feat
  • Michele

    Good day for Sky.

    Funny I was reading a couple of articles about Dutch cycling the other day. It’s been 26 years (of the top of my head) since a Dutch rider has worn yellow at the TdF.

    A second article was on Wout Poels. A couple of interesting points – not earth shattering:
    He’s never used a TUE.

    Until he joined Sky he’d never done any training at altitude. Poels joined Froome over the Xmas period in Africa, and then did another block in Feb/March. He definitely said he benefited from it; Came 7th at T-A when he treated it as a training ride.

    If the parcours is suitable (i.e. not too many high mountains], Thomas has the ability to get a high placing; not sure of a win. If Sky continue to develop Poels, I wonder if he’d be a better GT prospect.

    • Whippet

      Poels might be a better GT prospect, but Sky have a case of anglophilia. If they’re willing to go Dutch, perhaps Dumoulin would be even better.

      • Dave

        He may not have ridden the race himself, but a Dutch doctor was certainly a big part of Sky’s rise to the top.

  • jules

    interesting interview segment released by USADA there, powerful stuff. I’m sure there was something else relevant to USADA at the moment, but I’ve been distracted and can’t remember ;)

    • Michele

      ?

      Was powerful. Never liked Tyler when he rode. Didn’t like him when he got busted. Liked him even less when he defended his positives.

      But out of all the dopers who have since admitted ‘their crimes’, he’s the one who seems – to me at least – to have been the most articulate in explaining his doping ways: The lies, the depth of them, the consequences (both good and bad) of coming clean etc.

      Not excusing his actions (he hasn’t since his confessing), buy he’s provided great insight into a complex matter.

      • jules

        I think the reason Tyler was so dislikeable was that he never really bought into the lies game. His heart wasn’t in it, in the same way Lance’s was. People respected Lance a lot more, until they understood why his heart was in it so much..

        • Michele

          I might have my riders mixed up: Happy to be corrected (all these doping confession books seem to blend into one), but I’m pretty sure Tyler said in the Secret Race that he would’ve doped regardless of LA.

          Since his confession, I reckon he has seen the wisdom in the adage of the truth setting you free.

          His ‘sins’ has come at an enormous cost, but he’s probably in a better space than a lot (won’t say all) of other dopers who are living with a few skeletons in their closet.

          • jules

            I was referring specifically to the way Tyler dealt with his going positive, not his decision to dope. People apparently found him less convincing than Lance – who hadn’t been caught at that point, but was actively denying doping. my hypothesis is that Tyler may have gotten a smoother ride from the public if he’d been a more convincing liar… at least until he was finally exposed.

            • Michele

              Yep, 100%

            • Dave

              His reaction to going positive certainly scored well for comedic value!

      • I always liked Tyler in his glory days. He had it all – an adoring wife, Tugboat, he was extremely nice and humble…and successful on the bike. He looks like a changed man now. His innocence appears to be lost and looks like he’s been to hell and back. It really comes through.

        • Michele

          Funny that .. and this is obviously a slight on me, not Tyler; but I found him too nice.

          He is a broken man now; but we’re also seeing him painfully rebuild himself. There’s no PR spin. There’s no media driven agenda when he speaks. What we see is what we get – and it is uncomfortable viewing.

          And I think it’s because of this, and the fact he appreciates the only way forward is to continue to have the ‘truth set him free’, which has turned me into a fan of him and ultimately respecting him.

          • Gavin Adkins

            Speaking of broken, it’ll be interesting (and probably sad) to see what the long term physical and mental health consequences of doping during the 90s turn out to be. I’m thinking of Phillippe Gaumont passing at age 40, in particular.

            • Michele

              That’s a really good point Gavin.
              I think there will unfortunately be some collateral damage – and probably just as much from mental health as physical health.
              Very sad.

          • Derek Maher

            Not sure about this guys contrition and appearance.As he stands to make $30 million out of the LA case if they bust Lance for $100 million plus he gets an amnesty from the powers that be.Maybe I am being a little cynical.

            • Michele

              I thought Landis was the only ‘rider’ beneficiary from the Whistleblower case, and he’d get 30 million.

              Is Tyler in for a slice as well? There’s not much left for US Postal then.

              No mention here:

              http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/hamilton-reveals-he-met-with-armstrong-at-recent-whistleblower-suit-hearing/

              • Derek Maher

                My apology to the guy Michele,Got a bit mixed up with all these confessions.

                • Michele

                  I know what you mean! ?

                  I definitely understand where you are coming from regarding Floyd.

                  I think – as a casual observer – Tyler has been quite contrite and isn’t playing a PR game. He gas no real motive to.

        • Sean

          I was a fan from when he finished 4th in the TDF with a broker collarbone. That was one of the most amazing rides in modern day cycling.

          • Michele

            And you know Sean … it still is.

            Showing my age here; but in one of the early editions of Pro Cycling Manager he was the “Cover Star'” – because of his 2002 Giro exploits.

            He came second there whilst nursing a broken collar bone – and like 2004 TdF, also won a stage in the process.

            There’s no doubting he had a high pain threshold / was as tough as nail. I sued to think [because of LA] you had to be a ball of pent up anger to hurt yourself like that.

            I found it hard to reconcile how someone who was apparently so nice could drive himself to such lengths. He’s definitely a fascinating character.

            [Boy, this is turning into a reminiscing Friday afternoon :) ]

      • velocite

        For me ‘The Secret Race’ told the whole story better than anywhere else – a significant contribution. Otherwise my knowledge of him came from Dan Coyle’s ‘Tour de Force’ aka ‘Lance Armstrong’s War’, which painted a very appealing picture of a very serious athlete. Can’t imagine Tyler saying sorry, can’t climb because I like food too much.

        • Michele

          I agree, out of all the ‘doping confession’ books I think the Secret Race is, by far, the best. Dan Coyle did a good job with Tyler on that.

          I read the original Tour de Force and thought it was pretty good. I think there’s been a revised edition at some point. Coyle did a commendable job spending so much time with LA and his entourage and keeping a pretty balanced account on him.

          There were a couple of home truths I didn’t like – seeming to try and get a laugh at Jan’s fluctuating waistline throughout the course of the season. Obviously I was a Jan fan and had my own fluctuating waistline :)

          But at the time, it was probably the best LA book out. Certainly better than Jock Wilcockson’s book, which probably has the worse title ever, for any book, anywhere. [Bearing in mind this came at just in time for Comeback 3.0]

          http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51urMas9wKL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

    • Sean Doyle

      The boxer Mayweather applied for a TUE….19 DAYS! after receiving an IV bag……and it was approved by USADA.

      • jules

        the Mayweather incident appears like the most explainable of a couple that call USADA’s role into question. USADA came out an addressed that one, but not the others yet. waiting..

        • Sean Doyle

          I haven’t seen the explanation from USADA. I’ll go and look for it……..

          • Sean Doyle

            Hmmmm……I’m still seeing reports that USADA is not complying with the WADA code of no IV over 50mg yada yada yada.

            He said, she said.

            • jules

              USADA retrospectively issued Mayweather with a TUE for the IV. it’s a hopelessly compromised position – as if they hadn’t, Mayweather would have been deemed to have doped. basically Mayweather called USADA’s bluff. USADA have attempted to justify the TUE partly by saying that the IV wasn’t against Nevada boxing anti-doping rules – which are the applicable binding rules – even though USADA were called in to apply WADA rules. USADA are trying to be half-pregnant there.

              • Sean Doyle

                They also cited that Mayweather actually informed them of the IV before administering it. I also noted that USADA isn’t the number one go to for all sports in the US by law. It’s just a non profit that you can choose to sign up to if you want. The thing that concerns me is other than the Mayweather group who knows what was really in the bag and for what purpose. They state dehydration which is quite possible given it was after the weigh in and we know they go to extremes for that. Pro sport is so stuffed up at times…….

                • Michele

                  But really, is USADA all it’s really cracked up to be anyway?

                  I remember some guy called Juan Polenta [or similar] expressing his shortcomings with the organisation a few years ago.

                  • Sean Doyle

                    It would appear they aren’t. I just assumed they were actually further up the food chain a bit more than than they are.

                  • jules

                    Juan Pelota? yeah he had a few issues :)

                    • Dave

                      But only one…

  • Neuron1

    It seems that there is no way to out “tempo”ride Dumoulin or tire him out prior to the climbs in the way that Astana are trying. This is the same tactic that Nibali tried in the Vuelta against Horner in 2013 and failed to pull back time. I’m certainly no coach or pro cyclist but I would try the following. Over the next two stages whenever the gradient points upwards I would put 3 riders in front of Aru and 3 behind. Dumoulin will slot in behind the Astana train. Every 100-200 meters have the last Astana rider intentionally fall back and create a gap to the number 6 rider. Each time Dumoulin will have to chase back to the tail of the group. The number seven Astana then rides Dumouln’s wheel until he pulls Astana 7 back into position. At which point number 6 in line does the same thing. The 4-7 Astana riders then will slot back in further up the pace line and repeat frequently. It seems big strong guys like Wiggins and Dumoulin don’t like the rhythm changes and prefer to tap out a steady cadence. Continue this on all climbs for the next two stages. Aru meanwhile should not chase anyone, let the guys who are going to lose a podium placing fight it out for 3-6. They will tire themselves out. On the last climb tomorrow have 1 or 2 Astana boys in the break to whom Aru can bridge up to and be paced to the descent and flat finish. Just my two cents, but I can’t see any other way to break a guy as powerful as Dumoulin on the remaining, not too steep climbs.

    • jules

      that’s worth a shot, Aru needs to be aggressive at this point. I think he needs to abandon his pride though and try some of Giant’s Alpecin caffeine shampoo – at this point any marginal gain could be the difference.

      • Neuron1

        LOL. Even if he didn’t win he would look really good trying. Lather, rinse and repeat.

        • Cam

          No matter how good the hair is I don’t think you could ever argue that Aru could look good let alone really good!!

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      • Dave

        Alpecin should sponsor the Essendon footy club. Despite the turmoil around him, James Hird still maintained the best hair in the AFL throughout the last couple of years.

        It would probably be a blatant case of taking credit for someone else’s work, but that’s probably a decent strategy when you consider the product isn’t good enough for the Giant-Alpecin riders to not hide under a cap during podium presentations.

    • Michele

      Will be fascinating to see what tactics they try.

      Hopefully they have done good reconnaissance of the stages. Not sure if its worth trying to put Tom under pressure on the descent?

      Not sure how technical the final descent is. Tom has good bike handling skills.

      Either way, Astana might need to try something from left field.

      • Kieran Degan

        Sticky bottle?

        • Michele

          Kieran, I said something from left field.
          You’re talking “Astana DS Tactics 101” there. :)

          • Kieran Degan

            Haha. True. Too predictable.

      • Dave

        Offer Dumoulin €100k for the win?

        • Michele

          LOL. I like it Dave, and it’s from left field.

          If L-B-L is ‘worth’ €100k, Giant might be thinking they’d receive a far grander figure, especially if the tariff is calculated in kms ridden or hours in the saddle.
          Such a small amount in comparison might just throw them off their game.

  • Michele

    Just giving it some thought .. let’s say Dumoulin manages to negate all attacks over the next 3 days (because surely if Friday and Saturday’s stage keep their status quo, it’s all bets off on Sunday for the final stage/parade), then imagine losing [or winning] an 80+ hour GT by 3 seconds.

    That’s approx. a difference of 15 metres if riding at 20 km/h. Think of the ‘if-onlys’ that come from such a result.

    • Dave

      If the gap is less than five seconds, I say they should pull out the rest of the field with one lap to go on the Madrid circuit and give it to whoever wins the stage.

      A lead to Aru of a few seconds heading into the last stage would be interesting, but if Dumoulin leads then I can’t see Astana’s squad of climbers having anything to say about it.

      • Michele

        Yeah, you imagine Aru leading by say 2 seconds leading into the final stage. That would be interesting.

        And as wrong as it would be, you know Giant would get some ‘assistance’ from other teams to help that gap be pegged by, especially by their fellow Dutchmen, who would claim they were trying to set up a sprint win.

        It would be just like the final stage of the TDU, but this time, with something to play for.

        • Dave

          I wonder if the UCI’s infamously leaky rules (legend has it they were first carved into a block of the local cheese) cater for penalising the beneficiary of an irregular sprint if it’s not the same rider penalised for the irregular sprint?

          I have it on good authority that when Chris Froome was penalised for Richie Porte taking on food in the Alpe d’Huez sugar bonk incident a couple of years ago, the commissaires went beyond the scope of the rules when penalising Froome and Sky could have had the penalty overturned if they chose to contest it. Richie Porte’s penalty was a clear cut case, but Froome’s was not.

    • Neuron1

      Thinking back to the stage that Landa won and didn’t drop back to help Aru is the difference in this race. Had he just followed directions and paced Aru he could have won the stage and slso been a great teammate. That act will cost him a large chunk of the winners purse.
      As an aside, if I were a DS, I would think long and hard before hiring a guy who lost his team the race. I respect Landa and his riding prowess but he even admitted he ignored team orders and this should make him somewhat toxic in the transfer market. we will have to wait and see.

      • Derek Maher

        Landa seemed to be taking it handy before his stage win.Although he rode a bit harder for Aru after taking the victory.
        Seems things went sour between Landa and Astana after the Giro so he deceided to part company rumoured Sky have recruited him and the Astana DS is none to pleased.

  • Derek Maher

    Nice to see Emma Johansson leading the Lotto stage race GC.Be great if she can pull off a win.So many times this year she has been very close to a victory.

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