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Can any team beat Froome/Sky?

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Can any team beat Froome/Sky?

Old 06-16-15, 10:57 AM
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Can any team beat Froome/Sky?

The way Froome/Sky took the lead of the Critérium du Dauphiné is there any other rider or team that can beat them?

The thing that impressed me was the way the entire team stayed together in the mountains. Rider for Rider no other team can compete against them. Only injuries can stop them.

They are like a machine. I hate to say it but they remind me of that Tailwind Sports team of the 90's that should not be named, but better.
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Old 06-16-15, 11:21 AM
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I agree, they are machine-like, but sure, they are beatable.

As strong as Sky is/was, they couldn't protect Froome from himself last year. I think the achilles heel in this team might be Froome himself. I don't think he has great rider skills. His style of always looking down can, and many times does, lead to disaster. Bad weather, the cobbles, those frantic fast flat stages are his weakness that could always lead to his demise.


I think Nibali was toying with everyone during the Dauphine and is very likely in great form. I see him at least matching Froome in the mountains and he will take a big lead on that cobble stage.

Heck, TJ was very close to matching him there, so, yeah, they're beatable...
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Old 06-16-15, 11:48 AM
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Astana also looked very impressive during the Giro. They are the two strongest teams out there, that much is clear. If Contador can replicate his Giro form, then he will be the man to beat in my opinion.
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Old 06-16-15, 12:15 PM
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Sky have lost time in their 2 big TTTs this year (Giro and Dauphine). After the Dauphine TTT, people were writing them off.

Movistar will have a strong team at the Tour. So will Astana. So will BMC. On recent form, Saxoff won't, but Majka is looking good in Suisse and Kreuziger was apparently sick during the Giro, so Contador should have at least 1 more lieutenant in the upper slopes than he had in Italy. None of the leaders of any of these teams are going to be dropped by Wout Poels or Nico Roche doing a turn on the Tourmalet. It's dangerous to read too much into one race, be it the Dauphine or even the Giro and say that "Sky can't be beat," because there are plenty of other races (Giro, Suisse) where they're getting well beaten, or others where they're trying strongarm tactics and winning, but still looking fragile (Paris-Nice) or trying strongarm and coming very much unstuck (Flanders, San Remo).
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Old 06-16-15, 12:32 PM
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The "Sky" is falling!!!

I personally wasn't impressed. Yeah they had a few members of the team out front in a few stages, but what place did the "team" land in overall?

7th. Again pretty lack luster for an Overall performance by a team that "can't be beat".

If you look at the Giro d'Italia Contador won although he didn't have any support riders for toward the end of most stages and after injury. Tinkoff Saxo looked horrible and the team finished close to 3 hours behind the Astana yet Contador still one which you can win with or without a lot of team support. Where was team Sky? A 1:13 minutes behind Astana which is by far a better team than sky hands down and they still didn't win although they dominated the entire race and rode toward the front.

I personally think if Nibali can find his form and the team with Aru and Landa can work together that's going to be a very hard trio for Sky to hold back.
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Old 06-16-15, 12:40 PM
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Agreed, Froome is his own biggest enemy. Contador will be strong. Nibali, as well. Quintana is probably a better climber than all of them. If they can all get to the mountains, unlike last year, it should be one hell of a shootout. It will be tough for froome to drop any of these guys, this year. They should all be on the form of their lives. It'll be interesting to see if any of these teams work together any point during the race.
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Old 06-16-15, 12:43 PM
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I confess to not understanding something about the Sky mountain train tactic. We've all seen it, Sky's domestiques burn themselves up and set a blistering pace up the climb, drop most of the peleton, by 5 km from the summit finish the lead group is just Froome, his last fading helper, a couple of challengers who hung on with no helpers of their own. Then Froome takes off and finishes the job solo.

But the thing is, for the challengers who did hang on, the Sky mountain train was working for them just as it was working for Froome. They were also benefiting from the shelling of the peloton and the pace-setting/slipstream of Sky. If the challenger has the legs to match Froome, then he arrives at the final 5 km having done the same amount of work as Froome and ready to go mano-a-mano.

Look at TVG in the Crit Dauphine. TVG had a weak team and yet he arrived at the final kilometers of the summit finishes with his challengers gone, except for Froome. So if he could have beaten Froome one-on-one, then TVG could have won the Dauphine. He can't, but Sky's train helped him to the #2 spot.

My feeling is that the Sky mountain train gets rid of the weaker challengers to Froome, and forces the challengers to fight against Froome's strengths, which is that he can both (1) hold a high climbing pace for a long time and (2) unleash a ferocious 110 rpm attack in the final kilometers. So if you are a diesel and rely on "riding at your own pace" (think TVG), you're screwed. If you have fast acceleration but can't sustain a high pace for a long time (can't think of any GC contendor, maybe Rodriguez), you're screwed. If you are an attacking, fast-accelerating climber who can also handle long grinding climbs (think Contador, Quintana), then I think Sky's mountain train basically speeds you to the appointed mano-a-mano with Froome.

To carry on this train (har har) of thought, the team that Contador faced in the Giro was much more dangerous, because not only did they shred the peloton up the climbs, but they brought two GC threats and Contador had to figure out which attack to cover, Aru or Landa? With Sky, you know the only attack you care about is Froome's, since the rest of the Sky team will be way down on GC by the fnial week.

I think the focus on Sky's team shouldn't overshadow the key factor that is Froome's strength. He has to finish off the job solo and his ability to accelerate to 110 rpm up a steep climb is really impressive, even if you have to cover little childrens' eyes.

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Old 06-16-15, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by LGHT
The "Sky" is falling!!!

I personally wasn't impressed. Yeah they had a few members of the team out front in a few stages, but what place did the "team" land in overall?

7th. Again pretty lack luster for an Overall performance by a team that "can't be beat".

If you look at the Giro d'Italia Contador won although he didn't have any support riders for toward the end of most stages and after injury. Tinkoff Saxo looked horrible and the team finished close to 3 hours behind the Astana yet Contador still one which you can win with or without a lot of team support. Where was team Sky? A 1:13 minutes behind Astana which is by far a better team than sky hands down and they still didn't win although they dominated the entire race and rode toward the front.

I personally think if Nibali can find his form and the team with Aru and Landa can work together that's going to be a very hard trio for Sky to hold back.
Sky's presence, what it was(or better, wasn't), told me that they put the second string out with Porte to see just what he could do against these guys & build the year around France. I think we'll see a whole different team at the Tour.
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Old 06-16-15, 12:53 PM
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The Dauphine isn't a true indicator of a team or individual's prospects for the Tour. OK, Sky/Froome will be in contention for overall victory but I expect Nibali to ride into form and Contador has already proved he can win a Grand Tour this season.

Teams will choose from the in-form guys in both the Dauphiné and the TdS and a lot will depend how they get through the first nervous week before the TTT on day 9.
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Old 06-16-15, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Belly
Sky's presence, what it was(or better, wasn't), told me that they put the second string out with Porte to see just what he could do against these guys & build the year around France. I think we'll see a whole different team at the Tour.
That maybe be true and I'm sure they where holding back, but as Leinster already mentioned their TTT in both the Criterium du Dauphine and Giro D'Italia results where 6th and 9th and they where the favorites for both or at least a podium finish.

Unless they where holding back again and again.
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Old 06-16-15, 01:04 PM
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The quote is actually "The Skies (plural) are falling" and it is a reference to weather. Should rain hit in the early days of the Tour, it is almost a given that some Skies will fall.

Another challenge that Sky may well see is that the concept of protecting and looking out for their leader apparently is not in their team handbook anywhere. See last year's Tour when no Sky riders were beside Froome on stage 4, a flat, nervous early stage for sprinters that meant absolutely zero to anyone with GC aspirations. Classic tactis say that the only job of the rest of the team is to get their leader over the finish line upright and with the same time. But in the early miles of that stage no one was beside Froome when that rider veered into him messing up his wrist. Classic tactics? Another rider should have been beside him to take that fall.

And three weeks ago at the Giro, same thing. Porte was left twice without a teammate to give him a wheel. That cost him 4 minutes. Second time was at a big crash, Contador went down. His teammate saw him, jumped over fallen riders with his bike, handed it to Contador and pushed him off. Tinkoff-Saxo at that Giro was a weak team, far weaker than Astana or Sky, but they had their priorities straight. To a man they were riding for and looking out for AC.

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Old 06-16-15, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl
I confess to not understanding something about the Sky mountain train tactic. We've all seen it, Sky's domestiques burn themselves up and set a blistering pace up the climb, drop most of the peleton, by 5 km from the summit finish the lead group is just Froome, his last fading helper, a couple of challengers who hung on with no helpers of their own. Then Froome takes off and finishes the job solo.
It's a whittling process that, as you say, relies on being confident that once the sacrificial cattle are spent, you have the strongest bull left in the ring (I think I overdid that analogy). It requires a strong leader, but also a strong team. I remember I think 2011 when Leopard Trek were trying to set things up for the Schlecks, but they didn't have enough climbing power to get rid of the other contenders. As a result, Frank and Andy were left trying to control groups with Evans, Contador, Rolland, Voeckler etc still present.

It helped USPS that they were a team built around helping one guy win one race, so they could bring in riders like Heras with the sole job of whittling. It was nice that he could then go and win the Vuelta for them, but it wasn't the primary reason to hire him.
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Old 06-16-15, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by LGHT
That maybe be true and I'm sure they where holding back, but as Leinster already mentioned their TTT in both the Criterium du Dauphine and Giro D'Italia results where 6th and 9th and they where the favorites for both or at least a podium finish.

Unless they where holding back again and again.
well, we never know for sure... We will found out in a few weeks. That much is certain.
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Old 06-16-15, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Belly
well, we never know for sure... We will found out in a few weeks. That much is certain.
Yeah I often wonder how much holding back big teams do to throw off the other teams. It could all be a ruse by the best team so they are not seen as a threat. If it is I would be pretty impressed.
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Old 06-16-15, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by LGHT
Yeah I often wonder how much holding back big teams do to throw off the other teams. It could all be a ruse by the best team so they are not seen as a threat. If it is I would be pretty impressed.
There may be a certain amount of that. However, I think the teams will be concerned about SKY, regardless. I expect Sky to race a smart, tactical race. Astana & Tinkoff haven't really proven that they can do that, over the last couple months. Seems the have gone the route off all hands on deck, at all times. Maybe some of that is the reason Sky's presence has seemed week.?
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Old 06-17-15, 02:24 PM
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Sky are so tactically ret@rded, they can be beaten. If teams "allow" Sky to simply do what they did in 2012 and 2013 and ride the train up the mountains until the final 5 KM's, then Froome will likely win. But as soon as something doesn't go to the script (as it did during the Dauphine when Nibali, Valverde, et al got away) he and his team have no idea how to handle it. Their utterly boring and pedantic tactics of staring at power meters and calculating watts works well when the other riders behave themselves, but as soon as they have to adjust their "tactics" during the race, they are totally beatable. Don't get me wrong, their team can put out huge power, and most guys can't attack that, but there are some riders who will take their chance, and have the strength to back it up. That's why riders like Contador and Nibali both being in this race (and Valverde to some extent) will make it much harder for Sky to control. I hope this race will be exciting, and we don't have to watch SkyPostal take all the fun out of the Tour. Early attacks and unconventional racing is what it is going to take to break Sky, and that will make the Tour much more exciting and unpredictable.
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Old 06-17-15, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by cthenn
But as soon as something doesn't go to the script (as it did during the Dauphine when Nibali, Valverde, et al got away) he and his team have no idea how to handle it.
Judging by how it worked out in the Dauphine, I'd say the response in the Tour will be to leave them to it and wait for the inevitable next-day-collapse.
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Old 06-17-15, 05:59 PM
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Sure... Quintana and Contador have the best chance
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Old 06-19-15, 04:57 PM
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UCI bans Sky motorhome. Froome has to spoon his teammates for 21 days. Oh joy.
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Old 06-19-15, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by spdntrxi
Sure... Quintana and Contador have the best chance
No, Contador can't win the Tour. He is tired from his Giro triumph, and he has no team. Well, he has a team, but they are not effective.
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Old 06-19-15, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl
UCI bans Sky motorhome. Froome has to spoon his teammates for 21 days. Oh joy.
Really? That's ridiculous!

Get the feeling this is one of those "they're banning it now, but in 3 or 4 seasons, every team will have it" situations? The operating costs of a couple of well-equipped motor homes would have to work out cheaper over the course of a season than hotel rooms for 20-or-so people (factoring in 9 riders + support staff). It's not as if hotel rooms in the host towns won't sell out anyway when the Tour's in town.


Contador does have part of a team. Sagan's support has been effective in Suisse, and Majka will be better in the mountains than Rogers or Kreuziger were in the Giro.
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Old 06-19-15, 09:27 PM
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From what I've read, most of those hotels the teams stay in around the Tour, are about 3 steps below a Motel 6 and hardly worthy of professional athletes, so I can see the push for motorhomes, which will likely be the standard in the near future...
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Old 06-19-15, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1
From what I've read, most of those hotels the teams stay in around the Tour, are about 3 steps below a Motel 6 and hardly worthy of professional athletes, so I can see the push for motorhomes, which will likely be the standard in the near future...
I've seen some "Inside the Team Hotel" vids on Youtube, and some are pretty nice, though it wouldn't surprise that the quality is very variable. I definitely remember from Kimmage's book that once they got into the less touristy parts of France, the hotel became a bit of a lottery and the last thing you wanted was "a f***ing Ibis."

I do agree with the Sky idea on it, though. With variable quality of hotel rooms everywhere they go, and riders having to learn how the tv remote works and a new internet password every night. Supposedly some teams even resort to bringing their own mattresses with them, which seems like another logistical nightmare compared to just putting some bedrooms on wheels and driving them everywhere.
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Old 06-20-15, 12:03 AM
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The races provide the hotel rooms. So a low budget team has to stay in the provided hotel, of variable quality. A high budget team would be able to afford motor homes. The UCI rule is intended to equalize accommodations and expense between teams.

I guess the race could be required to provide motor homes in lieu of hotel rooms. But they probably work some deal to get the hotel rooms cheapishly.
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Old 06-20-15, 12:12 AM
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UCI banned motor homes because not all teams can afford them. UCI pays for the hotel stays, not the teams. And the hotels range from very good to awful. Sky didn't do themselves any favors by getting their motor home stuck at a tour finish last year?, two years ago? which led to a hasty finish line change which in turn, helped cause a huge crash. (For the UCI ruling, see today's VeloNews website. No motorhome for Sky as UCI issues new rule - VeloNews.com )

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