had not done the Giro, I might be persuaded, but arriving jetlagged in Tokyo, with 2 complete GTs in your legs, does not seem wise to me, with so many great options around.

But even so, I think on a 4-man team, bringing 2 guys that are pure Domestiques, and someone who has been off his best level for over 2 years, means you have very few tactical options.

Yes Asgreen could surprise, but according to himself, he is riding the RR solely as a Dom for Fuglsang.

For that route, with that team size, with that timing - I would have brought Fuglsang, Asgreen, Cort and then either Honore or Kron.

I'd have Asgreen to take care of Fuglsang, Cort for the early(ish) break, and Honore/Kron for when the lieutenants move in the pre-finale.

As it is now, our team is pretty much a 1 trick pony (everyone for Fuglsang), which I fear can be a disadvantage, unless Fuglsang finds the form from 2 years ago, where he can dominate everyone.
 
I have to disagree.

If he was not riding the Tour, or had not done the Giro, I might be persuaded, but arriving jetlagged in Tokyo, with 2 complete GTs in your legs, does not seem wise to me, with so many great options around.

But even so, I think on a 4-man team, bringing 2 guys that are pure Domestiques, and someone who has been off his best level for over 2 years, means you have very few tactical options.

Yes Asgreen could surprise, but according to himself, he is riding the RR solely as a Dom for Fuglsang.

For that route, with that team size, with that timing - I would have brought Fuglsang, Asgreen, Cort and then either Honore or Kron.

I'd have Asgreen to take care of Fuglsang, Cort for the early(ish) break, and Honore/Kron for when the lieutenants move in the pre-finale.

As it is now, our team is pretty much a 1 trick pony (everyone for Fuglsang), which I fear can be a disadvantage, unless Fuglsang finds the form from 2 years ago, where he can dominate everyone.
The team in Rio was also pretty much just a one trick pony and it woked out fine, although it only had three men in it (I know the course was harder, too).

I agree, that there are other tactical choices, that Lund could have considered, he probably has, but I also think the chosen strategy makes sense, but it will of course depend on how hard the route actually is, and how the race unfolds. Lund knows that Juul, Valgren and Fuglsang not only know each other quite well, but also have proved that they can work well together. And I would think Fuglsang has been consulted during the process as well, though Lund obviously had the final say.

I can't see, why Valgren wouldn't be able to play the same role as Honoré/Kron in your scenario, and I still won't rate them higher than him, especially not in a championship race, where we know Valgren usually performs at a high level, and just because Asgreen will mainly be there to help Fuglsang, it doesn't mean he could/should only be used to fetch bottles.

Juul's fitness level could be an issue, though they might not expect him to be present for long into the final anyway. It should also be noted that the IOC/UCI deadline for entry submissions is July 5th, so, though it seems very unlikely, Juul could be replaced, if he were already feeling too tired on the first rest day of the Tour.
 

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