The Pro Cycling Thread

To be fair, the weather for the Fleche Wallone made it a total crap-shoot. So many riders (both womens and mens) were affected by the brutal conditions. I wouldn’t put a knock on any of those that didn’t perform.

Mezgec added to the Giro squad to lead out Ewan. Dunbar needs to be at a good level at Romandie to ride the Giro or he will be saved for the TDF - I am interested in what Jayco do with Bling. He was a DNF in Fleche, so at the last minute the team has elected to start him at LBL. This is shades od Dwars De Vlaaanderen when he was in the second group but claimed he had an injury and dropped through the field, but yet four days later he was brilliant he was Brilliant in Flanders Field. He is in real good form although he has not got the results he should have got - I would let him concentrate on the Olympics and ride the Vuelta which best suits his characteristics. The S.Yates situation is that Jayco will offer him a 3 or 4 year deal until retirement. Its up to Simon whether he accepts the deal. Jayco is interested in O’Connor and he is a possibility. Jayco had a real crack at Pithie but were outbid for his services.

Pogacar wins LBL in the men’s race, that’s no surprise.
In the women’s race Gigante spends 60km in the break, then another 60m solo before being caught. The Grace Brown wins the 6 rider sprint to get the win. She’s had a pretty ordinary spring according to her own high standards, so this was a bit of a surprise.

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Brown is a funny rider - She always rides well in LBL, but yet struggles in other races that have less climbing. Then you look at the World’s - Rides brilliantly in the ITT, yet does nothing in the RR when a team leader - Will add that one if not two of the seconds in the World’s would have been victories if she stayed at Jayco - And to think that after Brown came second in 2020, Jayco decided for her not to ride the 2021 edition which then led to her leaving the team.

Jayco’s women’s team for La Vuelta is Garcia, Anderson, Campbell, Howe, Smulders, Baker and Gazkjenn - The team should get a top ten GC and could win a stage.

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Shity start for Jayco at the Giro.
Firstly Plapp loses 57 seconds on stage 1 and then 1.20 (a much better effort, though) on stage 2.
Dunbar crashes on stage 2 and loses near 6 minutes.
Essentially both their GC riders are effectively done after 2 stages.
Hopefully the stage hunters in Ewan, De Marchi and Zana do better.

Anyway Pogacar looks like a class above all, which is what we expected here.
I had to laugh when O’Connor tried to go with him last night, you could see the look him Ben’s face, nope, I’m not going to be able do this.

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Dunbar a DNS last night.
Merlier & Milan duke out the sprint, Merlier takes the win.
Groves and Ewan nowhere in the picture and outside the top 10.

Should be a similar sprint tonight you’d think.

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Jayco are suffering for their sins of selection. Ewan requested Mezgec to replace Stewart 10 days before the Giro. The only problem is Mezgec is not in top shape which was reflected in the first two stages where Mezgec provided no assistance. Then in a post race interview Ewan bemoaned the fact that the sprint train is not dialled in. Anyway, i doubt Ewan can win a sprint, however, he needs to be better placed in the last 1km. Then Dunbar was not going to ride the Giro after he underperformed at the Romandie but plans changed when Plapp struggled in Romandie. Then today hepburn got dropped on a short climb halfway through the stage. DeMarche and Zana appear to be at a good level and a chance to win a stage. Plapp is also a chance to get into a break.

The team has underperformed this year. Yates got ill after the Alula Tour and showed some form in romandie. Their big signing Schmid struggled through injury and only returned to racing at the end of March is struggling. Bling is in excellent shape and should have won more than one race, except for a weak team and his tactical naivety. Engelhardt had a poor pre-season and has not kicked on. Harper is going fine but is not a winner. Berhe has shown signs but is constantly injured or ill. I could go on and on. They still dont get their race calendar right. Why ride tour of Hungary this week when Groenewegen could have ridden one day races in the last ten days. They also need two or three Belgium/dutch second tier classic riders who can get the occasional win BUT rack up UCI points.

Jayco have lost faith and don’t believe he can win a stage in the Giro, especially after he had Milan’s wheel in the final and went nowhere. Retirement is looming.

The O’connor situation is delcately balanced - Apparently, AG2R are struggling for budget while Jayco has strong interest but are not confident of getting his services. Reckon Astana are a chance. Jayco have interest in E.Hayter who would be a good signing if he is reprogrammed. 2025 is the big season for Jayco - Matthews, Ewan, Groenewegen off contract.

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Ewan looked totally cooked last year, so I’m not surprised it translated into similar form this year.

Ewan was 2nd and 3rd in sprint finishes in the first week of the 2023 TDF, so he was fast enough. However, he has not shown that form in 2024.

White interview on GCN reinforces that Jayco has lost faith in Ewan winning a stage at the Giro. Masterclass by Alaphalippe in stage 11 of the giro.

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Mezgec fails to start the ITT. Being saved for TDF. Fall out from stage 13. Jayco are not a happy team of camapers. Anyway, Plapp with a good ride in the ITT to finish 5th. Thought groenwegen looked second hand at Hungary which was reflected in him failing to win Veenendaal. His lack of form is strange as two races ago he was third in Schedelprijs behind Merlier and Philipsen. Finally, S.Yates has two weeks to decide if he stays with the team. Note O’Connor coming to Jayco is not linked to yates.

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O’Connor’s ITT was pretty good too. He’s improved that aspect of his riding out of sight.
Queen stage tonight. A good performance might get him into a podium spot, with a week to come.

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Not bad to finish fourth after he was ill during the race.
Great ride by Milan to finish second in the stage, also by Groves in third place.

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Great to see a dominant performance by a classy rider in Pogacar at the Giro. Apparently, Ewan will be riding one day races and possible smaller stage races for the rest of 2024. This team is baffled by his performance because his fitness is good, his numbers are OK, and he climbed really well during the Giro. Something has to give.

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SBS commentators referred to Ewan doing it on his own, either forced to do so or absence of confidence with others in the team.

Ewan couldn’t even keep up with his own train.
The first couple of sprints, sure there was some disorganization, and it didn’t work well, but after that, he even had trouble holding on to Mezgec wheel.

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Fined and docked points for drafting cars.