apodino
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2019 Tour de France

Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:10 pm

Not sure how many cycling fans are in here, but the 2019 Tour de France is underway. Julian Alaphillipe of Quick Step currently dons the Yellow Jersey, and Peter Sagan of Bora donning the Green Jersey. So far its been mostly flat stages with the Team Time Trial in there. Tomorrow is stage six, which is the first mountain stage and the first stage where we will see which of the GC contenders are here to play, and who might not. Questions to be answered in the next two and a half weeks.

1. Can Team Ineos continue its Tour dominance even without Chris Froome? Ineos always has one of the strongest teams as far as the GC goes, and they leave no stone unturned. Gerrant Thomas is the defending champion with this team, plus they have an amazing young Columbian Rider in Egan Barnal who is going to also be a threat to the GC, and may actually be a lock to win the White Jersey for young rider. And who is going to be the leader of the team with two GC contenders?

2. How is Movistar going to fare? Movistar on paper is a very strong squad, but often times the team tactics never pan out, and they have a lot of good riders at the top who all often seem to be more for themselves. That being said, this course appears to be as good a course as you can get for a guy like Nairo Quintana? Can he put up a good result here with lots of mountain and altitude stages and only one ITT?

3. What is the final margin of victory for Peter Sagan in the Points competition going to be? I don't think anyone doubts he wins green if he makes it to Paris, period.

4. Jakob Fuglsang had a nasty crash in stage one and was written off by a lot of experts including Lance Armstrong. But his form has looked great since. Does he have enough to make a serious run at the GC?

5. Who will the be the other GC contenders? Adam Yates looks strong, and Steven Krujswijck is in a good position now after his team Jumbo-Visma won the team time trial convincingly. Thibeault Pinot is another name to keep an eye on?

6. How long does Alaphillipe stay in Yellow? My guess will be he keeps it tomorrow, then drops it in the Pyrenees.

All things being said, my money right now would have to be on Egan Barnal. I don't think Thomas is going to have quite the form he had last year, but Ineos is still the team to beat. But Ineos also has a target on their back, and no Chris Froome. Stay tuned.
 
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Aesma
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:39 am

I'm not a huge cycling fan but I watch the TDF (and nothing else).

I won't try to predict anything for the yellow jersey at this stage, Sagan seems in good form for sure.

Lots of praise for Alaphillipe from other riders, but I have to wonder if it's all sincere, or if some are not trying to win favors with the French public.
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Dutchy
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:53 am

The Tour has been good for the Netherlands, the first Dutchman in the Yellow Jersey in 30odd years. Too bad two front runners couldn't be in this edition. It makes for a more open edition, I guess, should be more interesting though.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:44 pm

Aesma wrote:
I'm not a huge cycling fan but I watch the TDF (and nothing else).

I won't try to predict anything for the yellow jersey at this stage, Sagan seems in good form for sure.

Lots of praise for Alaphillipe from other riders, but I have to wonder if it's all sincere, or if some are not trying to win favors with the French public.

That could be true, but most of the commentators covering the race say Alaphilipe is a very nice guy.

What a stage 6 that was today. Guilio Ciconne takes over the Yellow Jersey by six seconds over Alaphilipe, who put in a gutsy performance today. A breakaway got too far away from the field, and two riders lasted all the way to the La Planche des Belles Filles. Although Gerraint Thomas had a good stage finish by beating most of the GC contenders, Team Ineos did show signs of weakness today, losing a key climber early and also with Egan Barnel fading a bit at the end. Movistar looked really good early, but then Mikel Landa attacked too early and lost time. Nairo Quintana finished pretty close to the GC contenders, but didn't gain any ground that they lost during the Team Time Trial. Rigoberto Uran is now the clear leader of Education First with Tejay Van Garderen faultering. Roman Bardet had a tough stage. Thilbeau Pinot is in really good shape as is Jakob Fugelsang.

I think this will be the last stage for a while we see significant movement atop the GC. The question is, on some of the flatter stages coming up, does Alaphilipe try for a time bonus that would give him the yellow jersey back? Otherwise, Ciccone probably keeps it until Toulouse and stage 11, with Stage 12 in the Pyrenees beginning the real GC battles. Stage 8 and 9 are no doozies though. Stage 7 tomorrow is probably a sprinters stage, and look for guys like Sagan and Matthews to challenge for the stage win.
 
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Tugger
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:23 pm

Dutchy wrote:
Too bad two front runners couldn't be in this edition.

Why couldn't they participate?

Tugg
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Dutchy
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:42 pm

Tugger wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
Too bad two front runners couldn't be in this edition.

Why couldn't they participate?

Tugg


Dumoulin had an accident in the Giro d'Italia earlier this year, his knee still isn't heelt right yet.

Image
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:06 pm

Tugger wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
Too bad two front runners couldn't be in this edition.

Why couldn't they participate?

Tugg

Froome had a real nasty crash earlier this year that he was lucky to survive.
 
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cpd
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:16 pm

Being on the other side of the world, the time zones are terrible- not staying up or recording it.

I’m training a lot before I go over to France myself.

TT up the Col d’Izoard, and a stage finish on Alpe d’Huez for me.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:24 pm

cpd wrote:
Being on the other side of the world, the time zones are terrible- not staying up or recording it.

I’m training a lot before I go over to France myself.

TT up the Col d’Izoard, and a stage finish on Alpe d’Huez for me.


Very nice, when will you be there?
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
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cpd
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:56 pm

6 weeks.

I’m frantically dragging my FTP up. I was crashed out a bit earlier and my speed vanished quickly. Now getting it back. :)
 
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DL717
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:46 am

As a cyclist I just haven’t recovered from the doping mess enough to have any interest other than popping off a 50-mile ride on a weekend with some friends. The pro peloton remains one big question mark for me. Figure out a way to test for something, they just find another way around it. The speed fell off after the scandal, but it still seems a bit fast. Never-mind it hasn’t fallen below the period where doping became a real problem in the he mid 1990s. They get back to below 22mph avg speed on a consistent basis I might buy that things are normal. Flirting with 25mph every year is a bit questionable.
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Aesma
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:37 pm

Well training has improved now, nutrition, high altitude training. But I won't bet on everyone being clean.

Seeing a lot of leaders in difficulty yesterday is a good sign.

They were all stopped passing the line, that was impressive !
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cpd
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:05 pm

DL717 wrote:
As a cyclist I just haven’t recovered from the doping mess enough to have any interest other than popping off a 50-mile ride on a weekend with some friends. The pro peloton remains one big question mark for me. Figure out a way to test for something, they just find another way around it. The speed fell off after the scandal, but it still seems a bit fast. Never-mind it hasn’t fallen below the period where doping became a real problem in the he mid 1990s. They get back to below 22mph avg speed on a consistent basis I might buy that things are normal. Flirting with 25mph every year is a bit questionable.


The bikes now are very fast things. I can compare a 2012 bike (trek madone) with a 2014 top of the line Giant TCR (basically exactly as they’d use at the TDF that year) and finally, those two compared against the super rare and super expensive Canyon Ultimate CF Evo (which I own), and then a Cervelo P5 which is exactly as Garmin Sharp had them (I got the frame from that team and built it up exactly as they had them).

The Canyon (which is illegal weight by 400g, even on alloy wheels) is nearly as fast as the P5, and it completely demolishes the other two (which are both 11 speed Dura Ace 9000. It’s the best bike I’ve ever ridden. On lighter carbon wheels it is extremely illegal.

The Canyon has a dual sided Shimano FC-R9100-P power meter crankset, something amazing that wasn’t available years ago. You can train really accurately now with great software like TrainingPeaks and brilliant smart trainers like Tacx Neo.

How accurate? I’ve recovered from injuries after being crashed out about 1 month ago and have built up to quite decent fitness.
 
Redd
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:30 pm

DL717 wrote:
As a cyclist I just haven’t recovered from the doping mess enough to have any interest other than popping off a 50-mile ride on a weekend with some friends. The pro peloton remains one big question mark for me. Figure out a way to test for something, they just find another way around it. The speed fell off after the scandal, but it still seems a bit fast. Never-mind it hasn’t fallen below the period where doping became a real problem in the he mid 1990s. They get back to below 22mph avg speed on a consistent basis I might buy that things are normal. Flirting with 25mph every year is a bit questionable.



I've heard from many ''experts'' that cycling is the least doped sport, it just happens to be the most in the spotlight when it comes to doping.

The past 15 years have seen a literal revolution in cycling science in pursuit of marginal gains, diet, aerodynamics (rider position, bikes, wheels, etc....) rolling resistance, watt savings found in just about every nook and cranny on the bike as well. Virtually none of that existed 15-20 years ago, that 3mph average is easily explainable once you understand how the sport has progressed in that time. I don't think it's too far off to claim that more progress has been achieved in the sport of cycling in the past 15 years, than in the previous 50 years before that.

Chris Froome had a controversial TUE last season, which is pretty much legal doping and I'm guessing that is as far as it goes at the moment, for the most part.
 
apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:49 pm

Doping is always going to be a black cloud over the sport, but testing is so sophisticated today that its hard to fool tests. Team Ineos has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to doping I believe.

That being said, stage 7 is exactly what I thought it would be, a sprinters stage. Dylan Groenewegen won the big sprint at the end, with no noteworthy changes in the overall classifications. Peter Sagan maintained his points lead in the Green Jersey competition, and also in an amusing clip that aired during the race, he solved a Rubiks Cube in 23 seconds while on the transfer bus after stage 6.

The only real thing of note from Stage 7 is both Movistar and UAE had brain farts when their riders came back to the team cars for feeding, and forgot that the intermediate sprint was taking place, which left a lot of GC contenders, including Dan Martin and Nairo Quintana off the back. They were able to get back to the peloton safely, but given that they had to expend a little extra unnecessary energy on a flat stage, will they pay for it in the Mountain Stages later in the tour.
 
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:09 pm

Wow...stage 8 was another great stage. Thomas de Gendt had a great ride and broke away early and held it all the way to the finish line. Julian Alaphilipe is back in Yellow after a third place finish in the stage. Thibeault Pinot gained about 20 seconds on the rest of the GC contenders by going with Alaphilipe and finishing second. All the noteworthy GC contenders finished in the same group along with the two green jersey leaders, Michael Matthews and Peter Sagan. This has been one of the most entertaining tours I have ever watched, and we haven't even gotten to the Pyrenees or the Alps yet.

Things of note from Stage 8

1. Team Ineos was involved in a crash at the bottom of the last climb that included Gerraint Thomas. Great job by team Ineos to get him back into the main peloton and Thomas even participated in the final sprint to the finish. The question here is, how much did team Ineos spend here, and will they pay for it later in the tour. Yesterday we said that about Movistar and UAE, but I think this was a way more difficult predicament for Ineos.

2. Egan Bernal was the one Ineos rider not involved in the crash, and did not spend nearly as much energy as Thomas. When we get to the mountain stages, who will be the stronger Ineos rider?

3. Alaphilipe made another brilliant ride to reclaim the yellow jersey. Given its bastille day tomorrow and that he is a very well liked individual, this will be a very popular man in France going forward. Tommorrow is another hilly stage, but I predict he keeps Yellow to the Pyrenees.

4. The polka dot jersey competition has tightened significantly. This could change hands tomorrow, but with flat stages after that, will likely remain status quo until the Pyrenees.

5. Great ride by both Sagan and Matthews. Sagan will win the points title if he makes it to Paris. But Matthews is there in case Sagan does falter somehow.

6. Pinot has positioned himself well in the GC competition and could well be a serious threat later in the tour.

7. Unlike yesterday, Movistar and UAE did very little work today, and that will bode well for Dan Martin, Nairo Quintana, and Mikel Landa going forward.

Tommorrow is another hilly stage with a Cat 1 climb very early in the stage. We could see another GC shakeup, and look for a breakaway group to succeed and win the stage. That being said, if Sagan and Matthews make it over the first climb still with the pack, given the profile of the rest of the stage, my money is on either of them to win the stage. The rest of the pure sprinters, who were not a factor today, wont be again tomorrow and the next stage where they can shine is stage 10 on Monday.
 
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Aesma
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:56 pm

The breakaway won in the end, with Daryl Impey the winner of his first tour stage.
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apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:30 am

Aesma wrote:
The breakaway won in the end, with Daryl Impey the winner of his first tour stage.

The breakaway got away early and never came back. It was a little bit of a battle, but none of the GC contenders were in that breakaway. They all finished safely in the main peloton and had a bit of an easier day. The breakaway and the battle was entertaining as far as the stage goes in any case though.

Tomorrow is a much flatter stage that will be a typical flat stage in the tour. A couple of guys will break out early and get caught inside 20 km to go, and the stage will be won by a sprinter. Nothing will happen GC wise until Stage 12 which is the first stage in the Pyrenees, but that being said I would expect Alaphilipe to stay in yellow until Stage 13, which is the only Individual time trial of this years tour.

That being said, 6 of the last 9 stages (not including stage 21, which is nothing more than a ceremonial ride on the Champs Elysees, and a chance for any sprinters left in the race to win a stage.) are mountain stages, and one of the other ones is the ITT, and one is a hilly stage. So after stage 11, the sprinters will only have a couple of more stages left to shine, where as every other remaining stage will affect the GC. IMO stage 12 is when the Tour will really begin.
 
apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:02 pm

Well, stage 10 proved me wrong again. I said nothing would happen GC wise and boy was I wrong. A few of the GC contenders took the wrong side of a roundabout nearly 20 miles from the finish line, and with crosswinds kicking up, teams Quick Step and Ineos quickly went on the attack and in a stage that looked going into the race as a flat boring stage, turned out to really shake up the GC. The only thing I was right about was a sprinter did win the race, in this case it was Wout van Aert of Belgium and team Jumbo-Visma who won the sprint in a group that featured the green jersey contenders.

Thoughts going into the rest day.

1. Team Ineos as always was in the right place at the right time. Thomas and Bernal are 2 and 3 in the GC, and depending on how stage 12 in the Pyrenees goes, I see Thomas getting back in yellow after the ITT at stage 13. That being said, aside from last year, the knock on Thomas is that he cracks in the later stages of the Tour, and with all the mountain stages backloaded this year, we shall see. Bernal is set up for the GC if Thomas falters and I think the course suits a guy like him.

2. Nairo Quintana is now the clear leader of Movistar after Landa had a mechanical issue and was dropped by the lead group. Aside from the ITT, the rest of the course suits a guy like him, and he is only 48 seconds behind Thomas. He is not a good time trialer but if he stays close in the ITT, he will be a contender going forward.

3. Keep an eye on Dan Martin. He is a darkhorse but he is only 57 seconds behind Thomas and he is an attacking style rider who never quits. UAE has not done much work this tour either.

4. Bad days for Pinot, Uran, and Fugelsang mean they will need some help to get back into the race.

5. Steven Krujswijk and Adam Yates are two others to keep an eye on. Team Jumbo-Visma has had the best tour so far of any team, and Mitchelton-Scott is another strong tream as well.

6. Alaphilipe is still in Yellow. Can Thomas make up enough time in the ITT to snatch it from him? He may be able to hold it past then. I am not convinced Alaphilipe can contend for the GC, but Quick Step is a very good team.

That is all. Tomorrow is the rest day, so Stage 11 is on Wednesday. It is the last flat stage for a while, so look for a sprinter to win. Also of note to A.Net people is stage 11 ends in Toulouse, which is a very well known city to aviation nerds as its the home of Airbus.
 
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Dieuwer
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:05 pm

Dutchy wrote:
The Tour has been good for the Netherlands, the first Dutchman in the Yellow Jersey in 30odd years. Too bad two front runners couldn't be in this edition. It makes for a more open edition, I guess, should be more interesting though.


One started in Utrecht!
 
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Dutchy
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:12 pm

Dieuwer wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
The Tour has been good for the Netherlands, the first Dutchman in the Yellow Jersey in 30odd years. Too bad two front runners couldn't be in this edition. It makes for a more open edition, I guess, should be more interesting though.


One started in Utrecht!


that was the best one, saw them 3 times passing by. 8-)
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:42 pm

Today was what I expected it to be. A flat uneventful stage that led to a sprint finish, and Caleb Ewen winning that sprint just edging out Dylan Groenewgen. Very little happened GC wise, but I have a feeling that will change over the next few days. A few notes from today.

1. Nairo Quintana was involved in a crash, but got back and finished in the main group. However, it was interesting to see that his teammates didn't help him by giving him a new bike right away as he waited for the team car. It came out after the race that he is leaving Movistar after the Tour to go to a new team, and much of Movistar is leaving. What does this do for the team dynamics going into the Mountains, where a good team is essential, and right now Ineos and Jumbo-Visma have that team chemistry and Movistar's is questionable. I have no doubt if Quintana had a better team around him both chemistry and manager wise he would do better.

2. Michael Matthews has all but conceded the Green Jersey to Peter Sagan. He didn't even compete for the intermediate spring or the stage win, instead serving as a leadout man for a teammate.

3. After 11 stages of this years tour no body has one more than one stage.

4 Tommorrow is the first stage in the Pyrenees. There are no HC climbs tomorrow but there are a couple of Category 1s however the stage finishes on a descent. The stage is taylor made for Alaphilipe who still wears yellow. He could gain time on the field tomorrow, but I suspect he loses some in the time trial on Friday, not to mention the harder stages coming up.
 
apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:59 pm

Ok...I missed updating after Stage 12 yesterday. It was a mountain stage where Simon Yates got his first ever stage win, but nothing happened GC wise.

The Time Trial today produced a surprise. Julian Alaphilipe, who everyone expected to lose time and possibly his yellow jersey today, not only didn't lose time, he won the stage and gained 14 seconds on Geraint Thomas. This puts team Ineos in a weird spot as usually on a stage like tomorrow they would be leading and would be setting a punishing pace that doesn't allow for many attacks. However, if Alaphilipe continues to ride like he has been, Ineos is going to have to try something. So here are my stories going into to the Col du Tourmalet on stage 14 tomorrow.

1. Ineos is clearly a team that is way more built for the mountains than Quick Step. But Alaphillipe does have a teammate who is fourth in the GC, and maybe one other climber. They will help Alaphilipe. Alaphilipe can also just ride comfortably behind the Ineos train and let them do the work. The question though is how long can he keep this up?

2. Steven Kruijswyijk is only 48 seconds behind Thomas, and Jumbo-Visma has a very good team even though Wout Van Aert went out today after a horrific crash late. If Ineos and Quick Step focus on each other too much tactically, can this team put Kruijswijk in a position to put on yellow himself?

3. After losing time on the time trial, look for Movistar to be very aggressive tomorrow and try to put Nairo Quintana closer to the top of the GC.

4. Rigoberto Uran had a good TT as well today. He has to be kicking himself for the Crosswind issue on stage 10. I would look for EF to be aggressive tomorrow as well.

5. Dan Martin will also be aggressive and attack as he usually does.

I would not look for the leaders to react just yet to a Movistar, EF, or UAE attack tomorrow on the Col du Tourmalet. However, if they aren't careful some teams can creep back into the GC. The Col du Tourmalet, a classic Tour climb, is the first HC climb of the tour. After tomorrow, we will have a better idea of who the players are and who the pretenders are. It will be fun to watch.
 
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Aesma
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:19 pm

Wow, what a finish !

Alaphilippe better than all the "leaders", what's going on ?
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:34 pm

Aesma wrote:
Wow, what a finish !

Alaphilippe better than all the "leaders", what's going on ?


Hold the front pages, a Frenchman May win the TdF!
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apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:41 pm

Well the Pyrenees didn't disappoint, and the GC picture is still anyone's game. In Stage 13, Movistar launched a huge attack and it backfired spectacularly when Nairo Quintana cracked early on the Col du Tourmalet. Geraint Thomas cracked 1 KM from the finish and that allowed Alaphilipe to gain 30 seconds on Thomas. Thibeault Pinot launched an attack late in the climb and won the stage, and with Thomas cracking, the other GC contenders gained time on Thomas.

In stage 14, Movistar ran a much better tactical stage, and set it up for Mikel Landa, who finished third. Simon Yates, well out of the GC battle, attacked early on the last climb and easily won the stage. However, Thibeault Pinot launched an attack of his own on the last time, and gained even more GC time. Alaphilipe, making the rookie mistake of trying to go with Pinot, ended up cracking as Thomas launched a late attack of his own. Alaphilipe lost 30 seconds in the end to Thomas, but Pinot has played himself right back into the GC discussions (He would be second right now if the crosswind disaster on stage 10 didn't happen). Steven Kruijswijk, another GC contender, finished with Thomas and still has a very strong team. Egan Bernal, Thomas' teammate, also gained time on Thomas and Alaphilipe but lost some time to Pinot. And Emanuel Buchmann, who has barely been mentioned by TV commentators, is in sixth and only 39 seconds behind Thomas.

Today is the second rest day. The talking points after the Pyrenees heading toward the Alps.

1. Can Alaphilipe survive the Alps? He showed the first signs of cracking yesterday, and although he is still in Yellow, Quick Step is not built for the Alps and their other key Climber, Enric Mas, cracked very early yesterday. With Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, and FDJ all being stronger teams, the thinking is Alaphilipe, never known as a Grand Tour specialist, could crack spectacularly during week three.

2. Of the 5 GC contenders behind Alaphilipe, Thibeaut Pinot clearly looks like he is in the best form. The knock on him is he always has one bad stage in a tour and has a history of cracking big time late. The same thing was said about Thomas last year, stay tuned.

3. Team Ineos has Thomas and Bernal in the GC. The thinking among the experts is the Alps favor Bernal more than Thomas. How will team Ineos play this? Also Team Ineos does not appear to be as strong as in previous tours, with several key domestiques consistently cracking early in Mountain Stages. That being said, Wout Poels did survive late yesterday and was a key reason why Thomas was able to attack late as it looked like earlier in the climb that he was cracking.

4. Emanuel Buchmann has not been talked about much at all, but he is right there with the GC contenders. This creates a funny situation for team Bora Hansgrohe. Peter Sagan, another member of the Team has a commanding lead in the Green Jersey competition, and is almost in a situation where if he gets to Paris he wins it again. However yesterday, Michael Matthews won all the sprint points. I suspect that with tomorrow being a flat stage, Sagan can all but clinch that Green jersey with a couple of good sprints, also with a good ride on Wednesday. If that happens, Sagan is experienced enough to get himself to Paris, and I think the team will put way more resources into Buchmann.

5. Team Jumbo-Visma appears to be a team in the form that Ineos/Sky have shown over the last few years. If Ineos struggles in the Alps later, Kruijswijck is in a position to pounce with the team he has around him. He has not done anything spectacular, but he has ridden consistently and conservatively and hasn't had to do much of the work. That may be key for him in the Alps.

The Alpine stages are going to be must see TV. A total of 4 HC climbs over three days and this is after three weeks of an already punishing course. What will happen?
 
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Wed Jul 24, 2019 7:54 pm

apodino wrote:
Well the Pyrenees didn't disappoint, and the GC picture is still anyone's game. In Stage 13, Movistar launched a huge attack and it backfired spectacularly when Nairo Quintana cracked early on the Col du Tourmalet. Geraint Thomas cracked 1 KM from the finish and that allowed Alaphilipe to gain 30 seconds on Thomas. Thibeault Pinot launched an attack late in the climb and won the stage, and with Thomas cracking, the other GC contenders gained time on Thomas.

In stage 14, Movistar ran a much better tactical stage, and set it up for Mikel Landa, who finished third. Simon Yates, well out of the GC battle, attacked early on the last climb and easily won the stage. However, Thibeault Pinot launched an attack of his own on the last time, and gained even more GC time. Alaphilipe, making the rookie mistake of trying to go with Pinot, ended up cracking as Thomas launched a late attack of his own. Alaphilipe lost 30 seconds in the end to Thomas, but Pinot has played himself right back into the GC discussions (He would be second right now if the crosswind disaster on stage 10 didn't happen). Steven Kruijswijk, another GC contender, finished with Thomas and still has a very strong team. Egan Bernal, Thomas' teammate, also gained time on Thomas and Alaphilipe but lost some time to Pinot. And Emanuel Buchmann, who has barely been mentioned by TV commentators, is in sixth and only 39 seconds behind Thomas.

Today is the second rest day. The talking points after the Pyrenees heading toward the Alps.

1. Can Alaphilipe survive the Alps? He showed the first signs of cracking yesterday, and although he is still in Yellow, Quick Step is not built for the Alps and their other key Climber, Enric Mas, cracked very early yesterday. With Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, and FDJ all being stronger teams, the thinking is Alaphilipe, never known as a Grand Tour specialist, could crack spectacularly during week three.

2. Of the 5 GC contenders behind Alaphilipe, Thibeaut Pinot clearly looks like he is in the best form. The knock on him is he always has one bad stage in a tour and has a history of cracking big time late. The same thing was said about Thomas last year, stay tuned.

3. Team Ineos has Thomas and Bernal in the GC. The thinking among the experts is the Alps favor Bernal more than Thomas. How will team Ineos play this? Also Team Ineos does not appear to be as strong as in previous tours, with several key domestiques consistently cracking early in Mountain Stages. That being said, Wout Poels did survive late yesterday and was a key reason why Thomas was able to attack late as it looked like earlier in the climb that he was cracking.

4. Emanuel Buchmann has not been talked about much at all, but he is right there with the GC contenders. This creates a funny situation for team Bora Hansgrohe. Peter Sagan, another member of the Team has a commanding lead in the Green Jersey competition, and is almost in a situation where if he gets to Paris he wins it again. However yesterday, Michael Matthews won all the sprint points. I suspect that with tomorrow being a flat stage, Sagan can all but clinch that Green jersey with a couple of good sprints, also with a good ride on Wednesday. If that happens, Sagan is experienced enough to get himself to Paris, and I think the team will put way more resources into Buchmann.

5. Team Jumbo-Visma appears to be a team in the form that Ineos/Sky have shown over the last few years. If Ineos struggles in the Alps later, Kruijswijck is in a position to pounce with the team he has around him. He has not done anything spectacular, but he has ridden consistently and conservatively and hasn't had to do much of the work. That may be key for him in the Alps.

The Alpine stages are going to be must see TV. A total of 4 HC climbs over three days and this is after three weeks of an already punishing course. What will happen?



I think Alaphilipe will survive. He did have a tough Stage 15, but he kept the gap ahead of Thomas consistent for stages 16 and 17, which I think is promising for the remaining four stages. Any other thoughts?
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apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:44 am

avgeekjohn wrote:
apodino wrote:
Well the Pyrenees didn't disappoint, and the GC picture is still anyone's game. In Stage 13, Movistar launched a huge attack and it backfired spectacularly when Nairo Quintana cracked early on the Col du Tourmalet. Geraint Thomas cracked 1 KM from the finish and that allowed Alaphilipe to gain 30 seconds on Thomas. Thibeault Pinot launched an attack late in the climb and won the stage, and with Thomas cracking, the other GC contenders gained time on Thomas.

In stage 14, Movistar ran a much better tactical stage, and set it up for Mikel Landa, who finished third. Simon Yates, well out of the GC battle, attacked early on the last climb and easily won the stage. However, Thibeault Pinot launched an attack of his own on the last time, and gained even more GC time. Alaphilipe, making the rookie mistake of trying to go with Pinot, ended up cracking as Thomas launched a late attack of his own. Alaphilipe lost 30 seconds in the end to Thomas, but Pinot has played himself right back into the GC discussions (He would be second right now if the crosswind disaster on stage 10 didn't happen). Steven Kruijswijk, another GC contender, finished with Thomas and still has a very strong team. Egan Bernal, Thomas' teammate, also gained time on Thomas and Alaphilipe but lost some time to Pinot. And Emanuel Buchmann, who has barely been mentioned by TV commentators, is in sixth and only 39 seconds behind Thomas.

Today is the second rest day. The talking points after the Pyrenees heading toward the Alps.

1. Can Alaphilipe survive the Alps? He showed the first signs of cracking yesterday, and although he is still in Yellow, Quick Step is not built for the Alps and their other key Climber, Enric Mas, cracked very early yesterday. With Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, and FDJ all being stronger teams, the thinking is Alaphilipe, never known as a Grand Tour specialist, could crack spectacularly during week three.

2. Of the 5 GC contenders behind Alaphilipe, Thibeaut Pinot clearly looks like he is in the best form. The knock on him is he always has one bad stage in a tour and has a history of cracking big time late. The same thing was said about Thomas last year, stay tuned.

3. Team Ineos has Thomas and Bernal in the GC. The thinking among the experts is the Alps favor Bernal more than Thomas. How will team Ineos play this? Also Team Ineos does not appear to be as strong as in previous tours, with several key domestiques consistently cracking early in Mountain Stages. That being said, Wout Poels did survive late yesterday and was a key reason why Thomas was able to attack late as it looked like earlier in the climb that he was cracking.

4. Emanuel Buchmann has not been talked about much at all, but he is right there with the GC contenders. This creates a funny situation for team Bora Hansgrohe. Peter Sagan, another member of the Team has a commanding lead in the Green Jersey competition, and is almost in a situation where if he gets to Paris he wins it again. However yesterday, Michael Matthews won all the sprint points. I suspect that with tomorrow being a flat stage, Sagan can all but clinch that Green jersey with a couple of good sprints, also with a good ride on Wednesday. If that happens, Sagan is experienced enough to get himself to Paris, and I think the team will put way more resources into Buchmann.

5. Team Jumbo-Visma appears to be a team in the form that Ineos/Sky have shown over the last few years. If Ineos struggles in the Alps later, Kruijswijck is in a position to pounce with the team he has around him. He has not done anything spectacular, but he has ridden consistently and conservatively and hasn't had to do much of the work. That may be key for him in the Alps.

The Alpine stages are going to be must see TV. A total of 4 HC climbs over three days and this is after three weeks of an already punishing course. What will happen?



I think Alaphilipe will survive. He did have a tough Stage 15, but he kept the gap ahead of Thomas consistent for stages 16 and 17, which I think is promising for the remaining four stages. Any other thoughts?

Stage 16 was a flat stage won by a sprinter (Caleb Ewan) and nothing was going to happen on that stage GC Wise. Stage 17 was clearly a stage where a breakaway including non GC contenders was going to win, and a non GC contender (Matteo Trentin) did win the stage , as the main GC contenders all but had a Gentleman's agreement to take it easy and save the energy for the big alpine stages. This race will be decided on the next three stages in the Alps.

That being said, here are some things from the last two stages

1. Geraint Thomas crashed in stage 16, but recovered with the help of his teammates and didn't lose time.
2. Jakob Fuglsang had to abandon the tour during stage 16 as the result of a separate crash. It looks like just a wrist or arm injury, but it was the second crash during the tour. I hope he recovers quickly and races in the Vuelta a Espana. He would be among the GC favorites.
3. Peter Sagan has all but clinched the points jersey. As long as he gets to Paris, he will have another green jersey.
4. Both Team Ineos and Jumbo-Visma had key domestiques ejected from the tour in Luke Rowe and Tony Martin after an altercation on stage 17. They are appealing but I don't expect them to win. On paper this would appear to hurt Jumbo-Visma more than Ineos since Tony Martin is a key climber on that team, and they lost another member in Wout Van Aert during the TT. However, other than Wout Poels, the other Ineos support members have not looked sharp at all.
5. Nario Quintana lost even more time in the GC on a flat stage. He is leaving Movistar after the season and the team chemistry is terrible right now. Look for Movistar to put their eggs in the Mikel Landa basket, but since he is 4 minutes back, he needs a miracle. Look for them to go for a stage win nonetheless.
6. Alaphilipe had a teammate in the breakaway during stage 17 launch an attack late to finish in second. Quick-Step is already not the strongest mountain team so I have no idea why they did this.
7. Thibeault Pinot stayed out of trouble for two days, and he and Alaphillipe are the only two remaining GC contenders with their entire team still intact. Given that Quick-Step is not built to support a GC rider in the Alps, Pinot is in a great position here.

All I can say is tune in tomorrow for the first alpine stage. The way I see it is if Alaphilipe is within 30 seconds or so at the top of the Col du Galibrier, the final climb of the day, he will be in good shape as he is the best descender in the business. I think the GC teams are going to try to crack him tomorrow, but they have to all play against each other as well. Given his descending ability, maybe the other GC teams wait until Tignes in stage 19 to crack him. We shall see.
 
apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:20 pm

Stage 18 to me looked like a stage where the remaining GC contenders were feeling each other out and nobody really pushed. Nairo Quintana, left for dead, launched a brilliant attack from a breakaway to win the stage and gained nearly 5 minutes on the GC contenders. While a podium appears unlikely, the reports of his demise may be greatly exaggerated. Romain Bardet, a French rider who has had a disappointing tour, took over the polka dot jersey by finishing second in the stage, but was unable to stay with Quintana on the last climb. GC wise, Egan Bernal launched the key attack on the final climb to gain a few seconds on the GC contenders. Gerraint Thomas launched an attack of his own late, but Thibeaut Pinot, Steven Kruijswijck, and Emmanuel Buchmann were able to reign him in. They did drop race leader Julian Alaphilipe prior to the summit, but as he is the best descender in the business, he quickly caught up to the GC contenders leaving everything status quo other than Bernal gaining a few seconds and moving into a podium position on the GC. So here are the key talking points for stage 18.

1. Alaphilipe is still in Yellow. You can be sure that the other GC contenders, especially Ineos, will try to break him in the next two stages. Enric Mas is still with him and he looked good today. Mas will be key if Alaphilipe is to wear Yellow on the Champs-Elysees

2. Ineos had key domestiques crack early today in Wout Poels and Jonathan Castroviejo. Ineos made a wise tactical move today by putting Dylan Van Baarle into the breakaway, and as he fell back he was able to link up with Thomas and Bernal. Given that the team does not look as strong as in the past, keep an eye on this in the next two stages.

3. George Bennet, a key domestique for Steven Kruijswijck, crashed twice today. He did finish the stage and appeared to be ok, but keep an eye on the effects of this going forward, especially with Jumbo Visma down two men.

4. Discounting Alaphilipe and Quick Step, Thibeaut Pinot and FDJ is the only GC contender left with a full team intact. Pinot played it safe today with good team work, and responded well to Thomas' attack. Look for this team to attack in the next two stages.

5. Emanuel Buchmann is still not being talked about, but he is still sixth in the GC not far behind Thomas. Two issues with him that I see. One is his team Bora-Hansgrohe has lost two men, with Lukas Postlberger abandoning the tour. Second is the team wants to make sure Peter Sagan makes it to Paris to win the Points Competition. Sagan may be able to work with the other sprinters on the latter though.

6. Quintana won the stage but there are clear chemistry issues with Movistar, and Quintana may be a lone man on that team. In a post race interview, Mikel Landa noticeably was evasive in answers to questions about Quintana and it does not appear based on that interview and other things that have happened in the tour that Quintana can rely on team support.

Stage 19 is tomorrow and it features a summit finish in Tignes, which hosted the mogul skiing events during the 1992 winter Olympics. Should be a very exciting stage tomorrow.
 
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:57 pm

Bizarre stage today. The Stage was actually called early due to very bad conditions on the descent before the last climb to Tignes. Sadly it did not give Julian Alaphilipe time to show off his descending skills as he lost the Yellow Jersey. Egan Bernal, who launched an attack on what would be the final climb of the day, takes over the Yellow Jersey and also gives Ineos its first stage of the Tour. Given that Bernal I believe will be one minute ahead of Thomas, Kruijswijck, and Bachmann, and 30 seconds ahead of Alaphilipe, I think he will be wearing Yellow on the Champs Elysees, as now Ineos is in a position where they can control the race. But, one more alpine stage remains, and Bernal could still crack. Thibeault Pinot had to abandon the tour sadly due to injury. I thought he was the one guy who could challenge Bernal.

Hopefully the weather will be good tomorrow, but I hate to see the Tour de France decided the way it was today if the results stand. That being said, the decision to suspend the stage was absolutely the right one. Looking at the TV pictures, I wouldn't want to drive a car in that stuff.
 
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:08 pm

Nobody will win that stage as per the rules, as it wasn't known in advance that the top of the climb would be the "finish line".
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:47 pm

It's a shame to see Alaphilippe lose the Yellow Jersey, but it was expected unfortunately. He's not a climber, so the Alps were not going to give him any favours. Still, it's quite an achievement for him to wear the jersey for so long. He must be proud.

Real shame for Pinot too. It's incredible the bad luck this guy has had on the Tour so far. 4 DNFs out of 7 participations, that's not a good ratio. Seeing him cry was really heartbreaking.

I really felt it could have been our year (for the Frenchies), and we lost all our chances in one day. I guess we'll have to wait again :cry:
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:50 pm

apodino wrote:
Bizarre stage today. The Stage was actually called early due to very bad conditions on the descent before the last climb to Tignes. Sadly it did not give Julian Alaphilipe time to show off his descending skills as he lost the Yellow Jersey. Egan Bernal, who launched an attack on what would be the final climb of the day, takes over the Yellow Jersey and also gives Ineos its first stage of the Tour. Given that Bernal I believe will be one minute ahead of Thomas, Kruijswijck, and Bachmann, and 30 seconds ahead of Alaphilipe, I think he will be wearing Yellow on the Champs Elysees, as now Ineos is in a position where they can control the race. But, one more alpine stage remains, and Bernal could still crack. Thibeault Pinot had to abandon the tour sadly due to injury. I thought he was the one guy who could challenge Bernal.

Hopefully the weather will be good tomorrow, but I hate to see the Tour de France decided the way it was today if the results stand. That being said, the decision to suspend the stage was absolutely the right one. Looking at the TV pictures, I wouldn't want to drive a car in that stuff.


Decision to stop timing on top of Iseran was good, and fair. I've read they reduced length of next stage too, road damaged.
It's for Bernal...!

Poor Julian, he managed not to lose too much, the rest of stage could have turn less bad for him... But his team is dead too, he passed so much time defending alone during the previous stages it's quite normal he can't follow now. He already did a HUGE Tour

Poor, poooor Pinot. (Thibaut ;) )
Heartbreaking.
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apodino
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:56 pm

Everyone has mentioned it, but Egan Bernal was never challenged in stage 20, as Jumbo-Visma seemed more concerned about just getting on the Podium than winning the Tour. This means that Egan Bernal will be the first Columbian rider to win the Tour and the youngest rider to do so, and the team Ineos domination of the Tour de France continues. The only thing left to decide is which of the remaining sprinters will win the sprint on the Champs Elysees.

One note about Bernal. Since there was no official stage winner declared on Stage 19, Bernal becomes the first man to win the Tour de France without winning a stage since Miguel Indurain. And interestingly enough, Team Ineos did not win a single stage of the tour this year in any form, and since they don't carry a sprinter, they likely wont win today either. But they will be sipping the bubbly for sure.

I will have final thoughts after the stage today, and also what to expect with the teams going forward and a Vuelta a Espana preview.
 
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Re: 2019 Tour de France

Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:41 am

And the 2019 Tour de France is concluded. After what was one of the most entertaining tours in history, weather conditions reaked havoc with the Alpine stages and made the finish way more anticlimactic than it should have been. Caleb Ewan won another stage in the traditional Champs Elysees sprint on the last day, so he wins the most stages in this years tour. Eagan Bernal won the Tour as I already mentioned with teammate Gerraint Thomas and Steven Kruijswijk completing the podium. Peter Sagan won another points title, and that guy is quite a character. Romain Bardet salvaged what initially looked like a disappointing tour by winning the King of the Mountains Competition. Obviously Bernal was also the best young rider. Team Movistar wins the team title despite the dysfunction within the team. And Julian Alaphilipe salavaged a fifth place finish and won the combativity award for the tour. You cannot help but like the guy.

Going toward the Vuelta, here are my thoughts on some of the teams.

Team Ineos: They continue to be the dominant team in the Tour de France and set the bar pretty high. So far no one has been able to catch them on a grand tour. Wout Poels may be gone after the year. However, Richard Carapaz of Movistar, who did not race the Tour but won the Giro D'itala is rumoured to be joining Ineos. That would give Ineos Four GT winners in Chris Froome, Gerraint Thomas, Egan Bernal, and Richard Carapaz. The question is how to compete in each tour with this kind of talent and who to ride in which tour. Carapaz would likely love a shot at the Tour de France and would be a GC contender. The problem is if you bring too many GC contenders, do you run into the same issue that has plagued Movistar in recent tours?

Movistar Team: This team will be totally different next year with Nairo Quintana and Giro winner Richard Carapaz (who did not race the tour de france) both leaving, and Enric Mas and Mikel Landa's situations unresolved. Alejandro Valverde will be back next year and will likely be the team leader in next years Tour.

Jumbo-Visma: This team will largely be intact, and is one team that can challenge Ineos in GC battles. But can Steven Kruijswijck actually win a Grand Tour, or is content with podiums only?

FDJ: Thibeault Pinot continues to be snakebitten in grand tours. You get the sense he could win a tour if he can just survive. Look for this team to stay intact as well.

Bora-Harsgroe - This team had a GC contender who finished fourth, and the Green Jersey winner. I don't know what Sagan's contract status is but I look for this team to shift more to a GC focus instead of just protecting Sagan. Emanuel Buchmann will be around for years.

Quick Step - The question here is after the surprising performance of Julian Alaphilipe who had been a one day specialist, does he shift his training focus to be more of a grand tour contender, or go back to his old ways. If the former, can Quick Step, a team that has been more geared toward sprinters, put a better GC team around him?

UAE - This team was all but invisible during the tour and Dan Martin says there are clearly issues with the team that he would not elaborate on. There will be big changes to this team I reckon.

Education First - This is a US team built around Rigoberto Uran who had kind of a disappointing tour. He isn't getting any younger, so its unclear how this team goes forward.

Arkea-Samsic - This is a team that you didn't hear much about this tour as they are not a UCI world tour team yet and raced the tour at the organizers invitation. However this is the destination of Nairo Quintana and with some other experienced riders I would expect them to be able to jump up, and free from the leadership and team issues at Movistar, maybe this is a team that can help Nairo Quintana win that elusive Tour.

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