Tour de France 2020 | Stage 4 (Sisteron – Orcières-Merlette, 160.5 km)

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I don't doubt that Alaphilippe could become a better gc rider than he is now, I just doubt that he has already become that. The Thomas or the Wiggins transformations didn't happen over night either, they both became very successful one week stage racers before they took it to the next level. Meanwhile as of now the only reason people see a gc winner in Alaphilippe is because his most impressive climbing performance was pulling a Voeckler. There is nothing Alaphilippe has ever done in mountain stages that made me think "if he can do that for three weeks he can win the Tour".

Also the very single reason I think the thought of him becoming a gc contender are at least a little merited isn't his climbing in last years Tour but his time trial. That's really the huge difference between him and Wiggins/Thomas/Dumoulin. Those guys were mainly known as really good TT'ers, while Alaphilippe is mainly known as a puncheur and we have known for years that if a TT specialist is able to lose weight without losing power he can grind his way up mountains and is extremely hard to drop. Meanwhile there is nothing in the skill set of the average puncheur that suggests potential as a gc rider. That's the reason I always found the shouts for Sagan to transform into a gc specialist so stupid. A gc rider has to climb and TT well and Sagan does neither while being good at things that are completely useless as a gc rider. With Alaphilippe it's almost like that, just that he seems to have such a massive engine that he can be an elite TT'er. If he can transform that into grinding up mountains Dumoulin style he might become a threat. But people have to realize that this basically means giving up on the thing he is most known for right now, being a puncheur.
 
I don't doubt that Alaphilippe could become a better gc rider than he is now, I just doubt that he has already become that. The Thomas or the Wiggins transformations didn't happen over night either, they both became very successful one week stage racers before they took it to the next level. Meanwhile as of now the only reason people see a gc winner in Alaphilippe is because his most impressive climbing performance was pulling a Voeckler. There is nothing Alaphilippe has ever done in mountain stages that made me think "if he can do that for three weeks he can win the Tour".

Also the very single reason I think the thought of him becoming a gc contender are at least a little merited isn't his climbing in last years Tour but his time trial. That's really the huge difference between him and Wiggins/Thomas/Dumoulin. Those guys were mainly known as really good TT'ers, while Alaphilippe is mainly known as a puncheur and we have known for years that if a TT specialist is able to lose weight without losing power he can grind his way up mountains and is extremely hard to drop. Meanwhile there is nothing in the skill set of the average puncheur that suggests potential as a gc rider. That's the reason I always found the shouts for Sagan to transform into a gc specialist so stupid. A gc rider has to climb and TT well and Sagan does neither while being good at things that are completely useless as a gc rider. With Alaphilippe it's almost like that, just that he seems to have such a massive engine that he can be an elite TT'er. If he can transform that into grinding up mountains Dumoulin style he might become a threat. But people have to realize that this basically means giving up on the thing he is most known for right now, being a puncheur.
I'd also say that Tour ITT was an anomaly for Alaphilippe and it was probably the weakest field in a Tour ITT in many years. And it suited him absurdly well.
 
He's never come within 5 minutes of winning a Tour de France, although he probably would have in 2017 considering the route and how the race unfolded. I don't think he'd ever have started a Tour de France as team leader with Sky, his ceiling was just barely too low imo. Even so, he too could have won a Tour, but again, it would have taken the stars aligning to happen.
Valverde was going to have a difficult time winning the TdF in the Jean Marie LeBlanc era because we had 50 km flat TTs. If Valverde had come of age in Prudhomme era I have no doubt he could’ve won a TdF. He probably could’ve been very close in 2008 without his crashes. As well he looked the only rider capable of competing with Froome in 2013 before he got caught out and loss an absolute boatload of time in the crosswind (of course that allowed the team to unleash Nairo).

He also missed a few of his best years in the naughty chair, so who knows.
 
I'd also say that Tour ITT was an anomaly for Alaphilippe and it was probably the weakest field in a Tour ITT in many years. And it suited him absurdly well.
True but he had shown glimpses before. I think he won the Paris-Nice TT in 2017 in pretty dominant fashion, although that of course wasn't exactly against top competition either.
 
Underestimate Alaphilippe at your own peril. I don't think he is going to do better than last year... but last year he showed to be an able if not top notch climber, and a great time trialist. You never know if he will improve further. And who knows if he's been training his climbing abilities?
Wiggins, Froome and Thomas also quickly improved on their way to GT wins. Why wouldn't Alaphilippe be able to do that?
Wiggins and Thomas were always riders with huge engines, not at all like Alaphilippe. Thomas actually took years to get to the point of being a contender over 3 weeks. Wiggo didn't magically transform as soon as he got to Sky, he'd already improved his climbing a lot at Garmin. Froome- yeah well who knows what happened there.

The absolute best cast scenario for Alaphilippe would be maintaining his punch even after long climbs like Valverde and Purito, but I'll be very surprised if he ever gets close to their level. And even on the classic -------/ Vuelta courses they only won one between them.
 
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Valverde was going to have a difficult time winning the TdF in the Jean Marie LeBlanc era because we had 50 km flat TTs. If Valverde had come of age in Prudhomme era I have no doubt he could’ve won a TdF. He probably could’ve been very close in 2008 without his crashes. As well he looked the only rider capable of competing with Froome in 2013 before he got caught out and loss an absolute boatload of time in the crosswinds.

He also missed a few of his best years in the naughty chair, so who knows.
Like Valverde getting completely destroyed by Froome and Quintana uphill in 2013? Or how he finished 2 minutes down on AdH as well.

Valverde's climbing in the Tour has never suggest he was a Tour winner apart from outsprinting Armstrong once.
 
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I don't doubt that Alaphilippe could become a better gc rider than he is now, I just doubt that he has already become that. The Thomas or the Wiggins transformations didn't happen over night either, they both became very successful one week stage racers before they took it to the next level. Meanwhile as of now the only reason people see a gc winner in Alaphilippe is because his most impressive climbing performance was pulling a Voeckler. There is nothing Alaphilippe has ever done in mountain stages that made me think "if he can do that for three weeks he can win the Tour".

Also the very single reason I think the thought of him becoming a gc contender are at least a little merited isn't his climbing in last years Tour but his time trial. That's really the huge difference between him and Wiggins/Thomas/Dumoulin. Those guys were mainly known as really good TT'ers, while Alaphilippe is mainly known as a puncheur and we have known for years that if a TT specialist is able to lose weight without losing power he can grind his way up mountains and is extremely hard to drop. Meanwhile there is nothing in the skill set of the average puncheur that suggests potential as a gc rider. That's the reason I always found the shouts for Sagan to transform into a gc specialist so stupid. A gc rider has to climb and TT well and Sagan does neither while being good at things that are completely useless as a gc rider. With Alaphilippe it's almost like that, just that he seems to have such a massive engine that he can be an elite TT'er. If he can transform that into grinding up mountains Dumoulin style he might become a threat. But people have to realize that this basically means giving up on the thing he is most known for right now, being a puncheur.
I would say that Alaphilippe has a good a chance as Thomas did at winning a GT. But what Thomas has was the Sky train, whereas JA has...Knox, who isn't even at the TdF this year.

But I would hate to see Alaf try to win a GT at the expense of his other skills. The peloton needs as many animators as it can get. His Stage 2 win was brilliant; even his near misses (thanks, MVDP!) are thrilling.
 
Like Valverde getting completely destroyed by Froome and Quintana uphill in 2013? Or how he finished 2 minutes down on AdH as well.

Valverde's climbing in the Tour has never suggest he was a Tour winner apart from outsprinting Armstrong once.
Valverde was in 2nd place coming out of the Pyrenees in 2013. After the crosswinds he was out of contention. I’m saying that an in his prime Valverde could have possibly won a Tour on one of Prudhomme’s crappy courses like 2016. I’m not saying he was going to ever better than Armstrong, Contador, or Froome. I do think he could’ve beaten Sastre had he not crashed early on in 2008.

Edit: also think he could’ve been on the podium in 2006 and 2011 had he not been in time out.
 
People seem to think it's discarding Alaphilippe if you say you don't expect him to win the Tour. To me it's absolutely not. I just don't like the pressure of people making guys think they have to become something they are not when it means giving up yourself /your strengths (yeah, I could do with a psychoanalysis here...) If somebody is an amazing violinist, not an extremely famous one, but one that is very appreciated in the scene, why tell him "you have to become a pop star, that's where the fame is. Can't you sing and dance while playing? I've seen you dance and sing, it's not so bad."
Well, if he himself decides to become a pop star instead of a violinist, that's different.
 
Ok, many people are underestimating Juju, but the other riders as well... Pogacar, Bernal, Evenepoel, Roglic... There's a large list of contenders and GCs are getting harder by the days...
 
I don't doubt that Alaphilippe could become a better gc rider than he is now, I just doubt that he has already become that. The Thomas or the Wiggins transformations didn't happen over night either, they both became very successful one week stage racers before they took it to the next level. Meanwhile as of now the only reason people see a gc winner in Alaphilippe is because his most impressive climbing performance was pulling a Voeckler. There is nothing Alaphilippe has ever done in mountain stages that made me think "if he can do that for three weeks he can win the Tour".

Also the very single reason I think the thought of him becoming a gc contender are at least a little merited isn't his climbing in last years Tour but his time trial. That's really the huge difference between him and Wiggins/Thomas/Dumoulin. Those guys were mainly known as really good TT'ers, while Alaphilippe is mainly known as a puncheur and we have known for years that if a TT specialist is able to lose weight without losing power he can grind his way up mountains and is extremely hard to drop. Meanwhile there is nothing in the skill set of the average puncheur that suggests potential as a gc rider. That's the reason I always found the shouts for Sagan to transform into a gc specialist so stupid. A gc rider has to climb and TT well and Sagan does neither while being good at things that are completely useless as a gc rider. With Alaphilippe it's almost like that, just that he seems to have such a massive engine that he can be an elite TT'er. If he can transform that into grinding up mountains Dumoulin style he might become a threat. But people have to realize that this basically means giving up on the thing he is most known for right now, being a puncheur.
Sagan can TT. He’s never had to because you don’t get green jersey points for it, but on the rare occasions where he’s been in gc contention, he’s been able to produce top 10 and top 20 performances against good fields. Similarly for Alaf.

You can’t really say “his one performance in that one TT was an anomaly” in an era when even having a long ITT is an anomaly in itself. We just don’t know how any of these guys would go in a 50+km TT, because it’s pretty much never come up in recent years.
 
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