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Tour de France 2024 - The battle of the big 4

Page 8 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
I don't disagree, this is an absolutely logical conclusion. Time will tell what Pogacar and UAE have in store for the Tour, I'm curious myself. Pogacar is an extraordinary rider, who can be close to top form for months so who knows, maybe they will defy logic.
One factor that supports the thesis that Pog is coming into the Tour close to or at peak form is that he never had to go all-in and bury himself at any of the stages at the Giro. Closest he came was probably the TT at stage 14 where he obviously really went all-in for a win. Yet that was a 35 minute effort. It would have been a totally different story had he been seriously challenged at any time and had to fight to stay ahead. Now the Giro seemed like a training camp where once in a while he decided to do a VO2 max effort just for kicks or to stay motivated. I believe Visma and Vingo are in for a a**-whooping big time. Remco / QS and Ineos/Bernal... nope.
 
Red Rick is right. On paper & all things being logical, Pog should win the Tour & do the first double since Pantani.

But, there's 4 unknowns going into the Tour:

- Pog's form. It's not about peaking per se or how much effort he put into winning the Giro, it's about maintaining top shape all the way through to the second half of July. He's never done back to back GT's like this before so it remains an unknown. He is not immune to having a really sh*t day in the third week. My other hunch tells me UAE won't be a cohesive team as much as they were in the Giro. I think Ayuso will torpedo the mood a bit. He'll ride for himself & still get dropped. Will it matter in the end? I don't know.

- Vingegaard's form. Yeah, yeah I get the 'realists' here who say he cannot compete after the crash he had. But Combloux was pretty much as anti-realism as it gets in cycling... so I'll reserve judgement until I actually see him drop (if he does go to the TdF). Until then, I'll say it could go in any direction. I just don't know.

- Evenepoel's form. He's 24, it's his first Tour & he has the whole new Merckx thing to live up to. Again, I have no idea. He might make a serious jump forwards & stick with the best in the mountains, at which point everyone else who wants to win it has a serious problem.

Finally, last but not least... Rogla.

It's now or never IMO. New team, new colors in July... & he needs to rediscover his top shape. No pressure eh. As a fan I don't know what'll be worse, actually, i.e. if he gets dropped like a stone it'll be the end of an era (sad!) & if he does compete (& is... close) yet still loses, it'll be a case of eternal regrets (sadder!).

That's where I am with one month to go.
 
Correct (and actually, that must have been the penultimate Grand Tour I didn't watch as my parents only got the good channels in 2007) but there is no way to know how he would have done in the Tour.
That's true, and even though I can still see Pogacar fade in the third week, I still think he'll finish on the podium. The gap between a fading Pogacar and Carlos Rodriguez (just an example), is still quite big.
 
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What goes against Pogacar is him avoiding Tour-Vuelta double for a few years (despite initial plans) and being gassed after the Tour every year (coupled with a form drop). So far he simply hasn't shown this kind of post-GT recovery needed here.

What goes for Pogacar is way less racing days prior to the Giro, carefully planned focus on stage-racing and the double this year and not being pushed by anybody in the race. He had some intense efforts but didn't have to mix those efforts with hard zone5 intervals (like he did against Vingo many times i.e. Cauterets, Puy de Dome, Joux Plane). Plus obviously a GT is mentally easier when no rival threatens you and no hot weather which tires him quicker.
 
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IMHO Pogacar wins it "easily" unless there is a team that manages to put a lot of strain in him and make the race somewhat of a "war of attrition". That team would be Visma with a healthy and in-form Vingegaard (the best he can, considering the circumstances).

Bora will deploy a very good team but I don't see anyone putting Tadej / UAE in jeopardy. Roglic might beat him in a sprint in a stage, but he is not going to drop him from afar and I also can't see him holding his wheel consistently.

As for the other contender, I don't see Remco holding his own against Pogacar and even Bora in three weeks. Maybe being able to shield behind UAE plays in his favour, but still I consider the most likely scenario for Remco winning a few stages and finishing Top15-Top20, like 2023 Vuelta.

In short, without Vingegaard, my bet is Pogi winning with a 3 minutes margin to the next contender.
 
Bora will deploy a very good team but I don't see anyone putting Tadej / UAE in jeopardy. Roglic might beat him in a sprint in a stage, but he is not going to drop him from afar and I also can't see him holding his wheel consistently.

The 'plan' is probably simple: Rog holds Pog's wheel & then beats him in the ITT's.

There's a lot of variables there as well, i.e. in the event Rog can actually hold Pog's wheel it'll create a tactical dilemma for Pogačar because unlike a few of his other rivals, Rog can actually beat him in a MTF sprint. So does he continue riding hard with Rog towing along?

One scenario we won't see again is the one we saw in the Grand Colombier TdF 2020 stage in which Rog's team pulled, then he attacked & he got countered by Pog. That won't happen. He'll just sit on the wheels & not risk it.

It's all "if if if" though until I can see Roglič with his Angliru 2023 legs. It's all dependent on that.
 
The 'plan' is probably simple: Rog holds Pog's wheel & then beats him in the ITT's.

There's a lot of variables there as well, i.e. in the event Rog can actually hold Pog's wheel it'll create a tactical dilemma for Pogačar because unlike a few of his other rivals, Rog can actually beat him in a MTF sprint. So does he continue riding hard with Rog towing along?

One scenario we won't see again is the one we saw in the Grand Colombier TdF 2020 stage in which Rog's team pulled, then he attacked & he got countered by Pog. That won't happen. He'll just sit on the wheels & not risk it.

It's all "if if if" though until I can see Roglič with his Angliru 2023 legs. It's all dependent on that.

I don't think Roglic can consistenly hold Tadej's wheel. I do think he is the only conceivable opponent (always taking Vingo out of the equation) and could be able to snatch a win or two in a sprint.

I also think the TTs would play in Tadej's favour, rather than Roglic. The route of both TTs are tailormade for him.

Anyways, time will tell.
 
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I don't think Roglic can consistenly hold Tadej's wheel. I do think he is the only conceivable opponent (always taking Vingo out of the equation) and could be able to snatch a win or two in a sprint.

I also think the TTs would play in Tadej's favour, rather than Roglic. The route of both TTs are tailormade for him.

Anyways, time will tell.

Roglič on the specialized ITT bike is going to be lethal.

That's the one thing I'm most certain of. A technical hilly ITT like the last one is also perfect on paper for Rog.
 
BTW with Roglič the issue is as always knowing what his real level is in amongst the numerous issues which tend to plague his GT's (crashes or other problems, like team tactics/orders we saw in the Vuelta last year).

The gap at the end of the Giro (14 seconds) was itself not exactly representative due to the Tao GH crash which took Rog down in which he actually hurt himself pretty badly. Then there's the Vuelta which itself presented a microcosm of all the conflicting views on Rog's form, specifically the difference between stage 16 (Bejes) & stage 17 (Angliru).

After Bejes, beyond the whole meltdown over the team tactics debacle the 'consensus' amongst cycling followers & influencers was that Rog couldn't follow Vingegaard & he'd been dropped. He was also predicted to get dropped on the Angliru (including by riders like Ayuso). Then Kaboom, Angliru happens, he wins & the conversation then alternated between two predominated viewpoints: A/Rog was a literal villain for ruining Kuss's birthday (lol) & B/Vingegaard supposedly could have dropped him if he wanted to, which is highly speculative but whatever.

The reality was he had really good legs, aka GT winning legs. That's what remains to be seen in the coming month, i.e. can Rog rediscover that form. If he can, he can dream.
 
Wut?

Have you not been watching cycling this year?
Yes, he did. But he has also knowledge of physiology and the working of the human body when riding two GT's in a month and a half. It is impossible for Pogacar to reach the same level in the Tour. Not during the second half anyway. Unless... But it's not allowed to discuss it here. Only in "the clinic".
He still could win, when/if Roglic, Evenepoel etc are not at their best and have one or more breakdowns.
 
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Yes, he did. But he has also knowledge of physiology and the working of the human body when riding two GT's in a month and a half. It is impossible for Pogacar to reach the same level in the Tour. Not during the second half anyway. Unless... But it's not allowed to discuss it here. Only in "the clinic".
He still could win, when/if Roglic, Evenepoel etc are not at their best and have one or more breakdowns.
Kuss was at his best at his third GT.
Since Poggi used the Giro as a training camp, he will be better at the TdF.
 
BTW with Roglič the issue is as always knowing what his real level is in amongst the numerous issues which tend to plague his GT's (crashes or other problems, like team tactics/orders we saw in the Vuelta last year).

The gap at the end of the Giro (14 seconds) was itself not exactly representative due to the Tao GH crash which took Rog down in which he actually hurt himself pretty badly. Then there's the Vuelta which itself presented a microcosm of all the conflicting views on Rog's form, specifically the difference between stage 16 (Bejes) & stage 17 (Angliru).

After Bejes, beyond the whole meltdown over the team tactics debacle the 'consensus' amongst cycling followers & influencers was that Rog couldn't follow Vingegaard & he'd been dropped. He was also predicted to get dropped on the Angliru (including by riders like Ayuso). Then Kaboom, Angliru happens, he wins & the conversation then alternated between two predominated viewpoints: A/Rog was a literal villain for ruining Kuss's birthday (lol) & B/Vingegaard supposedly could have dropped him if he wanted to, which is highly speculative but whatever.

The reality was he had really good legs, aka GT winning legs. That's what remains to be seen in the coming month, i.e. can Rog rediscover that form. If he can, he can dream.
Vuelta 2023 Roglic was the real Roglic, and by that I mean a Roglic not hampered by crashes, mechanicals, mishaps.

The actual and potential versions of riders are always in contention in every thread. When a rider fails to deliver and there is a basis to attribute his failure to accidental causes, the argument is that the rider's potential would take him elsewhere, i..e, he would "deliver". In an extreme case, that's also the deal with Remco, altough the accidental causes that explain Remco's failure to deliver are already in the fiction category.

I believe that the real Roglic is up there with Pogacar and Vingo, but people are so used to see him racing while hampered by accidents that they forget how good he can be.
 
Ivan Basso in the Giro of 2006? It didn't look like he was on training camp but he won very easily too.

I do remember this Giro rather well, and that was mighty impressive, yet not comparable to Pogacars ease. It's not that Pogacar couldn't have had a bigger gap, he raced the Giro as controlled as possible (for him) and still hardly managed to keep the gap below 10 minutes. And if I am not mistaken he wasn't even at altitude for a longer time before the Giro.

Overall the impression this year is that he's an improved version of the already insane 2023 Pogacar. Like winning the most WT races in a season since prime Ale Jet, and it's may. He also won 6 stages, Basso won 3, and I recall them being clear wins. But not "haha look, I can't even go slower, sorry boys" wins. Insane stuff.

Also there is the case of Kuss riding 3 GTs and winning the third one, not the first one. It's not that Pogacar had raced a lot before the Giro and is still only on 31 race days (clocking 14 wins).

If the Giro Pogacar shows up, he doesn't even have to be better, I don't see how Roglic or Remco are supposed to beat him, bar crash or illness. He brings a pretty overpowerd team to the Tour as well. They'd have to beat him convincingly in the TTs and hope that somehow they stay on the wheel when he drops a nuke.
 
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