Tour de France Tour de France 2021, Stage 4: Redon - Fougères, 150.4 km

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Dont think this finish was uphill enough to warrant ditching Merlier unless hes worse uphill tham Andrea Guardini
I think it’s just man management and not tactical..

As I understand it, at the start of the season the plan was Merlier for the Giro, Philipsen for the Tour. They both had good early seasons with three wins each, Philipsen with probably the best of them. Then Philipsen goes into the quiet part of his season and Merlier takes centre stage for his season goal, gets a couple more wins in the Giro build up and then his stage. At which point they want to take him to the Tour… but they’ve the problem that they’ve already promised the Tour sprinter role to a guy who was their biggest signing of the season and who has been in good form. You might just renege on your promises if the guy has lost form and is leaving at the end of the season (Ackermann…), but Philipsen has been good and has a longer contract than Merlier.
 
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