UCI World Championships – Men’s Individual Time Trial Analysis

The men’s UCI World Championship Individual Time Trail went relatively as expected with Italian fast man Filippo Ganna unseating two time reigning champion, and teammate, Rohan Dennis.

Some think Ganna taking the win comes out of the blue, however, that’s because most of Ganna’s damange is done inside the velodrome where he already has 4 World Title’s against his name. Having just won the ITT at Tirreno-Adriatico over Rohan Dennis and Geraint Thomas, he jumped up the board as favorite and he delivered the goods today. A monster performance from start to finish, he had the fatest time at the only time-check and held onto it through the finish line. It was actually teammate Geraint Thomas who held the hot seat for most of the day despite racing the ITT circuit without the aid of his bike computer, ultimately finishing 4th overall. It was the Belgian Wout Van Aert who showed us that the Tour de France is no match for his legs, seemingly unbothered by the 3,366Km’s the tour put into his legs riding to 2nd place today and reinforcing him as a favorite for Sundays road race.

Rounding out the podium was Stefan Kung, a deserving medalist who is 4 time reigning ITT champion of switzerland and 4 time medalist in the world championships at the TTT. Stefan won two combativity awards at this years Tour de France (stages 10,14) before withdrawing to focus on todays race. Rohan Dennis, two time defending champion had the 2nd fastest time at the time check but could not hold on for the victory, or even the podium, finishing 5th. It’s unclear what’s next for Dennis.

The disapointment of the day was definitely Tom Dumoulin who finished 10th at 1:14 back from Ganna. The course did not suit him perfectly but he was still outperformed by those who beat head to head in the stage 20 TT at the tour and not a great result for the former world champion.

Overall a great result and great omen for Ineos and in Geraint Thomas in particular as he eyes the start of the Giro D’Italia next weekend. This years Giro features three ITT’s where Thomas will look to put a dent into his foes. The Giro both starts, and ends, with an ITT.

FEEDZONE: Roasting the UCI – Because, why not?

Welcome to the FEEDZONE, a break from normal racing coverage. We are heading into one of the most exciting weekends of the year for professional cycling, the UCI world championships where we will learn who gets to wear the coveted rainbow jersey in their respective discipline next year on their sleeves forever. BUT, let’s not be so quick to forget all the drama and frustrations caused by the UCI in general, and most recently at this years Tour de France. So let’s have some fun and roast the UCI!

Here are some of the key stats of the penalties levied at the tour by the UCI:

86 total penalties worth over $32,000, two minutes of time, 62 points, 3 KOM points, 1 relegation to the back of the peloton and the ejection of one sports director.

The most popular fines were litering (28 times), stick bitons (28 times), improper fueling (8 times).

Jumbo Visma topped the list with 10 penalties for a total of 8,500 Swiss Francs.

Stage 18 accumulated the most penalties with 10, 8 of which were sticky bitons (no suprise on the hardest climbing day of the tour).

Only 3 stages (1, 14, 21) were without penalty and just two teams escaped without penalty, Lotto Soudal and Trek Segafredo.

Listen as we break down the most egregious and impactful penalties from this years Tour de France!

2020 UCI World Championships Preview and Predictions

It’s time for the 2020 UCI world championships! Odd to be just one week after the tour and before either the Giro or Veulta but its 2020 and here we are. The championships take place in Imola, Italy after Switzerland announced their cancellation of the event due to Coronavirus restrictions.

We are looking at two unique courses for the Men’s races this year. First the TT course for its utter simplicity 32km of flat road; and on the flip side a brutal 258km road race course with 5000m of climbing.

The TT course is straight forward. My picks for top 5 include Ghanna, Dennis, Cavagna, Van Aert and Dumoulin. This leaves Kung and Thomas on the outside looking in, but there can only be 5 in the top 5.

The road course has brutal climbs in its 9 laps of the circuit. There are two notable climbs on each lap the first with 1km at 9.6%, followed by 1.3km at 10.9%….9 times each! It will still require some punch to get this done so it won’t be a true climber that takes it. I like Van Aert for the win. Both Pogacar and Roglic need to be considered favorites but its an open question as to how their tour ‘hangovers’ are, both literally and figuratively…knowing them mostly figuratively. I also pick Fuglsang for a podium position.

2020 Tour de France: Pogacar wins & the tour by the numbers

Today we wrap up the tour, the weapons were put down. They took down the finish line on the Planche de Belle Fille, FDJ visiting Pinots goats. Sagan conceded green. Roglic slept on his defeat. It was all smiles and pageantry on the roads to Paris. Familiar scenes of the Yellow jersey team with teammates arm and arm wide across the road. Classy sportsmanship by Roglic who comes up the road during the neutralized section and had a minute with Pogacar arms over each other saying who knows what in Slovenian, but can’t overstate the sportsmanship of Roglic. Stand-up guy, not doubt. Of course we feel for him. All sorts of noise overnight about Pogacar and his “unbelievable” performance. Well believe it, internet trolls go home!

Marc Hirschi was the super combative most subjective award, but his wounds were wrapped up like a mummy and if that’s the case you are probably, atleast arguable quite combative. Good for that great oung rider who won a stage and also had a 2nd and 3rd.

Sam Bennett puts a stamp, period exclamation point on his green. Big sprint, decisive win, set up perfectly by his team. Good representation in his final stage in rainbow by Mads Pedersen who took 2nd and Sagan 3rd. Ewan was in bad position the whole time and couldn’t have a go at it. First green for Ireland since Sean Kelly in ’89, Sean Kelly won it 4 times, so some rich history for Ireland. Sam Bennett delighted and well deserved. We also need to go back to 2014 was the last time that Quickstep didn’t win a sprint stage. Bennett, Viviani, Gaviria, Kittel, Cavendish. Peidgree of great riders. Finished with 380 vs. Sagan 284. He won he earned it.

Tour de France by the numbers and were not just talking 21 stages and 3,366KM covered.

10: Times that Richie Porte has ridden the Tour de France before finally achieving the podium this year.  

9: The number of riders in the top 10 of the GC who finished stage 20 in a different place than they started it.  Only Rigoberto Uran did not change places.

8: Stage podium finishes in this years tour for team Sunweb, an incredible result for a supposedly leaderless team.

7: Number of Tour de France wins among active professional riders. 0 which rode into Paris (Froome, Bernal, Thomas, Nibali) active tour champions, only 1, Bernal started.

6: Teams winning multiple stages UAE Emirates (4), Deceuninck- Quickstep, Astana, Sunweb, Jumbo visma, Lotto Soudal. That meant that 12 of the 22 teams did not turn in a win.

5: Times that the tour has climbed the Planche de Belle Fille and the number of times that the yellow jersey changed shoulders on those days. 5 is also the number of positive COVID-19 tests of the over 1,300 tests done during the tour, zero riders testing positive. This is the anxiety of the world this year and we were blessed to put it aside to enjoy 23 days of the Tour de France.  

4: Stage wins by UAE in this year’s tour, the most of any team.  

3: Countries with 2 riders in the top 10 of the General Classification. 3 is also the number of Jerseys that Tadej Pogacar won (yellow, white, polka dots), the first rider since Eddie Merckx in 1969 when he won green instead of white as white didn’t exist.

2: Times since 2011 that a team other than SKY/Ineos has won the Tour de France. Nibali in 2014, the year Chris Froome crashed and broke his wrist; and now in 2020 with Tadej Pogacar.

1: Black rider in the peloton at the Tour de France. Its pretty obvious that cycling has not been an equal opportunity sport for a number of reasons. Kevin Reza from B&B hotels is the only black rider in this year’s TDF and in a year where we’ve seen most professional sports pause in some way shape or form to recognize and show solidarity for racial equality we have not seen that in cycling. UCI has done nothing proactively and they should. We’ve seen some riders take responsibility into their own hands, Kwiato Roglic I saw with say no to racism written on their masks, love to see that, UCI needs to be better. And I encourage you to listen to the interview that Bradley Wiggins did with Reza on his Eurosport podcast.

 Vive the 107th edition of the tour. It was a dream. But we’ve got a lot to look forward to, world championships a week away and on October 3rd we get the Giro; but when you want to talk about going over the Stelivio and attacking the alps/dolomites of Italy in October, the snow is already falling. IT was the riders who threw everything at the tour, it will be the world throwing everything at the Giro and we’ll see you there, so buckle up its going to be a wild ride.

Tour de France stage 20: Pogacar turns the tour on its head and Porte reaches the podium

He is the white jersey, polka dot jersey, yellow jersey, the maillot jaune, he is the youngest winner of a stage of the Tour de France (and he has three of them) and the youngest ever champion of the Tour de France, Tadej Pogacar has turned the race upside down today.

Full breakdown of the stage including the movement across the top 10, with Richie Porte riding himself to his first ever TDF podium while Miguel Angel Lopez drops all the way to sixth.

Team Jumbo represented well on the stage with Tom Dumoulin taking 2nd and Wout Van Aert 4th. It was also meant to be a stage for Richard Carapaz who looked to retain the polka dot jersey but his efforts fell short, but that’s mostly credit to the unbelievable performance of Tadej Pogacar.

Tour de France Stage 19: The green jersey wraps up and final countdown on yellow

Stage 19 of the Tour de France was the final chance for Peter Sagan and his Bora Hansgrohe team to reel in Sam Bennett to give Peter at shot at his 8th green jersey. Some bad luck for the team with a bee sting to the mouth of Lukas Postlberger caused him to abandon.

Just after the sprint point the men in front decided to have a go at a breakaway and a 12 man field which included the likes of Sagan, Bennett, Kragh Andersen, Trentin, Van Avermaet and some Deceuninck-Quickstep support made it and put several minutes into the peloton. It was a move by Kagh Andersen, which went unresponded to, that allowed him to run up a nearly 1-minute advantage to his second stage victory of the tour.

Turning to tomorrow we have a battle for the TT podium, the yellow jersey, and the polka dot jersey. There are a number of scenarios that we break down which could leave the jersey on the shoulders of Roglic, Pogacar, or the current leader, Carapaz. It could even be a podium sweep for Jumbo Visma tomorrow with current yellow jersey holder Primoz Roglic, former TT world champion Tom Dumoulin and the ever strong Wout Van Aert.

Tour de France Stage 18: Ineos gets redemption, Landa attacks and the podium settles in

Tour de France stage 18 was one for Ineos. After several days of attacking by Richard Carapaz, today he and Michal Kwiatkowski got away and won the stage. It was a special moment for them as they entered the final kilometers knowing that nobody could challenge them. They even seemed unsure of what to do, but it was hugs and high fives as they came to the line. Kwiato was awarded the win, which is well deserved for the former world champion, winner of Milan SanRemo, Strade Bianche, Polish national champion (amongst others) who has been in a support role in his 7 tours of France and never had an opportunity to win a stage.

In the GC it was a day for the guys outsdie the podium to make a final stand and a great move was made by Bahrain Mcclaren in support of Mikel Landa. He had two riders up the road, enabling him to launch an attack and have support later in the race. He was able to move up two spots in the standings jumping ahead of Adam Yates and Rigoberto Uran.

Tour de France Stage 17: Superman Lopez takes the win, Bernal abandons and Roglic steps closer to Paris

Egan Bernal was down, now he’s out, the decision to abandon made by his team director and in his best interest. Surely many of us wanted him to stay in out of respect for his teammates and the race itself, but his injuries are starting to impact him. “I was suffering all day with back pain, and it was increasing. On the last climb, it switched to my knee. I’m screwed up on all sides,” he said. So now the team will continue to focus on individual stages where they can, we have seen Carapaz make the best of his chances, including today where he survived the 5 man break the longest and wasn’t caught until around 2km to go. Look for other Ineos riders to get into tomorrows break away and Kwiatkowski to take his shot at stage 19.

It wasn’t just Carapaz who had a shot in the breakaway we saw Julian Alaphilippe and lennard Kamna, yesterdays winner, back at it again, followed alongside by Dan Martin and Gorka Izzaguirre. While Carapaz survived the longest and had the best results of the breakaway on the day, Alaphilippe was awarded the combativity award on the day. It is no doubt this was because President Macron was on site today following in the tour directors car the whole race.

Bahrain Mcclaren did their best for Mikel Landa but it was for naught as Mikel cracked almost immediately after his teammates dropped off, but the damange to leading group was done and the entire race blown open with more than 3km still to race. Kuss took control at the front and rode Roglic off his wheel without even realizing. This created the opportunity for Miguel superman lopez to launch what would be the decisive attack. Roglic batted and won out over Tadej Pogacar, extending his lead to 57 seconds and taking him one firm step closer to yellow in Paris.

Coming into today we knew that the individual to pass the highest point in the tour first was not the man to win, so it was not a surprise that someone other than Roglic and Pogacar took the win. Similarly, after a long drought in KOM points ,the polkadot jersey finally changed hands from Benoit Cosnefroy to Tadej Pogacar. Despite rumblings on social media, the climbers jersey does end up in the right hands by the end of the tour with the last 10 winners being:  Sammy Sanchez, Thomas Voeckler, Nairo Quinana, Rafal Majka, Chris Froome, Rafal  Majka, Warren Barguil, Julian Alaphilippe, and Romain Bardet.

Now looking ahead to tomorrow. Today was the queen stage, but tomorrows 18th stage actually features an additional 1,000 meters of climbing, distributed across more categorized climbs. Expect there to be breaks and attacks, but, the finale is following a descent so time gaps do have the chance to be mitigated. The ride with the best shot to break up this current podium standing is Richie Porte, who was 5th today and continues to ride great, he is also the best TT rider of the induvials in places 3-7th.

Tour de France Stage 16: Bora gets its win and Pogacar shows he will always attack

The Peloton passes its COVID test and the tour continues. A day for the breakaway a strong 23 man group got outfront and it was a day for the best of them. Lennard Kaemna took the win, his first grand tour win which follows his 2nd place on stage 13 and his win on stage 4 of the Dauphine. Behind the break was a slow day for the GC guys, up until Pogacar decided to test everyones legs and attack in the final KM’s. No damage done to the top 7 but Nairo Quintana lost 35 seconds and dropped to 10th oerall, swapping spots with Tom Dumoulin. Tomorrow the Tour de France hits the queen stage, with the most climbing and highest ascent of this years tour. In 9 of the last 10 tours the winner of the stage with the highest ascent was not the overall winner, so will we see a mix up in who wins tomorrow and who remains in podium contention?

The Peloton passes its COVID test and the tour continues. A day for the breakaway a strong 23 man group got outfront and it was a day for the best of them. Lennard Kaemna took the win over Ineos’ Richard Carapaz, his first grand tour win which follows his 2nd place on stage 13 and his win on stage 4 of the Dauphine.

Behind the break was a slow day for the GC guys, up until Pogacar decided to test everyones legs and attack in the final KM’s. No damage done to the top 7 but Nairo Quintana lost 35 seconds and dropped to 10th oerall, swapping spots with Tom Dumoulin.

Tomorrow the Tour de France hits the queen stage, with the most climbing and highest ascent of this years tour. In 9 of the last 10 tours the winner of the stage with the highest ascent was not the overall winner, so will we see a mix up in who wins tomorrow and who remains in podium contention?

Tour de France Stage 15: Bernal cracks and the GC is shaken up

Joined by special guest Andy Craze. Stage 15 was of massive impact to this years Tour de France. Egan Bernal cracked at the start of the Grand Colombier and is yellow jersey hopes are lost. Tadej Pogacar wins another stage with Primoz Roglic right on his heels. Richie Porte shows that he is here with intention of a podium, and at a minimum his 2nd top 10 finish before transferring back to Ineos.

Early in the stage we lost Sergio Higuita, the Colombian national champion after a collision resulting from Bob Jungels. A huge loss for the EF team. Sam Bennett gained 2 points in his green jersey lead moving to 45 point advantage.

The troubles for France continued as Guillame Martin had a mechanical at the base of the Grand Colombier, ultimately losing 3:25 and continuing to ride outside the top 10. Nairo Quintana lost big time today dropping down to 9th, cracking before Bernal but paring his losses. Here is how the GC looks now:

  • 1) Roglic
    • 2) Pogacar +40
    • 3) Uran +1:34
    • 4) Lopez +1:45
    • 5) Yates + 2:03
    • 6) Porte +2:13
    • 7) Landa + 2:16
    • 8) Mas + 3:15
    • 9) Quintana + 5:08
    • 10) Dumoulin + 5:12

Covid testing resumes tomorrow with all teams starting again from a clean slate on the second rest day bofore we continue the journey in the mountains. Look out for the queen stage 17 at Meribel where we will have two HC climbs, both are either longer or steeper than the Grand Colombier.