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Tour de France 2017 Stage 13: Saint-Girons > Foix 101 km

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Re:

Durden93 said:
Few points for today: What's the consensus on Barguil? Target Giro/Vuelta GC, or stage hunt/KOM?

Contador showed real strength today, would've liked to have seen him try to go away on the final climb

Landa can win a GT if he focuses on it, even if he remains with Sky.
Sometime the idea of past Contador performances will never die.

Seriously, I thought Landa was going to drop him!!!
 
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Re: Re:

Escarabajo said:
Durden93 said:
Few points for today: What's the consensus on Barguil? Target Giro/Vuelta GC, or stage hunt/KOM?

Contador showed real strength today, would've liked to have seen him try to go away on the final climb

Landa can win a GT if he focuses on it, even if he remains with Sky.
Sometime the idea of past Contador performances will never die.

Seriously, I thought Landa was going to drop him!!!

Contador's odds of droppping Landa were low to be sure, but his odds of winning a sprint are nearly non-existent.
 
Re: Re:

Escarabajo said:
Durden93 said:
Few points for today: What's the consensus on Barguil? Target Giro/Vuelta GC, or stage hunt/KOM?

Contador showed real strength today, would've liked to have seen him try to go away on the final climb

Landa can win a GT if he focuses on it, even if he remains with Sky.
Sometime the idea of past Contador performances will never die.

Seriously, I thought Landa was going to drop him!!!
So did I so it was great to see him make it with him to the top :)
 
Meintjes just joins the ranks of bland hangers-on. At least Leipheimer's insidious wheelsucking was to a clearly understandable end given his TT prowess, whereas it appears Meintjes is just happy to have an anonymous 8th place. He graduated from the Tadej Valjavec Finishing School of GC Contention. Given that the approach is not being used to create victory through negative racing, he doesn't incite strong dislike in the way that Leipheimer did, or Gerrans more recently, but it does beg the question why anybody would ever have a reason to become invested in Louis Meintjes the GC rider. I literally can't remember anything he has done that's stuck in my memory, he's just a rider that somehow exists somewhere in the 6th to 20th area afaik. He has two GT top 10s and may be on his way to a third, but I couldn't even remember what he looked like until I looked him up on CQ just now. That's the problem - he's a rider who is good enough to produce strong performances but not strong enough to directly impact the GC, but not willing to let go.

Who do you remember from FDJ in the late 2000s, Sandy Casar? Or Stéphane Goubert?
 
Re: Re:

Leinster said:
lenric said:
SeriousSam said:
King Boonen said:
Epic stage.

Another piece of evidence pointing towards short well designed stages being good for entertainment

If they have a long, kind of hard stage before, yes.
Yup. It's not just a case of having 2-3 hour 100-120km stages every single day. The 6 hour 230km marathon stages that wear riders down also play their part. If short stages were a guarantee of entertainment, the Tour of California would be a laugh a minute.
This. You have to remember the balance. If the short stage goes before the long marathon stage, nothing happens because riders are afraid of the stage to come. Because the short stages are not so threatening, riders aren't afraid of them, so they go harder in the earlier stages, resulting in greater fatigue and greater probability of fireworks in the shorter stage.

Your options to get major action in a mountain double header work best in one of these ways:
- if the second stage is a multi-mountain odyssey, the first one should feature a finish that is steep enough that it guarantees time gaps, as otherwise concern about the difficulty of the following stage will neutralise the preceding stage. The perfect example is Zoncolan followed by Rifugio Gardeccia in the 2011 Giro.
- if the first stage is a multi-mountain odyssey, the second one should be short and sharp, so that riders do not fear it and it doesn't negate racing on the harder stage; the first stage should then open up gaps due to its difficulty, and the second will then be much harder to control as riders' legs will be much more tired. Examples such as Galibier/Alpe d'Huez in the 2011 Tour set the template, but Aubisque/Formigal in the 2016 Vuelta is another great example.

The only time a short stage of that kind has truly worked in a GT scenario without being preceded by a tougher stage has been Andalo in the 2016 Giro - and that was preceded by a rest day, and succeeded by a flat stage, so riders had the chance to recuperate before the next GC-relevant stages. Just producing a short mountain stage does not in and of itself produce great racing - just look at things like the 2017 Giro Oropa stage, a meaningless Unipuerto stage that produced very little; however they are a weapon in the course designers' arsenal that has been being used quite well of late. I'm concerned that they will go overkill on them, and this will then become the norm and then the racing will calm down as they become common rather than exceptional stages, and we'll just be left with the same racing, just on shorter courses, as before, but for the moment it's working out.
 
Re: Re:

Mayomaniac said:
Forever The Best said:
His teammates were chasing the attackers and the on the final part he was leading the maillot jaune group. So yeah, he rode to save a 10th place on GC.
I'm no sure that It was just that, there are rumours about Aru signing with them next year and maybe Martinelli asked Saronni to help a fellow Italian who wears yellow, of course they also protected his 10th place on gc.
Ah, didn't know the rumours about Aru. Thanks for it. But I don't think Aru will leave Astana if he does a top-3 in Paris.
 
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jsem94 said:
Libertine Seguros said:
Who do you remember from FDJ in the late 2000s, Sandy Casar? Or Stéphane Goubert?

Goubert didn't even ride for FDJ, how about that.
Hahahaha shows how well my memory works, or perhaps even illustrates my point since he had the better placings but I couldn't even remember seeing him enough to remember what kit he was wearing. He was Ag2r of course.
 
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Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Meintjes just joins the ranks of bland hangers-on. At least Leipheimer's insidious wheelsucking was to a clearly understandable end given his TT prowess, whereas it appears Meintjes is just happy to have an anonymous 8th place. He graduated from the Tadej Valjavec Finishing School of GC Contention. Given that the approach is not being used to create victory through negative racing, he doesn't incite strong dislike in the way that Leipheimer did, or Gerrans more recently, but it does beg the question why anybody would ever have a reason to become invested in Louis Meintjes the GC rider. I literally can't remember anything he has done that's stuck in my memory, he's just a rider that somehow exists somewhere in the 6th to 20th area afaik. He has two GT top 10s and may be on his way to a third, but I couldn't even remember what he looked like until I looked him up on CQ just now. That's the problem - he's a rider who is good enough to produce strong performances but not strong enough to directly impact the GC, but not willing to let go.

Who do you remember from FDJ in the late 2000s, Sandy Casar? Or Stéphane Goubert?
I remember Meintjes for winning the 2015 edition of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, but yeah, the one thing that I really remember about that race was Swift winning a hard stage with horrible weather.
 
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Valv.Piti said:
Benotti69 said:
Valv.Piti said:
hrotha said:
You're way off the mark. The question was, is it understandable that some fans dislike riders who are insanely conservative and add nothing to the race, and only take the initiative to make the race worse as a spectacle?

Of course Meintjes can do whatever he wants within the rules. It's legitimate. It's also dreadful and dull and it won't win over many fans.
Me and my brother legitimately got furious at Meintjens today, in a jokingly way of course. This guy add absolutely NOTHING to the race, zero, zilch, maybe 0,00000005. :p

Oh god the horror. He pisses me so much off for some reason. Other extremely conservative riders haven't done that, but that guy triggers me.

150+ others guys did not add much to the race today.
Thats a pretty bad argument, dont you think?

Nope. I am not Meintjes, dont know his motivation, dont his aims, dont know his long term goals, dont know too much about him. I see he is only 25. He might do something in the final week or maybe he is happy to do what he does and he does it for himself, not for the fans adulation, which is just as well given the slating he is getting.

Not all riders can be a Sagan, Contador, Merckx, etc etc
 
It's a strange day when Quintana and Contador can go off down the road and Sky can be happy with the consequences. Aru played it cool, since he was isolated at an early stage. However, Froome still sits in pole position with the time trial to come and Landa leapfrogs up the standings.

Great stage and I'm happy that Barguil won after coming so close in Stage 9.
 
Re:

Escarabajo said:
I remember Sandy Casar and Stéphane Goubert. Goubert was more anonymous. But Sandy Casar became an attacking rider later in his career if I am not mistaken.

The glory days of Sandy Casar, Thomas Voeckler, Sylvain Chavanel and Pierrick Fedrigo! The french spent a lot of time without GC ambitions before the Pinot, Bardet, Barguil, Rolland generation gave them hope, but attacking riders they did have in spades.
 
Re: Re:

search said:
Benotti69 said:
Not all riders can be a Sagan, Contador, Merckx, etc etc

and to be fair, there are also a lot of World (Tour) points on offer for him, his team, and South Africa as a country. It's not his fault that an 8th place in GC is worth as much as two stage wins

Yes, top ten is a very good result in a GT, particularly at the TDF. I can see why Meintjes and his team are doing what they are doing. Many other riders have ridden like this before. Zubeldia is a good example, and he is loved! But Zubeldia possibly never had situations where he had teammates left who could support him in his top ten ambitions, and combined with a scenario where a threatening rider was up the road, and where the teams of the yellow jersey and other more prominently placed GC riders either wouldn't, or couldn't do the work. I struggle to recall a stage like this where a team such as Astana were so weak.

Actually I can. Formigal last year, when Sky were rubbish. And I recall some moments there where Astana did some work despite not having anyone within a bulls roar of the podium, helping to limit the GC gains of Quintana and Contador, to the dismay of many (including me :D ). It was A) to help a rider stay in the top ten from memory, and B) potentially to win the stage (if they caught the breakaway and won the sprint). Is this another point that UAE could put forward, or is Meintjes no better than Contador and Landa in a sprint?

Most riders will ride to the best of their capabilities. Some can go for top 3 in GC, some for sprint stages, some for breakaway stages, some for KOM, some for top 10 GC. Meintjes simply falls into this final category. As have so many other riders in the past, but they admirably - yes, admirably - fight to stay as high up in the general classification as possible anonymously, as they usually don't have a strong team, and there are usually other strong teams in the race. If UAE didn't work yesterday than maybe they lose four minutes to the breakaway, leaving Meintjes further behind Landa and Quintana in GC (and why not try and stay as close as possible to those guys, they could have a bad day in the Alps). It would simply have been a stupid decision to not send his teammates to the front at that time, when he had them at his disposal just waiting to be of assistance.

I WANTED Contador to gain more time (I still dream of a potential podium, hey why not?!), but it is what it is. Of course for Alberto to have a realistic shot at a high gc finish he needed to not crack late on stage 12, or blow up so much on Chat.

Most guys in all forms of life will do what they want to do, will do what is best for them. That is something that I love about professional cycling, its light and its darkness, almost in equal measure, bringing with it many metaphors for life itself.

Meintjes doing what he is doing....would anyone else not do that if they had the same level of talent and opportunity? Some might not, but most would do exactly the same. It's a little like the outcry when a somewhat alpha male cheats on his woman, usually with someone younger and more physically attractive. He has the opportunity....
 
Re: Re:

[/quote]Sky's tactics from now on would seem to be pretty straightforward. Landa gets free reign to attack wherever, and whenever he chooses, with whomever as long as his co-escapees are behind both him and Froome on GC. It is then up to Aru, Uran, Bardet, Martin etc to chase Landa. Froome can follow wheels, and Kwiatkowski, Nieve et al can make sure he is well fed, watered, and sheltered from the breeze.

If nobody chases Landa, Landa gains 2-3 minutes over the Galibier and Izoard, and Sky win the Tour. If everybody chases Landa, Froome sits in their wheels remaining 6s behind Aru on GC, puts a minute-plus into everyone in the Marseille TT, and Sky win the Tour.

If Aru still had Fuglsang to help, this would be a race, but unless the non-Sky teams in the top 5 come to some arrangement, Team Brailsford has this locked up.[/quote]

I agree with this, but what happens if Landa is thirty seconds up the road 7 kms from the top of the Galibier, and Froome has lost all of his other teammates, and then begins to dangle off the back of the group containing the other favourites? Does Mikel then get called back (assuming he is still 'plugged' in :D ) by the DS? For me it is hard to see a situation where Landa gets 100% freedom, unless Froome is so bad that he still has another teammate for company, which would be very much like with Ullrich struggling in the Pyrenees in 2004 and having Guerrini to guide him, therefore allowing Kloden (thankfully!) to ride his own race up ahead. This could happen with Landa, but it's highly unlikely.
 
Re: Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Leinster said:
lenric said:
SeriousSam said:
King Boonen said:
Epic stage.

Another piece of evidence pointing towards short well designed stages being good for entertainment

If they have a long, kind of hard stage before, yes.
Yup. It's not just a case of having 2-3 hour 100-120km stages every single day. The 6 hour 230km marathon stages that wear riders down also play their part. If short stages were a guarantee of entertainment, the Tour of California would be a laugh a minute.
This. You have to remember the balance. If the short stage goes before the long marathon stage, nothing happens because riders are afraid of the stage to come. Because the short stages are not so threatening, riders aren't afraid of them, so they go harder in the earlier stages, resulting in greater fatigue and greater probability of fireworks in the shorter stage.

Your options to get major action in a mountain double header work best in one of these ways:
- if the second stage is a multi-mountain odyssey, the first one should feature a finish that is steep enough that it guarantees time gaps, as otherwise concern about the difficulty of the following stage will neutralise the preceding stage. The perfect example is Zoncolan followed by Rifugio Gardeccia in the 2011 Giro.
- if the first stage is a multi-mountain odyssey, the second one should be short and sharp, so that riders do not fear it and it doesn't negate racing on the harder stage; the first stage should then open up gaps due to its difficulty, and the second will then be much harder to control as riders' legs will be much more tired. Examples such as Galibier/Alpe d'Huez in the 2011 Tour set the template, but Aubisque/Formigal in the 2016 Vuelta is another great example.

The only time a short stage of that kind has truly worked in a GT scenario without being preceded by a tougher stage has been Andalo in the 2016 Giro - and that was preceded by a rest day, and succeeded by a flat stage, so riders had the chance to recuperate before the next GC-relevant stages. Just producing a short mountain stage does not in and of itself produce great racing - just look at things like the 2017 Giro Oropa stage, a meaningless Unipuerto stage that produced very little; however they are a weapon in the course designers' arsenal that has been being used quite well of late. I'm concerned that they will go overkill on them, and this will then become the norm and then the racing will calm down as they become common rather than exceptional stages, and we'll just be left with the same racing, just on shorter courses, as before, but for the moment it's working out.

As always LS, some great points about course design here.

The additional factor on whether the short mountainous stage works is personnel. The key ingredient in pretty much all of these instances is Alberto Contador. Alp 2011, Formigal 2016, now yesterday's stage to Foix. Even those short stages that were just as spectacular into Nice at the end of a hard week's racing.

Maybe this type of stage doesn't work at all when there is no Contador? It will be interesting to see.
 
Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
Meintjes just joins the ranks of bland hangers-on. At least Leipheimer's insidious wheelsucking was to a clearly understandable end given his TT prowess, whereas it appears Meintjes is just happy to have an anonymous 8th place. He graduated from the Tadej Valjavec Finishing School of GC Contention. Given that the approach is not being used to create victory through negative racing, he doesn't incite strong dislike in the way that Leipheimer did, or Gerrans more recently, but it does beg the question why anybody would ever have a reason to become invested in Louis Meintjes the GC rider. I literally can't remember anything he has done that's stuck in my memory, he's just a rider that somehow exists somewhere in the 6th to 20th area afaik. He has two GT top 10s and may be on his way to a third, but I couldn't even remember what he looked like until I looked him up on CQ just now. That's the problem - he's a rider who is good enough to produce strong performances but not strong enough to directly impact the GC, but not willing to let go.

Who do you remember from FDJ in the late 2000s, Sandy Casar? Or Stéphane Goubert?

Pro sports is a job and he's fulfilling his contract, he's earning a good wage by doing what he's doing so I really don't see what's the issue, who needs to be remembered? He's got food on the table and a stable career, why should he change what he's doing to please people, plenty of athletes like in any other profession are performing a task to earn a wage, heroic or inspiring it's not but it keeps his head above water. I work in a job that puts food in my belly, I have pride in my work but I find my inspiration and fulfilment in places outside of that space.
 
Re: Re:

I agree with this, but what happens if Landa is thirty seconds up the road 7 kms from the top of the Galibier, and Froome has lost all of his other teammates, and then begins to dangle off the back of the group containing the other favourites? Does Mikel then get called back (assuming he is still 'plugged' in :D ) by the DS? For me it is hard to see a situation where Landa gets 100% freedom, unless Froome is so bad that he still has another teammate for company, which would be very much like with Ullrich struggling in the Pyrenees in 2004 and having Guerrini to guide him, therefore allowing Kloden (thankfully!) to ride his own race up ahead. This could happen with Landa, but it's highly unlikely.
Exactly. I still don't buy that Sky management welcomed Landa's going off the front yesterday. I think he was freelancing and they found a way to put a positive spin on it and, for them, thankfully Froome was as strong as anyone else in the MJ group. But...For Sky, Froome HAS to win, barring injury or some kind of obvious physical meltdown. I am sure Sky's DSs are sweating bullets right now.

It's situations like this -- arguing about all the possible outcomes and implications -- that keep me interested in cycling despite all the clinic stuff!
 

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