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TDF Pregame Discussions

Old 08-17-20, 01:07 PM
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jimmyodonnell
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TDF Pregame Discussions

Less than 2 weeks to the start of the Tour so I'm starting a general discussion for projections / reflections / insights of this year's race.
I'm not the most sophisticated fan of the pro peloton and some of these talking points are low-hanging fruit, but with Dauphine now complete there is suddenly a lot to discuss after months mostly idle. Please introduce new topics as my notes below are just to kickstart the exchange.

JUMBO VISMA
No doubting their strength but have recent events of the Dauphine and Poland complicated their chances for wining GC at TDF?
Will Kruijswijk's shoulder be ready for TDF and will he be 100%?
Roglic's retirement from Dauphine said to be precautionary, and he's projected to be 100% for the Tour.
I'm surprised there's so little talk of Dumoulin as a GC contender, maybe that will change in the wake of recent crashes by Roglic and Kruijswijk?
Will Groenewegen be back for TDF? I read his suspension is voluntary per the team, not imposed by UCI. I think unless he's suspended by UCI, you bring him back.
Plenty of support on this team from Tony Martin + Sepp Suss + George Bennet.
So many big names at the top of the roster, I almost left out Wout Van Aert !

INEOS
The lead-up races seemed to have raised more questions than they've answered regarding Ineos' readiness to defend their dominance of the GC.
Is Bernal's back a real injury, or was he basically removed from a losing effort at Dauphine to rest / refocus on prep for TDF?
Froome seemed to drop from the Dauphine immediately. If he's really this far off the pace, his chance of selection for the Tour are all but gone.
Thomas was so disappointing at Dauphine, it's hard to see how a similar performance at TDF will be any help at all to Bernal's chances for GC.
Sivakov could emerge as a GC contender if Bernal struggles, on current form he appears ahead of Thomas as next-in-line.
I haven't seen Carapaz named for TDF, nor have I seen Luke Rowe who typically serves as the road captain.
This will be Ineos' first grand tour since the death of their technical director Nicolas Portal.

DECEUNINCK QUIK STEP
For the first time in a while, they enter the Tour without a bunch of wins in the classics and one-days.
Last year Alaphilippe was the highlight of the Tour and the Great French Hope. Can he repeat his form of last year?
Evanpoel broke his pelvis in the crash at Lombardy and will miss the Tour.
Jakobsen of course is injured even worse after the sprint crash at Poland leading to Groenewegan suspension.
Still, they have Declercq, Sam Bennett, Archbold, Asgreen and Jungles -- can they mount enough support to put Alaphilippe in contention for GC?

LOTTO SOUDAL
They had a great Tour last year with stage wins for Thomas DeGhent and multiple sprint stage wins for Caleb Ewen in his first Tour.
De Ghent goes on the breakaway everyday and everyone cheers . . . when Vinokourev did it everyone hated him.
Last year, these guys had the curious sponsor arrangement that called them SOUDAL LOTTO for some races and LOTTO SOUDAL for others.

THIBAUT PINOT / GROUPAMA FDJ
I don't have an in-depth understanding of this team or their chances, but what little I know leads me to be skeptical.
Something about Pinot's conduct on the bike seems (to me) overly dramatic. It draws attention but it doesn't usually lead to results.
Maybe Groupama lacks the supporting cast to ever make Pinot a real contender for GC, and maybe he punches above his weight until he no longer can.
I'd like to see him get a stage win or even two, but I don't see him as a threat to win it all.
My thoughts on Marc Madiot are less complex -- I think he's a diva, and he still hasn't figured that he's not the story anymore.

A few thoughts below on other teams and riders, please add more as there's plenty I've left out . . .

BORA
Buchmann crashed in Dauphine, his status for TDF is unknown. I figured him as a podium contender for GC, I hope he recovers fully.
Schachmann was hit by a car that made its way onto the race roads at Lombardy, his TDF status is also in question.
Sagan has won the green jersey for every TDF he's ridden (I think) except the one when he was ejected. He also rode better last year than in the previous couple years.

ASTANA has Lutsenko and has added Fuglsang to this year's team. Will Miguel Angel Lopez ride the TDF or will he go to one of the other grand tours?

MICHELTON SCOTT had drama in the offseason surrounding sponsorship / ownership / solvency, in other seasons this would qualify as disruptive but this year the whole scene is upended and comparatively it seems no big deal. They had high hopes last year that Adam Yates would contend for GC, he really didn't but he did win stages.

EF had Martinez win the Dauphine, they made some noise in last year's Vuelta, and they showed well in last year's TDF. I look for them to do well again this year, it seems to be a common opinion that they've improved since last year / last season.

MOVISTAR has seen the exits of Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa, and Valverde is now 40+ years old (!) . . . Marc Soler should now get some freedom to ride for stage wins.
(If you haven't watched the Netflix series about their 2019 season, it's fun to check out)

COVID . . . does anyone think the reduced fan presence will actually be a relief for at least some of the riders? I've read and heard a lot about how difficult it is for the riders and teams to move about throughout all these small towns / remote regions in the midst of the crowds that follow the Tour. The passion and the atmosphere is a huge part of what makes the Tour important, but you know it must be exhausting to the riders contending with all that off the bike in addition to what they endure on the bike.

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Old 08-17-20, 06:07 PM
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team jv...so much talent. any team with wout and roglic and dumou will be in the mix and have the potential to win any stage. between stevie k's injuries and deegee's
pending uci penalty, i would expect both to be out. without needing to support deegee on the sprints, the team can add an extra gc domestique. any combo of bennett,
dumou, wout, roglic, gesink, martin and kuss are formidable enough.

ineos...sandbagging or not...has the young drive for five-sivakov, sosa, tgh and some guys named bernal and carapaz. unless bernal drops/crashes out relatively early and thomas or
froome, carapaz (or sivakov) haven't been able to stay within striking distance of yellow, ineos will continue to focus exclusively on the gc. but with five gc guys, ineos should
have someone within striking distance of the maillot jaune pretty much every day.

lotto has ewan and that will give them a chance at any projected sprint finish or classics-styled stage where the hills end with enough road left to rejoin breakaways.
de gendt is always de gone up the road whenever possible and the team also has carl hagen who did well in the 2019 vuelta gc but was berry berry quiet at the dauphiné.

uae probably the most interesting team to me with formolo, pogacar, de la cruz, kristoff, ulissi, conti, gaviria and polanc. another team that could challenge for every jersey and on every stage.

team ef is second most interesting team to me. slew of youngish talent that's started to show they can't be overlooked any longer. higuita, martinez and hugh carthy,
along with the experience of tvg, kangert, woods and uran

bora is propbably the third most interesting team to me. i think sagan (or oss) might be their oldest rider. young team with tons of talent. if ackermann is leading the charge for the sprints,
he and sagan will be in contention for roughly half of the total stages. hoping buchmann and schachmann can make it back in time and if they can...watch out.

michelton-scott...haven't seen or heard much from them lately. talented but the yates bros have underwhelmed, who knows what form chaves has these days?

trek with the shark, porte and mollema would seem to be gunning for the gc. i'm thinking mollema slots into the top seven with an outside shot to finish third.

astana...intriguing as well. fuglsang in great form, vlasov could go for the mtns classification. lopez...if he starts is always a top ten threat. lutsenko is a dynamic rider as well.
rodriguez is there for the mtns as well.

dcq...with alaphilippe and sam bennett means dcq are in contention on every stage. from the flat sprints, to the classic-style finishes to the highest summit finish. i still don't
think alaphilippe can win the entire thing unless he finds himself in yellow for the first time on stage 17 or later. he proved last year that he can give it one heckuva try but he
defended the yellow jersey so well too early and i think he just ran out of gas.

movistar is tough to decipher. mas, betancur, soler, villella and others have obvious talent. some stalwart domestiques like roetlandts, arcas, jorgensen and cataldo but they are
valverde's team for better or worse. dude is amazing since he can still seemingly contest classics-styled finishes and nearly any mountain stage at his age. maybe a stage win
or two along with a top ten gc placement.

loving the route and the stages. something for everyone. classics specialists, sprinters, breakaway riders and mountain goats all have their spots.

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Old 08-18-20, 12:27 AM
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So much to discuss, I will comment on TJV first.

Dumoulin is also coming back from injury really like Froome. This year's TdF has a single, uphill TT. Dumoulin will likely win another GT, just not this one probably. Roglic is far stronger. However, with Kruiswijk possibly being absent, they loose a big helper so that complicates it a little for me. We have just seen many crashes, Roglic himself crashed. If I were TJV, I would stop having Dumoulin pull, and let him hang on and lose less time (we saw in the final stage of Dauphine that without having to pull, he came what, 5th in the end, so he is strong, putting 11 seconds into Pinot), so in case Roglic crashes out, Tom could go for GC still. They should still have enough people to help him, Martin and van Aaert on the flats and into the climb, and then Kuss, Gesink, and Bennett. Not to mention that Ineos will most likely drill it anyway, so TJV does not even need to be at the front the whole time, setting pace.

Quick add on Team EF

Who do they make leader is their problem? Uran who did quite well at last year's Tour and has the experience or the young gun who just won Dauphine? Will Uran play domestique for him? Kind of hard to see. But if Martinez does well in early stages, they do have Uran, Higuita, and van Garderen to give him support. Not as broad a support as Ineos/TJV could provide, but enough (and we saw last year for example Buchmann came 4th with really only 1 or 2 helpers max).

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Old 08-18-20, 03:01 AM
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based on recent results, ef should go with martinez, higuita, then uran. the gt's are different animals. a rider such as remco, wout or alaphilippe are versatile enough
to contest a flattish sprint, an uphill sprint, a classics-styled race/finish, a medium mountains/breakaway ride or a summit finish. very few riders (maybe 10-15?) in a group of 180 riders
or so, can claim that.
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Old 08-18-20, 03:13 AM
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i think both bora riders (schachmann/buchmann) come back for the tdf but take it easy for the first week and then crush it. thinking top 15 for both with one of them in the top 6-8.
i hope i'm wrong and hoping both guys crush the bleep out of the tdf. would enjoy seeing either/both team jv and ineos implode.

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Old 08-18-20, 08:15 AM
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[QUOTE=ooga-booga;2164652

ineos...sandbagging or not...has the young drive for five-sivakov, sosa, tgh and some guys named bernal and carapaz. unless bernal drops/crashes out relatively early and thomas or
froome, carapaz (or sivakov) haven't been able to stay within striking distance of yellow, ineos will continue to focus exclusively on the gc. but with five gc guys, ineos should
have someone within striking distance of the maillot jaune pretty much every day.

.[/QUOTE]

It's my understanding that Ineos is saving Carapaz for the Giro.
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Old 08-18-20, 09:50 AM
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Uran will be the preferred GC choice, then either Martinez or Higuita with a nod towards Martinez. Higuita is strong but seems to lack the, maturity?, needed for a three week GC run. Uran was looking strong in the Dauphine, but it's hard to read him because he's pretty cunning. Uran is capable of not being %100 reliant on his team to get where he needs to be, like the ineos or JV trains with brute force. The nice thing is the team can work for Uran, but if he does falter I'm guessing the youngsters will have plenty left in the tank for their own GC ambitions.

What worries me is EF is lacking a strong man for the flats like Phinney.
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Old 08-18-20, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
i think both bora riders (schachmann/buchmann) come back for the tdf but take it easy for the first week and then crush it. thinking top 15 for both with one of them in the top 6-8.
i hope i'm wrong and hoping both guys crush the bleep out of the tdf. would enjoy seeing either/both team jv and ineos implode.
Buchmann will make podium this year. In an interview on German TV he said after last year's Tour that he is happy with the progress, that he will continue, and focus on his kick ability. And he did just that. Stage 2 and 3 of Dauphine was the exact same first three of the GC contenders, Roglic, Pinot, Buchmann. And Buchmann was just on the wheel of Pinot in both. TdF 2019 he did not have a kick, e.g. Pinot dumpstered on him (and the others to be fair) at the end of the Tourmalet, but same with other stages, he could keep up but at the end he was weaker than others. This year seems to be different. Pinot hasn't finished a GT in a long time, I don't think he will either this year, at least not a high level in the third week, and besides Bernal and Roglic, I can see Buchmann holding off any others.

Schachmann may miss the entire Tour unfortunately, he fractured his calvicula, that is normally 6-8 weeks recover time.

Team Ineos

They have a strong squad, yes, but Froome and Thomas will be no contenders and Bernal has that back issue. Also, Roglic beat him in l'Ain and Dauphine. My money is on Roglic. Bernal at best 2nd. Roglic is also a better TT and yes it is uphill, but he is good uphill, so he will take quite a bit of time there from the others, that I just don't see Bernal taking from him.

I am curious as to how they will play it this year. They are so used to being dominating, but if they play it the same way as the previous years, they are just helping Roglic - he would love if Ineos do all the work, setting pace so no one can attack, and then at some point up the hill his team can take over and set even more pace and he just crushes everyone in the last 1-0.5km, makes a few seconds here and there, bonus seconds here and there, and finishes it off on the ITT. So Ineos need a different strategy imo.
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Old 08-18-20, 10:36 AM
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Sean Kelly suggested Fuglsang should enter the Tdf instead of the Giro, but I can't find any indication Astana or Fuglsang is moving that way.
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Old 08-18-20, 11:14 AM
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Astana are not strong enough to win the TdF, but Vlasov could win the Giro where there will be less competition this year.
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Old 08-18-20, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
It's my understanding that Ineos is saving Carapaz for the Giro.
probably but it’s looking like if ineos realistically wants to win the tdf...they’ll need carapaz to ride it.
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Old 08-18-20, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
probably but it’s looking like if ineos realistically wants to win the tdf...they’ll need carapaz to ride it.
Maybe. Carapaz would make a super domestique for Bernal in the mountains. And maybe he could lead if Berrnal should falter. Hard to believe that Thomas wouldn't be good enough for that role, but here we are.

Why isn't Thomas stronger this year? We all understand what is holding Froome back. But Thomas? Am I missing something?
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Old 08-18-20, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Maybe. Carapaz would make a super domestique for Bernal in the mountains. And maybe he could lead if Berrnal should falter. Hard to believe that Thomas wouldn't be good enough for that role, but here we are.

Why isn't Thomas stronger this year? We all understand what is holding Froome back. But Thomas? Am I missing something?
totally. team sky/ineos has never really seemed to care about anything other than the tdf...much less the giro. i figured if ineos really neded carapaz for the tdf, they'd add him. finalized rosters for the
tdf will be out in about a week so the palace intrigue will only grow till then.

as far as thomas goes, he has been less impressive than we've come to expect given his results of the last 2-3 years. either there is some serious sandbagging going on
and the kraken will be unleashed in two weeks or there is a health concern.
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Old 08-19-20, 01:23 AM
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Just in, Froome and Thomas left out of Tour squad.

So much to all those "sandbagging" and "peaking at right time" nonsense.

Amador
Bernal
Carapaz
Castroviejo
Kwiatkowski
Rowe
Sivakov
van Baarle

Brailsford: "We've looked at how we can win this race, maybe with a slightly different approach than in the past, but we've got a good game plan and these are the guys to deliver on that".

https://twitter.com/laflammerouge16/...340553728?s=20
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Old 08-19-20, 01:37 AM
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and there it is. unfamiliar with van baarle but amador, castroviejo and rowe have plenty of experience and talent.
kwiatkowski can either go out on breakaways, pull along the flats or set the pace in the foothills/lower mtns.
rival teams will have to respect any move from sivakov, carapaz or bernal (or even amador) until one or more
of them falls 6-7 mins behind on gc after the first half of the race.

hello giro for thomas and hello vuelta for froomie?

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Old 08-19-20, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmyodonnell View Post
.
(If you haven't watched the Netflix series about their 2019 season, it's fun to check out)
Episode 4, 21:50 after Tourmalet, Quintana heads to a car and a fan says it loud: "Nairo, we're proud of you, as always"
that's my wife 🙈. I'm on her side struggling to set the camera in selfie mode 🤦
the quote is used again at the end of the last episode as well, when he's leaving the team.
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Old 08-19-20, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmyodonnell View Post

MOVISTAR has seen the exits of Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa, and Valverde is now 40+ years old (!) . . . Marc Soler should now get some freedom to ride for stage wins.
(If you haven't watched the Netflix series about their 2019 season, it's fun to check out)
Not to mention the departure of Carapaz. That documentary is great, but for Movistar, 2019 is a LONG time ago. They are not the same team any longer. I would like to see them rebuild - they have made great contributios to the grand tours for many years.
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Old 08-19-20, 09:46 AM
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Interesting, isn't it? As Skye, that team had strong roots in Britain, starting with the explicit goal of brining TdF victory to England with Wiggins, continuing up to last year, when all their featured riders (Wiggins/Froome/Porte/Thomas) were anglo-english. Now as Ineos, they are being lead by Bernal and Carapaz. That's a big change.
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Old 08-22-20, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Interesting, isn't it? As Skye, that team had strong roots in Britain, starting with the explicit goal of brining TdF victory to England with Wiggins, continuing up to last year, when all their featured riders (Wiggins/Froome/Porte/Thomas) were anglo-english. Now as Ineos, they are being lead by Bernal and Carapaz. That's a big change.
It seems they still prefer Brits, though.

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/r...epZ-41J1vbN8iE
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Old 08-23-20, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
It seems they still prefer Brits, though.

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/r...epZ-41J1vbN8iE
Nothing wrong with that, Bora Hansgrohe has a lot of German riders. Groupama, Cofidis a lot of French, Movistar many Spanish speakers.
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Old 08-24-20, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
Nothing wrong with that, Bora Hansgrohe has a lot of German riders. Groupama, Cofidis a lot of French, Movistar many Spanish speakers.
Definitely nothing wrong with that, but if you read the thread above, I was noting that they have seemed to be shifting from that, with Bernal and Carapaz as their two young GC stars
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Old 08-24-20, 12:34 AM
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tdf rosters will be coming out next few days...
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Old 08-24-20, 12:41 AM
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had been wondering about mvdp...knew he would show up sooner rather than later. boy, did he ever.
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Old 08-28-20, 07:58 PM
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And here we are.
Thanks everybody for contributing to this discussion, I've had a busy couple weeks with little time to add anything, but I've caught up on everyone's notes.

Here's some good preview material at INNER RING . . . https://inrng.com
I do enjoy this website with good analysis and little hype, and the reader comments offer astute insight as well . . . I learn plenty from both the articles and the comments, check it out if you're inclined.
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Old 08-28-20, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Not to mention the departure of Carapaz. That documentary is great, but for Movistar, 2019 is a LONG time ago. They are not the same team any longer. I would like to see them rebuild - they have made great contributios to the grand tours for many years.

Many pundits have said that former version of the team had a hard time getting out of their own way.
Maybe the new lineup will breathe fresh air into Movistar?
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