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2019 Pro Cycling: Valverde's Magical Mystery Tour of Spain and Italy (but not France)

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Despite all the Froome hate, he was arguably better in the heat than Thomas, but the Ineos train does seem off the rails this year. Bernal was looking around like "what do I do?what do I do?" when Thomas blew up. I was thinking, "go for it kid" since he didn't look to be too strained but about that time the others went for it and he was caught in no man's land. 

 

I completely agree re Movistar. Is it Landa? Quintana? Do they not talk to each other? They are a hot mess.

Alaphilippe is looking pretty good right now. He sat back and didn't have to defend anything and even gained a little time. Wonder if Kruijswijk and Pinot et al will go for it tomorrow. I hope so. I would like to see attack after attack after attack.

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Tomorrow's stage is tailor made for Ala though. Shorter sharp ramps.

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Confess I haven't looked at the stage profile, I only knew it was mountains. He was the polka dot fellow last year, so it wouldn't be easy, but might as well give it a go. Ineos isn't going to be able to pull that pace they set in the mountains last year I wouldn't think.

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Alaphilippe won Tourmalet last year, so it shouldn't be that big of a shock, even if winning a breakaway is different than defending yellow.  Yesterday was a bigger surprise, even considering his recent TT success in other events.  I enjoy Le Tour more when the French aren't competitive, but I guess that had to end sometime. 

That was so typical Movistar.  Their TdF strategy has always been suspect, and I can only assume that Quintana doesn't communicate well...or at all.

Not having Froome certainly hurts, but even if he were there, Ineos does not look as deep this year.  Either that or other teams have learned their secrets.  They look very ordinary.

I'm pulling for Kruijswijk, but I don't see him being able to make up that time unless Alaphilippe makes a mistake or has some bad luck.

 

 

  

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6 minutes ago, idigTexas said:

I enjoy Le Tour more when the French aren't competitive, but I guess that had to end sometime

Like the past 35 years?

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2 hours ago, Knoxtnhorn said:

Lulz.  

I mean, I'm coming from a place of pure cynicism because I defended Lance up until the end.  But, c'mon.  The guy is winning (or placing) in TT's, hills, AND mountains - at times w/o even a team in support.

I remember laughing at what an idiot you were when you kept defending Lance. (Glad that you finally saw the light.)

My summer job in a blood bank at the age of 18 told me that Lance was cheating his ass off, I just was wrong with regards to how he was able to do it.

It is physically impossible to be a Top 3 TT, hills, AND Mountains in the same year even with an awesome team juiced to the gills (like the Blue Train). Doing it with a mediocre team... yes, he's cheating. At the very least, he is using something that isn't banned yet, because it is still a relative unknown, but he's a juicin'!!

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It wasn't so much that I trusted what he said.  It was my belief that nobody would be dumb enough to put those kinds of things in his body after essentially cheating cancer-death.

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Maybe his team discovered that combining ketones (from Lotto) and massive amounts of steroids (for asthma) produces keisteroids thus preventing numb*tt from sitting on the bicycle for a month.

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11 hours ago, G650 said:

Like the past 35 years?

Yes, exactly.  I've been following Le Tour since the late '70s.  It's been nice enjoying the long run of watching the French fail to win their own event.  .   

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The way today's stage went, this last week is gonna be nuts. Alaphilippe went deep deep DEEP into his reserves to hang on, but losing time to everyone.

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49 minutes ago, Captain Ron said:

Big shuffling in the top 10.

 

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are going to be electric.

spacer.png

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That was some gutsy riding by Landa. I was trying to see if Quintana said anything to him as he rode by but couldn't tell. The rest of the Movistar cyclists that got Landa to the chase group ought to receive some extra portions at supper because they looked spent. Landa is almost 5 minutes back, so what next Movistar?

What do you all think the strategies will be for the remaining mountain stages? I was about ready to rule Thomas out, but he scratched back some of that time. There are about (?) 30/40 seconds between Thomas (place 2) and Buchmann (place 6) and the latter is 2:14 behind Alaphilippe. Pinot, Kruijswijk, Buchmann managed to follow the attacks without losing much so after one day of rest plus the flatter stage on Tuesday, I hope as the mountains get progressively steeper, the challenges begin coming. I lost track of how many times the lead (not group breakaway "leads" but an individual rider) changed this morning before Yates took over and escaped his lone partner, but it was captivating to watch different teams/groups bridge, reform, lose a few riders and then regroup before another attack. Much more intriguing.

 

Looking forward to the upcoming mountain stages later in the week.

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2 hours ago, Napoleon said:

Is tomorrow a rest day?

Yes. 

That was a pretty exciting stage.  I hope we see more of that the rest of the way. 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, G650 said:

Pinot is looking pretty strong.

He is.  If he weren't French, I might actually want to see it continue. 

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25 minutes ago, idigTexas said:

He is.  If he weren't French, I might actually want to see it continue. 

We have the exact same philosophy.

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2 hours ago, idigTexas said:

He is.  If he weren't French, I might actually want to see it continue. 

 

1 hour ago, Knoxtnhorn said:

We have the exact same philosophy.

57071-FEC-B047-478-C-9015-F33-F3-ECAC13-

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Meh, I don't care what nationality the winner is (unless he's American, then FUCK YEAH!!). I just want a good race and this year has been on of the best in a long time.

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Posted (edited)

My issue with the French is that when riders of other countries are doing well, it is presumed that they must be cheating, while French riders rarely undergo the same scrutiny.  I'm not denying that there has been plenty of fire where smoke has been detected, but I have the opinion that pretty much everyone is cheating in some way. 

Essentially, the French media has caused me to want nothing but failure for French riders. 

Edited by idigTexas

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11 minutes ago, 52-80 said:

Alaphilippe is definitely suspicious

You know how I know he's doping? He's a rider in the Tour de France.

 

Everyone cheats - the only thing is that some guys are dumb enough to get caught.

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That is about the view I have. Are the French media hyprocritices about it? Bien sur!

I have been watching the Tour since I was quite young and it was right about the time that Greg LeMond was beginning to make a name for himself. A lot of that had to do with enjoying shows like Wide World of Sports that exposed me to sports other than football (I am female, I knew that my days were numbered as "general extra person in case we run short" as tagalong to an older brother in our neighborhood. But cycling? I didn't need anyone else for that.

So, I watched every year, some intensely, some sporadic. However, as a lot of the Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, Jan Ullrich et al news broke, I was busy working, giving birth and just generally too busy to pay attention to the sordid details. I think it is wrong (and dangerous) even if various forms of cheating have existed since the Tour's inception, but I don't see the organizers changing anything.  They are homers through and through and even if I don't agree with it, I am probably going to continue watching for a variety of reasons; one being that I, myself, am a hypocrite.

It does seem rather unsporting of them to strip LA's titles and leave Ullrich's when both are admitted dopers. The only thing that saved Indurain was the lack of a positive test at that time and that he keeps himself to himself.

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18 minutes ago, Mrs Whiggins said:

That is about the view I have. Are the French media hyprocritices about it? Bien sur!

It does seem rather unsporting of them to strip LA's titles and leave Ullrich's when both are admitted dopers. The only thing that saved Indurain was the lack of a positive test at that time and that he keeps himself to himself.

Lance might have gotten away with it if he hadn't been such an arrogant ass, essentially daring his accusers to prove it, and treating several people in the know like shit.  I definitely agree about Ullrich, and pretty much everyone since LeMond.  The sport has always been dirty, which is a shame.  That said, the playing field has been fairly even, unless you consider being a better cheat an unfair advantage. 

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I agree, it is a shame. I would have a much greater respect for the athlete who bonked while climbing Alpe d'Huez if I knew he was clean and just mismanaged his effort, fluid intake, food, equipment or capabilities. No shame in giving it your very best only to be bested by another athlete or the mountain itself.

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3 hours ago, idigTexas said:

My issue with the French is that when riders of other countries are doing well, it is presumed that they must be cheating, while French riders rarely undergo the same scrutiny.  I'm not denying that there has been plenty of fire where smoke has been detected, but I have the opinion that pretty much everyone is cheating in some way. 

Essentially, the French media has caused me to want nothing but failure for French riders. 

Imo the French are justified being that way and have been racing significantly cleaner than everyone else for over two decades.

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34 minutes ago, G650 said:

Imo the French are justified being that way and have been racing significantly cleaner than everyone else for over two decades.

Not saying you are wrong, because I certainly have no proof one way or the other.  I will say that a lot of people thought Lance was innocent for a long time too.

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44 minutes ago, idigTexas said:

Not saying you are wrong, because I certainly have no proof one way or the other.  I will say that a lot of people thought Lance was innocent for a long time too.

Yeah, morons

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Back to your comment about Pinot; yes he looks to be positioned favorably to move up. Less than 2 minutes back of Alaphilippe and strong in the mountains.

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Posted (edited)

I can't really agree that the French are hypocrites about their own riders. They have already raised questions about Alaphilippe. The fact is that in the post-Festina era of the Tour (one that implicated a good number of French riders), every rider in the top 10 has to be suspected of cheating. And the fact is that when you look at it, a ton of them have been guilty. Lance, Ullrich, Basso, Landis, Menchov, Rasmussen, etc (that's just a short list, it could go on a while).

On just a few notes: I think the Tour itself has only stripped 1 rider of a title - that was Landis for failing an in race test. Lance's were stripped by USADA.

 

I was looking for something like this, it just shows how dirty everyone has been:

Cycle-of-suspicion-JPEG.jpg

Edited by Captain Ron

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38 minutes ago, Captain Ron said:

I can't really agree that the French are hypocrites about their own riders. They have already raised questions about Alaphilippe. The fact is that in the post-Festina era of the Tour (one that implicated a good number of French riders), every rider in the top 10 has to be suspected of cheating. And the fact is that when you look at it, a ton of them have been guilty. Lance, Ullrich, Basso, Landis, Menchov, Rasmussen, etc (that's just a short list, it could go on a while).

On just a few notes: I think the Tour itself has only stripped 1 rider of a title - that was Landis for failing an in race test. Lance's were stripped by USADA.

Who is "they?"  Do you have any links?  Not doubting you; I just want to ready what has been said. 

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Fair enough; you know more about the topic than I do. I agree with idigTexas though and LA comes across as insufferable but truth be told, a lot of that could be revisionist history on my part. I mostly recall watching (during his rise) on the major channels and they probably weren't going to go for THAT kind of drama back then.

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Disgraceful that that the Tour allows drafting off a car for minutes, or holding on to a water bottle for several seconds while it is being "transferred" to a rider, or having a team coach push a rider from behind after a standing start.

I don't give a shit about doping, but when a favorite is too much of an idiot to stay on his bike through a routine bend in the road, he should at least have to work appropriately hard to regain the peloton instead of coasting or being pushed/dragged back.

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Kind of boring today.

Wth happened to Ben King?  Who attacks, gets caught in 5 seconds, then completely disappears?

So glad I'm watching this on dvr every evening.  I'd jump off a bridge if I had to sit through all those Ginger Ale ads.

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45 minutes ago, Loco said:

LOL Movistar

Expect nothing less than the best entertainment.

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I've been traveling, so today's stage was the first I've watched...  more than a few wtf moments.   I am now fully supporting Alaphilippe.  Viva La France! (french sounding throat chuckle & mouth pop)  Dude seems to be defending the jersey beyond his physical capacity.  That down hill catch and attack...yes

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Christ Movistar.  What the hell are you doing?

And he may have been spent, but what in the hell was Thomas doing attacking less than a km from the top - especially given Frenchie's descending skills?

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That stage was both compelling and disappointing. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't that.

I'm with Knoxtnhorn, though, as Movistar now has three riders in the top ten. Now what?

The space between the yellow jersey and sixth is 2:14. Tenth place is 5:58, held by Valverde.

Gotta give credit to Alaphalippe on those descents, though, I was leaning on the curves not wanting to watch a cyclist go over the edge.

 

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If they can't dislodge Ala on the Iseran, he will win this whole damn thing. 

My pick as it stands right now is Pinot.

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