Road Cycling



  • Watched that last climb - pretty sure I would have been off and pushing my bike very early on! 🙂

    Valverde wins, from Roglic, Lopez and Quintana and those four are grouped at the front of the field. Commentators saying the eventual winner will come from those four and it's hard to disagree. On the other hand, one or more of them is bound to crack badly before the end.

    Much better climb by George today - he crosses the line ninth. Behind a few guys that he usually looks a bit better than, but still a good effort - especially after yesterday's crash. Moves up to eighth in the GC - but, now 3 min 34 sec behind Lopez. Also has Majka, Pogacar and Esteban Chavez ahead of him - and Aru and Kelderman just 2 seconds behind.

    Hilly stage tomorrow - not too awful, followed by the second mountain stage and then a rest day.



  • @Chris-B George is really there to set the pace for Roglic which it sounds like he did today.
    I'm expecting tomorrow to be a quiet day on GC but you never know





  • @DrivingMaul I think he's got a lot more freedom to ride for himself in this one compared with the role he was playing in the TdF.

    Sepp Kuss was setting the pace on the lower slopes of the climb.

    When Quintana launched his initial surge George may, or may not, have initially marked him. The commentators said is was Bennett, but next thing we saw (a minute later) was the Big Four riding away from everyone, so I'm inclined to think it was actually Roglic all along. Need to have another look.

    George certainly hadn't done enough that in his TdF form he wouldn't have been able to go with the Big Four for two-thirds of that climb.



  • Davide Formolo yet another victim and withdrawal from that crash....

    Rigoberto Urán and Hugh Carthy both suffered broken collarbones, CCC Team's Victor de la Parte suffered multiple fractures, and former race leader Nicolas Roche required 12 stitches in his arm.

    This is also quite interesting and quite hopeful in regard to George's future...

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-sports/115208984/surgery-could-solve-jumbovisma-cyclist-george-bennetts-ongoing-side-stitch-issue



  • Fascinating day of racing on what the commentators think is the the hardest stage. It had a bit of everything, including losing the TV coverage for about 10 minutes of key action due to a major rainstorm.

    Racing continued to be waaay different to the usual TdF patterns.

    The big contenders let a big group of riders away up the road - more than 3 minutes - including some of their key teammates (e.g. Fuglsang, Kuss and 2 others from TJV, and Soler) and even someone like Kelderman, who is something of a GC threat.

    Coming onto the big final climb, Lopez attacked really early and broke away. George gave Roglic a little bit of help to chase, but was struggling and quickly slid out the back.

    A smallish group continued to chase Lopez, with Quintana and Valverde also taking it in turns to attack Roglic - who they clearly wanted to break with the ITT pending. Meanwhile some of the key men from the breakaway in front sat up and waited for their leaders - most worryingly, at the time, Fuglsang waiting for Lopez - and those two powered on. Sepp Kuss dropped back and provided some key support for Roglic.

    Around this time the TV pictures disappeared and the rain poured down. 🙂

    While that was occurring, Valverde, Quintana and Pogacar broke away from Roglic. Lopez somehow managed to crash on a graveled section. Edit: Turns out Roglic also crashed on the gravel section - a motorbike somehow got in his way.

    When the TV reappeared, Lopez was riding with most of the remnants of the breakaway. V,Q and P were rapidly closing on him and Roglic was 20 or 30 seconds further back. Marc Soler had broken away and was heading towards winning the stage.

    Quintana and Pogacar rode past Lopez and made a break on the others. Roglic came surging back and caught and passed Lopez and eventually Valverde.

    Much to his disgust, Soler got reined in to wait for, and help, Quintana - allowing the Stage win to fall into Pogacar's lap.

    Net result is that Quintana gets the red jersey, 6 seconds ahead of Roglic with Valverde and Lopez both within 30 seconds and Pogacar 1.42 back. Pogacar is a guy who is going to be a major force with Bernal in coming years - I watched him thwart George on the climb up Mt. Baldy in the Tour of California earlier this year.

    George battled on, but is now 7 minutes behind in 15th place (though probably 10th in terms of genuine contenders). That's surely enough rope that he'll get a chance to escape up the road and hunt a stage win.

    Meanwhile, it's a rest day then attention turns to Patrick Bevin and whether he can win the Individual Time Trial, in which he'll be a major contender.



  • And Roglic pips Bevin by 25 seconds to win the stage.

    Bevin must have been sitting there for an hour with an individual stage win in his grasp!

    Roglic now 1.52 ahead of Valverde in the GC, Lopez 2.11, Quintana 3.00; and Pogacar 3.05.

    George rode an identical TT time as Quintana and moves up to 13th.



  • Quiet day yesterday - no-one threatening in the breakaway and TJV parked themselves on the front of the peloton and cruised.

    With Roglic sitting on a handy lead, I'm not sure George will get much scope to go stage hunting from here. His job seems likely to be changed to "Help Protect Roglic".

    His best chances might be getting permission to attack near the end of Stages 18 or 20 - mountain stages that don't finish on top of big mountains - if he's able to be up with the leaders and Roglic is feeling secure.

    Patrick Bevin might be more interesting to watch in the meantime. He was talking about trying to be in some breakaways now that he's missed winning the time trial.



  • George definitely working for Roglic last night - did a significant stint on the front on the final climb - ended up costing him a few seconds, when Lopez attacked near the top and George couldn't quite stick with the lead group.

    TJV look a little bit vulnerable to me with George not in his best form and Sepp Kuss also getting dropped on that last little climb.

    Tonight's stage is massive - seven categorized climbs and the last one looks like the North Face of the Eiger.

    Roglic will need help if he's not going to be isolated by Movistar and others - good night for George to really stand up.



  • @Chris-B said in Vuelta a Espana:

    TJV look a little bit vulnerable to me with George not in his best form and Sepp Kuss also getting dropped on that last little climb.

    TJV had a great day in the mountains yesterday - with Sepp Kuss getting the green light to go for and get the win.
    Amazing how much talent they have in that team at the moment. And Tom Dumoulin joining next year...

    So there will be:
    Dumoulin - previous Giro winner and TDF runner-up
    Kruiswijk - 3rd at TDF 2019
    Roglic - 4th TDF 2018, 3rd Giro 2019 and likely first Vuelta 2019

    Plus: Bennett and now this youngster Kuss who can obviously climb!
    and then add Tony Martin, and Robert Gesink.

    And just in case you want to sprint: Dylan Groenewegen and Wout van Aert

    Bloomin unbelievable strength.



  • @Billy-Webb And Laurens de Plus who was quite impressive helping George support Kruiswijk on the TdF climbs.

    Commentators were saying last night the team budget is about half of INEOS'.

    I reckon George might have been sick last night. When Marc Soler set off to join the breakaway, initially George marked him briefly - but, next thing George had dropped back to support Roglic and Sepp Kuss was instead sent forward to chase and catch Soler. (So my theory is that Kuss won George's stage). 🙂

    Next thing the pace went on and the peloton fractured and there were only two TJV riders with Roglic and I was pretty sure neither of them were George, though I didn't get a really good look.

    A bit later that lead "peloton"more or less sat up and everyone re-joined - including the whole TJV team (except Kuss who was up the road).

    On the final climb when the elite guys ramped the speed up, George immediately disappeared - and rode up with Tony Martin.

    Roglic looks like he has things well in hand and supremely confident - despite being left on his own he immediately marked Valverde and there never looked to be any hesitation about letting Kuss ride to win the stage.



  • My understanding is that Bennett has another 2 years after this with TJV...?
    I do hope they give him a more than super-domestique role at one or two of the grand tours next year.



  • @Billy-Webb Problem is that George is only 4th in the pecking order if Dumoulin should arrive and, as we're seeing with the Vuelta, if George (and pretty much anyone else - except Valverde) ride the TdF, then they're too knackered to do a lot at the Vuelta.

    I think George's best bet is to ride as a super domestique for someone in the Giro in exchange for a similar deal as he's had in the Vuelta this year .

    But, I suspect he's too valuable for the team at the TdF - so he'll have to hope that his cartilage operation works and he goes to another level. Otherwise I think he's going to be Wout Poels.



  • @Chris-B said in Vuelta a Espana:

    @Billy-Webb Problem is that George is only 4th in the pecking order if Dumoulin should arrive and, as we're seeing with the Vuelta, if George (and pretty much anyone else - except Valverde) ride the TdF, then they're too knackered to do a lot at the Vuelta.

    I think George's best bet is to ride as a super domestique for someone in the Giro in exchange for a similar deal as he's had in the Vuelta this year .

    But, I suspect he's too valuable for the team at the TdF - so he'll have to hope that his cartilage operation works and he goes to another level. Otherwise I think he's going to be Wout Poels.

    A lot will depend on that op. At the moment TLJ won't take a risk on him as a lead rider because of his side stitch so he does the best job he can.
    My guess is that he may be given another crack at ToC where he has a good record to see the difference post-op. Ride support at the Giro then see what is happening with the others' form/fitness.
    His other big problem in these tours is the ITT component. He may be able to mitigate that loss a bit by being dragged in the TTT but it still means that he has to be part of a decent break somewhere to get on level terms with some of the others.



  • @Crucial To be fair, he is a protected rider in this race - or he was - just doesn't have the legs to do anything much.

    I'm somewhat hoping he's saving some gas for the last couple of mountain stages, when he might be allowed a similar role as Kuss got the other day.

    George did do some good work last night, riding on the front for several kilometres at the start of the final climb - but, he'll be a bit pissed that Lopez chose to launch his attack near or at the end of George's stint, so that Gesink and Powless who were due to take over got blown away and didn't have to work! 🙂



  • Looks like TJV made a blunder in the early part of a flat stage, last night.

    Let Quintana escape in a big group and had to spend the day chasing hard to limit the damage. Still handed back five minutes to Quintana - which puts him in second and Valverde in third.

    With two mountain stages still to come, that could still burn Roglic badly. They can again double team him with attacks if they can isolate him.

    Have to say - TJV management seem to go to sleep at the wheel occasionally in a way that you don't often see from Ineos. They fucked up at the Giro and they let George get caught out at the TdF.



  • @Chris-B said in Vuelta a Espana:

    Looks like TJV made a blunder in the early part of a flat stage, last night.

    Let Quintana escape in a big group and had to spend the day chasing hard to limit the damage. Still handed back five minutes to Quintana - which puts him in second and Valverde in third.

    With two mountain stages still to come, that could still burn Roglic badly. They can again double team him with attacks if they can isolate him.

    Have to say - TJV management seem to go to sleep at the wheel occasionally in a way that you don't often see from Ineos. They fucked up at the Giro and they let George get caught out at the TdF.

    It was crosswinds again. TLJ need a better weather forecaster.



  • Just watched the highlights - one of the fastest ever stages in a Grand Tour.

    Movistar completely outsmarted TJV.

    The peloton split in two and they had Quintana up the road with support and then on one of the small, later climbs they went to the front of the Roglic group with Soler and Valverde - put the hammer down and blew away Roglic's remaining support riders. Isolated him and then sat up.

    Luckily for Roglic, Astana still had some firepower available and they chased the Quintana group (for Lopez) and saved Roglic's ass.

    I reckon TJV would be pretty concerned at how their team is fading around Roglic.

    Tonight will be massive, with questions as to who's going to turn up with some power in their legs after today's stage.



  • @Chris-B Amazing stage!



  • @Chris-B said in Vuelta a Espana:

    Just watched the highlights - one of the fastest ever stages in a Grand Tour.

    Movistar completely outsmarted TJV.

    The peloton split in two and they had Quintana up the road with support and then on one of the small, later climbs they went to the front of the Roglic group with Soler and Valverde - put the hammer down and blew away Roglic's remaining support riders. Isolated him and then sat up.

    Luckily for Roglic, Astana still had some firepower available and they chased the Quintana group (for Lopez) and saved Roglic's ass.

    I reckon TJV would be pretty concerned at how their team is fading around Roglic.

    Tonight will be massive, with questions as to who's going to turn up with some power in their legs after today's stage.

    Damn. I missed the entire stage. Thanks for the great summary @Chris-B
    It would be a shame for Roglic if he fades now and blows his chances. (disclaimer: I am a Roglic fan).
    But I guess that makes the race more exciting.



  • With only the ceremonial stage into Madrid to go, Roglic holds on reasonably comfortably to win the overall tour.

    Some great racing over the final stages - pretty much every stage had surprises and drama.

    Second-to-last stage, Roglic and Lopez were involved in a crash - Movistar launched an attack while they were down, which pissed a lot of people off - and especially Astana (for Lopez).

    Final stage, Pogacar was the man with the most left - he attacked about 40 km out and built a 90 second+ lead that he never relinquished; supplanting Lopez and Quintana in the process. The remnants of Movistar and Astana wouldn't cooperate properly with one another in a chase and for a while it looked like Valverde might even surrender second place to Pogacar (though I suspect Valverde was always saving a little bit in case Pogacar got really close).

    George did some good work for Roglic early in the stage, helping to control Astana's efforts to send men up the road, and eventually was the last TJV man with Roglic, but still fell away when the big attacks came - from Lopez and then Pogacar.

    Somewhat disappointing tour for George. He never seemed properly right after that big crash at the end of the first week. I wondered whether he'd got sick, but also wondering whether he was carrying something from that crash - or whether his TdF efforts just caught up with him, as they did for plenty of others.

    Amazing tour for the Slovenians - first and third. Pretty amazing that Valverde rides the TdF and still manages second. Slightly disappointed for Lopez, who created a lot of the GC excitement, but eventually attacked himself into the ground and comes away somewhat empty handed (5th).



  • Not worth a new thread for the World Champs, but just to note - Patrick Bevin finished 4th in the ITT - two seconds off the podium! Rohan Dennis defended his title - pretty comfortably.

    Men's road race goes on Sunday - Bevin probably our best shot in that as well. It looks like a "Peter Sagan" sort of course. Maybe enough climbing to get rid of many of the pure sprinters, but not enough to benefit the climbers. Seven laps around Harrogate at the end, so likely a big bunch finish.

    Our team is George, Bevin, Jack Bauer and Dion Smith.



  • @Chris-B said in Vuelta a Espana:

    Jack Bauer

    still the best name in sports



  • @mariner4life You'd be worried if you turned up to a poker night and he was sitting at the table!

    Wyatt Vogels Crockett is a contender.



  • George has pulled out of the road race - replaced by Shane Archibold. Wasn't likely to be his course. Pundits are favouring Julian Alaphilippe.

    " Gutted that I won’t be lining up on Sunday in @Yorkshire2019 . I did what I could to recover from the vuelta but 2grand tours, a few recent rounds of antibiotics and a couple of months worth of altitude this season has put me in a bad spot the last few weeks. Wishing the @CyclingNZL team all the best. They are already off to a wicked start. It’s a highlight of the year to pull on the fern and a hard choice to make but looking ahead to a few good opportunities next year to fly the flag. Go kiwi."



  • Well, it pissed with rain pretty much throughout - parts of the course were flooded and must have been miserable. Only 46 riders finished the race.

    Some guy called Mads Pederson from Denmark won - I'd never heard of him - rides for Trek Segafredo. Outsprinted one of the pre-race favourites in Trentin, and a well-deserved victory.

    None of the NZers fired a shot. Bevin was one of the first withdrawals and Jack Bauer was the last man standing - dropped from the peloton with about 80kms still to ride (but, with only about 80 riders still in the race). To give Jack credit, about five minutes later Geraint Thomas was dropped from the peloton.



  • @Chris-B said in Vuelta a Espana:

    Well, it pissed with rain pretty much throughout - parts of the course were flooded and must have been miserable. Only 46 riders finished the race.

    Some guy called Mads Pederson from Denmark won - I'd never heard of him - rides for Trek Segafredo. Outsprinted one of the pre-race favourites in Trentin, and a well-deserved victory.

    None of the NZers fired a shot. Bevin was one of the first withdrawals and Jack Bauer was the last man standing - dropped from the peloton with about 80kms still to ride (but, with only about 80 riders still in the race). To give Jack credit, about five minutes later Geraint Thomas was dropped from the peloton.

    Bauer punctured.. as seems to be the norm for this world champs a lack of neutral support and nz's position in the convoy means he was waiting ages for a wheel..
    ..so a great opportunity to so 'fark this!' get in car get to shower!



  • just saw this.. so many crashes this world champs but jesus these two are BRUTAL!



  • @WillieTheWaiter holy shit! the first looked brutal, the 2nd kinda funny, bet he never saw that coming



  • Quite amazed that UCI let that start.
    Oh, hang on, it’s the UCI



  • I rode the sportive last weekend; only 145km rather than the 260km odd. Similar conditions. It was quite unpleasant. If I hadn’t driven 4.5 hours to get there I prob would’ve flagged it. It basically hosed down for the full week after I did it.

    George’s girlfriend was interviewed on tv yesterday during the race. She’s an artist who now has a lucrative line in painting pros shoes. They look outstanding!



  • 2nd guy coulda drowned!

    First faaark he slid a long way



  • https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/george-bennett-ive-essentially-had-three-ribs-removed/

    George has had his operation - sounds pretty drastic so I hope it works for him.

    Also confirmation the Tom Dumoulin has joined TJV - so George needs the operation to work if he's to get a chance to compete to win elite races.



  • Just settling in to watch today's stage in the Tour Downunder - and doing a bit of background reading and found this (below)...which is good news.

    I'd guess George will have a bit of a second string support team, but still pretty cool for him.

    https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/george-bennett-ready-to-take-on-porte-and-dennis-on-decisive-tour-down-under-uphill-finishes/

    Jumbo-Visma have confirmed that Bennett will lead the Dutch WorldTour team in the Giro d'Italia as Tom Dumoulin, Primož Roglič and Steven Kruijswijk focus on challenging Team Ineos at the Tour de France. Bennett also has his eye on the hilly Tokyo Olympic road race and so knows he has to carefully build his early-season form so he can be at his best in May and then again in early July.



  • Can we get the thread title changed here? Road Cycling?

    George was interviewed on The Project last night where they made out it was his choice to not ride the TdF in favour of the Olympics. He went to correct them but went with the flow.

    Regarding his op, he says he is still having problems but the docs at NZ Cycling say it will take some time to settle down.

    That may explain his lack of kick on the final climb up Willunga Hill the other day, or maybe it was just too early in the season for him?



  • https://cyclingtips.com/2019/12/finally-a-tour-de-france-roster-to-rival-ineos/

    Interesting that TJV has already named its team for the TdF. Going all in for the Yellow Jersey - with Roglic and Dumoulin team leaders, Kruiswijk in an initial support role (he's to be team leader at the Vuelta), Tony Martin and Wout Van Aart to provide power on the flat and Gesink, Kuss and de Plus the climbing support.

    I guess the discussions around who would do what would have been complex, but I don't think George will be too disappointed with his lot. He was apparently very big on riding at the Olympics and it's too close to the TdF for that to work.

    Sounds like they'll send a split team to the Giro - George riding for the GC and Groenwagen trying for the sprints.



  • Just reading an article on the National Road Race Championships and a bit disappointingly for George, he got pipped by Shane Archibald in the Road Race and by Hamish Bond in the Time Trial. Would have been cool to have seen him racing in the Giro with an NZ National Champions jersey. Run down by a determined chase....

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-sports/119562007/tearful-shane-archbold-hauls-in-george-bennett-i-really-needed-this

    Only being beaten by 15 seconds by Hamish maybe bodes better for TTs this year.

    Looking at other interesting performances - assuming they rode exactly the same course (and I imagine they would have), Finn Fisher-Black recorded a time in the U23s that would have given him 3rd in the Elite TT and also came 10th in the Road Race. That's handy, because he's also on contract with Jumbo-Visma.

    https://elite-road-nationals.cyclingnewzealand.nz/resultspage

    And Finn's sister won the women's road race - she's contracted to Bigla-Katusha.



  • @Chris-B hard to read too much into the TT result. Bondy only did a months training for it. But pancake flat course suited bondy. Lucky he didn't sell his bike hes been trying to get rid of it for a while!
    Loved the pic of him at 93kegs standing next to george.. not often us more "athletic cyclists" get to beat midgets.. no sympathy for us on the hills!
    Stoked for the mullet too - been on the outer.. bad crash then team he was folded. Now on one of worlds best team and wearing the fern!



  • @WillieTheWaiter said in Road Cycling:

    @Chris-B hard to read too much into the TT result. Bondy only did a months training for it. But pancake flat course suited bondy. Lucky he didn't sell his bike hes been trying to get rid of it for a while!
    Loved the pic of him at 93kegs standing next to george.. not often us more "athletic cyclists" get to beat midgets.. no sympathy for us on the hills!
    Stoked for the mullet too - been on the outer.. bad crash then team he was folded. Now on one of worlds best team and wearing the fern!

    Out of curiosity (having lived in the race area) I looked up the course and wouldn’t describe it as pancake flat. I can see why George did what he did though. The climbs aren’t huge (it looks like once up Te Miro, Waterworks, Scotsman’s loop then twice over French Pass) but enough to leave the sprinters work to do to catch up. The final 6 laps around Cambridge are dead flat though and lazy planning by organisers. Maybe they got the race they wanted but it was slanted to the chasers.



  • @WillieTheWaiter Yeah - I was wondering how much training Hamish had done - because he's supposedly preparing for rowing at the Olympics. But also promising that George beat everyone else.

    @Crucial - I think Willie is talking about the TT course. This guy has written the story of how things unfolded.

    http://www.roadcycling.co.nz/shane-archbold-claims-emotional-national-championship/


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