Criterium du Dauphine, Stage 8 2014

Criterium du Dauphine.

June 15, Stage 8: Megève – Courchevel 130.5km

Who would have thought the leader board would be shuffled on the final short stage, that on paper was largely routine. Garmin had other ideas. Contador had no teammates and Froome had the after effects of his fall 2 days earlier. The break was a large group, apparently driven by Hesjedal (from what I saw) flat out effort, and 2 climbs to the end. I did miss the finish but the damage had already been done.

For some reason Porte and Lopez (Sky) break away briefly from the chase and Froome could not follow. Later on they tried to pace him (Contador had fled by then), and he was unable to accelerate or keep a high pace. The skill set (SBHH) was in place but perhaps it seemed flat, the point being that a number of different types of info/data are required to determine what his output is, and if we could place his performance side to side with his best, what would we see? Finally, what was the key injury that created this decline in performance? or a cumulative total in addition with the lower temperatures. Contador did what he could to bridge to the lead, and it’s remarkable that he still landed on the podium, though not in the top rung.

Overall, some really nice skill sets from all riders, Contador off saddle and a fantastic SBHH, weight shifting on the handlebars, for a good long run. Nibali didn’t quite look very sharp, and I saw a pair of riders near the break, both off saddle, the first handling the climb with the SBHH, the other a largely TPR skill set. The break appeared to splinter, and Contador was collecting the remains but not enough to close the gap to Talansky. I wish I had seen the initial break, and they had to be riding with a fire under their shorts. Great performances from that group.

Criterium du Dauphine. 2014. Stage 7.

Criterium du Dauphine. 2014. June 14, Stage 7: Ville-la-Grand – Finaut-Émosson 161.5km

Notes on an earlier stage, helicopter view, and one rider stands out in front of the group from his gangly style, this can only be …… (only one guess is allowed).

N Arndt wins a stage over Kris Boekmans, and again to the proverbial heli view, which is what you want for the sprint. Now the image is never very big from that vantage point, but it seemed Boekmans was over biasing the R-hike and R sidebent, as he sprinted off the saddle, interesting way of sprinting, not traditional by any means, but after a day’s race you use whatever is left in the tank. Must have been a photo finish (I was out the door for a ride).

In the mean time back to Stage 7, 5 km to go, and a relatively small group remains. 4 SKY + Froome setting the pace. A few riders ahead with 2 Katusha leading the way, one Trofimov very active with the SBHH plus rotation (which seems to be the evolving theme) off saddle and seated. I really would like to see someone blow up so totally that they try to perform their skill, and all that they are able to do is a wet noodle deal, but the camera won’t spend much time there. Most of the time people seem to keep a good semblance of their skill sets, at that level, even if they are destroyed.

Nieve leads the Sky charge, Porte close behind (who said he wasn’t fit for the TdF?). Nieve nice skill sets, SBHH off saddle and seated, on what was reported as steep terrain. Froome at times letting gaps build, then closing. Contador must have taken note and been able to take advantage, which he did, barely. Off saddle attack for a good portion of the final km or so, with no reaction from Froome, absent was his notable acceleration. He did up the pace and gapped Talansky and Hesjedal, only to lose that advantage. Perhaps injured from the previous day’s fall and the repercussions from contusions will be felt for several days. Nevertheless, he performed like a true champion. The other issue is of course the steepness of the terrain, and if you are at ease with accelerating on a 6% incline, the timing will be quite different on a >7% incline.

Interesting, though he appears to have won the event, Contador feels the TdF is the main emphasis of the season, sure looks like the stage is set for an exciting tour, and the big question has to be who does Contador have to help him out and is Wiggins still in the picture. Clearly, Nieve, Porte and Kiryienka should play a big role.

Criterium du Dauphine, 2014 Stage 2.

June 09, Stage 2: Tarare – Pays d\’Olliergues-Col du Béal 158.5km

With about 12 km to the finish DeMarchi climbs with a combination platter of roll/hip hike. Very active and relaxed shoulders/blades moving with great ease as he sidebends and weight shifts on the handlebars. Later on R Porte gets dropped, apparently his Spring has not gone well, the analysts are having a fit, and there were several climbs coming in to the final HC effort. Sky will have some riders drop back and save some energy for upcoming stages, the next few days will tell the tale and might need to call Wiggins up for the TdF. Nevertheless, M Nieve did a terrific job with a few km to go; all the while Contador is off the saddle, looking deceivingly comfortable. So, OK, both Conta and Froome both ride with the SBHH yet with uniquely distinctive styles. 5 km to go and there is a notable change in tactics from last year’s TdF, Conta is on the wheel of Froome from the instant he accelerates, and there were at least 6 of those, he was the only one able to keep up. At the very finish, Conta made a final thrust but unable to overtake. However, in the tour there will likely be a Sky rider between Conta and Froome, and other teams will have taken note as well. Though I think he will be the only one able to match the acceleration. Nibali got dropped several times, TJ vG got dropped early on. Kelderman and Talanski were a pair with no respect for the company they were in, hope they can time their attacks well enough for good results. Talanksy tends to TPR off saddle with hands on the hoods.

Did you take a good look at Conta off saddle? undoubtedly weight shifting on the handlebars. Froome as well, though he appears to make a more violent thrust on the bars, but the force is downward, just take a look at how much sway there was on the bike: very little. Both guys have special skill sets, remarkable, and weight shifting is a major feature.

Criterium du Dauphine, 2014 Stage 1.

June 08, Stage 1: Lyon – Lyon 10km

The tunnel section gave the athlete a surreal appearance, mystical features. Certainly a great sight. D Millar headed out with the SBHH. However on the brief climb, and on apparently very low grips, it was for the most part the TPR. To a significant extent this may be the best adaptation to the “set up of the instrument”.

Cunego a bit later on, a great camera work that only the European camera people (political correctness in effect) are able to do. Fabulous focus on the hip/lower back showing details of the skill sets that you will find nowhere else. But why doesn’t Cunego do better in the time trials? The basic sequence of the skill set looks rather distinct as one would expect, but there may be a halting feature to it, that only a detailed analysis may be able to resolve.

A look at N Sorensen, frontal view, but if you are good at inferring the skill set it’s a no brainer (need a hint?). Plus the weight shifting at the forearm pads takes the day.

Jacob Fuglsgang looked mightily uncomfortable, not only seated at the tip but pushing back on the saddle multiple times.

Hesjedal breaks the SBHH mold with the TPR, especially off saddle on the “climb” section.