Allez! The 2022 Pro Cycling Thread

LoLsapien

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Long time listener, first time poster. Cycling seems to be a lightly appreciated sport in this forum, but with the 2022 Le Tour underway, it seems like a good time for a new thread! I'll try to update this with actual Tour content, but in the meantime, I'll just say that Wout is an absolute monster.

Also, while he elected not to participate in Le Tour this year, there's an Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay who is my current favorite rising star. In a white bread peloton populated with a sprinkling of South Americans, it's a breath of fresh air to see this kid emerge as an elite sprinter.

Edit: I'll add that for cable cutters interested in watching the Tour, it's being broadcasted on Peacock Premium, which costs like $5/mo.
 
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StupendousMan

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The StupendousWoman and I have been enjoying the Tour for many years. If you want to listen to a familiar old voice doing commentary, choose the "USA TdF" listings on Peacock: Phil Liggett is the play-by-play guy, as he has been for decades. If you prefer a more European style of commentary (and no commercials), choose the "Tour de France" listings on Peacock.

The big question this year is "can anyone beat Tadej Pogacar?" Since we haven't yet hit the mountain stages, where Pogacar is strongest, it's still a toss-up. What we have seen is some dominant sprinting action by Wout van Aert. In today's stage, for example, he used a small hill 11 km from the finish to break away from the peloton, then just rode away solo from the entire pack the rest of the way for the win. That was after coming in second three days in a row!

Tomorrow's stage five is bound to be interesting, as it contains eleven sections of pave: cobblestones, on which tires go flat and riders easily lose their balance. If you like to watch professional riders look like kids on a playground, tomorrow is the day for you.
 
Jun 28, 2006
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Thanks for starting this thread, LoLSapien. Like StupendousMan, I am a long time fan of the tour, and, like LoLSapien, a first time poster on this site.

I agree, StupendousMan, on the big question. My hope is that the dominant ability of Pogacar pushes the rival teams for the general classification (Jumbo-Visma and Ineos, in particular) to race more aggressively. If Wout's remarkable performance today - and Jumbo-Visma's approach to that final hill - is any indicator, it will be an exciting three weeks. I imagine Roglic, Vingegaard, Yates, Martinez, Thomas, et al. will bring the same energy in the high mountains. While I would love to see a new winner this year, I think Pogacar will be up for the challenge and will still be standing atop the podium in Paris.

In terms of rooting interests, I've been partial to EF. With its big office in greater Boston, compelling riders (Cort, Powless, Uran, etc.), enthusiasm for supporting cycling broadly, and even its looming potential for being relegated, they are a fun team to pull for. And, it was great to watch Magnus Cort ride through the first few stages with such joy.

Looking forward to tomorrow's stage. I expect Van Der Poel and Wout will be battling it out until then end.
 

am_dial

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Looking forward to tomorrow's stage. I expect Van Der Poel and Wout will be battling it out until then end.
I loved watching their cyclocross battles for years (which VDP mostly dominated, as you probably know) and kind of agree, though am hopeful to see old veteran Degenkolb put in a good race — ditto Sagan.

As for the commentary, I’m really missing the sly humor of Adam Blythe on the motorcycle.
 

SinkingLowe

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I loved watching their cyclocross battles for years (which VDP mostly dominated, as you probably know) and kind of agree, though am hopeful to see old veteran Degenkolb put in a good race — ditto Sagan.

As for the commentary, I’m really missing the sly humor of Adam Blythe on the motorcycle.
Blythe is doing commentary for Eurosport/ GCN Racing. Some of it is on YouTube.

Speaking of commentary, Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe are releasing episodes of their Watts Occurring podcast throughout the tour. It's a great for insight from the guys who are actually riding the tour.

I'd like to see one of the "old" guys do well on today's stage. Kristoff is my pick of the older riders. Sagan looks like he's just missing that top end turn of speed.
 

LoLsapien

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Stage 5 was fantastic! The hour I watched in realtime whilst zwifting this morning was, of course, the most dull part of the stage, but all hell broke loose as they approached the first section of cobbles and it cascaded from there. I won't spoil anything, but if you get an opportunity, do yourself a favor and watch the second half of this stage.

I'll say, Team EF has some ballsy riders, I love how aggressive they are riding in the breakaway groups and it's fun seeing some American riders having some success. The final sprint was wild, those guys had almost nothing left.
 

semsox

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Still early, but felt like today's stage offered one answer to StupendousMan's big question, and the answer was a resounding "no".
 

LoLsapien

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I'm a stage behind now, just watched a middle hour of stage 9 and then the last 5 km. We're in the mountains which is my favorite part of the race. In part because climbing is (was? I'll go with is) my favorite kind of joy riding, and also because in the tour, it's what separates the GC contenders from the pretenders.

As such, I feel an affinity for the Colombian mountain goats, and so was excited to see Rigo Uran riding with the lead group halfway through the stage, but he was dropped somewhere in the ensuing hours, and Bob Jungles cleared the field to win the stage. Inspiring story, his: a year ago he was on the operating table for career threatening arterial surgery on both his legs. Helluva recovery! Congrats to you, Bob!
 

Leon Trotsky

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I'm a stage behind now, just watched a middle hour of stage 9 and then the last 5 km. We're in the mountains which is my favorite part of the race. In part because climbing is (was? I'll go with is) my favorite kind of joy riding, and also because in the tour, it's what separates the GC contenders from the pretenders.
Climbing is your favorite riding?! Ugh, that is my least favorite part of riding, but I do like watching it in the TDF. Like every other sport, these guys are not like 99.9% of the population.

I've been watching the replays on peacock, mostly skipping around and watching the ends. I am always amazed by these rides - each stage by itself is incredibly impressive - string 21 of them together and it is other worldly.
 

LoLsapien

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Climbing is your favorite riding?! Ugh, that is my least favorite part of riding, but I do like watching it in the TDF. Like every other sport, these guys are not like 99.9% of the population.

I've been watching the replays on peacock, mostly skipping around and watching the ends. I am always amazed by these rides - each stage by itself is incredibly impressive - string 21 of them together and it is other worldly.
Ah, a flat-lander! You'd love it out here in the California central valley! Yeah, big hill/mountain climbs force you into zen mode. If you try to "crush" a too-big climb it'll crack you. These pros are unbelievable. They ride as fast on the ups as I can muster on the flats. And yeah, the peacock thing is fantastic. I've been watching an hour on the trainer and then, like you, skipping around until the final kick of the stage.
 

StupendousMan

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Pogacar is going to have a tougher time during the second half of the tour. This morning, we discovered that one of his teammates tested positive for Covid during the rest day and has been knocked out of the race. A second teammate _also_ tested positive, but his viral load was so small that he has been allowed to continue (for now). Meanwhile, on the road, another teammate is showing signs of the bad nosebleed that has plagued him recently.

He could be relatively isolated during the late mountain stages of the third week ...

About forty minutes into today's Stage 10, the break at the front consisted of four riders with an average age of 36 years! As an oldster myself, it was heartening to see the geezers putting it to the spring chickens :) Of course, the break later grew to about twenty riders, but at least the old guys are still in it.
 

StupendousMan

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Wow. This is a new one for me. Midway through stage 10, the organizers suddenly told the break riders to pull over and stop. Huh? We eventually learned that, between the break and the main peloton, a group of protesters were sitting across the road. One source claimed that they were protesting against the Russian war in Ukraine. (edit: later, it seems that the protesters were advocating for environmental reforms)

Anyway, everyone will stand and wait until the road can be cleared. The plan is to keep the relative positions of all the riders, but it appears that Caleb Ewan and two teammates, who had fallen behind the main group, may be allowed to catch up with everyone else. Lucky Caleb!
 
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LoLsapien

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Wow. This is a new one for me. Midway through stage 10, the organizers suddenly told the break riders to pull over and stop. Huh? We eventually learned that, between the break and the main peloton, a group of protesters were sitting across the road. One source claimed that they were protesting against the Russian war in Ukraine. (edit: later, it seems that the protesters were advocating for environmental reforms)

Anyway, everyone will stand and wait until the road can be cleared. The plan is to keep the relative positions of all the riders, but it appears that Caleb Ewan and two teammates, who had fallen behind the main group, may be allowed to catch up with everyone else. Lucky Caleb!
Ooohh drama in the peloton! I recall that the tour has been paused due to protest in the past. A bit of google-fu indicates that in 2018 a group of farmers caused a bit of kerfuffle in which pepper spray was deployed, resulting in a noxious cloud that caused the course to be shut down temporarily. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jul/24/tour-de-france-protestors-peloton-farmers
 

Warning Track Speed

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I've been getting by with the extended highlights on Youtube each night (~40 min). This whets my appetite for this evening's viewing.

There was also, speaking of disruptions, someone littering the road with tacks and causing around 30 flat tires in 2012. I had it in my mind that they abandoned the stage when it happened, but it looks like they get everyone fixed up and finished, but with a mostly-heeded gentemen's agreement to pump the brakes til everyone was back on two wheels.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/jul/15/tour-de-france-2012-bradley-wiggins

The Mur de Péguère is a savage little climb, its last four kilometres a narrow tunnel of trees and excited spectators urging on the straining riders. On Sunday afternoon it was as dark as night, with barely room for two riders abreast on a gradient that touches 20%. A tough test for even the strongest climber, it was new to the Tour de France this year, but its debut will be remembered for the wrong reasons after one of those spectators scattered carpet tacks on the road and induced around 30 punctures among the group of riders including Bradley Wiggins, the Tour's overall leader, and his chief rivals.
Cycling's complex etiquette contains an unwritten rule that riders in contention for a race win should not be penalised for sheer misfortune. Wiggins, who suffered a puncture of his own, took immediate steps to control the peloton's pace, ensuring that the group waited for Evans and allowing the other sufferers from punctures to catch up and ride in to the finish together.
 

LoLsapien

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What a stage indeed!! I've been rooting against podacar all race but I gained a ton of respect for him today. His team ruined and useless, Jumbo Visma attacking, attacking, and attacking again, and he kept on responding until he simply couldn't fight back. He had a smile on his face at the end and gave Vingegaard a handshake after the stage was over.

Love seeing quintana, my fave rider of the past decade, storming back into contention! And Wout... Man, I hope he gets his own team next yea, if he wasn't relegated to babysitting Roglic I'd have to assume he'd be a contender. What a day!!
 

StupendousMan

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Watching Tom Pidcock descend today was like going to a masterclass. I am glad that he won today, though at the start I was hoping for a French rider to honor Bastille Day.
 

LoLsapien

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Watching Tom Pidcock descend today was like going to a masterclass. I am glad that he won today, though at the start I was hoping for a French rider to honor Bastille Day.
60+ mph. Not exactly Breaking Away speed but not too shabby. And one of the other riders in the breakaway group was drinking water during that same descent. These guys are different...
 

am_dial

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And Wout... Man, I hope he gets his own team next yea, if he wasn't relegated to babysitting Roglic I'd have to assume he'd be a contender. What a day!!
Wout is a fantastic all-rounder / classics type rider, and I know he can hammer hills and mountains, and won on Ventoux — but I just can’t see him as a GC rider. That requires more of a pure climber. If anyone builds a team around him, I’d guess it’ll be the way riders like Sagan have had teams built around them.

Agreed that it’s been wonderful to see Nairo’s performance this Tour. I’d love to see him win a stage in the Pyrenees. Thought he might win it the other day before Vingegaard took over.

But speaking of — it looks like JV’s and Vingegaard’s chances took a serious hit today. What terrible luck, and what a pair of losses.

(Put me down as someone who loves climbing as well — living in western Mass, I don’t really have any huge mountains to climb, but there are some pretty brutal short climbs, like the Mount Tom access road.)
 

LoLsapien

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I'm a stage behind and just watched Vingegaard and podacar blow apart the peloton and sprint to the finish without daylight between them. I know Roglic is the Riding Dead but oh now I'm curious what happened today!

It's been decades since I went riding in western Mass but if it's anything like northern Connecticut, the brutal part of those hills is that theres so damn many of them ... There's never any relief! I find that even harder than a big climb where you have that reward of a summit, nice stop for a granola bar, and a long descent that lets you shake out your legs.
 

am_dial

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I'm a stage behind and just watched Vingegaard and podacar blow apart the peloton and sprint to the finish without daylight between them. I know Roglic is the Riding Dead but oh now I'm curious what happened today!

It's been decades since I went riding in western Mass but if it's anything like northern Connecticut, the brutal part of those hills is that theres so damn many of them ... There's never any relief! I find that even harder than a big climb where you have that reward of a summit, nice stop for a granola bar, and a long descent that lets you shake out your legs.
I love riding in Northern CT as well — the whole Barkhamstead / Norfolk / Colebrook / Salisbury / Mount Riga area is some amazing riding. Even the Stafford area is pretty great.

And yes, endless hills and rollers around here (and there) for sure. Sorry for the sidetrack, everyone ...
 

ernieshore

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I was quite happy to see the "profile/interview" of the Devil guy (Didi) at the beginning of the broadcast. It seems like he has been at Le Tour as look as I've been watching.

Side note: Steve Porino has a job I am very envious of - covers the Tour de France in the summer and then Alpine skiing in the winter. Good gig.
 

am_dial

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This is going to be one hell of a finish in the next 30 minutes if you are near a TV...
It really seemed like it should have been — UAE’s diminished team played it perfectly. What a bummer that Majka’s snapped chain also seems to have torn a muscle. And what a ride by McNulty.
 

LoLsapien

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Teams?? We don't need no stinkin' teams!!

These two guys are just head and shoulders above everyone else this year. There was a moment in the closing kilometers where McNulty and Podacar's pedal strokes were in perfect harmony, as though I was seeing a mirage from the heat off the pavement. And then, a minute later, when Vingegaard grabbed McNulty's wheel, and THEIR pedal strokes were in perfect symmetry... A symphony of cardiovascular destruction.
 

StupendousMan

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The ending of stage 19 is ... a surprise. If you haven't seen it, try to find a video of the final km (or the final 2-3 km, if you can). What happened in this sprint finish isn't supposed to happen (and is pretty rare; I'd guess one sees it only once or twice during an entire year of cycling).

But I was glad to see a French rider finally win a stage!
 

LoLsapien

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Anyone been watching the TDF Femmes? I'm watching stage 5 and with 45 km to go the largest bicycle crash I've ever seen. Like half the peloton, all the way across both lanes of the road. I've never seen anything like it. Not the nastiest crash thankfully, if you know what I mean, in that there's nothing life or career threatening. it looks like a rider slipped off the edge of the tarmac swinging her wheel into the road, and just like domino's dozens of riders went down and then piled up. They got untangled after a couple minutes and off they go.
 

am_dial

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Anyone been watching the TDF Femmes? I'm watching stage 5 and with 45 km to go the largest bicycle crash I've ever seen. Like half the peloton, all the way across both lanes of the road. I've never seen anything like it. Not the nastiest crash thankfully, if you know what I mean, in that there's nothing life or career threatening. it looks like a rider slipped off the edge of the tarmac swinging her wheel into the road, and just like domino's dozens of riders went down and then piled up. They got untangled after a couple minutes and off they go.
I’ve been watching it with my wife (who signed us up for Peacock specifically so we could watch it) and have been really enjoying the racing. The endless attacks and counterattacks and (yesterday aside) lack of a breakaway getting established and then ultimately and inexorably reeled in by the peloton has been kind of refreshing vs men’s racing. (I’ve watched a fair bit of women’s CX racing previously, but not much women’s road racing.)

Yesterday’s crash looked intense, but still nowhere near as bad as the one on the first stage where Nicole Frain went airborne and knocked out Cavalli. Looking forward to today’s stage and especially tomorrow’s Super Planche finish.
 

Leon Trotsky

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I watched a little of TDF Femmes avec Zwift (I thought it was funny they said the whole title EVERY time).

It was really good! Same cool features as the men's TDF, just shorter, beautiful scenery, grueling climbs, great racing. Hope it is here to stay for the long run!
 

LoLsapien

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I'm finally watching stage 7 now, and I gotta agree with you guys, this is a great event. I was lulled into thinking that Vos had this race all sewed up, much as I was so impressed by her sponsor-mate Wout. But of course the mountains have different ideas.

I also must say, and I hope this isn't sexist, but if women's pro cycling can go mainstream, Niewiadoma might be pro cycling's first sex symbol. She and her hubby, ex-Le Tour phinisher Taylor Phinney are a fine looking couple.

Trotsky- I'm completely hooked on Zwift so hearing all the avec Zwift's and seeing all the Zwift logos everywhere has been a fun bonus for me!