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

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Exactly. All those longe range attacks were performed either by a rider from the strongest team or in a race where no team was superior. Here, the leader of the strongest team is in some sort of control and anyone else trying would just blow up and lose minutes.
 
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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?
Or you have a HC where the final 6km are such that they can get a gap on Dumoulin, even sit on his wheel just below their limit, but they sure as hell can't ride away from Dumoulin. That's a very big difference.

Just because it was a HC climb doesn't mean it is a great climb for every single race situation. The only one who potentially had the legs to attack the full Jumbo train early was Pogacar. He was also the one with the most to lose.

Yesterday being a shambles race was a lot more logical than Val Thorens or Tourmalet last year (excluding Movistar shenanigans). Col de Lusette is the big mystery of this Tour, not the GC.
 
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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.
Well on stage 9 a long range attack from 25km out happened among the GC contenders. Also the jump from Pogačar on the Peyresourde could be considered a long range attack. And I'm sure there will be a couple of attempts in the third week.

But the reality is riders today consider long range attacks only as a last resource. They try to hang on as long as possible with the best and only if they lose minutes, only then they consider those attacks from far out.

See Quintana. He knew at the beginning of the race he'd have to take at least a couple of minutes to Roglič before the final ITT if he wants to have a chance at a win. Forget his crash now. Even before that, on Peyresourde for example. He looked good following the Slovenian duo when they attacked but that's all he did. Then he continued following wheels till the last 300m when he did a little jump but it was too little too late. Now, after he lost minutes on the Grand Colombier, I am sure he'll try to attack from long range.

Look at Landa and Lopez. They usually attack in the mountains because they usually lose time early, be it for a crash or because they lose time in the windy stages or in the ITT. In this Tour the've kept relatively close to the leader in GC and they haven't tried to attack ONCE. This is unbelievable. Not one attack from Landa nor Lopez.

And yet people complain about Jumbo's and Roglič's tactics when they are the one executing a plan they've been planning for the last 3 years. It's up to the others who are behind to attack. I'm 100% sure that if Roglič was in MAL's or Landa's or Uran's place right now he'd have attacked multiple times already. It's in his mentality. He rides in this way because he has to. He is not a level above everybody else on the climbs like Froome and Contador were in their peak days, so he has to ride more defensively. Although the above mentioned Contador and Froome were great defensive riders. They usually hit with one big punch and then played it defensively the rest of the way.
 
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I agree with LS, that there are sound tactical reasons for someone to attack at the moment, but equally, if you think Jumbo are strong, it might make more sense to let someone else attack instead, as most of the riders were happy to do when they watched Yates burn off Bennett.

Fundamentally, if the best rider has the lead and the best team, then the racing is always going to be pretty controlled, with the only real hope that the leader has a bad day (and that when he has a bad day, the other riders work out that the pace is false, and punish them)

My real hope is that everyone outside the top 4 have had better placings in previous years of the Tour, so should be willing to take risks now their top ten is pretty secure. MAL is close to a podium, Uran has come second in the past, and Pogacar might be the strongest rider in the race. I think everyone bar Roglic is looking up the standings and seeing what they can gain, rather than protecting what they've lost.

I'm actually much more hopeful than usual that we'll see proper attacks in the final couple of stages.
 
Remember Peyresourde was a descent finish though, so the attack wasn't especially long range in terms of the actual obstacles - 2km from the top of the last climb of the day isn't really long range, though, unless that climb is situated far enough away from the finish for it to become a gamble, which on this occasion it most definitely wasn't as they were descending almost right to the line. That's pretty standard fare, I'd say. Peyresourde was good action because people were trying for most of the climb, rather than sitting in until the last 300m of it. But there have also been multiple times where Rogla has used his domestiques, responded to attacks...then sat back and let everybody else come back. You mention how Contador and Froome would hit with one big punch and play it defensively - and that'd be fine, except Roglič hasn't even really thrown a good punch yet. He's got himself ahead on points and is now content to clinch and jab. And no, that isn't really his fault - so long as nobody wants to attack him he's not beholden to waste his energy. It's just unbelievably passive - he has had multiple opportunities to gain time he has passed up, and everybody else has been content to not really try to gain the time they've lost back, save for one guy who is at least throwing a few jabs if nothing more.

On the plus side, though, unless something big happens on the Col de la Loze, this race might result in a shift away from the MTF obsession and towards a better balance with multi-col stages and different types of finish in mountain stages, because the better mountain stages have been the ones without the big MTF.
 
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Let's look at it another way....

Stage 15 was fairly decisive in the GC, on the GC. Third place gone, kaput, barring a miracle. Another top tenner gone too. Well, as good as.

And they didn't just lose time. They lost huge time. Regardless of their physical issues that contributed to that loss, if the stage wasn't that tough, they probably wouldn't have lost that time.

And with the rest day maybe even recovered.

Now, stage 16. Doesn't look all that tough, but maybe that can help attackers (stage 17 doesn't help though, obviously)? Say 40 riders get to that penultimate 11km @6.5% climb. What if Landa or Porte or Yates or Lopez attack, and attack hard? If they have the legs, does it matter how many Jumbots are there if nobody but Roglic can match that pace? Because he won't try to go with any of those guys that far out, at least not initially. He'll ride to the pace of his domestiques.

IF Dumoulin is as strong as that attacker, then the race has no hope. But what if he isn't?
 
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.
Ever tried to attack uphill when the pace says you're riding at 95% FTP for 30 minutes already, and settle back from 120% FTP attack mode to 95% FTP mode?

You'll probably have some time to figure out if the pace setting is genuine, after you got dropped from that foolish attack. Analysing racing tactics from your long chair is easy. Most of the hard races are begin fought at the end of the peloton or group where the gaps occur and riders get dropped. Not the front where the pace is too high to do any meaningful attack.
I've made more front groups in hard, technical races where riders couldn't keep the wheel, rather than making the break because of attacks from close to the front. That only works when the pace drops, not when the pace is set high.
 
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So what you're saying is ...
Roglič likely made a tactical mistake and should have let Kuss pull a bit longer.

As for your reasoning and conclusions. There isn't much there to not agree with. Maybe we could nitpick about the final conclusion, if being negative about it is the right and fair approach. In my opinion it isn't, as this is how you win GTs these days. If this wouldn't be the way, then i am sure that Roglič would have mastered that other way. Sure, they make it seem easy, but easy it is not. You basically need to step in the center, at the day one, can't have a bad day, through the entire race, the team will get you to the battlefield, you still need to win the battle, mano a mano style, one after another, and we actually did get to see a long range attack yesterday ...

P.S. Young Tyson looked very impressive in the ring, that is what masses instantly fall in love with, said that, what Ali did, in that rumble ... that is legendary too.
 
But there have also been multiple times where Rogla has used his domestiques, responded to attacks...then sat back and let everybody else come back. You mention how Contador and Froome would hit with one big punch and play it defensively - and that'd be fine, except Roglič hasn't even really thrown a good punch yet. He's got himself ahead on points and is now content to clinch and jab.
That's why I said he's not on peak Froome or Contador level going uphill. Do you really expect Roglič to attack, get clear of anybody else and gain 30s? I bet if I ask here or in general cycling fans who the better climber is between Landa and Roglič, Quintana and Roglič, Lopez and Roglič, Bernal and Roglič, the vast majority wouldn't choose Roglič as an option. Yet we expect a lesser climber (Roglič) to attack better climbers on the climbs. All that with him being ahead of them in GC and having an ITT option the last day where he could possibly gain minutes. That doesn't make sense.

One more thing in Roglič's defense. Since he started riding Grand Tours with the goal to take the overall win, he's been the man to beat since the beginning. It happened in the Giro 2019, in the Vuelta 2019 and in the Tour 2020. All that even though he never podiumed a GT before the Giro, never won a GT before the Vuelta and never podiumed in the Tour before this year's TdF. And yet he was always seen as the rider everybody else was going to base their racing on. When you are in this kind of position/situation you need to adapt your racing style. You can't attack left and right, you can't follow every attack, you need to preserve as much energy as possible to be ready in the third week when the all or nothing attacks begin.

All of the above of course if you are in a position where you'd like to be. Roglič and Jumbo right now are in a position they like. After the second ITT in the 2019 Giro they were in a position they liked and in 2019 Vuelta aftet the ITT the same. But remember, before in the same Vuelta he attacked on stage 2 on hilly terrain with Quintana, Uran, Roche among others to get back the time he lost because of the crash in the TTT the day before.

If we go back to the Tour 2018 where Roglič was more of a "free lancer", in a situation in which for example Lopez is right now. He was without a doubt the most attacking GC rider in the last two weeks of that Tour. He made a solo attack in the stage to Mende and made multiple attacks on the climbs and descents in the last two mountain stages.

It's all about different perspectives and different situations. I agree that of the 12 riders who were behind Dumoulin in the last km yesterday, all of them weren't completely on the limit. Some of them should have attacked. The problem is that they are afraid of losing more time if the attack doesn't succeed. All of the riders left competing for a high GC place would be happy with a podium spot except for Roglič right now. It's rare to have that kind of mentality when only winning matters to you. In todays peloton I think those are the GC riders who think like this: Nibali, Froome, Roglič, Bernal and Dumoulin. I think Pogačar and Evenepoel are on the right path but it's too soon to have them on that short list of champions. But what do those five riders have in common? They have already won a lot. That's why they aren't afraid of losing. That's why also I don't blame those guys who would be happy for a podium spot or a top5. For Lopez or Landa for example a 3rd place would be their top career achievement. If they achieve that this year, you can be sure they'll aim for more next year.
 
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That's the thing that makes attacking riders interesting and that's why they are usually liked: They have something to lose, but they attack anyway. They are taking the risk for the (sometimes very small) chance to get something bigger.
Someone who attacks when he knows for sure he's the strongest is... well, not his fault, but not exactly a hero to me.

I think we can adress all of this way better when the Tour is over. But all this talk about the third week... I'm sure tomorrow no GC action will happen. 20 and 21 are out when it comes to attacking. Break or some kind of bunch sprint in Champagnole. 18: no, probably not.
Really, the way I see it, we have one GC stage left, apart from the time trial.
So, basically, one chance left for anyone who does not rely on the time trial (and others dropping out trough crashes) alone.
 
Roglic is not obliged to attack as he has a TT to come where he is the strongest except for Dumoulin. Also there is the Giro lesson where he was strong in the beginning and lost time in the 3rd week. I think his team told him to only do what was necessary. As far as the others go, other than Bernal or Quintana, it was never expected that they would challenge as seen from their earlier performances. Has Uran really challenged any body in a long time? Pogachar is a nice surprise but he is inexperienced and has weak team. Stage 15 was the end.
The backend TT is bad. If the TT is in the first /second week then the others have no option but to attack from long range. Mikel Landa did it in the Giro 2019 against Roglic for a 4th position but is not doing it here inspite of being lower.
Bad news is that no matter what the parcours, it is the riders that make the race.
 
Pogačar is focused now, on getting maillot jaune, talks openly about it. Some other favorites are still not that far away, for it to be impossible. A whole week of racing ahead, hardest stages. Likely still a bloodbath ahead. For example, from Roglič perspective, you likely don't want a well rested Pogačar on Col de la Loze. On the other hand you likely don't want to do too much, and gift bonifications ...

The race is still open, from controlling, attacking, tactical ... points of view. Just like a proper GT should be in week 3.
 
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That's why I said he's not on peak Froome or Contador level going uphill. Do you really expect Roglič to attack, get clear of anybody else and gain 30s? I bet if I ask here or in general cycling fans who the better climber is between Landa and Roglič, Quintana and Roglič, Lopez and Roglič, Bernal and Roglič, the vast majority wouldn't choose Roglič as an option. Yet we expect a lesser climber (Roglič) to attack better climbers on the climbs. All that with him being ahead of them in GC and having an ITT option the last day where he could possibly gain minutes. That doesn't make sense.
Well, is he really the lesser climber? He sure wasn't at Orcières-Merlette, for much of the Dauphiné and for most of the Pyrenées. When he got away with Pogačar and Quintana and was clearly among the strongest, easily responding when others were suffering, a bit of mutual cooperation and you've eliminated some people from contention who are now within striking distance. By being in the best position to profit, sure, he can afford to sit in if he doesn't feel so good. He certainly looked like he could have gained more on stages 8 and 9 than he did (and who would ever know about stage 6), but maybe he was bluffing I guess. But if he could have gained more time and he ends up losing the GC, either to the guy he comfortably followed then let go, or to one of the several guys who he was putting into difficulty but then sat up and let back into the group, he'll rue it forever.

There are two theories - both of which have value - about how to play from a position like Roglič has in a long-form stage race. You can try not to expend your energy early on so as to try to hold on to your form longer - or you can use your earlier strength to race aggressively in the first half of the race in order to build a gap that you can then look to manage in the second half of the race. Both can work, and both can backfire.

Take, for example, the first approach. Andy Schleck in 2011 is a great example of this. He was too afraid of the back to back mountain stages late in the race to risk it all earlier on, and in the end he didn't gain enough in the mountains early, was forced to race from deep and then lost the race in the ITT at the end because he hadn't built a sufficient advantage to take advantage where he held the cards. By contrast, Simon Yates in 2018 is the counter-example, as he raced a maverick, swashbuckling aggressive race from the front winning stages and looking like every bit the champion, but by week 3 chinks started to show in his armour as those repeated aggressive moves added up, and in the end he blew up spectacularly late in the race and didn't even finish top 10. Now, Andy was recompensed for his style with a podium and a stage, and Yates was recompensed for his with nearly two weeks in the maglia rosa and three stage wins. Given the form he looked to have in week 1, the fact Roglič's lead is so precarious and so many people are this close in the GC is testament that he has either raced extremely cautiously or has bluffed extremely well that he is stronger than he is, though not sure to what end that would be as it might embolden rivals who must surely feel that given how strong he has looked, surely they shouldn't still be so close, so maybe he's not as good as he seems. But that relies on them still having pretensions of victory and I'm sure only a couple of them have genuine pretensions of winning this race, most of them are hoping for things to fall into place for them.
It's all about different perspectives and different situations. I agree that of the 12 riders who were behind Dumoulin in the last km yesterday, all of them weren't completely on the limit. Some of them should have attacked. The problem is that they are afraid of losing more time if the attack doesn't succeed. All of the riders left competing for a high GC place would be happy with a podium spot except for Roglič right now. It's rare to have that kind of mentality when only winning matters to you. In todays peloton I think those are the GC riders who think like this: Nibali, Froome, Roglič, Bernal and Dumoulin. I think Pogačar and Evenepoel are on the right path but it's too soon to have them on that short list of champions. But what do those five riders have in common? They have already won a lot. That's why they aren't afraid of losing. That's why also I don't blame those guys who would be happy for a podium spot or a top5. For Lopez or Landa for example a 3rd place would be their top career achievement. If they achieve that this year, you can be sure they'll aim for more next year.
But the problem is, only 3 riders can finish on the podium. There were 12 there, of whom probably 9 have ambitions of finishing on the podium, yes? Maybe 8. I'm assuming Kuss and Bilbao are straight up domestiques, while Dumoulin and Valverde are close-ish but aren't a realistic GC threat plus have teammates they could throw their weight behind and at least in Dumoulin's case, will be expected to. Roglič, you correctly identify, is under no obligation to attack, because the status quo suits him. So you've then got 7-8 riders vying for 2 spots. I just got the impression everybody above Bernal and Quintana on the GC were happy with the status quo because they were in the best positions, and those behind Bernal and Quintana on the GC felt like they didn't need any more because they were already going to be moving up in the GC. I don't see 7-8 guys fighting to podium. I see 7-8 guys, most of whom simply want to be in the top 10, and if they get any more than that because misfortune befalls others, it's a bonus.
 
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Let's put Roglič's position in a more simplified way.

He has the choice to stick when he wants, and twist when he wants, to an extent no other riders in the race have, because if nobody does anything to him, then in order to win, at present, he need do nothing. I feel that I would regret it more if I had the legs to win but didn't because I didn't use them, than if I ran out of gas after working hard to build a lead with the strength I had, and didn't have enough to hold on. Better to regret something you have done than something you haven't done.

But maybe that's just the Butthole Surfers fan in me talking.
 
Pogačar is focused now, on getting maillot jaune, talks openly about it. Some other favorites are still not that far away, for it to be impossible. A whole week of racing ahead, hardest stages. Likely still a bloodbath ahead. For example, from Roglič perspective, you likely don't want a well rested Pogačar on Col de la Loze. On the other hand you likely don't want to do too much, and gift bonifications ...

The race is still open, from controlling, attacking, tactical ... points of view. Just like a proper GT should be in week 3.
Expecting anything from Uran, Porte, Landa, Yates and Lopez is really a moot point. They are just hanging in there and trying to limit their losses. Their teams are expecting some results out of this Tour which makes it even worse. JV eliminated the only 2 guys that had the talent to attack them, unfortunately. The other one eliminated himself in the first mountain stage.

Let's hope for a great battle between Pogacar and Roglic. And not 500 m sprints after 3000-4000 m of climbing. LOL.
 
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Exactly. All those longe range attacks were performed either by a rider from the strongest team or in a race where no team was superior. Here, the leader of the strongest team is in some sort of control and anyone else trying would just blow up and lose minutes.
Or by Contador in hopeless, spectacularly failed (Angliru aside) attacks against the dominant Sky teams.
 
Or by Contador in hopeless, spectacularly failed (Angliru aside) attacks against the dominant Sky teams.
Most of Contadors attacks against Sky failed cause he didn't have the form in the Tour, and many of his attacks properly derailed some trains.

Problem is that Pogacar doesn't need to go from far until one stage and all the rest can't really without being worse off for it.

The racing is 90% the logical conclusion of a horrendous route and the teams and riders being in the form that they are.
 
The statement was made that we only see long range attacks "either by a rider from the strongest team or in a race where no team was superior," and I am pointing out that Contador violated these rules regularly - and not successfully. I think your counterpoint that his form was a barrier is very valid for consideration of Pogacar, but not the others. Pogacar could possibly make it work, as he appears to be in better form than Contador in any of his losing efforts. What have we seen from Landa, Porte, Uran, MAL, Mas, etc. to indicate they have the from to effectively attack against TJV, which is, at least periodically, as strong as past Sky teams? They have even watched Contador's noble failures and, unfortunately for us viewers, learned the lesson that it's better to anonymously ride to second place a la Uran.

Contador was in second in the 2013 Tour with an inferior team and kept attacking until he fell off the podium (and his bike, repeatedly). Part of why it failed for Contador was his aggression caused him to crash, which affected his form. There is that risk for Pogacar. If I'm him, I'm going with about 2-3k to go on the Loze to try to gain back 40-60 seconds.
 
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Also, the position that Landa, MAL, Bernal, and Quintana are better climbers than Roglic is likely built upon stereotypes and feelings rather than actual on-the-road evidence. I don't totally understand all the insistence on so and so being a "pure climber" and therefore somehow a better climber than Roglic just because Roglic is a far better ITTer. If Roglic routinely meets or exceeds the performance of "pure climbers" on the climbs, what is the argument that he is not the stronger climber?
 
Remember Peyresourde was a descent finish though, so the attack wasn't especially long range in terms of the actual obstacles - 2km from the top of the last climb of the day isn't really long range, though, unless that climb is situated far enough away from the finish for it to become a gamble, which on this occasion it most definitely wasn't as they were descending almost right to the line. That's pretty standard fare, I'd say. Peyresourde was good action because people were trying for most of the climb, rather than sitting in until the last 300m of it. But there have also been multiple times where Rogla has used his domestiques, responded to attacks...then sat back and let everybody else come back. You mention how Contador and Froome would hit with one big punch and play it defensively - and that'd be fine, except Roglič hasn't even really thrown a good punch yet. He's got himself ahead on points and is now content to clinch and jab. And no, that isn't really his fault - so long as nobody wants to attack him he's not beholden to waste his energy. It's just unbelievably passive - he has had multiple opportunities to gain time he has passed up, and everybody else has been content to not really try to gain the time they've lost back, save for one guy who is at least throwing a few jabs if nothing more.

On the plus side, though, unless something big happens on the Col de la Loze, this race might result in a shift away from the MTF obsession and towards a better balance with multi-col stages and different types of finish in mountain stages, because the better mountain stages have been the ones without the big MTF.
The key difference with Peyresourde was that Roglic was on his own after Dumoulin's push. And the strongest other rider, who was able to get away, was Pogacar. If Landa or Quintana had the legs, they would have gone with him then. Landa has now said that he didn't have the legs on Colombier. We can only hope that he has better legs in the Alps after the rest day.

Yates did try to attack, and he got reeled in pretty quick by Dumoulin, and Jumbo still had Kuss on board to chase whoever would follow up after. There's a difference between gallantry and stupidity.

The most that we can hope for is that Sunday, being the day before the rest day, was a day that Jumbo had targetted to have all their train firing on all cylinders, and that they might not have quite as complete a train on Tuesday and Wednesday. To get any attack on the yellow jersey to stick, it will take a) Roglic getting isolated and b) someone (Porte, a recovered Landa, Lopez, random stage-hunter who has stuck with the GC guys) to then get separation from Roglic together, and cooperate, maybe even with a teammate dropping back from the break (eg, Uran makes the bridge on St Nizier to whoever's ahead of Roglic, and then Powless or Carthy sits up and helps out on the plateau to Villard de Lans).
 
Also, the position that Landa, MAL, Bernal, and Quintana are better climbers than Roglic is likely built upon stereotypes and feelings rather than actual on-the-road evidence. I don't totally understand all the insistence on so and so being a "pure climber" and therefore somehow a better climber than Roglic just because Roglic is a far better ITTer. If Roglic routinely meets or exceeds the performance of "pure climbers" on the climbs, what is the argument that he is not the stronger climber?
Also, we've seen repeatedly and historically that in a Grand Tour, from day to day over the 3 weeks, rouleurs and TT specialists who can also climb tend to end up climbing mountains faster over the course of the whole race than climbing specialists; hence why all the repeat Tour winners tend to not be "pure climbers". Quintana has put in 2 big stage-winning efforts the last 2 Tours, on landmark summit finishes, and then just been absent the rest of the race.
 
Most of Contadors attacks against Sky failed cause he didn't have the form in the Tour, and many of his attacks properly derailed some trains.

Problem is that Pogacar doesn't need to go from far until one stage and all the rest can't really without being worse off for it.

The racing is 90% the logical conclusion of a horrendous route and the teams and riders being in the form that they are.
I disagree that the route is horrendous, there have been tactical opportunities on many stages, but having one team of galacticos (and a lot of injured/off form contenders) has strangled a lot of opportunities. If every stage was like the Peyresourde, this Tour would be fantastic. And that was a stage that most of us probably looked at and thought "Meh."

If there's one thing the first 2 weeks of this Tour has illustrated, it's that summit finishes are not the be-all and end-all. Of course, we'll get to see a new summit on Wednesday, and that may change everything completely.
 
You know, I've repeatedly been all in on those "meh, why are all the riders so god damn passive" discussions but this time, as much as I hate to say it, I kinda get why everyone is doing exactly what they are doing.

Roglic is leading the race and is the best TT'er among the gc contenders. Moreover his biggest strength usually is his explosiveness towards the end of climbs which makes, controlling the race until the final few hundred meters not just the best tactic to not lose time but actually also the best tacitic to gain time. At least on Pogacar that is and I don't think there is a serious danger from anyone else anyway. He has the team to race how he prefers it so they do.

Pogacar is the one who should probably be the main aggressor. He seems to climb at least as well as Roglic and isn't too far down in the gc. Yet the guy is 21, he has no team support in the mountains whatsoever and attacking that Jumbo train might be a legit tactic to eliminate some other 2nd tier contenders, but it's an extremely risky one against the guy with the strongest team, especially on a climb like the Grand Colombier. I think Pogacar was basically relying on Ineos to make the race hard for him but we all know how that turned out.

And all those guys behind, sure they could have attacked, someone like Contador, Nibali or Froome in their position even might have attacked, but they aren't Contador, Nibali or Froome. The 2nd highest rider in the gc with a GT win is Quintana, over 5 minutes down (random side fact here, there is one guy with a gt win on the first 9 spots and 5 guys with gt wins on the next 8. That seems weird), some of those guys don't even have gt podiums. Those are not the sort of riders you expect to risk it all on a stage like this. Also, while usually I hate the whole idea of "waiting for a better moment to attack", because most of the time no better moment arises, this time it might be merited. Let's take Landa as an example. He knows, he could attack here, but he's most likely gonna get reeled it by Dumoulin and lose more time later on. He could also wait for the Col de la Loze where, even if JV are strong again, they can hardly control the race even more than they did here, and the gaps around the 3rd place are so small that one good stage would be enough to overtake everyone in front of him anyway. That said, if he loses time here, it might not.

Now of course, riders who only sit behind a train and don't take risks won't exactly become fan favorites but then nobody is talking about Adam Yates' legendary, aggressive riding style right now either and I doubt an attack by Landa/Uran/Mas/... would have ended any different than his. Let's face it, even Contador usually had better set ups for his attacks, at least for the ones we remember.
 
I disagree that the route is horrendous, there have been tactical opportunities on many stages, but having one team of galacticos (and a lot of injured/off form contenders) has strangled a lot of opportunities. If every stage was like the Peyresourde, this Tour would be fantastic. And that was a stage that most of us probably looked at and thought "Meh."

If there's one thing the first 2 weeks of this Tour has illustrated, it's that summit finishes are not the be-all and end-all. Of course, we'll get to see a new summit on Wednesday, and that may change everything completely.
Why was the Peyresourde stage good?

Cause Jumbo did a tactical disasterclass, blew up the race completely and didn't actually show up with the goods.
 

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