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July 25, 2017
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  • Michele

    Good stuff TSP.

    Chris Froome as a sprinter works for me. It would be easier to come around him and out-duel him on the line. Not with those elbows sticking out like that.

    Glad to read TSP thoughts about Luca and also Danielson / JV / Garmin.Something is amiss with that team.

    How long until the first comment containing a gripe about TSP being anti-Astana [because the ‘Tour was a lot slower than the Gyro’], and that the TSP is a hypocrite because he slams Luca and Tom but turns a blind eye to blatant doping by SKY / Froome?

    Thanks for the read CT / TSP. :)

    • Warwick

      re: Sky, hey they could be on drugs for all I know, but I think they just won it with a better approach. By hitting everyone early on in the first week, rather than the usual GC approach of riding into form in the later weeks of the tour. They knew contador wasn’t likely to be as strong, and if they could put time into the others early on all they had to do was, defend and hope the form didn’t completely disappear by the end of the Tour.

    • James

      Oh right and you know Sky are blatantly doping how?

      • Michele

        Please re-read my comment. I’m suggesting people are going to make that response, and that suggestion is based on TSP last piece. :)

        I am not suggesting, let alone stating Sky are dopng. Far from it.

        • James

          My apologies :)

          • Michele

            All good James. :)

            I’ve been guilty of misreading myself.

        • Chris Garrison

          I’ll suggest it. :)

      • Jonty Paulsen

        In a sport rife in doping, Of course the best team is doping. No evidence needed

    • Holby City


    • Jonty Paulsen

      Agreed, What about Movistar too? didn’t he compliment Valverde a few articles back.. Please

    • Jonty Paulsen

      Also Michele, You seem to be posting alot on these forums are you married to @Jules?

      • Michele

        I don’t want to get caught out assuming … But I’m pretty sure Jules is male.

        I’m also pretty sure that John Abbott hasn’t passed same sex marriages yet.

        Plus I’m not sure how my wife would take it. ?

        • André Costa Silva

          That was quite funny, dude.

  • Warwick

    Ahh TSP never disappoints, love these articles.
    Regarding Danielson / Paolini (its probably been answered somewhere else) how often do B samples come back negative? Also I often wonder in testing how often false positives come up? as in the little I know on medical testing, they do happen from time to time.

    • seemi

      I can’t find the article, but I read a few days ago that the answer to that question is basically never. It’s just a delay tactic to help form a coherent defence, or keep the team riding as was the case with Astana last year.

      • Michele

        It can’t be never seemi.
        Landis book ‘Positively False’ is testament to that. Then again, Positively False is not the same as False Positive. :)

  • scottmanning

    “Thanks for reading”
    No, thank you for writing!

  • Michele

    I also meant to say … Simon Moody does a brilliant job on the banners of these pieces.

    Being the TSP, you want to [well I do anyway], get straight into reading it.

    But I love that Champs-Élysées photo/illustration.

  • Jake(Aus)

    Awesome as always! :)

  • Andy B

    Phinney winning the world championships would be awesome!

    • Michele

      Would love to see him back to his best.

  • gb

    TSP blasting Pinot’s skills was the best part.

    Can someone enlighten me how guys at this level just “lose it” in the crucial moments? I would expect at this level they would know what to do(re:stage 14). His descending was painful to watch.

    Chapeau to Steve on that one.

    RE: MTN

    Is it just me or I thought DT could’ve made a run for the Polka Dot more? Although something tells me this guy was done after week 1 since he spent majority of the time on weeks 2-3 at the back.

    • Andy B

      Easier said than done

      I don’t think hes in the same league as some of the other contenders for the polka dots
      He probably went very deep to hold it while he did

    • Michele

      In the case of Pinot, I remember reading a piece by Daniel Frieze on him. I can’t recall the exact details, but I think Pinot witnessed / had a friend who was seriously injured whilst descending when he was younger. I Pinot has even admitted he has a fear of descending.

      Inrng did a great piece a couple of years ago on the art of descending:


    • MD

      DT was also KOM in the Dauphine a few weeks earlier. He achieved that by being in almost every meaningful break on every mountain stage. Then in the TdF he again got the jersey by being in a few breaks. If his legs were cooked by the end of week 1, you could hardly blame him :) in any case, there were another 8 riders in the team, at least half of whom also needed their chance to be in mountain stage breaks ;) (what a great team to watch :))

  • david__g

    Share his roll?

    Richie Porte does not share food!

    • Mork1

      Bedroll. He’s a notoriously selfish lover.

  • Arfy

    I get that drugs in other sports bothers people, it bothers me too. However, let’s put this in context. PEDs have been around for several decades, and were originally banned based on ill health effects on athletes using them. This in turn led to two new industries, the drug-detection agencies (the “good guys”) and the black-market PED suppliers (the “bad guys”). All forms of elite sports have struggled with the drugs issue from time-to-time, and all sports have tried to make the issue go away lest it should devalue their sport. Cycling was not alone in this.

    Then along came Armstrong, record-setting TDF winner, biggest name in the sport, sponsor’s delight, and rags-to-riches cancer surviving multi-millionaire success story. We all know the story, but do not underestimate how damaging it is when your sport’s biggest star is brought down in such a spectacularly public manner that has played out globally over several years in the media. The repercussions may still be felt for years yet, as many of the non-cycling public will now remember the sport for one thing and one thing only.

    Rightly or wrongly, this is the story that all other sports, athletics included, are now trying to avoid. Should we really criticise them for trying to protect their turf when perhaps we should be reaching out to them to help them deal with the issue.

    • jules

      no, they deserve criticism. covering up doping in your sport only ends one way – it allows doping to proliferate and it always gets out in the end, with the associated damage to profile. they’re doing it wrong and the only hand they need should be offered sharply across their face ;)

    • Michele

      I can see where you’re coming from Arfy.

      And you do make some good points – though I also agree with what Jules says in his comment.

      The point you make that “we should be reaching out to them to help them deal with the issue” is an interesting one. Who is the “we”?

      I don’t think the UCI are in a position to do so. Much mirth would abound from around the world if they went to work along with the IAAF. I think the average sports fan would consider cycling to be as dirty ever. And I still think there’s a chapter or 2 to be played out yet on how much the UCI knew about LA and his doping.

      Who do you mean when you say we?

      • Arfy

        I used “we” to encompass everyone in cycling who’s passionate about the PEDs issue. I’m not necessarily talking about formally helping, but openly discussing with friends, colleagues, anyone we know in athletics. It’s the people who participate in athletics, and who take their kids to athletics, who volunteer coaching at grass-roots level, who need to speak up on the issue in their sport. I don’t think it’s helpful for cycling people to throw mud over the fence at athletics.

        • Michele

          Thanks for explaining that. I agree. I don’t think it’s helpful, nor are we really in a position to do some mud throwing.

    • duanegran

      Cycling has been marred with the image of doping well before the fall of Armstrong amplified the message. The Festina Affair happened well over a decade prior to Armstrong confession. Other sporting bodies have just as much of a drug problem as cycling but the secret pro is absolutely spot-on to say that cycling suffers backlash because it is the most aggressive in policing the issue. Other sport leagues are more than happy to play “drug test theatre” (player unions dictating the list of substances, no out of season testing, etc) and let the media point the finger at cycling as the problem child of professional sport.

      Other sport leagues are simply kicking the can down the road. Cycling did it too, but if their fan base cares about the issue there will be a day of reckoning. I do criticize them for protecting their turf because they are duty bound to protect the health of young aspiring athletes and on a moral level they have a duty to preserve the spirit of fair competition. Turf be damned, I say and other sport bodies will only take drug abuse seriously when they are forced to do so. The longer they delay the more painful it gets.

  • Yes! I have been waiting for this since the beginning of July!

  • Joel

    Your views are always eagerly awaited TSP. Thanks

  • William

    “Froome looked weak in the last week” ?? What freaking race was this bloke watching ?? He was still hanging with Quintana on every attack in the Alps to the end. Contador looked absolutely roasted in the last week of the Giro and could barely hang on to the attacks from Astana.

    • philipmcvey

      Apart from the stage where Quintana put, you know, two minutes in to him. Froome himself admitted he was suffering from a cold and feeling awful for most of the time in the Alps. So, I guess he was watching the same race as almost everyone else. Bar you.

    • Jonty Paulsen

      “looked” he was putting it on riding to the numbers to look normal, While still holding onto yellow rumour has it the next TDF will be held in Hollywood…

    • Alfa4

      Landa always dropped Contador when he attacked in a hard stage…At the begining Landa was working. But it is not a question of the begining or at the end, the question is that Mortirolo and Finestre stages is where you could make more damage.

      Contador has always have problems in the last week, specially in long stages, froome has more endurance, and Quintana is a great climber, the best in a lot of years, so as climbing stages pass, he will be better,. That is normal.

      Contador started weak le Tour (Huy) and finisedh the same weak in Alp D huez.. He managed to be 5th becouse he had a very strong team around him in the forst 10 days to place him very well. other riders in the top ten didnt have that.

  • Tom Wells

    You know who takes doping more seriously than the IAAF, football bodies (such as FIFA) and tennis? eSports. No joke, they’ve just started testing for doping when you play a video game professionally, mostly for drugs such as adderall which increase your concentration and awareness but I guess that’s not the point.

    How they can’t be ashamed of themselves is beyond me.

  • Neuron1

    Time for a few facts regarding the Giro and Tour. Giro: 3481 km, 39.31 kph avg speed, 43,000 meters of climbing. Tour: 3360 km, 38.34 kph avg speed, 59,563 meters of climbing. You would think that with 16,000 meters more of climbing the speed would have been significantly slower. Not a measly 2.5%. 16,000 meters is equal to 3-4 extra mountain days. With an average speed on the mountain stages of 32 kph one would expect a very significant difference in the speed of the the two races. In fact, the average speed of the Tour is effectively higher than that of the Giro. Go figure.

    • Been there

      Hey Neuron, the raw numbers aren’t much help. I’ve ridden extensively in the French and Italian Alps, the Pyrenees and the Dolomites, including most of the 2015 Giro and Tour climbs multiple times. There is no question that the Italian climbs make you work much harder for the altitude gain. That is why the Giro average was 39kmh and not higher. In other words, the pace at the Giro was materially faster than the Tour.

      But hey, what would TSP and someone like me know compared with you watching on TV from the comfort of the lounge? ;)

      • Neuron1

        So have I ridden the climbs. In fact I did the climbs this year during the Giro, either the day before or after the race. The numbers are from the Dimension Data website. The Pyrenees are more akin to the Dolomites and the western Italian Alps are the same mountains as the French. There were more meters at higher altitude at the Tour than at the Giro. Also, if you watched the entirety of each stage you will see that Sky spent a great deal more time on the front than any other single team at the Tour while the time was frequently split between Tinkoff and Astana at the Giro. One team vs two, more altitude.

        But hey, don’t ever let the facts get in the way of your opinion.

        • Been there

          I’m calling BS on you Neuron – you were no where near the Italian alps during the Giro. Prove me wrong buddy and answer this one little question – what’s so special about turn number 8 on the Mortirolo? Answer time champ …

          • Neuron1

            Send me your email and I’ll send you the pictures. The Tour 2014, Giro 2015. Lots of pics and video. I even made it onto the tele a few times on eurosport in different parts of stages. Got Nibali’s signature after his Tour victory. I however will not resort to personal attacks and attempts at belittling another commenter here, so I’ll stick to the facts. The Tour had 16,000 meters more of climbing and more overall time at higher altitudes. That is a lot by any standards. If you look at the average gradients for the climbs they are not significantly different. This should have brought the Tour average speed down significantly. We’re not talking 1-2% vs 18-20% gradients here. It would be wonderful if we had the numbers of kilojoules that each rider expended at each grand tour for a true comparison of difficulty. Data Dimensions could provide this information for the Dauphine and Tour from this year. Then we could have some excellent head to head comparisons.

            I think TSP has a bias in the Greg Henderson vs Aru battle. It’s very personal and he couldn’t be seen to not be backing a mate. Also, it is likely he has buddies riding on Sky and can’t make the same accusations against them. This is speculation but certainly plausible. So when you come back please bring some intelligent answers not baseless attacks. This forum is far too enjoyable to be degraded by ad hominem attacks.

            • Been there

              Fair enough Neuron, my ad hominem argument was uncalled for and I retract (and also genuinely congratulate you on what sounds like two epic adventures).

              I take your point on the data, as per my first post, but as you say riders’ average kj would give a better comparison because it’s an output measure rather than the limited range of currently available inputs (ie, gradient, mts climbed, altitude levels). Some other factors that will or may impact on average speed as well:

              1. Road surface quality (theoretically objectively measurable, but in my experience it is noticeably poorer on average in Italy).
              2. Wind.
              3. Doping levels.
              4. General fatigue / freshness from earlier in the season.
              5. Peleton motivation.

      • Neuron1

        Just another fact. The Tour Stage 17 and the Criterium du Dauphine were, as best I can tell, the same route. 166 km start and end at the same place. Tour winner 4 hrs 12 min, Criterium stage winner 4 hrs 31 min after a manic attack on the descent.

        I’ll just let the numbers speak for themselves.

        BTW, I don’t deny that TSP’s perception was that the races were different. Clearly they are, but the numbers have to mean something.

        • Dave

          That’s only a 7.5% difference.

          Definitely not unreasonable when comparing the same route being run for the Tour and for a warmup race.

          • Sean

            Wind strength and direction could even impact it more than drugs ever could

            • Alfa4

              Of couse, but it is impossible wind all the days head wind or tail wind, It could be an impact, but not too big. If Tour had more desnivel and the average speed was higher, it is difficult to say the Giro had a much higher pace…Of course despite the average, Giro was raced more agresivelly all the time, but no more difference, the moments of intensity in le Tour were much morre hard, as it is normal becpuse the level was higher.

              Mortirolo was climbed 3 or 4 minutes slower than in Pantani times, and that is too much. But TSP what feels wanst the pace on the Mortirolo,becouse he wanst there, he fells the opace in the rest, not the mountains, and the pace in the rest was amazing for the reasons I explained in other post, but not in the hole Giro. The same that in le Tour, the pace was not so hight in some stages but really hard in the key moments: wind, cobbles, some final stages, some climbs.

      • Alfa4

        Not true, Tour was almost 40.

  • Derek Maher

    Good range of subjects TSP.
    Regarding the IAAF and other sporting bodies they have copped on to the dope issue.
    They have learned through bitter experience that shouting to the roof tops about cleaning up their sports just brings the media spot light onto their heads.The cycling powers have gone in the opposite direction high lighting their expensive crusade and keeping the media focussed on the negative.
    Result,Front page headlines on doping and cycling and constant topping up with gossip and rumours anytime a rider gets a decent result in a big race.
    No wonder the teams who also pay a lot of money to the governing body of cycling get annoyed when they find it hard to raise sponsorship to keep things on the road because of the lack of business sense shown by the cycling powers.

    • Dave

      The teams do NOT pay “a lot of money” to the UCI – the licence fee is USD 68k which is not even 1% of a typical 10 million budget. The UCI’s component of running the WorldTour is paid for mainly from race licence fees.

      If the teams are struggling to attract and retain sponsors then perhaps they should consider walking away from doping instead of continuing to trash the sport’s reputation and handball the blame to the UCI, ASO or any other convenient target.

  • Stuttgart5

    Bring back the first TSP writer.

  • Allez Rouleur

    I’ll be at the Worlds, only two hours by car for me. Awesome. I want to see Boonen win it!

    As for cycling becoming popular in the U.S. The only thing I’d like to see happen is drivers act a little less like fucking assholes towards cyclists. I love cycling and don’t give a flying fuck if it’s popular. Most Americans are mouth-breathing idiots who follow the NFL. American football is a shitty, corrupt, slow, boring sport. Tons of PEDs, tons of fat fans, all black players, all white owners/coaches. Modern day plantation system. Fuck football.

  • Alfa4

    Thanks for the info and to share your opinions.

    I am not agree
    with you in everything. If you say that the pace the first 3 days in le
    Tour was weaker than in il Giro you lies. it was a level that any stage
    got in il Giro. The same for the pace of Quintana /froome, higher than
    in il Giro, becouse Tour has more level,

    Other thing is that in
    le Tour peloton took some stages to have a rest, especially 4th,5th
    stages…and in il Giro all the races was fight very strong, for 2
    reasons: Saxo wanted to control everything and always put a hard pace,
    and Astana got the stronger team, just see the names (I saw you didnt
    know the potential of Landa, well now you know, he is a climber close to
    quintana, not better, and was always like that), I know his life as the
    people that folow you here knows yours…so for me is not a surprise
    when he is not so striong and when he is very strong as in Neila one
    year, in San sebastian and Indurain another or this spring. He is 25, I
    belive in froome and I writed about him along study or his trayectory
    , but it looks like you dont believe in Landa, when froome came form 2
    poor years and suddenly is the best in la Vuelta, and before Wiggins
    make an spectacular jump, all pf them older than Landa…who has been
    always a big promise. You can believe me or not, but it is like that. I
    dont know about the rest of the team, but I know quite well about Landa,
    and in fact, he leaves the team.

    So Astana used his potential to
    try to win the race, and that fight between teams day by day was what
    make a very hard Giro. of course in the Giro could be more doping than
    in le Tour, I dont put that appart although I think very little doping

    As well Giro is a hard race for his parcours, it is a
    good race for climbers, if you are not a climber maybe you suffered less
    in the cobbles of le Tour.

    For the rest we share similar opinions.

  • Alfa4

    Average speed is not always a good way to compare races, becouse the wind and the parcours. This year Giro was a fast one, the second faster in history, km
    39.310 after that of Basso and Arroyo. that Giro of Basso and Arroyo had a very bad weather, dirty stages as montalcino in a time where doping started to fall, where Basso cant be Birilo again, where Evans won the Montalcino stage in the mud, and he could have won the race but he got ill at the second week, and where Porte started Gt doing 7th…. a really hard parcous, harder than this year, and the average was hight becouse Liquigas needed to recover that time to Arroyo…so, that is the question, a team who wanted to go always quickly.this year it was similar.

    About le Tour, it wanst like that, Movustar wait for the key moment to attack, and the race was at the pace of SKY, no other team wanted to put the pace, so it was a good pace for the leader, not superstrong. So, we should have a clearly worse average speed, but we have a higher pace: 39.64 km/hr.

    So you cant say the pace wasstronger in the Giro by numers, becouse you would lie.

  • bradweber

    Are you a team Sky rider?


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