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Pro Cycling - Tour de France 2022


MalevolentPanda
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On 02/07/2021 at 11:54, Graham S said:

My GCN subscription has been a great buy over lockdown. I might not go outside much but cyclists going nice places burbling away in the background as I work is very pleasant.

 

Yes, it's lovely to have all that scenery scrolling past on the ipad as I do other things. I do have to have the commentary turned off though as the two lead GCN/Eurosport commentators are beyond irritating. 

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Hahahahaha when I read that sentence i can hear his voice clearly. I do enjoy Kelly myself but can understand why lots don’t with the rambling and ‘eh’ every other word. ‘Yes, well, eh’.

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35 minutes ago, Gringo said:

I would guess you are talking about Carlton Kirby and Sean Kelly. Can be a hard listen at times.

Kirby and Rob Hatch. I just cannot listen to them, Hatch especially but Kirby's inane bullshit, chortling along at his own painfully unfunny observations, and his grimly loud sucking in of breaths all pain me. Ideally I'd like to find a live radio commentary and use that as the audio but, instead, settle for the ambient option.

 

It's a shame as I like most of the input by the ex pros. 

 

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I was at a track cycling event in Derby (I can’t remember what it was, for some reason.. I just remember this rather fetching photo of Kenny De Ketele amongst others (Wiggo and Cav were teamed up in the Madison)) and Carlton Kirby was actually the commentator on the day.  He was brilliant and I’ve always enjoyed his rambling.  The thing that stood out for me from that even though was how much respect he carries from the riders from all nations. :) 
 

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2 minutes ago, Graham S said:

Was it Carlton that seemed to be in tears when Cav won?

 

My favourite is David Millar on ITV, he often notices and explains things that others miss. 


Oh yes I’m a fan of Milllar’s as well.  I didn’t want to be, but I think he’s handled what he did/went through really really well and his insights are brilliant.

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12 minutes ago, Graham S said:

Was it Carlton that seemed to be in tears when Cav won?


It was aye and I don’t blame him. It was a great moment. Even though a part of me doubts it a part of me loves it as well.

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Here's the thing. 

 

Pogacar isn't really facing much competition this year. All the GC riders are injured, too old or too tired. 

 

Roglic has gone home after a hard crash that wiped him out on stage two. 

Thomas has a dislocated shoulder and is only now getting back to full strength. But he's suffering. 

Alaphilipe is a great one day rider and but can't seem to sting a whole 3 weeks together. 

Van Aert had a major operation just before the tour and was never likely to challenge for yellow. 

Carapaz does his usual thing of going up the road then gets pegged back. 

Lopez is riding for Movistar and you have no idea what their plan is minute to minute. 

Fuglsang is the perennial promises and non deliverer. 

Yates always complains its the wrong sort of hill or the sun's to hit or the rain too cold or he worked to hard yesterday and anyway he's off to the Olympics so he's not really trying. 

 

So there aren't any real contenders other than Pogacar. Ineo and Jumbo visma aren't controlling the pelaton so Pog can juat go up the road and no one follows him because they've all trained to climb at a slow steady pace looking at their power meters and churning out the watts. 

 

I honestly don't think Pogacar is juiced up, I just think naturally gifted and not facing any stiff competition. He uses the other teams to drag him up the climbs, waits untill they start looking at their handlebars then rides off. 

 

O'conner who won on Sunday went up much faster than Pogacar, but he wasn't being marked by Ineos, UAE or Jumbo visma. 

 

I like to think the new generation, like Van Der Poel are using all the training and technology developed over the last 10 years and having grown up with them, have excelled. 

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Possible lack of competition aside, times look fast. 
 

 

Ultimately we can’t know unless a test gets him or word gets out years down the line. Second guessing which ones are dopers or if they all are is a fool’s game. But sometimes you watch it, and just think, no.

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Quote

Speaking before the start of Sunday's mountain stage to Tignes, De Gendt said that he feels the level in the peloton is much higher than it was previously. He has so far been unable to make his mark on the race, despite the power numbers he has been putting down.

"I rode one of my best ten-minute efforts ever at the start [of stage 8]. Those values have been recorded since 2013," De Gendt told Sporza before setting off for a grim day in the saddle towards Tignes.

"Normally, with those values, I can ride the whole peloton to pieces. Here, I was 100 metres behind in a group of 70 riders – and I started from the front row. When you're not in the peloton after that it's clear that the general level is just much higher."

De Gendt said that during stage 8 – which saw Tadej Pogačar blow the Tour's GC race apart after putting 3:20 into his rivals with a 32-kilometre solo attack – he had put out the kind of watts he'd normally see in a breakaway move.

However, rather than battling with the protagonists of the break, including stage winner Dylan Teuns, he was way off the back of the race, finishing 28 minutes down on his compatriot.

A 'changing of the guard' comes to every generation of sportsperson, but the 34-year-old said that he didn't expect one to come about so suddenly, and not while he is still putting out career-high power numbers, either.
 

"I pushed my numbers in the breakaway only I finished 28 minutes down. But I feel as tired as I do after I've been in a breakaway," he said.

"One day, the day has to come when the young riders are better, but they have done it very suddenly. Normally it's gradual but now they have suddenly taken over everything and push the older ones to the back.

"I can't improve. If they race too fast, then I have to accept that. I can try and hope for a super day, but if it's not there then it's not there."

De Gendt, whose top result in 2021 saw him get the beating of Tour stage winner Matej Mohorič to win the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya, added that he's considering ending his career when his current contract finishes if the outlook doesn't change.

"I have to draw my conclusions, finish my contract, and then it's time for something else," he said. "If they are better, then so be it. I'm 34 now and will be 36 at the end of my contract. I won't suddenly improve another five per cent unless I engage in 'wrong things', but I won't do that.

"I have to hope to have a super day. I can only try. This year I already had one super day and then I won a stage at the Volta a Catalunya. So it's possible, but everything has to go well."

Update: On Monday's rest day, De Gendt sent the following message to Sporza podcast De Tribune.

"I don't think that doping is circulating on a small or large scale. I won't put my hand in the fire for anyone, but I do trust that everyone rides clean. The general level has just been very high since after lockdown, and the level it is now is too high for me."

 

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Yeah, i saw that. I just thought De Gent hadn't had his power crank calibrated correctly. Because if he's doing the numbers he says, then the whole peloton must be too, even the sprintres and the domestics. Up hill, in the rain, in a head wind ... which i feel is unlikely. Are you just going to dismiss their efforts because they did a better job than a 34 year whose past his best and slightly miffed about it 

 

 Basically, if you think absolutely every single winner of a stage is doping, then there isn't a lot of point watching it is there. 

 

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21 minutes ago, Sidewaysbob said:

Yeah, i saw that. I just thought De Gent hadn't had his power crank calibrated correctly. Because if he's doing the numbers he says, then the whole peloton must be too, even the sprintres and the domestics. Up hill, in the rain, in a head wind ... which i feel is unlikely. Are you just going to dismiss their efforts because they did a better job than a 34 year whose past his best and slightly miffed about it 

 

 Basically, if you think absolutely every single winner of a stage is doping, then there isn't a lot of point watching it is there. 

 

No, it's tough. If the sport has no credibility, I probably will stop at some point. (But not while I'm in my working from home prison cell and bike racing is all I have). It's hard to be a fan of athletics and cycling. But wishing it to all be fine doesn't make it so. And I don't think De Gent and I are the only ones in thinking current performances are suspicious, my impression from podcasts etc is that lots of people in and around cycling are asking the same questions. An anonymous team manager was briefing off the record about Bahrain Victorious' wins being doped last month. I remember from the Lance years a subset of fans and cycling people wanted the skeptical to shut up and go away, and we know how that story ended.

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Wasn't it Tyler Hamilton's book when he described being really successful in the US as a junior/college cyclist and he got to Europe and everybody was just riding away from him, it was then he realised not doping wasn't an option if you wanted to be a pro. 

 

I do like having the grand tours on but don't follow them anywhere near as much as I used to, I'll happily miss a day or so now and not catch up with highlights. If anything they are more travelogue now than a sporting endeavour I take seriously, as I assume they are all juiced to the gills. 

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59 minutes ago, Gotters said:

Wasn't it Tyler Hamilton's book when he described being really successful in the US as a junior/college cyclist and he got to Europe and everybody was just riding away from him, it was then he realised not doping wasn't an option if you wanted to be a pro. 

 

I do like having the grand tours on but don't follow them anywhere near as much as I used to, I'll happily miss a day or so now and not catch up with highlights. If anything they are more travelogue now than a sporting endeavour I take seriously, as I assume they are all juiced to the gills. 

Yes, he basically said it was impossible to compete without doing it. Great book by the way, it’s from pre-Armstrong revelations. 

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Just now, GwiDan said:

Yes, he basically said it was impossible to compete without doing it. Great book by the way. 

 

great book, the bit about grinding his teeth down whilst riding in pain still gives me the judders.

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And if he falls off and doesn't win, that means he's clean? And it's more likely that De Gent has a miscalibrated power meter and none of his team have noticed that he's suddenly putting out significantly less watts than last year? Rather than after a year when who knows how much doping controls have been disrupted by covid, a bunch of people are putting in historically big performances in a sport with cycling's history and in teams run by proven dopers. Hmm. OK. If that's what you want to believe.

 

I'm still going with, some things this year look a little bit sus.

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You can also look at the performances of the Bahrain team as a warning sign. 2 WT wins last year. Already 9 this year. Colbrelli finished 3 on a mountain stage.  It was from a break but he still out performed plenty of climbers who were also in that break. Tratnik (TT'er) climbing out of his skin at the Giro. Padun's back to back mountain victories at the Dauphine and then mysteriously left out of the tour squad.

 

Pogacar is facing a weakened GC field but it is still highly irregular for a rider, no matter how much of a good day they are on, to solo for 30+km on the first mountain stage of the tour. They'd be wary of blowing up in the third week like Yates in the 2018 Giro. He at most had a lead of about 2 minutes or so, not putting 3 and a half minutes on his closest rival on one stage.

 

Even before COVID there were suspicious results. I never believed how close Alaphilippe came to winning the tour in 2019. There has probably been micro dosing going on for years but lockdown provided riders with a chance to get a turbo boost. I guess you could ask why preserve with the sport? There were examples of clean riders still trying to make it in the era of blood transfusions and EPO. I don't think doping is as bad now as it was then and I'm sure there are still clean riders in the peloton today trying to compete against the cheats. That's why I still watch. I don't get lots of enjoyment out of second guessing every result. One rational from fans is, 'They are all doping so just accept it for what it is'. I just cant do that. That is also ignoring the fact the doping does not create a level playing field even if they did all dope. 

 

 

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