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Pro Cycling - Tour de France 2019

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On 20/03/2019 at 20:04, Dapple said:

The 'ethos of cycling' ship sailed years ago, didn't it?  Is there a difference between Ineos' involvement and that of Astana, Katusha or Bahrain?

 

Gasprom Rus Velo too. 

 

Aparently Sky will be rebranded for Tour of Yorkshire at the start; which sounds like a hell of a lot of work to nail in a month. 

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On 18/03/2019 at 18:13, JohnC said:

I'm not sure the financial levelling will work out. It's set to be bought by Jim Ratcliffe and become Team Ineos. The team's budget will be increased.

 

On 19/03/2019 at 23:14, choddo said:

Team fucking Brexit Fracking Ineos. As if there could be anything further from the ethos of cycling.

 

Dirty money.

 

Wow, they looking for some carbon offset while they pollute the fuck out of the planet - Sky was not great but this is a whole new level of evil scum overlord :( 

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On 20/03/2019 at 20:04, Dapple said:

The 'ethos of cycling' ship sailed years ago, didn't it?  Is there a difference between Ineos' involvement and that of Astana, Katusha or Bahrain?

 

I don’t even know what Katusha do. Are they an oil company?

 

Obviously Kazakhstan is a largely oil funded govt.

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'The cycling project was launched in the very end of 2008, when on December 22 a Team Katusha was launched in Moscow. The team was practically organised by the Russian Global Cycling Project foundation, which itself is funded by Russian businesses such as Gazprom, Itera and Rostechnologii.'

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Horrible crash by the sounds of it. Although he’s seemingly woken up to the news that he might now be a 7 time grand tour winner as Cobo has been disqualified from the 2011 Vuelta he won by 17 seconds from Froome after the UCI have said his biological passport has abnormalities, and rules all Cobo’s results from 2009 to 2011 ineligible.

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It's only just started. 

 

I'm looking forward to this year's race, apart from the green "Sagan" Jersey, I think anyone could win the jerseys. Overall, untill Fulstang took  a tumble there were a good 5 looking for top GC honours. 

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No chat on this? I’m hooked, highlights every night!

 

Alaphillipe setting everything on fire. Peloton split in crosswinds causing mayhem, and we’re just about to hit the mountains proper!

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Wow, what a great stage! I thought that this would be Thomas’s day for sure, but some amazing French rides proved otherwise.

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Very suspicious performance from Alaphillipe. Smashing everyone in the time trial then cruising up the tourmalet after a week in yellow when he was even riding on the front for his team occasionally.

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He is the world number 1 at the moment .....and won the polka dot jersey last year. The guys been on an upwards trajectory for a number of years now.   

 

And never underestimate the effect of being french  and wearing the yellow jersey.

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It's not so much the fact that he's leading the race, it's the way he's been riding. It all looks too easy and reminds me a bit too much of past dopers, Rasmussen in particular. Maybe he is clean, but pretty much every time a rider has delivered such a stellar performance out of left field in the past, it's turned out later to have been too good to be true.

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Maybe. He's never been a GC contender in a grand tour before as far as I recall. Itv highlights saying that this performance would have been unimaginable before the tour. I hope I'm wrong, but it's hard not to be a bit sceptical given the sport's history.

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It has struck me as suspicious all week - shock time trials and mountain stages are often followed by failed test type stories.

 

I’m sure the home crowd will be throwing bags of piss at him too.

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I think it looks suspicious to some people because he's never been in this position before in a GT. He's always been seen as rider for the classics or a stage hunter. However it's not like he's never won a stage race before, he won the Tour of California in 2016 (one in which he won a mountain stage)*. Addtionally he has won the young riders jersey in a number of stage races including Paris-Nice 2017 where he was 5th overall, oh and he won the ITT on stage four (taking 20 seonds out of Contador and 50 seconds out of Richie Porte over 14.5km!!).... He's obviously a huge talent so it's not totally out of the blue that he could be where he is.

 

As stated JA has already won an ITT in a big World Tour stage race, also this was an ITT that was nearly won by Thomas De Gendt, and no one would have batted an eyelid at that despite the fact he has never won a TT before. Basically the only rider you could consider a TT specialist who was in the race (who wasn't sandbagging because they were saving energy) was G, who admitted that he tied up in the final kms because of the heat.

 

Can Alaphilippe climb? Yes he can obviously climb as shown in he Tour of California win, additionally as was pointed out he won the Polka Dots last year, now this isn't necessarily the mark of a great climber, it's generally the mark of someone who is willing to go out in breaks and pick off the points on lots of early climbs, however you still have to make it up those climbs. What you also have to remember is that contrary to what many of you might think Alaphilippe is a very slight rider. He's 62kg (and actually looks leaner than that this tour), that really is climber territory. He's almost 9kg lighter than G, 7kg lighter than Froome, 2kg lighter than Bardet and 1kg lighter than Pinot. He's no 80kg Big Mig! It's actually more amazing that he is able to perform in the classics the way he does considering how slight he is.

 

The more interesting result from yesterday was how poor a lot of the rest of the field are looking. Bardet (who really needs to race something that isn't the tour seriously) getting dropped so early, Adam Yates, Quintana being blown out the back by his own team, Porte, then Mas, even G losing time. However I'm not sure Alaphillipe has the team to help him, although I would imagine that Mas is going to be on super domestique duty now.

 

Currently Pinot is looking really strong and has a great team around him. Kruijswijk is also looking mighty impressive and also has a really strong team (much stronger than the team that went to the Giro), I'd actually say if they hadn't made that massive error with Bennet on the crosswinds day that they would have been the strongest team being able to have a great one two punch. Ineos look completely shot to be honest, the fact that Kwiato was dropped so early having sandbagged the ITT was a complete shock, then having had the luxury of Movistar doing all the work for them they all blew pretty much straight away.

 

Having said all that today is another big stage and things could flip all over the place.

 

* Remember that winning the 2018 Tour of California was Bernal's big moment where everyone sat up and took notice of him as a future contender for the Grand Tours.

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It's amazing how much fun the tour can be to watch without Team Sky controlling the life out of it. After Friday and Saturday you'd expect that to be it with a 2 minute lead Alaphilippe would be safe to cruise to the finish as has happened with leaders in previous tours by this point. But he showed weakness today, Thomas fought back and the race is still on. Great stuff.

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Yeh it's been a great tour so far. Any of the top 6 could and up winning it. If it's not Geraint, I hope Pinot wins. Seems like a decent guy. We could have 6 riders battling it out for the win on the final summit finish in Saturday.

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Hoping Pinot can do it - feels like he deserves it. Rest day and a couple of flat stages next though, which should give JA time to recover before the final three alpine stages. Which is why I still think the current yellow jersey will wear it into Paris.

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But the alps ... and Ineos looked better today. I think it's going to come down to the last climb. 

But i'd be happy with any of the top 6 to win this year, it's been a great race so far. 

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Lots of conspiracy theorists claiming it wouldn't happen if the riders were on the teams of the French hopefuls...

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