Monday Shorts

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Now we wait. With the Tour de Suisse, the Tour of Slovenia, the Route d’Occitanie and the Tour of Belgium over, there’s a two week lull until the Tour de France, with many national championships next weekend for a change in format of racing.

The big lesson from all the weekend’s racing? Covid rates are climbing fast and we’re back to looking at charts of infection rates that resemble a mountain stage rather than a sprinter’s stage although for now it’s a question of scale, this is an increase but not a big wave (yet?). The UCI and ASO will have a meeting this week to discuss sanitary measures in the wake of all the positive cases in the Tour de Suisse. Over the weekend Christian Prudhomme said he’ll follow what the UCI suggests which puts the onus on the governing body but regardless teams will be tightening measures. We’ve got used to Jumbo-Visma announcing their Tour de France team months before the race, currently they’re still unsure who to pick two weeks out because of Covid, both in terms of who has been ill or could be positive, but also because of the effect this is having on racing, training and form. Every other team is in the same boat, when asked about Groupama-FDJ’s plans for the Tour de France, Marc Madiot said he didn’t know, telling L’Equipe “I’m unable to tell you who will be at the start of the Tour de France. It’s Russian roulette for everyone“. And all this is just for team selections, let alone the Sword of Damocles hanging over every rider in the race.

One rider Madiot will be counting on is Thibaut Pinot who took a vintage Pinot stage win in the Tour de Suisse, letting others attack and overheat on the final climb before reeling them in and going clear for the win, a move he’s done before by holding back and being patient. He’s now going stage-hunting in the Tour de France, in part because it’s what he prefer to do but also because his chronic back problems meant he’s not worked as much on his TT bike.

So many other riders will be stage hunting in July, Michael Woods might have just taken his first overall win at the Route d’Occitanie but he’s going for stages in July, even if these bring few points. Many are resigned to the podium being reserved for a handful of riders, think Pogačar, Roglič and Vingegaard to the point where Ineos barely get a look-in so they’re having to look for other results which in turn ought to make more stages more interesting as the breakaway will be harder fought. We’ll take a closer look at the mountains competition ahead of the Tour de France but it promises to be good as well. Last year was good too, until it ended by accident thanks to Pogačar taking points late in the race but as keen readers will know, the system’s been tweaked.

As for the weekend’s racing, it’s hard to extrapolate too much from the results we did get rather than were denied because of Covid, for example we can wonder what Aleksandr Vlasov would have done in Switzerland. Pogačar won his home race again and it all looked very easy like last year but plenty of riders from smaller teams weren’t far behind. Geraint Thomas was the surprise thanks to his Tour de Suisse win, a surprise compared to expectations but no fluke as he was climbing with the best, looked sharp to be going for time bonuses early in the race which shows the win was the plan from the start, and he concluded it with a strong TT. So what for the Tour de France? The plan was meant to be Adam Yates but he was out with Covid and so like many his racing, training and recovery plans are up in the air while Thomas brings some certainty for a Tour route packed with time trials but can he climb with the best?

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One pleasant surprise was Bob Jungels. His signing with Ag2r Citroën hasn’t been a triumph but it’s not his fault, he’s had serious iliac artery issues which can plague several riders. The remedy is surgery but not all riders make it back to the previous level but in the Tour de Suisse he appeared to be climbing and time trialling well to finish sixth overall.

As well as Covid, heat’s been a big issue all over Western Europe. The Route d’Occitanie saw Stage 2 shortened because of a heatwave. This wasn’t the sport’s Extreme Weather Protocol in action, instead the prefet of the Tarn, a government official appointed to oversee the départment, said the bike race could not happen on his turf. He might have been thinking of the riders but also the race’s passage across the countryside means closed roads and blocked junctions, not ideal for a time when the emergency services are under more pressure to help those suffering from the heat, when crowds could gather and so on. This sets a precedent but doesn’t mean the Tour de France will be halted on a hot day whether in the Tarn or elsewhere… because the Tour is that much bigger. A prefet can talk down to a local race but halting the Tour is something they’d consult on with officials higher up the chain. But they can’t dialogue with the climate and if June’s heatwave is harsher in July it’ll bring questions for many a race.

Talking of heatwaves, a tip: think twice before doing long ride in France on a Monday. Many village bakeries are family businesses and because they’re open on Sunday many take Monday off meaning they’re closed when you’re on your ride and need of food and an expensive cold drink… although guess who is going to recon two Tour stages in one go today? Doh, but another prompt for which lists sources of drinkable water from spring water fountains to public toilets for you to note for your ride. It’s handy for Tour de France stage recons and more. Someone with more time could create an app that lists free water points all over the world for cyclists, travellers and anyone thirsty who doesn’t need

Looking ahead the national championships are a handy source of UCI points for teams and you can see the table showing the spoils above. Countries are split into A and B groups, where an A nation is defined as a nation that started at least one rider in the previous Men’s Elite world championship road race.

As usual the rider transfer market is like a game of magical chairs. But think of it as one where the first rounds are “magical thrones”, where the star riders on big contracts go first. Richard Carapaz is going to EF Pro Cycling according to Velonews. Which leaves Movistar hunting their Valverde replacement, they want Carlos Rodriguez at Ineos but he has a contract with the British team for next season although they can wait a year, buy him out… or find Ineos renew him. Moves like this need to be settled first before others can slot in.

At the smaller end of the transfer market, Bardiani-CSF climber Filippo Zana is going to Bike Exchange. Now the Italian is a good signing as he’s a handy climber, just not the biggest contract. With the relegation battle not far away, all teams concerned have to keep signing riders as if they plan to be in the World Tour and they’ll deal with relegation if it happens. But it’s still a material risk in the transfer market, a rider with two offers might be tempted to sign with the team with plenty of points because relegation could cause knock-on effects and they might be on the jobs market and in a tough situation when many others could be if a whole team implodes.

As usual they’ll be an update on the UCI points on Tuesday… but probably not many during July as there won’t be many updates to digest as the Tour de France’s points are only added up by the UCI once the race is done.

53 thoughts on “Monday Shorts”

  1. The Tour de Suisse certainly left lots to ponder. The rash of covid withdrawals not only throws doubt on the form and Tour participation of those affected but makes conclusions harder to draw. Do Ineos have a new super fast TT bike? I know little about bike tech and even less about TT bike tech but it appears that the Ineos riders were using a new spec TT bike. Will this help Pippo Ganna to win the prologue and might it give G / Dani Martinez an advantage if they are still in contention come the final TT? Will Adam Yates ride the tour, it would seem Geraint Thomas has ridden himself into a leader role, is there really a space for a third “leader” rather than a domestique?

    Remco Evenepoel rode a really good TT but otherwise was average, perhaps it was just an off day but he wasnt keeping up on the climbs either. Maybe it was heat related but if so he is going to struggle in Spain in August.

  2. I wonder how many riders will now be skipping their national championships, to reduce the risk of catching covid…it could make for some unexpected winners wearing the jerseys for the next year…

    • A case in point would be Denmark where Jonas Vingegaard, Jakob Fuglsang, Søren Kragh Andersen and Christopher Juul-Jensen will not be on the starting line in Aalborg on Sunday.
      But that leaves us with maybe half a dozen riders who know or expect to start in Copenhagen but who will not DNS in the Danish championships because of this latest Covid-19 wave.
      It also leaves us with the question whether any of those four would have participated in any case – in a race on a course that doesn’t exactly favour them. (None of the four have ever poidumed in the “DM”.)

      It is my impression – or let’s say my hunch – that it is quite normal that a considerable number of so called top riders choose not to participate in their national championships. Some because it interferes with their final preparation for the Tour, some because their team doesn’t have a rider among the favourites and they don’t have anyone to work for.

      If the GM doesn’t think that the PR outweighs everyhting else and the sponsors don’t require it, either, there’s no particular reason – perhaps apart from a certain sense of duty – to participate for the sake of partiipating?

    • Some countries have rules requiring participation but yes, many have skipped these races over the years so if they don’t have to ride, some will way up the risks and benefits. A pity for the national organisers/federations but if they have a star rider, he’ll probably bring more glory on them by thriving in the Tour de France than winning or participating this weekend, a consolation idea anyway.

  3. I’d love to see Thibaut go for the KOM in the tour this year. The points structure this time means it’s more likely to go to a non-GC guy. Fingers crossed his back can hold out and he can stay upright on the cobbles

  4. Looking at the numerous riders pulled from the TdS with Covid positives, is is possible that in three weeks the riders can recover, do some training, and appoach peak condition for 01/07? If not it’s going to leave some big holes in several squads, or will some riders start undertrained and hope to find form over the first few days without losing time?

    It’s also maybe a Tuesday subject, but in the TdS some complete teams were pulled with three Covid positives while EF’s two healthy riders continued to the end? Was that for the 300 UCI points provided by Powless? Another sign that UCI points are influencing strategy.

    • This is a good point, and the fact is we’re in uncharted territory. Virtually all of the riders at this point have some immunity from some combination of vaccinations and COVID illnesses, and it’s too soon to have data on the performance effects of the current strains of coronavirus on younger people who have partial immunity. My best guess is that (as with the original strains) athletes in their early 20s will fare much much better than athletes in their 30s, that viral load will be a factor, and that teams that get their riders the latest treatment right away may have slight edges. On top of that there will no doubt be lots of variation, with some riders barely affected and others suddenly losing their legs and have a prolonged recovery to get back to full speed.

      I hadn’t thought about the issue of teams keeping negative-testing riders in the race while pulling most of their team as a UCI points issue, but you could be right about EF making sure to keep Powless in their for his hefty points haul. They would have been foolish to do otherwise I think.

    • So we have one of the first answers to questions about riders recovering from COVID quickly now after rounds of vaccines and illness – Sagan apparently is already both testing negative and in condition to ride in the Slovakian NC race and be on the TE TdF team.

      I know some are sick of references to COVID here, and I apologize for mentioning it again, but it’s now a fundamental and crucial part of the racing scene, like it or not. I just got back from a mid-day ride in Tuscany, and all I could think about was the heat wave in Europe and how it will test riders at the Tour above and beyond the usual GT issues of team tactics and conditioning and race route and crashes. I think we’re at a point where the pandemic, and all the nuances that come with it, are at least as much a part of the total cycling racing picture as the weather, which we all know has frequently tipped the scales one way or the other.

      Anyway, I’m thrilled that Sagan is, for now, headed to the Tour, and at least on paper we could be treated to a wonderful points jersey battle (even though MvdP has publicly pulled the plug on his bid for green).

  5. If there are such strong favourites for the Tour that breakaways are more strongly contested, the daily fights we saw at the Giro bringing record speeds are going to be ramped up to make for some high risk strategies among those favourites. Neither UAE nor JV can spend the whole time crushing all attempts to get away, and they certainly aren’t going to help each other. All the other teams will make alliances to try and keep their leaders on GC and take stages or jerseys.
    None of this is what some call classic GT racing – clear favourite Vs likeable underdog up the final climb – but I really don’t care about that if it makes the stages full-on from the start each day.

    What is ASO going to do about COVID? The main risk to riders must be thousands of fans in their faces each day, so can we expect more stages to be closed off on steep climbs? Masked spectators?

    • We can’t keep closing down every time there’s a spike in Covid infection rates though.
      The virus is going to be with us for a very long time and I suspect that periodic booster inoculations against it will be required.
      I’m not sure where it leaves the race in the immediate term though, it could play havoc with rider numbers.
      I suppose that the UCI will consult and be advised by the various national public health bodies that the race is visiting.

    • I would sthink that the thousands of fans are a risk mainly to each other (and, in turn, to the general public as a whole).
      I’m not an epidemiologist and I gather that we still don’t know all that much about Covid-19 transmission, but I would opine that the risk of catching the virus through aerosols or droplets while riding a narrow road lined with spectators cheering and shouting is minimal compared to every other situation involved during a stage race.
      I think it’s just back to a strict version of the bubble system à la 2020. Off-limits areas for the spectators will be larger, journalists and photograpeher will not be able to flock and come close the way they are used to etc, there will be separate hotels (and segregated elevators 🙂 )and dining areas etc etc.

  6. A fine read as always. I’d be interested in your thoughts on The Lefebvre-Wellens controversy at the Tour of Belgium. Wellens contends that Lefebvre’s blocking move, for which the latter was DQ’d, cost him the race. Should there be additional consequences in case like this where an illegal act directly benefits a teammate of the perpetrator? I also wonder about how frequent these events have been historically and how they’ve been treated prior to now. Could be fascinating column 🙂

    • Wellens didn’t just get boxed-in, he was gift wrapped with a ribbon top by Quick-Step. Unsporting and that’s why Lampaert got disqualified. When the rules don’t cover the moral aspect of the issue, we can see teams carry a grudge or exact revenge later, chasing down a move with extra purpose, slamming rather than closing a door in a sprint etc.

  7. On the subject of drinking water, all the drinking water fountains in villages around the Alpes-Maritimes department (Nice) have been switched off since March because of drought. Fortunately it wasn’t so hot when I first got caught out. Check that the same hasn’t happened where you want to ride before setting off.

  8. Pleasantly surprised by Thomas’ form at the TdS. His TT performance compared to Remco and Kung would indicate that he’s close to his best shape. I don’t expect him to be at a Slovenian level at the Tour, but heat, cobbles and Covid provide substantial stumbling blocks that seem to make it sensible for Ineos to have multiple leaders, especially given Adam Yates’ limited Grand Tour performances thus far. The tactics Ineos employed at the Giro would suggest that they are unable (or unwilling?) to pull of a tactical masterclass, but Bora showed the benefit of having multiple cards to play in a GT.

    • I have to say I don’t understand the idea of making Adam Yates the leader for any GT, especially for a team with Ineos’ expectations. His three-week track record just doesn’t merit it and with a relatively large amount of TT kms, it seems logical to me that Geraint Thomas is named a leader, possibly jointly with Dani Martinez. But that’s just me looking in from the outside obviously!

  9. Water points are mapped on OpenStreetMap so it would be very easy to get that information into an app. There is one called WeTap but only on iPhone – I have no idea how good it is. In France and Italy I’ve often found cemeteries to be a good source of water; there’s often a tap for watering flowers.

  10. The moment I saw GT winning the TdS, I already knew the usual folks her would make him a favorite for the The Tour immediately.
    Only that this was a victory without any meaning, in a relatively weak field from the beginning, which was later decimated daily in the dozens by Covid.
    Winning this by a little TT margin wont say anything about his form in a 3 weeks race with way better rivals and an also pretty uncertain outcome virus-wise…
    I don’t bet, but I’d put all my money on G remaining a one-hit wonder.

    • I don’t see anyone really making GT a favourite on here?
      He has a chance if there are multiple crashes or Covid cases in JV or UAE but top 10 is the best he can hope for.
      The GCN commentators were marvelling at Kung’s new resilience in the mountains in keeping up with the GC contenders, but I thought it also showed that the pace wasn’t strong enough to drop him and didn’t really big up Thomas’ chances versus the Slovenes. And Vingegaard,

      • Thomas in this form might have won this year’s Giro (even without the TT kilometers), but he won’t be anyone’s favorite to win the Tour. I don’t think it’s impossible, but a lot of factors need to go his way to make it happen. He might not even turn out to be Ineos’ leader, depending how the race plays out.

        • Oh, come on! ^___^
          G. is a nice guy and all, but at the Giro he would have ended up no better than Wiggo or Porte. The two mountain stages in Suisse had some 4,000 m of altitude gain each, that is, as much as two of the *easiest* mountain stages at the Giro (Cogne and Lavarone) – but, in addition to those, the Giro also had a couple of 5,000 m altitude gain stages plus two further ones which came pretty close at 4,700. *Plus*, hard mid-mountain stages not included above like Etna, Turin, the Kolovrat one etc.
          Not to speak of the gradients faced, or the fact that the whole Giro had pretty much as many ITT kms as the TdS (which is a shame, indeed), only the Suisse ITT was flatter!
          If that wasn’t enough, several people who’re interested in w/kg and the likes calculated that the climbing in TdS was – not surprisingly – among the slowest we happened to see in pro cycling in recent years, without any special race condition justifying that, given that the accumulated strain wasn’t surely excessive, neither from previous stages neither in-stage.

          Now. All that might actually bode well for Thomas’ TDF bid, as in him really *not* being on very top form (perhaps), as was the norm for the rest of the world while preparing for the French Big Show.
          But. First, he’s still a SKIneos rider, after all, so, have they really changed their approach now? That would be interesting.
          Second, and more on topic, this “form” wouldn’t allow Thomas to win any Giro, not even the 2012 one, no doubt about that. This year he couldn’t even have won a single stage from the break, with w/kg values as they were there to be seen in TdS. And he wouldn’t win the ITTs, either (well, maybe the last one?).

          That said, I’d agree with Tovarisch on a possiblie third podium. Not at all about Roglic being a “no hit wonder”, given that cycling’s got other GTs besides the TDF, and Rogla’s profile is consistent with what you’d expect from a potential TDF contender or even winner, whereas Thomas’… well, not as much. He started one Vuelta, *four* Giros and 11 TDFs, and he’s got 1 victory, 1 podium… then 2 top-20 (15th) and… and 9 out-of-top-20 final GC placings (plus 3 DNF). It’s not like it’s a small sample.
          Out of 9 GTs, Roglic’s got a 58 (first GT ever)-38 (first TDF ever)-4th progression, then he *always podiumed* every GT he entered – 5 of them – except 2021 when he crashed.
          Even if you take into account the classical Sky-mutation which Thomas went through – that surely made of him an excellent week-long stage racer – it’s really understandable why he still can be looked at as a “one hit wonder”. Let’s see if he actually proves he’s a solid value at this TDF, which is surely possible – it’s equally sure that the TdS doesn’t say anything at all on the subject.

    • One hit? Guess that makes Roglic a no hit wonder. Cycling stats commented that his climbing was the best since 2018. Of course he won’t win but a third podium is possible.

  11. For the water, I always ask to inhabitants when I see some of them in their gardens, for example. “Pourriez-vous remplir mes gourdes, s’il vous plaît ?” I never faced a negative answer. But you have to be ready to speak about the heat and to laugh at some very funny jokes (“I put doping in it, you will need it”)…

  12. It’s only subjective as I don’t count these things, but Jumbo’s big guns seem to have already had a busy season at the highest level. Clearly they will enter the tour perfectly tuned, but I’ll be surprised if they’re doing anything more than hanging on by the end of week 3, so a podium place could be in reach for other teams too.

    • Well, Roglic has won the Vuelta three years in a row, so he obviously can do more than “hang on” in the third week of a GT. Most people seem to think Pogacar is unbeatable, but I can easily see a scenario where he is way down on GC going into week three. Just imagine Bennet or Majka crashing out early, Pog without a key domestique and open to attacks. Or, just imagine that Jumbo, Ineos and Bora all decide that the best strategy is to attack Pogacar (likely, actually, considering he’s the two time defending champion). Does UAE have the resources to defend against attacks from multiple fronts? I’m honestly not convinced they do. Who could step up and surprise us? Vlasov, maybe? I could definitely see him flying under the radar until it was too late for the other teams to do anything…

      • Indeed. Like riders from rival teams working together in a break, JV, Ineos etc could join forces to try to eliminate the biggest threat from the reckoning before returning to team duties to fight for the win

      • Even more likely is the scenario where the contenders attack each other and the leader of the race benefits.
        Your scenario, where they conspire against the leader almost never happens. Maybe Formigal in Vuelta, and even there, the instigator wasn’t the one benefiting the most.

  13. Given the covid spike and the tour just days away, I would be curious to know if any team doctors are using paxlovid prophylactically?

    • Per Wikipedia, “ Adverse events of the co-packaged medication, regardless of causality, observed in the phase II-III EPIC-HR study included: dysgeusia (4.8%–6%), diarrhea (3%–3.9%), vomiting (1.3%), hypertension (1%), and myalgia (1%).” Diarrhea and vomiting are definitely not something you would want going into a bike race. I could not find information anywhere regarding the drug’s effect on athletic performance, and no team doctor would prescribe anything without knowing that first.

      • In addition, there’s this: “ The drug does not prevent infection in people who live with an infected person.” So, if there were an outbreak in a team, it could still spread on a team bus or in a hotel, regardless of any prophylactic treatment.

        • Plan for the worst hope for the best! In this age of marginal gains, I would think that it is being taken as precaution at this late stage. Better to keep riders safe and not out of the tour.

  14. Don’t roast out there! I’m up in Italy’s Piedmont region and got pretty cooked just on a 40 km ride through the vineyards yesterday. It’s hotter here than down in Sicily! Had to stop for a popsicle (ice blocks in Australian, dunno about other languages besides ghiacciolo in Italian) and a bottle of cold water halfway through despite having two bottles on-board. Big drought here too with talks of rationing water, the tap water here doesn’t taste all that great so unless I’m familiar with the source that water might get poured over my head rather than consumed.
    People who think “Virtually all of the riders at this point have some immunity from some combination of vaccinations and COVID illnesses” might ask Peter Sagan about this? No matter how you feel, nobody’s gonna let you race if you test positive.

    • As usually, you misinterpret what I wrote. Immunity is on a sliding scale, Larry. Getting multiple vaccines gives you substantial (but not complete) immunity from some strains of COVID, and only modest immunity from other strains. Same for prior infection. So someone who would die from COVID without the vaccine ‘merely’ gets knocked on their butt by the infection, and someone who would get fairly ill and be unable to race for months might just test positive and have relatively mild impairment which they can overcome in weeks.

      And of course you cannot race while testing positive. Testing positive doesn’t mean you have no immunity. Some degree of immunity from vaccinations and prior illness will allow the body’s immune system to clear the new infection faster, so the probability of testing negative sooner also comes into play.

      • Larry, you may have copied what I wrote, but you obviously didn’t understand it. Sagan was one of the riders I was thinking of. After his first infection, with zero immunity, he was out for a long period and ineffective for a while after he came back. Now after two prior infections and per his self report at least one vaccine, he has some level of immunity that should benefit him in his latest case. How much benefit (i.e., how quickly he will return and race effectively) is what is the unknown territory. But it is certain that he has a level of immunity, however incomplete, that is far greater than what he had two years ago.

        I have an MD and a PhD, if that makes you feel any better about my constantly correcting you.

      • You also took it entirely out of its context. I’m not saying you knew perfectly well you did, I think the problem here is that your temperament sometimes makes you functionally illiterate. You read something, rush to interpret it in a fashion that suits your preconceived notions of what other people (read: complete dorks), you see red and hit the keyboard. End of story. There is no way to convince you that you read something that no other reader did and that you are arguing against something no one wrote.

        That said, KevinK probably should have used some other word instead of “immunity” because he was obviously not saying that a sieable percentage of riders will not become positive, What he said was that many of the riders who test postive will have only mild or extremely mild symptoms, get well and completely symptomfree in a matter of days and test positive quite soon nd – last but not least – be back in race shape in a relaively short time.
        Some riders will, no doubt, fare worse and suffer from the virus and its effects one way or another for weeks. But KevinK wasn’t saying that there aren’t any, either.

        PS One doesn’t neeed to be an epidemiologist to point out any of the above.

        PS My sincere best wishes for you and everyone having to deal with the extreme high temperatures. Here up north we are happy to finally see nice summer temperatures slightly above 20 C. But the forecast has what we call a heat wave coming in a few days’ time: 27-28 C..

        • I used the word immunity because that is the proper word. We have an immune system that does not function as an on-off barrier switch, but provides us with some degree of immunity. Immunity takes time to develop, and often wanes. Immunity in the medical sense (as opposed to the legal sense) simply means resistance to a particular infection. Resistance is rarely total, just as a water-resistant garment likely isn’t a water-proof garment. This is not an advanced medical topic but common sense.

          • No one said it was not the proper word.
            It was just that you should have used another word because a layman’s understanding of the word can sometimes differ from the proper meaning of (in this case) a medical term. – and we could have avoided one of Larry T’s broadsides if that layman’s understanding hadn’t made him see an enemy ship presenting itself as an irresistible target.
            PS I value Lary T as a commentator with a knowledge of cycling history that goes beyond mine and a perspective to today’s events that is different from mine, but I absolutely hate it when his Mr Hyde takes over. It can ruin discussions and poison the entire atmosphere, it brings out the worst in other commentators, including me and including you.

          • The entire world has gotten an intensive two-year course in immunity, and if there’s one thing about COVID that has been discussed in excruciating detail it’s the fact that the vaccines, as well as prior infection, give crucial partial immunity, but that there is no total and lasting immunity. Moreover, the context of what I wrote made it perfectly clear that I was not talking about immunity from ever catching COVID again, but was specifically referring to the potential for a faster recovery.

            And I think you overrate the potential to use carefully chosen words to avoid setting Larry off. Even if that were possible, I’m not interested in that approach. I come here to read informed, thoughtful opinions and participate in what is almost always a valuable and enriching discussion. These are thoughtful conversations with thoughtful people. Virtually everyone else here approaches it the same way, and I’m not going to choose my words so as not to offend or confuse this site’s resident crank.

          • I probably should have written “It would perhaps have been fortunate if KevinK had used etc…” Would that have left you happier?

            What I wrote about comments that bring out the worst in other commentators.

            Every comment that is about Eskerrik Asko, Larry T or KevinK, whether it is written by the man himself or by someone else is quite superfluous, unneeded and, in 99,9% of all cases, better left unwritten in the first place.

            In order to have at least a small modicu of content actually dealing with riders, teams or races, I’d like to say that I, too, am looking forward to seeing Bob Jungels back in business in July.

            PS I read that for the Danish police the three stages in Denmark will be the biggest operation ever in connection with a sports event. They have made study trips to France and pracstically every policeman fluent in French is involved.
            What struck me as interesting and a bit surpring is that although the Danes have arranged fairly big races for years and years and there is obviously plenty of experience at every level, the motorcycle riders will arrive from France.

            What struck me as interesting is that although the Danes have plenty of ex

  15. ‘People infected with the omicron variant show poor immunity boosting against future covid-19 infection, researchers have found.1
    This may explain why breakthrough and repeat infections have been a common feature of the omicron wave of the pandemic, even among people who have been triple vaccinated’
    There seems to be a consensus that Covid is airborne and the risk of transmission is highest in crowded indoor spaces. However aerosol generation much higher when exercising/shouting/singing. On the face of it the peloton should be safe but does anyone know how much of a ‘bubble’ of stale air a peloton forms? I imagine hotels a much greater risk. Anyway I hope teams will be using FFP3 or 2 masks rather than the less effective versions.

    • Hotels and especially team busses. I’m sure all possible precautions will be taken by every team. The biggest factor, logically, would be avoiding breaking the team bubble outside of the race proper. At the end of the day, though, there’s only so much you can control. The Dauphine went fine, but Tour de Suisse was another story altogether. Hopefully all teams and the organizers were doing at least some contact tracing so they can look at their data and see where thing went wrong. Again, though, a stage race is massively complicated with a huge number of moving parts and many random factors you simply cannot control. It’s very different to something like the NBA where a bubble strategy is logistically much easier. We’ve had two editions of the TDF that have gone about as well as you could hope under the circumstances. I think Tour de Suisse will be a warning to ASO, UCI and everybody else not to let their guards down.

    • Hotels and indoor spaces with air conditioning are a nightmare for spreading virus droplets.
      If the weather is hot, as it is now, the teams will obviously desire air conditioning but it could be problematic if anyone is positive for Covid.

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