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10 points: Switzerland and Slovenia tell us about the Tour de France

Breakdown of major GC performances from the last weekend of the previous race in the Tour de France: Spencer Martin monitors all road actions from Switzerland and Slovenia and offers his “10 takeaways” looking forward to the French Grand Tour starting next week in Copenhagen.

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Thomas and Yates of Switzerland-Both good and bad for Ineos Grenadia

Preparations for the Tour de France ended last weekend with a tour of the Tour de Suisse, Slovenia, a tour of Belgium and La Root Doxitania. For the next tour, Geraint Thomas easily won the Tour de Suisse, and Tadej Pogačar regained perfection as he won the Slovenian tour. Thomas’ victory was impressive, but somewhat weakened by racing GC favorite Aleksandr Vlasov, along with a shocking 51% of the start list, including the entire team of Jumbo Bissouma and the United Arab Emirates, of COVID. I left the race for. This development throws a large wrench into the tour teams of multiple teams, infects Ineos tour co-leader Adam Yates with COVID, and Jumbo has all Swiss starters except Sepkus for the outbreak. I left it at home.

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No problem with Pogačar on the road at home

On weekends, Tour de France candidates such as Tadej Pogačar and Geraint Thomas showed off the fascinating appearance of pinning race numbers out of remote highland training camps. rice field. Unlike all major riders divided into Dauphiné and Switzerland 10 years ago, there are only a handful of stars in today’s build-up races, and most of these races are essentially television training rides. The competition is diminishing until

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Geraint Thomas-Small chance to win the tour

Swiss takeout:
1) Geraint Thomas has shown that he has returned to his best on the Tour de France podium.

  • As we saw on stage 7And again at Stage 8, Thomas was a much stronger (remaining) rider in this race (Vlasov seemed to be a higher fitness aspect, but he was forced to leave the race with COVID. And Thomas defeated him in the high mountains).
  • Although his climbing and time trial performance on the final weekend was excellent and he couldn’t beat the TT, he was the only rider who could remotely challenge Evenepole and covered the second half of the course faster than the stage winner.
    All of this shows that the 2018 Tour de France winner will be at its best in this year’s edition.
  • But even on the best days, 36-year-old Thomas struggled to catch up with Pogačar and Roglič, coupled with the struggles of a crash as a leader (he finishes 50%). The number of Grand Tour he has participated in since 2017) means that it is still very unlikely that he will land on the podium on the tour.

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Martinez – “Super Star Talent”

2) Dani Martinez has recovered steadily and has established itself as a great second option for Ineos.

  • A very exaggerated (mostly I think this guy is a superstar talent) young Colombian struggled in the first few stages and quickly dropped out of the GC competition, but in the race Recovering in the second half and providing an important part of teamwork, Thomas prepares for an overall stage 7 victory.
  • And his fourth place in the time trial, just 38 seconds behind Evenepol, is probably the best time trial performance of his career and could be a legitimate choice for Ineos on the tour. It shows that.
  • With Thomas currently the main issue on the tour at Ineos, things can’t get any better for Martinez, who will fly under the radar for most of the tour.

There have been many changes since 2018 – Thomas and Flume

3) The surge in the second half of Martinez can complicate matters for Thomas in the Tour de France.

  • Although unlikely to succeed on the tour, Thomas’ performance shows that Adam Yates is likely to be Ineos’ best option to leave Switzerland because of a positive COVID test.
  • However, since both Thomas and Chris Froome took the podium in 2018, Ineos has been very reluctant to go all-in to one leader. It is dangerous to throw all the eggs behind one rider, who can stumble due to a crash or one bad moment in the mountains. However, this multi-faceted strategy also caused major problems in 2021 after winning two podiums in 2018 and 2019. It seems that almost every rider on the team thought he was the team leader, even though Richard Carapaz was completely and fully active. Different levels.
  • If both Thomas and Martinez have gone through a busy opening week, expect this dynamic to trigger some sparks and some interesting team strategies as they enter the mountains.

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Remco Evenepol wins Swiss TT

4) It is not yet known if Remco Evenepole is a future stage racing star

  • Despite competing in the race as a highly advertised GC candidate, Evenepoel struggled on three consecutive GC stages, finishing 11th overall. This continued the trend of superstar Belgians struggling to offer in stage races covering true alpine races.
  • His incredible time trial performance to win the final stage clearly showed that his GC struggle wasn’t a fitness issue.
  • Instead, it further proved that the alchemy of making a topstage racer is much more complicated than a simple calculation of wattage per kilogram. It’s not clear exactly what contributed to the decline in climbing performance between the second and first tier races, but the overall difficulty and positioning of the entire stage with deeper and more talented fields. There may be various issues, such as the length, difficulty, and / or altitude of the climb included in the course. Whatever the reason, these struggles will ask more questions as young riders head for the overall title at Vuelta a Espana later this season.
  • One possibility to consider is that Evenepoel is learning to be a great day racer, time trial specialist and never a true alpine GC candidate. This is fine. Many riders like Julian Alaphilippe have built a very successful career from this template. After all, as we saw in the post-race tent, he’s not tall and hits small people on his bike, but still has a sturdy frame and isn’t as thin as a top GC candidate in the sport. Hmm. Perhaps this little extra muscle provides him with time trials, short climbs, and the power of the day, but acts like an anchor on a lonely alpine stage.

Küng – More than just a powerful TT man

5) Stefan Küng proved he was one of Peloton’s most versatile riders

  • The Swiss time machine has created a disappointing time trial. It’s unlikely that he will win the TT stage in the Tour de France, but his 5th place was very impressive, especially considering that he finished in 3rd place earlier this year. Paris-Roubaix.

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Higuita – Progress

6) Sergio Higuita continues to make progress as a stage racer

  • Despite losing the GC lead in the final, he finished second overall and ended a great ride for the 24-year-old Colombian, who seems to have taken a big step since arriving at Bora from EF in the off-season. ..
  • But his biggest weakness, the time trial, was revealed to everyone in the final stages. This will continue to be a big issue if you have the potential to win the Grand Tour, but as we saw with Jai Hind Sasie in the recent Giro d’Italia, time trial specialists will be able to meet the right conditions. You can win the Grand Tour. His progress and performance this year, I’m not going to rule this out in the near future.

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Covid – Major racing issues last week

7) COVID can be a big issue in the Tour de France

  • Fifty-one percent of Swiss starters dropped out of the race, primarily due to the spread of COVID. This kind of week-long thread race is shocking and can easily ruin the race if it happens on a tour.
  • However, as we saw in the post-race tents of Stage 8 where Evenepoel and Thomas share very close contact, there is no urgency for teams or riders to limit contact and thus the spread of COVID. It seems that.
  • This is somewhat surprising to me, for example, if Thomas is now infected with COVID, the GC opportunities for large budget teams may be lost and spread to other top riders on the team. Year. If I were a team manager, I was even thinking about limiting rider exposure within the team and wasting time together on the timebus during this run-up and tour.

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Slovenian takeaway
8) Tadej Pogačar can win all types of races, so he rarely has the chance to beat him on tour.

  • It may have been surprising that Pogačar had a hard time dropping Matej Mohorič in the final stage of Slovenia, but very much for his performance on the shorter, more explosive climbs featured in the race. I was impressed.
  • After all, Mohoric is an up-and-coming classic star, and at least in theory, he should have an advantage on a more explosive 2 km long climb, but Pogačar still has the entire Peloton on a shorter slope. I was able to put it on the sword, and confidently sprinkled him on the sprint to drop Mohoric after a failure.
  • At this point you may be accustomed to seeing it from him, but this is not the normal behavior of the top favorite of the Tour de France in sports. Almost all GC candidates need long and lasting climbs and time trials to signal their presence, but Pogačar seems to be able to win any type of hoodie.

Matej Mohorič and Tadej Pogačar – Part of the Slovenian Mafia

9) Mohoric will win another stage in July this year

  • He may have missed a victory on stage and noticed that he was on the other side of the split early in the race, but Mohoric’s ability to be with the best riders in the world on the final stage is absolutely what he is. Shows us to show us on a flying tour, ready to add a stage win to his Palmares.

Jacobsen has a tour ticket

Other notes:
10) Fabio Jakobsen may have ended Mark Cavendish’s chance to start the Tour de France

  • With a sprint victory over Sam Bennett and Jasper Philipsen on the final day of the Baroise Belgium tour, Jasper Philipsen is more likely to become a Quickstep sprinter on the tour and Mark Cavendish will be watching from home. I am.

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# Spencer Martin is the author of the Cycling Analysis Newsletter. Beyond Peloton It breaks down the nuances of each race and answers the big picture questions surrounding team and rider performance. Sign up now Get full access to all available content and race breakdown. #

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