Tour de France 2020 | Stage 15 (Lyon - Grand Colombier, 174.5 km)

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Find it very hard to see how Pogacar can dislodge Roglic tbh, unless Jumbo are gonna make the big mistake of making the race hard on Col de la Loze.

In fact I do think they have the option of putting Dumoulin back in contention in some stage 16-18 raid and force Pogacar to chase.

But then they Jumbo they wont do that.
Wouldn't that be like what Sky could have done with Landa in 2017 to Foix when he got away with Contador.

Only they kind of chased him down?
 
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One of the worst Grand Tours in living memory
There seems to be a little impatience with the action in this Tour. I don't know if it's because expectations around everyone's personal favorites aren't being met or they don't like who is dominant. Either way; this Tour and other races are going to be different as everyone that races had to adjust to the Covid schedule. It's clear Ineos over-controlled their guys and miss-timed their peak. Bernal looks cooked like he just finished another 3 week race that he also lost. When Ineos are all dropped and Bahrain has 3 guys still in the last Kms of a brutal stage who would you blame for that? Not Jumbo, we'd hope.
Today's stage showed everyone was shredded including the top 2 guys. Maybe it's not the drama you hoped for but this is modern GC preparation and racing. These guys know their numbers and when they exceed them the weak fade slowly off pace. That, and most all of them have crashed at least twice and are still hammering each other.
Critics need to get their own experience past a Cat 4 license and put in a hilly 3 day stage race. See how it goes and you might relate somewhat to this level of racing. Somewhat. It's light years beyond most folks capability.
 
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As much as I’d love to see a few big attacks from the podium chasers to try and win the GC, I think there is an obvious reason no one attacked today. They just aren’t strong enough. Yates gave a go and was easily reeled in by TJV.

Except for Pogačar everyone looks like they are at the limit. I don’t think the course is dictating how it’s raced, rather Rog and Pog (and TJV) are dictating how it’s raced.
 
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This might not be the toughest side of Grand Colombier, sure, but there is plenty about that climb that gives opportunities for attacking before the last 300m. Loads of steeper stretches all over the climb. It's no worse for attacking than, say, Madeleine North or Port de Balès, and a lot better than a lot of bigger but more consistent ascents.
The problem seems to be that the last 6k aren't very steep overall, then the last 500m have double-digit gradients again so a strong team can ride a high tempo and catch a rider if he attacks, if he then manages to stay with the group they can distance him on the last meters. That of course only works if you have very good support riders.
 
As much as I’d love to see a few big attacks from the podium chasers to try and win the GC, I think there is an obvious reason no one attacked today. They just aren’t strong enough. Yates gave a go and was easily reeled in by TJV.

Except for Pogačar everyone looks like they are at the limit. I don’t think the course is dictating how it’s raced, rather Rog and Pog (and TJV) are dictating how it’s raced.
Everyone who's following is always "at their limit". Twelve guys are all strong enough to stay with the pace but not strong enough to do anything else? They're all absolutely identical strength? This is just a crutch used to let people off negative mindset racing. Louis Meintjes made a career out of having that perfect level of strength, not enough to do a turn but enough to respond to everything. It's just not realistic when the group gets that big. I can buy it if you're tailing a group of 3 or 4, but when you've got 10 to 12, or even like in stage 6, 40 guys all riding in the wheel just happy to be there, I'm not buying that each and every one of them is at their absolute limit and unable to do anything more.

A lot of people probably weren't at their limit but because Jumbo still had three men there, they didn't dare attack because they'd be pulled back by Kuss and then Roglič would still be fresh.

The other factor to consider there is that if everybody was at their absolute limit but not being dropped by the tempo Dumoulin was setting, then the tempo Dumoulin was setting wasn't enough to drop them, in which case expend him as a match, and let Kuss set the pace to get rid of some of them. Then Rogla has fewer people to think about. They'd still be outnumbering every other team in the group, but they'd be gaining more. It's even a steep mountain, so Kuss might even consider it worthwhile to ride! It's not like they can use the excuse they used to justify their timidness on stage 6 this time either, because today is a rest day.
One of the worst Grand Tours in living memory
We are headed deep into Giro 2012 territory as things stand, yes, but let's remember that the 2011 Tour only woke up from its stupor after the second rest day, and people somehow keep forgetting that the first two weeks of that were absolute dreck - everybody suddenly realised that basically they had a Dauphiné to compete for that would pay them a Tour de France maillot jaune, and went about racing it. Hopefully the same thing can happen this year. I'm not counting on it but the chances are still there.
 
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Nicolas Roche said the Jumbo train hurts more than the Ineos/Sky train ever did. He said the Ineos/Sky tactic was to stay in control, while the difference is Jumbo is also riding to win the stage a lot of times, making the pace even higher and harder than in the Ineos years.
 
Nicolas Roche said the Jumbo train hurts more than the Ineos/Sky train ever did. He said the Ineos/Sky tactic was to stay in control, while the difference is Jumbo is also riding to win the stage a lot of times, making the pace even higher and harder than in the Ineos years.
I’d agree with him mostly, but not on the stages where Froome pushed for time like Ventoux/Ax-3/Saint-Martin. Once Sky had yellow they kept it very defensive and didn’t waste excess energy.
 
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Come on, this Tour ain't that bad. I've been sleeping through the Indurain/Armstrong/Froome years. At least there is suspense about who will win the Tour, it's not a procession to Paris like with the aforementioned three gentlemen. We have seen a few exciting attacks from far out (hello Hirschi). And I'm sure we have an exciting Roglic Pogacar fight coming in the last week. For a Tour this ain't too bad, whoever says this is a very subpar Tour takes the freedom to forget about the abovementioned three gentlemen and their teams who have been smothering so many Tours in utter boredom.
 
Everyone who's following is always "at their limit". Twelve guys are all strong enough to stay with the pace but not strong enough to do anything else? They're all absolutely identical strength? This is just a crutch used to let people off negative mindset racing. Louis Meintjes made a career out of having that perfect level of strength, not enough to do a turn but enough to respond to everything. It's just not realistic when the group gets that big. I can buy it if you're tailing a group of 3 or 4, but when you've got 10 to 12, or even like in stage 6, 40 guys all riding in the wheel just happy to be there, I'm not buying that each and every one of them is at their absolute limit and unable to do anything more.

A lot of people probably weren't at their limit but because Jumbo still had three men there, they didn't dare attack because they'd be pulled back by Kuss and then Roglič would still be fresh.

The other factor to consider there is that if everybody was at their absolute limit but not being dropped by the tempo Dumoulin was setting, then the tempo Dumoulin was setting wasn't enough to drop them, in which case expend him as a match, and let Kuss set the pace to get rid of some of them. Then Rogla has fewer people to think about. They'd still be outnumbering every other team in the group, but they'd be gaining more. It's even a steep mountain, so Kuss might even consider it worthwhile to ride! It's not like they can use the excuse they used to justify their timidness on stage 6 this time either, because today is a rest day.

We are headed deep into Giro 2012 territory as things stand, yes, but let's remember that the 2011 Tour only woke up from its stupor after the second rest day, and people somehow keep forgetting that the first two weeks of that were absolute dreck - everybody suddenly realised that basically they had a Dauphiné to compete for that would pay them a Tour de France maillot jaune, and went about racing it. Hopefully the same thing can happen this year. I'm not counting on it but the chances are still there.
I would even say that the first two weeks of this Tour were better than the first two weeks in 2011. We've had some genuinely great stages and the GC stages have been relatively similar. At least this year guys can use Jumbo as an excuse for not attacking; in 2011 they had no excuses.

I do doubt, however, that the final week will be anywhere near as good. But it's possible.
 
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So far, this Tour has mainly been about shredding contenders. Most of the contenders have already fallen by the wayside: Bernal, Quintana, Pinot, Bardet, Dumoulin (who kind of kamikaze'd by starting to dom when it wasn't asked of him), Mollema, Alaphilippe, and Froome Thomas Kruijswijk even before the Tour.
And now it comes down to a showdown between the Slovenians. Looking forward to it. Think Pogacar stands a real chance as he seems to be the better climber, JV can't drop him and he might drop Roglic in the high mountains.
 
People fantasizing, on how GT cyclist should initiate long rage attacks, to win a GT race. Well, get over it.

Cycling changed.
What constitutes "long range" in your opinion?

I don't think Purito on Stelvio in 2012 counts as long range (in fact delaying the attack so long cost him the race), but it was further out than anybody moved yesterday. I think there is a balance between expecting people to attack on the first climb of the day and accepting a level of passivity such that the whole GC bunch rides together until the last 300m.

While cycling has undoubtedly changed in favour of more conservative riding, there are still a number of Grand Tours in recent memory that have been settled by genuine long range attacks by GT cyclists to win a GT race. It still happens. After all, there's the 2012 Vuelta, 2016 Vuelta, the 2018 Giro, the 2019 Giro and the 2019 Tour to consider. While I agree it's much less likely to succeed in the Tour than in the Vuelta or Giro, expecting more than 700m of action from a stage with the profile of stage 15 this year is hardly asking for the world. Especially with a rest day the following day, negating the usual reason for such passivity on a stage of that nature where fear of paying for the effort on an upcoming stage can stifle racing.
 
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What constitutes "long range" in your opinion?
Some people still live in the cycling era, where favorites initiated long range attacks, could gain massive amount of time, could still afford a bad day ... In my opinion you don't win GT races racing like that anymore. If the competition is good. Yesterday, the peloton wasn't passive. It was on the contrary very active and in survival mode. You can't drop Ineos and Quintana and say the racing was passive. Individuals attacking, during the last climb, that would be a GC suicide, yesterday. You need to be patient, like Pogačar, taking the win, bonus seconds, or to wait for better opportunities and hang on, stay relevant.

There's really a bunch of guys who could have made the podium who were taken out by crashes shortly before or during the Tour.
Competition in this year Tour edition is fierce.

P.S. Week 3 likely will result in some (remaining) favorites going all in. Experienced guys know that, to not do that before week 3, if not absolutely needed, to stay relevant.
 
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What constitutes "long range" in your opinion?

I don't think Purito on Stelvio in 2012 counts as long range (in fact delaying the attack so long cost him the race), but it was further out than anybody moved yesterday. I think there is a balance between expecting people to attack on the first climb of the day and accepting a level of passivity such that the whole GC bunch rides together until the last 300m.

While cycling has undoubtedly changed in favour of more conservative riding, there are still a number of Grand Tours in recent memory that have been settled by genuine long range attacks by GT cyclists to win a GT race. It still happens. After all, there's the 2012 Vuelta, 2016 Vuelta, the 2018 Giro, the 2019 Giro and the 2019 Tour to consider. While I agree it's much less likely to succeed in the Tour than in the Vuelta or Giro, expecting more than 700m of action from a stage with the profile of stage 15 this year is hardly asking for the world. Especially with a rest day the following day, negating the usual reason for such passivity on a stage of that nature where fear of paying for the effort on an upcoming stage can stifle racing.
I still believe that he lost it on Pampeago a day earlier.

Also, in any of these races won by attacking from far wasn't a team as good as Jumbo now...
 
Some people still live in the cycling era, where favorites initiated long range attacks, could gain massive amount of time, could still afford a bad day ... In my opinion you don't win GT races racing like that anymore. If the competition is good. Yesterday, the peloton wasn't passive. It was on the contrary very active and in survival mode. You can't drop Ineos and Quintana and say the racing was passive. Individuals attacking, during the last climb, that would be a GC suicide, yesterday. You need to be patient, like Pogačar, taking the win, bonus seconds, or to wait for better opportunities and hang on, stay relevant.



Competition in this year Tour edition is fierce.

P.S. Week 3 likely will result in some (remaining) favorites going all in. Experienced guys know that, to not do that before week 3, if not absolutely needed, to stay relevant.
So what you're saying is, if you see a stage with a HC MTF, watch the last five minutes and you're golden. It's a sprint stage but with a slower sprint. Gotcha. Hell, the entire race is metaphorically a sprint, the first two weeks is just everybody jockeying for the correct wheel in the leadouut.

Twelve people in a group being led by a guy who wasn't even his team's last man. You can say "oh, it was the record time on Grand-Colombier" but it's never been an MTF outside of in the Tour de l'Ain before, so I don't think that stat is particularly relevant because this is clearly a higher calibre field on stronger targeted form. You don't think Kuss could have raised the tempo if asked? If Rogla couldn't go any faster (which I doubt given his sprint) then not one rider thought to test that out until 300m from the line? You know that you can make moves that aren't intended as a long range hit for home, just to test out who is responding well and who isn't, after all we saw a bit of that on Peyresourde. It could even just be a 15-20 second attack just to see what Kuss' role is - seeing as he's sat behind the Maillot Jaune, is he comfortable and tasked with chasing people down or is he just in the group bluffing to dissuade others because he can't go faster than Tommy D, but if Jumbo still have 3 in the group people will fear him? If you're lucky, you either inject pace that drops Dumoulin temporarily, or Kuss genuinely is bluffing and it's easier to isolate the leader. And if it turns out they're fine, you drop back and settle in again knowing that the pace they're setting is genuine rather than a Col de la Lusette joke pace.

We now have a generation of GC riders who've never known anything other than sitting behind a train and waiting to be dropped, so this kind of thing seemingly never occurs to them. Unless we literally have a dozen riders whose exact limits in terms of pace they can withstand are the same - and that pace is exactly the same as Dumoulin's. We're at a point where the second most aggressive GC rider in the entire race is Richie Porte. How in sam hell has it come to this?
 

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