Valkenburg - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   illustration - sfeer - illustratie second climb Cauberg pictured during UCI World Tour race the Amstel Gold Race 2016 from Maastricht to Valkenburg, the Netherlands - photo Wessel van Keuk/Cor Vos © 2016
  • Discussion thread #1: What was Fabio Felline doing?

    • Michele

      Def not glass and def not QR adjustment. Obviously didn’t want to stop because he would draw undue attention in himself.

      Maybe he had a cooling pump issue on his motor? Didn’t want it to show up on a heat camera.

    • jules

      is it possible he was adjusting the shifter cable tension with those little barrels on the downtube? assuming he wasn’t using electronic gears. those barrels are hard to turn without touching the tyre/wheel.

      • Dave

        That doesn’t explain it. Everyone knows that if you have a mechanical in the neutral zone you can stop without losing anything, the race will not start for real until the field is all together again.

        The neutral zone is no place to be fiddling with stuff because you’re bored. Chris Froome crashed out of the Tour de France two years ago as a result of an injury he sustained when he wasn’t paying attention in the neutral zone.

    • Dave

      Wanted to end up on YouTube.

      Mission accomplished.

      • jules

        would have been a lot easier to pretend to fiddle with a hidden button then take off the front of the bunch

        • Dave

          Maybe he doesn’t like the prospect of explaining himself repeatedly.

          • jules

            “I’d rather put my hand in a blender”

    • Altimis Nuel

      Maybe he drunk? or even drugged? who know if his mental stable at that time.

      Everyone agreed (or most of us) on the same point, why he not stop and fix it, its neutral zone . . . .

      Must be either drunk or drugged effects on him.

    • Mark Blackwell

      Clearly he was demonstrating how easily disc brakes can be adjusted on the fly, far superior to rim brakes.

      • Dave

        Indeed. A quick squeeze on the brake lever is all that’s needed to centre a hydraulic disc brake!

  • Discussion thread #2: Could Orica-GreenEdge have used Gerrans and Matthews more effectively?

    • jules

      I agree – obviously 1 should have followed the attack at the end. especially with Gasparotto a former winner. they can’t both win the sprint.

    • Michele

      For sure.

      I think is Matthews defends, the last 1.5 kms were into (allegedly) a strong head wind.

      Maybe he thought the attack wouldn’t stick, and it was too late to do anything about it when he realised it would.

      • jakub

        I was standing on the Cauberg and there was very little wind, if any.

    • aranwatson

      I buy the theory that Mathews thought the head wind would blunt the attackers and leave a sprint, especially after last year BUT… Why wasn’t Gerrans assigned to go then (White clearly singles out Matthews over Gerrans)? And the fact Mathews didn’t win the bunch Sprint reveals that maybe it was less tactics and more no legs. Either way, clearly the dual leader role for them is proving more hazardous then a useful two pronged strategy.

      • Tim Ashton

        Dual leaders rarely work, if ever. I do thinks its up to OGE management to make the decision though and either give the hard news to gerrans or matthews.

        • Dave

          Dual leaders can work if both of them play their part properly, i.e. one appointed to follow the moves and one to wait in the group for a sprint, or even to alternate between the two.

          Needless to say, it’s not a realistic option for OGE because the team management don’t appear to have any power over Simon Gerrans, he is cycling’s answer to Kevin Pietersen. For the sake of the team’s future (even though it might become a moot point next year) they should probably let him go at the end of his current contract.

    • Cam

      I’m not sure Gerrans had the legs at the finish regardless, he was never right at the pointy end of the bunch.

    • Mark Blackwell

      Perhaps. I was surprised how willing Valgrens was to work with Gasparotto. When they crested the Cauberg together I immediately expected it to devolve into a typical stalemate and thus be caught by the chasing group in the remaining kilometre (as it more or less did last year)… and I can imagine OGE felt the same way. Instead Valgrens pulled hard for 500m and seemed happy enough to get onto the podium.

      In a perfect world OGE would’ve sacrificed Gerrans as soon as it was clear that Valgrens was working, but that’s a hard thing to coordinate in the excitement (and exhaustion) of the final kilometre. BUT, if they had only one clear leader it almost certainly would’ve happened.

      • I think it was Rob Hatch who said in the coverage last night that the reason Valgren would have worked was he didn’t back himself in the sprint (with Matthews, Coquard and others there), so his best chance of a win was to work with Gasparotto. At worst he would finish second, which is better than finishing 15th in the bunch kick.

        • Superpilot

          This is exactly the tenacity that a lot of the bunch seem to be missing. Many seem to decide to play cat and mouse for 9th place, rather than potentially pulling the rest of the bunch up to the break. I love it when the WT teams get out played by valiant attacks from individuals without much support, and then sit on their hands. This is why I loved PR< all 5 were hammering it for the win. I'm happy for the Wanty crew, a great result, and shame on the big teams for letting it slip by negative racing. You could see Valgren constantly looking back, he knew if he backed off, they both would be swallowed up, so he kept going 100%. His ride had as much valour as a victory to me.

    • Pete

      Yes, by not racing together. It’s obvious they both want to win and won’t help either either.

      • jules

        you can’t keep a rider who has good enough form to win a race that suits him away, just cos he doesn’t get along with a teammate. that’s not a solution, it’s avoidance.

        • Dave

          WorldTour teams often have two or even three squads competing in different races on the same day plus guys having a break after a heavy block of racing. It’s actually quite a reasonable strategy to go all in on lead rider A, and send lead rider B to another race (perhaps getting the team an appearance fee) or back home to have a break so they’ll be fresh for races later on.

          In the case of Orica, they should probably have benched left Gerrans out of Amstel to give Matthews an extra domestique and leave Gerrans a bit fresher for Liege.

    • Arfy

      Yes, they could’ve hired one of them out to another team for the day.

      • jules


      • Dave

        That would have been equally effective, not *more* effective. They would have ended up with exactly the same outcome of the two racing against each other.

    • velocite

      Having riders with winning potential could be a strength, but only if their strength is co-ordinated. There needs to be a leader, if not nominated beforehand, at least before the end. It seemed as though OGE were just hoping for the best. I think they squibbed it.

    • Interesting quotes here from an interview Michael Matthews did with Ride magazine:

      – “The way I trained for it was for it to be a super hard race and maybe like a super negative race too where lots of guys would be attacking and it was going to be a really hard race. In the end it was actually super easy. All we did was just roll around all day.”

      – “I went up the Cauberg the last time in good position and ready for someone to launch – or someone not to – and wait for the sprint. But over the top of the climb [Enrico] Gasparotto went. There were a few guys in front of me that I assumed would go with him too but didn’t end up going. I saw the Lotto guy in front of me and another Lotto guy behind me so I was, like, ‘For sure they’re going to work together and just try and bring them back…’ There’s no point me trying to launch across and bring everyone back and then everyone attacks over me again. So it was a bit of a gamble, not going with Gasparotto when he went.”

      – “No we [he and Gerrans] didn’t talk. [The plan] was for me to go with whoever starts on the climb and Simon to wait and go with stuff over the top. No one went on the climb and Gasparotto went over the top. So that, I guess, was a hard decision to know who was going to go with that move – whether it should have been me or him, it’s hard to say at the moment but yeah… it’s done now and it’s a missed opportunity, I think, for sure.”

  • Discussion thread #3: This year’s Amstel Gold Race: just a little dull? Or did it suffer from being a week after Paris-Roubaix?

    • Michele

      Anti climatic. I’ll get shot down here but Amstel and L-B-L are usually pretty dull formulaic races. There has been some exceptions. But personally I love the Flanders to Roubaix week. Heck, everything from Omloop onwards until P-R.

      Then L-B-L honour board is the worse when it comes to notorious names.

      At least with Flèche you get to watch the riders try and time their final attack perfectly.

    • Mikael_L

      The comparison to Roubaix is a little unfair (although understandable given the calendar). One is possibly the most storied one day race in cycling & culmination of the cobbled classics, while the other is basically the Het Volk of the Ardennes races.

    • Tim Ashton

      I did use the fast forward button a fair bit when watching the recording this morning. So yes a little dull until about 10km to go. But the course certainly shakes a few people out. Surprising to see both Kwiatowski and Gilbert out the back well before last time up Cauberg. They were both on my predicted podium ha ha.

    • Dave

      I like Dumoulin’s suggestion!

    • velocite

      Yes, very dull. Lot of blokes rode in a bunch around this repetitive course for a long time and some of them went a bit faster towards the end. Terribly unfair on the riders of course, that view: seeing Hayman do all that work after his recent efforts, he was certainly earning his keep, and so presumably was everyone, but this race had little to offer this spectator. I don’t believe I would have thought differently if my fave had won. Is there something wrong with the parcours? A whole lot of sharp little climbs seems not to work as well as other architectures, even MSR, which is a bit of travelogue, softening the peloton up for the excitement of the Poggio and beyond. I wonder, do any of the riders actually know the whole course?

    • Superpilot

      Is it because of the amount of climbing? Sure PR has cobbles, but constant climbs must mean there is very little left to attack and counter during the race, so most riders will be biding their time out of the wind for the attacks near the end. Sometimes as spectators you have to put yourself in their shoes. How would you ride it? Hail mary attacks from 75km out? Probably not, you’d save yourself to be in the front on the final climb. So why expect the peloton to be any different, albeit riding twice as fast as any of us…

    • boalio

      At least it wasn’t a bunch sprint finish. At least the last 20km or so had some attacks.

  • Discussion thread #4: How would you change the Amstel Gold Race route? What does it need that it doesn’t have now? Or is it fine as it is?

    • jules

      make them chug a beer after every classified climb

      • Michele

        Make them stop at the bottom of the Cauberg, run into a pub and steal, then skool a beer.

    • PlodrPete

      Fixed wheel, crying out for fixies/SS bikes…and beards

  • Discussion thread #5: Enrico Gasparotto’s win – a fitting result?

    • Michele

      I’m so prejudiced…

      I hated the edition when he first won the face in Astana colours back in 2012.

      Last night I was hoping he’d win.

  • Discussion thread #6: What did we miss? What else will you take from the Amstel Gold Race?

    • jules

      minor point but ex-TDU random nobody Arthur Vichot finished in 19th in main front bunch.

  • Berne Shaw

    I know this sounds conspiratorial and that kind of thinking is not like me but why in the world would the guy let the winner be dragged to the line for 200 meters? I mean what was going on? And was there no one in that bunch who had any energy to fight and reach them? It just looked ridiculous to me. It is not likely but were they allowing him to win as a gesture to the fallen racer? I say this in a generous compassionate way not a mean way.

    • Superpilot

      If he slowed at all,he would have been caught by the bunch. Self preservation, not about the other rider at all. Then he had no legs to sprint for the win. As simple as that.

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