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Int. Ă–sterreich-Rundfahrt - Discussion
Int. Ă–sterreich-Rundfahrt

HC - 7 stages

2 flat, 1 hilly (2 HTF), 3 mountainous (2 MTF), 1 ITT


Sans griesst in Ă–sterreich! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Austria, where we meet for the 13th edition of the Tour of Austria - or in German, Ă–sterreich-Rundfahrt. The climbers will be looking forward for the first two days, with tough mountaintop finishes, before things will calm down for the rest of the race.

Let's first take a look at the profiles, so you can follow what we're talking about:


Only the two flat stages are slightly different from last year, with stage 3 being 2km longer, stage 6 6km shorter. But all in all, we can say it's the same race. Meaning that the GC will mainly be made on the first two stages, plus the closing ITT. Although stage 4 is rated mountainous - rightfully so given the HC climb - it ends after only a short uphill sprint. Stage 5 requires the riders to be well positioned on the start of the final uphill, as it's long enough to cause some gaps for riders who aren't attentive enough.

One rider mastered this race in the last two years, and he's returning again - we're of course talking about pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Aleksandr Pluchkin. Five stage wins, two points jerseys and - most importantly - two GC wins in two years is impressive! Can he complete the hat trick even after his first decline?

And yet another former winner returns to this race - pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/des.png David Abal finished on top back in 2014. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Schleck, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vlv.png Alarcon, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/aeg.png Dekker and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Amador are all riding in PT, and so don't get a shot at winning this race for the second time, whereas Brajkovic still is in the MGUCI database, but didn't get a contract anymore.

But at least, we do have some more riders returning who finished in the Top 10 last year: First of all, the last two year's runner-up pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Uran, but also 6th pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Martin and 7th pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Nerz.

Let's take a closer look at the presumed top GC contenders and their team support:

The list is of course led by pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Aleksandr Pluchkin, who still is the lone strongest climber in the peloton - and one of the best time trialists as well. He will again be the top favorite, despite his decline. Decent puncheur skills, good stamina, resistance and recovery as well as a strong acceleration compared with most other GC contenders round off his great skillset.

And as if all of that wasn't enough, he also brings a support team with a lot of depth, consisting of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Topchanyuk, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Dzhus and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Nitu for the mountains and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Laas and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Tanovitchii for the hills.


pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Stefan Denifl is the second strongest climber on the startlist, and while he's slightly stronger on the hills than the Moldovan, he'll likely concede a few seconds on the closing ITT. His achilles heel might be his rather bad resistance, as well as the lack of acceleration, which might cost some outstanding stage results. But on the long climbs, he definitely can be dangerous!

Furthermore, he really has a luxury climbing domestique by his side, with pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Intxausti. But almost the entire rest of the team - pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Carpenter, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Ahmad Zamri, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Dees and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Juodvalkis - are decent climbers as well, so a lack of support could not be an excuse for failing! But well, he surely won't think of failing in his home race, on the contrary - can the home soil even give him enough of a boost to challenge pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Pluchkin?


Even though he's slightly weaker on the climbs, beware of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Mattia Cattaneo! The Italian is the strongest time trialist among the GC contenders - although just a tad faster than pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Pluchkin - and his stunning resistance might help him to keep up longer than expected on the uphills as well! What might hurt him, however, are the hilltop finishes, as he doesn't like those short inclines too much. But a decent acceleration could still help him to keep up with the strongest.

And as the two previously mentioned riders, he brings a great support cast for the mountains - pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Pomoshnikov and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Stancu could be outright leaders in other teams. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Domagalski and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Matte will make sure the top domestiques won't have to step into action too early - a lot of depth once again!


But almost as strong a time trialist is pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Ryan Eastman. The US American dominated the Continental Tour last year, and brings a skillset very similar to pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Cattaneo's. A tad quicker on the hills, a bit slower in time trials, and somewhat weaker in terms of physical stats - but definitely a podium contender as well!

However, while his top domestiques pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Suaza and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Squire - with the latter being a great puncheur as well - are very strong, too, the rest of the team won't be able to provide much support on the uphills. Let's see if that's enough - especially if he should take the leader jersey early in the race.


And we do yet have another 82 climber - pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Tim Wellens. While he matches pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Denifl on the hills - being among the strongest of those presented so far - he unfortunately matches him as well in terms of time trialing skills. Meaning that he'll likely lose some time on the final day. Can he make good use of the hilltop finish stages to get enough of a gap ahead of that final ITT? His great resistance might help him to ride up those hills at full speed all the way!

Again, he shouldn't be short of team support, both in the mountains and on the hills. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Poljanski and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Bernard can do both, while pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Hacecky and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Shapira are rather specialists for the longer climbs. All in all, we can definitely speak of a very solid support cast once more!


Let's go slightly down the ladder in terms of pure climbing skills, and we get to 2018 and 2019 runner-up pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Rigoberto Uran. Just like pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Pluchkin and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Denifl, he went through his first decline this offseason, but still handles those uphills really well. Furthermore, he matches pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Eastman's time trialing skills, meaning he's among the strongest in this discipline - and despite his age, he has a great resistance, too. The hills won't scare him, either, as he almost matches pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Pluchkin there. Can he repeat his podium, or even step up one more spot?

One question will be if he'll get enough bananas in the mountains, as pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Ivanov and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Martinez might just be at the lower end of those who could provide support on those long uphills. Compared to most other contenders presented so far, we have to speak of a rather weak team - how can the Colombian handle this?


We then get to a great hybrid racer in pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/map.png Rasmus Guldhammer. While the Dane matches pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Uran's climbing skills, he's among the very best puncheurs among the GC contenders. However, in terms of time trialing he's just second tier - along with the likes of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Denifl - so he'll have to make very good use of the hilly finishes in order to get a great final GC result! Having the best acceleration and the fastest sprint among these contenders will surely help, will it?

However, while we were talking of a rather weak support cast for pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Uran, we'll have to say there's none at all for the Dane. None of his teammates - and there are only 5 of them - is even a decent climber, so that might be a big, big disadvantage on those long climbs compared to his main competitors!


pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bgc.png Sergio Luis Henao Montoya is yet another climber in the 81 category, but he's weaker than pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/map.png Guldhammer on the hills and slower than pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Uran in time trials - hence presented after these two. His plus might be the combination of good resistance and acceleration, which could help him to keep up on those not too difficult hilly finishes.

With pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bgc.png Bartl and future super-climber pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bgc.png Aular, he can count on two solid domestiques in the mountains, while pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bgc.png Minguez Ayala could pull him up the shorter climbs. This squad is definitely nothing to scoff at, but we've already seen better as well. Let's see if it's enough to cover their leader's weaknesses.


While pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Hugh Carthy is a decent puncheur, he's the weakest time trialist presented so far, hence presented last in this group of climbers. However, we all know the season pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Farfetch have had so far - never ever underestimate any of their riders! Although it seems clear that he's yet another rider who has to make very good use of the hillier stages in order to get a great final result.

And at least on paper, his support team doesn't look very supportive, to be honest. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Figueiredo sure is a decent climber, but no more. And then, there's not much more, neither for the mountains nor for the hills. But well, it's pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Farfetch 2020...


Let's again go down in terms of pure climbing skills, as we arrive at level 80. We won't present pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Intxausti in detail, as he's mainly here to help pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Denifl - although with his good handling of the TT bike, he might be in for a Top 10 result as a team leader...


So let's directly move on to pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Dominik Nerz, who - we already said it - finished inside these Top 10 last year, taking 7th place. While we already know everything about his climbing skills, in terms of time trialing we could call him pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Denifl-level as well. He is however somewhat weaker on the hills - and his resistance is only slightly higher than the Austrian's. But he's scored some good result already this year, so why not here? Maybe the German speaking spectators can motivate him further?

We know it - pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Kraftwerk don't have many stars, but a lot of depth. And so, every single of their riders has at least one of mountain or hill skills of at least 75 - pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png De la Cruz as his main domestique has both. And all of them have both mountain and hill stats above 70 - that's some true depth! pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Maillet, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Geniez and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Tatarinov can climb well, too, while pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Denz, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Moazemi and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Scheit will rather help him on the hills - or go for line honors on their own. The team's the star, they say - for pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Kraftwerk this really seems appropriate.


pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Daniel Martin cracked the Top 10 as well, taking 6th place last year. Compared to pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Denz, he's stronger on the hills - matching pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Denifl - but a bit weaker in TTs - matching pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Denifl as well. However, he's got much better resistance than the Austrian, and a really good acceleration as well. Whereas it might be hard to get a better result than 6th after his second decline, he could still have another Top 10 result in him - but the competition will be stiff!

Therefore, he'll be glad to count on the help of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Borisavljevic in the mountains. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Mat Senan and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Fernandez should be able to support him as well, with the latter being his strongest helper on the hills. And bar time trialist pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Robert, all team members also have mountain and hill stats above 70, which sounds promising for a good team performance.


Are you still with us? Two riders to go! pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vvg.png Pierre Paolo Penasa comes first. He's one point lower than pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Martin both in hills and time trials, but his rather low resistance could be what keeps him from scoring a really great result. On the other hand, he matches pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/map.png Guldhammer's great acceleration, meaning that if he's in the fight for a stage win on the uphills, watch out for him! And we all know that bonus seconds can have a big impact in the end - can he get some?

At least, the vikings should provide him some good support in the mountains, with pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vvg.png Gebremedhin, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vvg.png Hasta and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vvg.png Lehtinen. The support cast is about as good as pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Pluchkin's - but the leader might not be... But well, maybe they've found the right genetic sequences by know, to make him match the Moldovan superhuman?


Superhuman is definitely not what describes pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Georg Preidler's time trialing skills. Without that final day, he might be the locals' second hope for a great result, but we all know he won't finish on the very top of the rankings. Although the time trial isn't very long, he will still lose a big bunch of time. However, being the strongest puncheur among the top GC contenders, he might at least go for a stage win. And who knows, maybe the home crowd can give him enough energy to still somehow get a Top 10 finish?

But actually, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Konig - even though being "only" the backup leader - has already beaten his leader in some races this year. Will he at least support pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Preidler in his home race? He's the only rider on their lineup who could do so, with pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Robov being a good domestique for the hills.

After that much text, let's actually take a look at some numbers:
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Pluchkin8478747773
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Denifl8371756963
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Cattaneo8279708070
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Eastman8277717569
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Wellens8272758068
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Uran8177738070
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/map.png Guldhammer8171777576
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bgc.png Henao Montoya8170707872
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Carthy8167757669
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Intxausti8075697567
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Nerz8073727268
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Martin8071757573
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vvg.png Penasa8070747276
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Preidler8058787769
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/des.png Abal7975687470
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pol.png Latour7970757874
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Pomoshnikov7964747666
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gcn.png Pantano Gomez7954717468
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png De la Cruz7874757673
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Konig7873747465
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/nca.png Diaz7872707368
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Suaza7871637376
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Stancu7866697471
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/des.png Nazaret7863697569
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rpn.png Roson7861767074

Now, let's move on to the stage win contenders. The ones for the mountains are listed above, so let's directly take a look at the best puncheurs having made their way to Austria:
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Preidler78776980
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Moazemi78727373
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Areruya77777477
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/map.png Guldhammer77757681
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Poljanski77707177
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Squire77707177
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Laas76737674
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Robov76737172
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Tanovitchii76727168
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pol.png Rodriguez Galindo76726774
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Carpenter76717276
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Scheit76717172
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rpn.png Roson76707478
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png Denz76707374
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rpn.png Rodriguez76707170

To the locals' great delight, this list sees their hero pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Preidler on top - meaning that none of the division's true top puncheurs are present this week. Well, it's pretty understandable, with one hilltop finish after a huge mountain, and another one on top of a rather lengthy ascent where the mountain skills might come into play, too.

But at least, this list shows us that some really strong hybrids (in addition to those presented as GC contenders) are participating in this race as well: pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Areruya, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Poljanski, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Squire, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Carpenter and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rpn.png Roson - with the likes of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pol.png Latour or pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kmm.png De la Cruz just missing out on this list.

However, without a clear top puncheur, stages 4 and 5 could be wide open - maybe even to breakaways?

Let's then have a look at the presumed top contenders on stages 3 and 6 - the sprinters:
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Maksimov8184697253
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/map.png Zabel8179707460
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png Ciolek8176667350
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bgc.png Kupfernagel8080667453
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png Havik7976687356
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Vaquera7880657155
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Hodeg7776727053
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/map.png Favilli7674677163
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pol.png Garcia Cortina7574727464

Just like for the puncheurs, we can't really speak of a strong sprinter field, either. Which isn't a huge surprise, with Olympia's Tour clashing, actually.

Nonetheless, for riders stand out: pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Maksimov and the three Germans pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/map.png Zabel, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png Ciolek and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bgc.png Kupfernagel, who almost have a home race here. Let's see if the others on the list will have a chance, too - with such a small sprinter field, it seems however not completely unlikely that even the breakaway could take the win on those stages.

If we included the mountain stat on this list, this isn't by accident. It just shows that it won't necessarily be a given that all of them actually survive the mountain stages! Whereas they should be fine on the first two stages - given that the tough mountains only come at the end - stage 4 with the early HC climb might be what they fear most. Let's see...

What we see as well is that pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/map.png Zabel with pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/map.png Favilli and especially pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png Ciolek with pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png Havik actually bring really strong leadout riders - will that make a difference?

Now let's look at those who will have to wait longest for their sole chance for a stage win - the time trialists:
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Cattaneo7980708082
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Goldstein7972747255
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Robert7970676857
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Pluchkin7877737784
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Golovash7869726660
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Uran7780717581
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Dees7776717275
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/des.png Verona7775716754
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Eastman7775707682
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vvg.png Pokälä7773707364
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Hussein7769687168
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Nechita7671747163
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png De Bod7576727069
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Intxausti7575687280
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Jallays7574757361
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Ahmad Zamri7574707575
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/des.png Abal7574667179

Given that most pure time trialists don't like the mountains at all, it doesn't come as a surprise that none of the top specialists are present here. So the top favorites for the closing stage must be pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mol.png Cattaneo, as he'll surely use less energy on the previous stages than pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fcj.png Goldstein or pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Robert - but watch out for pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Pluchkin, who won this time trial last year! With pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/min.png Uran and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/azt.png Eastman in the Top 10 on this list as well, this could really be one for the GC contenders!

And last but not least, let's mention the rising stars - the U25 contenders:
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png Min7766747664
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bgc.png Aular7766697268
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Areruya7765777774
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Schleck7753737173
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vvg.png Dulanjana7474727161
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Habtemichael7470717065
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bgc.png Almeida7467677470
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gcn.png Williams7466707470

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Areruya should probably be the favorite here, being the strongest hybrid rider and about as strong as pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png Min and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bgc.png Aular in time trials - but most importantly, being the uncontested leader of his team. Sure, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/xr0.png Schleck matches his skills on the long uphills - but he's the single worst time trialist of the whole peloton.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png Min might lead his team as well, in which case he could even have a shot at the win as well, but at least at the podium. Or will someone take the white jersey from a strong breakaway ride? We'll see.

And that's pretty much all you have to know pre-race. Except for the startlist, of course, which comes here!

We do have four Austrians competing in this race, whereof two are among the strongest climbers - pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/zal.png Denifl and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/anh.png Preidler. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Salzmann and neo-pro pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gcn.png Gall are here to get some experience and to support their leaders.

I actually tried to make shorter reports this time - but failed. So all stages but the two flat ones will have two-part reports once again... Sorry guys!
Romandie's performance was definately encouraging for Preidler. If he has enough buffer come the final TT, he may make it, but I'm not so sure. Though I'd fancy a stage win or two from him.

Konig didn't had his best days in Ukraine, but he serves as the "insurance policy" for the team in this race like in California.

Thill and Robov could be contenders for the KoM jersey as seen from their performances in the last few races. But they'll go against stiff competition from other KoM contenders like Ivanov and Le Court
Good news - we brought da big guns
Bad news - scrolling for 30 seconds only to find out Denifl lost 5 minutes on favorites
Manager of the greatest team in the world
DK Žalgiris
I'm not racing here, but wow, what an amazing preview, thank you Fabianski! Smile
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Fabianski, you really need to learn what to include in a report and what not Pfft

Seriously though, great preview. Hopefully Uran can find his way to the podium again but that's not a given anymore.
Manager of Minions
Yeah, the preview would be the only thing worth missing here, that startlist is too packed.
Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
There's a non-zero chance that Steimle might actually sprint for Podium Ambition on the two flat stages with that startlist.
That alone would get me interested in this race, but then there's this preview to top it off!
You've jinxed us now Fabianski, finally our luck will run out after you pointed it out in the preview Pfft

A top 10 is the aim for Carthy here, but we need selective mountain and hill stages to achieve that realistically. Our depth is maligned with good reason - although why waste money on domestiques for a guy who isn't ever a top 5 climber in any race he enters Pfft - but Figueiredo normally excels in these kind of races as a Zubeldia type riding to a top 20. I'm also not sure why we didn't send a sprinter here, but hopefully it means we try and go in the break for once.
Can only hope for breakaways in this race, as lately in every HC stage race Pfft

This time i'm really happy to not have sent Kudus here. Seeing sprinting level, maybe Barbero can get involved in the sprints somehow
Manager of [MG] Repsol - Netflix

Looking forward to it. Wellens is yet to disappoint, but with this sort of a field, it will be a tough race

Also, insane preview

I have to say I'm glad to not see ourselves embroiled in this clusterfest of top GC contenders. So much quality.

Going to be tough for us to find our footing here. Sprints and U25 are our goals , but even there our chances look flimsy so any points are good points for us really.

Thanks for another amazing preview and another race Fab!
Manager of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png Duolingo pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png
Another year in PCT, another entry into Osterreich, another line-up with no Bennett. Hope JA can fill his shoes decently enough and win that U25 jersey.
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
4/10/20 - jph27 said "Just need to make sure I don't accidentally promote again."
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”

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Very kind words about team Kraftwerk Smile. Thanks for the great preview Fab.

With this stacked field I will be delighted if Nerz can repeat a top 10. A good result in Teams would be welcome.
Manager of Suntory [ICL]
Manager of Kraftwerk Man Machine [Man Game]
Thanks for a great preview, I don't expect us to do a whole lot here despite it being a top 5 goal for us!
Well Pluch being Pluch andgetting the win as expected. Behemoth of a report, thanks Fab.

Areruya too strong for Min today. Let's hope for a better day tomorrow.
Manager of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png Duolingo pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/duo.png
Good to great start for us, Denifl losing by inches sucks but it's an encouraging sign. Need to get the rest of the guys up to top 50, as we wanna score a ton of points here as it's one of last few Denifl RDs.

Gotta hope Stage 2 goes same way, just a few inches better and we're golden
Manager of the greatest team in the world
DK Žalgiris
Wake me up when this week is over
Manager of Minions
Damn, that 3rd place was important. Bit sloppy by Wellens', but happy he's up there at least

A very comprehensive report Smile

Kraftwerk involved in controlling the race, always a good sign. Nerz got great support, shame he just lost the wheel in the last km but he is fighting for a top 10. 5th in Teams is encouraging.
Manager of Suntory [ICL]
Manager of Kraftwerk Man Machine [Man Game]
Where has my team's pace gone
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