UAE Tour 2021, February 21 - February 27

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Yes, but that's their own fault. There was no reason to let the gap balloon to eight minutes. They could have kept it at two. So I guess there is some truth in what you say about some riders not taking this race too seriously. It doesn't align with your "echelons ruin stage races" because a) a windy stage counts as much as a mountain stage, and b) it is allowed to try to limit a gap.
There was a very good reason to let it balloon that far if not farther. They don't care enough about this race. Echelons in 1 week races do ruin races because they virtually ensure most of the field doesn't care about the race, esp if it's on stage 1. Although most shorter stage races usually don't have the terrain for that type of stage.

Sure it's allowed to try to limit time gaps, but when riders see it's a losing cause, they lose motivation to care. Thus turning the entire race into something not worth caring about for the majority of teams.

Others could end up being completely out of the race. And while anyone from the 8+ minutes group is unlikely to get into the top-10 today - what with Skjelmose in 10th being only 48 seconds behind - as someone pointed out; Pogacar could very likely win the stage today, and the GC is probably gonna be a bit more spread out as well, so come Thursday some riders could try and go in a break, hoping that UAE won't chase.
Exactly why those who are 8 plus minutes down don't care about where they finish in GC in this race. This means that lower placing won't be fought over for the points because there aren't enough riders close enough for it to be a worthwhile endeavor. You could easily see riders who are thinking of trying a break on Thursday try to lose another 5 to 10 minutes on the climb of today's stage in hopes that UAE gives them a longer leash on Thursday and doesn't keep it that close.
 
I love the efforts, guys, but you all know it's pointless so why keep arguing?

Back to racing, I'm glad Higuita rode a solid ITT. Hopefully this means he's back to 100% after his crashes in the second part of 2020, which effectively ruined his season.
Buchmann also looks ok.
I'm a bit disappointed with Arensman's performance, but perhaps he's planning to peak later in the year.
 
I've never liked echelons and have found them to be poor stages at best. If the wind is too bad they HAVE cancelled or changed routes because of that. I've always found that echelons ruin races.
:flushed:

To each his/her own ofcourse, but that is a statement I wholeheartedly disagree with and I'm pretty sure there's very few people in the cycling (fan) world who share your views on this. Which shows by the reactions on this forum alone.
 
I think crashes really ruin races. That's why we need a redo of the 2010 Vuelta with everyone on the same level of form compared to each other, so we can finally get that Euskaltel GT win. Nibali would have to get off his bike for a few weeks, Cav would have to train like a madman, while Mosquera would enjoy a nice walk to the local pharmacy.

Echelons and crashes will always be part of the sport, and usually they deliver far more impact on and more entertainment during races than MTF's.

Obviously this race could pan out differently if the echelon hadn't happen. But with some of the biggest names in the front group, I don't think it will make that much difference come the end of it. This year the echelon was a nice addition though, but if it happens every year from now on, it will get more tedious to watch.

Anyway this will (probably never) be one of the most exciting races on the calendar, so the result will never really get my blood boiling.
 
But with some of the biggest names in the front group, I don't think it will make that much difference come the end of it.
I think that's what it always boils down to when it comes to echelons; who's in the front group? If all/enough of the GC riders are in the front, gaps do have a risk of ballooning out. However, let's imagine if Pogacar had been caught behind Sunday, yeah... I don't thin UAE team would have allowed to front group to get 8+ minutes if that was the case.
 
I think that's what it always boils down to when it comes to echelons; who's in the front group? If all/enough of the GC riders are in the front, gaps do have a risk of ballooning out. However, let's imagine if Pogacar had been caught behind Sunday, yeah... I don't thin UAE team would have allowed to front group to get 8+ minutes if that was the case.
Sure if Pogacar, Yates or Almeida had initially been caught out by other teams, there would definitely have been a more exciting chase.
 
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I think people are overthinking it. They did chase and they failed. The gap was kept at about 1.5 minutes until about 35-30km to go and then it started going out. So then sprinters' teams stop chasing because they know the stage is gone. Then one or two teams that are riding for GC decide its not worth it. Then the remaining teams that are still riding start looking at each other and question why they should do all the work. Eventually it reaches a point where everyone gives up so the gap jumps from 4 to 8 min in the final 15 km. The names and kms change but that's pretty much how all races work.
 

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