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USA Pro Cycling Challenge Discussion
USA Pro Cycling Challenge


Welcome to the 7th edition of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The race that wanted to have the longest name in the game, but the MGUCI said they must shorten "United States of America" to "USA" and that's how the race came to be. Slight joke there, but this used to be more of a climbers race with as many as 8 stages. In recent years though, it has been rebranded as a sprinters race across 4 days. Stage 1 has a length that can rival the monuments with 237 km. Stamina should be important there. After that two more flat stages, before the epilogue. With the F1 bonus seconds system, the most consistent sprinter should win this race, but the final time-trial will shake things up. Those lacking there could lose a good GC placing on the final day.

With that said let's look at some of the favourites:

Tier I

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mck.png Keough736773797980

It's the home favourite from the home team pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mck.png Luke Keough. McCormick won this race last year with Holloway and they manage to come back with the #1 favourite again this year. Impressive, right? Keough is the best prologue rider in CT and he's a very good sprinter as well. If he can pick up consistent bonus seconds in the sprints, he should be able to overtake the others on the final day.

Tier II

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cen.png Scully746670798077
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cdb.png Kragh Andersen777074817775
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnz.png Wippert707570788274

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cen.png Scully is probably Keough's main competitor. The Kiwi is in great form lately and has shown strong performances in sprints and short TTs.
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cdb.png Kragh Andersen is also very good on the TT bike, if he can sprint well, he should be up there. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnz.png Wippert is one of the very best pure sprinters here, but the man is also very good in prologues. Can he take the long stage 1 with his great stamina and kick, and carry that momentum further?

Tier III

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/nel.png Carsi706669808271
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gct.png Te Brake757472797675
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gct.png Kip686561798074
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Lutsyshyn706973798070

Tier III is a notch below, but shouldn't be underestimated. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/nel.png Carsi is probably the fastest sprinter here and he could limit his losses on the final day. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gct.png Te Brake and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gct.png Kip are both here for Gjensidige. An interesting choice, but will it pay off? pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Lutsyshyn is just solid in all aspects, he might be a long shot to win it all, but he could be well up there.

Tier IV

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnz.png Altanzul726873787575
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tst.png Modolo737370777969
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.png Selig717368798165
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Tewelde747572787767
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ssr.png Pelucchi747470797765
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/esc.png Berger737268777767
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/sva.png Colbrelli747472797566

We actually have a Tier IV here. These riders all have some flaws and will need to do very well to challenge, but you never know. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnz.png Altanzul might be the primary leadout for Wippert, but with his TT ability, all he needs is to sneak some bonuses here and there and he could be high up overall. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tst.png Modolo is a durable, strong guy, but he will need to be at his best in the sprints. His prologue isn't shabby though. All the other riders here aren't great against the clock, so it will be about their stage results. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.png Selig is one of the better sprinters here. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/adp.png Tewelde has shown he can be consistent at this level, from his performance in Amissa Bongo earlier.  pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ssr.png Pelucchi, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/esc.png Berger and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/sva.png Colbrelli are all decent sprinters in their own right also.

Prologue specialists

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mck.png Keough737980
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.png Hamza736879
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Li687578
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.png Gretsch706878
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.png Dumoulin766778
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gla.png Ford596878
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/lph.png Sterbini736778
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cen.png Scully708077
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Pszczolarski727277
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.png Kiflay706977
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Ghyselinck776877

The epilogue is a full 5 km long, so hopefully this gives the specialists enough time to show their skill. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mck.png Keough as mentioned is the best here, but pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.png Hamza hasn't hit those heights so far, maybe here? pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Li and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.png Gretsch have also done good at times. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.png Dumoulin has had a bad season so far, he will want to remedy that here. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gla.png Ford and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/lph.png Sterbini will also look to improve on their previous results. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cen.png Scully is another interesting name here. He is the other GC contender here and will want to match Keough's time as much as possible.

Full startlist:

TeweldeJaniAramco DP
FonsecaArmindoAramco DP
BatmunkhMaral-ErdeneAramco DP
AlloncaDanielAramco DP
Abdul HalilMohamad Izzat HilmiAramco DP
RichardsonAlexanderAramco DP
Al MurawwiMohammedAramco DP
VaqueraCesarAzteca - NBCSN
GarciaJhojanAzteca - NBCSN
FlorezMiguelAzteca - NBCSN
AcostaRubenAzteca - NBCSN
CepedaJefferson AlexanderAzteca - NBCSN
RiveraKevinAzteca - NBCSN
AlbaJuan DiegoAzteca - NBCSN
GarrisonIanAzteca - NBCSN
WippertWouterBNZ Cycling Team
AltanzulMaaniBNZ Cycling Team
WeberSaschaBNZ Cycling Team
KelemenPavelBNZ Cycling Team
BaterdeneNarankhuuBNZ Cycling Team
MudgwayLukeBNZ Cycling Team
ErdenebatBilguunjargalBNZ Cycling Team
ScottCameronBNZ Cycling Team
SeligRĂĽdigerBralirwa - Stevens Bikes
HabtomMikielBralirwa - Stevens Bikes
HadiJanvierBralirwa - Stevens Bikes
NiyonshutiAdrienBralirwa - Stevens Bikes
ChokriEl MehdiBralirwa - Stevens Bikes
El SabbahiHoucaineBralirwa - Stevens Bikes
RutschJonasBralirwa - Stevens Bikes
MugishaSamuelBralirwa - Stevens Bikes
Kragh AndersenAsbjornCarlsberg - Danske Bank
BertilssonChristianCarlsberg - Danske Bank
EislersSandisCarlsberg - Danske Bank
De VreeseLaurensCarlsberg - Danske Bank
QuaadeRasmusCarlsberg - Danske Bank
BelevicsArtursCarlsberg - Danske Bank
LavoineAnthonyCarrefour - ESPN
NolfFrederikCarrefour - ESPN
DakterisJanisCarrefour - ESPN
LiWen HaoCarrefour - ESPN
GhyselinckJanCarrefour - ESPN
RowsellErickCarrefour - ESPN
YoungDarrenCarrefour - ESPN
ScullyTomCentovalli - Fiat
Merino CriadoPedroCentovalli - Fiat
StockerManuelCentovalli - Fiat
BrĂĽnggerNicoCentovalli - Fiat
MundleBenediktCentovalli - Fiat
WalscheidMaximilianCentovalli - Fiat
BisseggerStefanCentovalli - Fiat
MeyerTravisEddie Stobart
BogdanovicsMarisEddie Stobart
CimolaiDavideEddie Stobart
BergerHakon FrengstadEddie Stobart
AgostiniStefanoEddie Stobart
AnderssonEmilEddie Stobart
DahlbergLinusEddie Stobart
ThorsenDanielEddie Stobart
Te BrakeRemcoGjensidige Pro Cycling Team
KipIsmaelGjensidige Pro Cycling Team
KatrasnikGasperGjensidige Pro Cycling Team
RattoDanieleGjensidige Pro Cycling Team
KangangiSuleimanGjensidige Pro Cycling Team
SiddikovDilmurdjonGjensidige Pro Cycling Team
HulgaardMortenGjensidige Pro Cycling Team
KnottenIver JohanGjensidige Pro Cycling Team
BennettSamGlanbia Foods Cycling Project
FordMichaelGlanbia Foods Cycling Project
Van der PloegPaulGlanbia Foods Cycling Project
RichardsonIanGlanbia Foods Cycling Project
Petrie-ArmstrongAdamGlanbia Foods Cycling Project
HahessySeanGlanbia Foods Cycling Project
CotePier-AndreGlanbia Foods Cycling Project
DowneyMarkGlanbia Foods Cycling Project
BaugniesJeromeLos Pollos Hermanos
SebokaMatalaLos Pollos Hermanos
GuillenMarcoLos Pollos Hermanos
SterbiniLucaLos Pollos Hermanos
BruFulgencioLos Pollos Hermanos
QuispeAlainLos Pollos Hermanos
HayterEthanLos Pollos Hermanos
RuizRobinson StevenLos Pollos Hermanos
KeoughLukeMcCormick Pro Cycling
FrankovicMateoMcCormick Pro Cycling
RatheJakobMcCormick Pro Cycling
GraniganNoahMcCormick Pro Cycling
McNultyBrandonMcCormick Pro Cycling
GunnlaugssonKristoferMcCormick Pro Cycling
MostovZekeMcCormick Pro Cycling
WirtgenLucMcCormick Pro Cycling
CarsiMustafaNordica - Enel
PronskiyVadimNordica - Enel
BattistellaSamueleNordica - Enel
VenchiaruttiNicolaNordica - Enel
AgrotisAlexandrosNordica - Enel
RumsasRaimondasNordica - Enel
Van der SandenGeertPhilips
Cepeda HernandezJeffersonPhilips
HaddiSoufianeProject: Africa
KiflayMetkelProject: Africa
LaizerRichard LaningoProject: Africa
HamzaFaycalProject: Africa
GretschPatrickProject: Africa
Van HeerdenEddieProject: Africa
TesfomSirakProject: Africa
MuhindoJimmyProject: Africa
PelucchiMatteoSotto il sole di riccione
CanolaMarcoSotto il sole di riccione
PasqualonAndreaSotto il sole di riccione
ConsonniSimoneSotto il sole di riccione
MaccagliAndrea EnricoSotto il sole di Riccione
VeberMaticSotto il sole di riccione
LonardiGiovanniSotto il sole di Riccione
JermanZigaSotto il Sole di Riccione
LutsyshynRomanTeam Popo4Ever p/b Nemiroff
De BondtDriesTeam Popo4Ever p/b Nemiroff
RiabushenkoAliaksandrTeam Popo4Ever p/b Nemiroff
KochetkovMikhailTeam Popo4Ever p/b Nemiroff
PszczolarskiWojciechTeam Popo4Ever p/b Nemiroff
GladyshRomanTeam Popo4Ever p/b Nemiroff
DimaEmilTeam Popo4Ever p/b Nemiroff
AniolkowskiStanislawTeam Popo4Ever p/b Nemiroff
BarbinEnricoTrans cycling team
ModoloSaschaTrans cycling team
IgnatievMikhailTrans cycling team
SteensenAndreTrans cycling team
PrimozicJakaTrans cycling team
KnoxJamesTrans cycling team
GanjkhanlouMohammadTrans cycling team
MunozCristianTrans Cycling Team
Thanks for that. If I remember right Bennett was winning or un serious contention here last year until the final TT.

Not even Tier 4 now shows how far back he's fallen (he's actually got some training!)

Hope he can spring a surprise and Ford can make an impact on the Time trial
Glanbia Foods Cycling Project

He probably won't win the epilogue, but on a good day Sterbini might get into the top-5 of the stage and even GC. Guillén can meanwhile try to meddle in the sprints and score some points there, but to win a stage he'll have to be feeling really good. Thank you for the preview, red!
This race is clearly Scully's main goal of the season, being the only race all year long where I really expect him to do something GC-wise. He gets pretty much the best possible support for the sprints (borrowing Stocker from Reinhardt's standard train), and Keough should be the only sprinter being faster than him in the epilogue.
However, it all depends on whether he decides to participate in the sprints or not. If he does, a GC Top 3 would be the goal. If he doesn't, well, we can always blame PCM ^^

Keough rightfully is the top favorite here, he should make it back-to-back wins for McCormick - but watch out for a possible yellow jersey curse issue... If AKA finally lives up to his status as the division's best sprinter, he should however build up enough of an advantage on the first three stages to win the GC. Let's hope the sprints won't be too random for once...
Thanks for the preview, redordead, and good luck to all!
We probably made a mistake not bringing Boev here with his better prologue skills. Not much hopes from VdS given how he's done so far. Dumoulin hasn't been in form either. So not a lot of hopes from this race. Anything we get is a bonus at the moment.

Thanks for the preview redordead Smile
AKA is who he is. I reckon we'll pace all day and won't go in the break, but he also won't sprint and we'll end up coming out of here with nothing.

Best case scenario, he gets a bonus in 1/3 sprint stages by random chance, and with a decent epilogue he manages to sneak into the GC top 10.

I'd be happy for PCM to prove me wrong, but after watching quite a lot of racing this year, I have a feeling it's not too eager to do that.

Thanks for the preview
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Ulrich Ulriksen
Once again a win goal for us as the sponsor will be at the start line. Last year Holloway managed to lose 32 seconds on one stage and still dominate enough in the rest to pull it off. He also did it with only an average prologue value, more on that later.

Keough was the perfect signing for us because his prologue skill suits him for this race but while being the only Tier 1 favorite is nice I am not at all confident. An awful lot has to go right for him to win.

1. The epilogue - while it is longer, I think there is still considerable room for variance, he and Scully are 1-1 in these this year and I am not confident that Keough's 3 point advantage gives him more than a 60 - 40 edge. In the short ones he was losing to guys with 75ish stats - so don't think you can rule that out either.

2. Even if he wins the time gaps are likely to be small. And while there is a yellow jersey curse in sprints I think there is an edge in the TT, so if a solid TT'er has the lead going in to the last stage I bet he holds it (see Holloway in Qatar this year)

3. So that means for any confidence Keough needs to be first or behind only weak TT riders in the finale (And most of the sprinters here are at least solid in the TT). Just don't feel great about that - looking at this field I feel like he should be competitive and his solid secondaries mean he should be consistent. But I think the field depth is similar to Langkawi and he didn't even sprint there. (except ironically when he had Yellow, where he at least got to sprint late as the race leader).

All that leads me to ask do you get partial credit on mangame goals?
Man Game: McCormick Pro Cycling
Kind of hope AKA can do something for bbl's sanity :lol: Not much to expect on our side - hopefully some breakaways. The prologue is our only shot - Hamza hasn't performed at all and this is his last shot at redemption.
Manager of
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.png Project: Africa pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.png
Ahh, when Baugnies was in that first break I already saw him in the polka-dots, too bad it didn't go through. Guillén had a decent sprint, and thanks to an intermediate sprint earlier on the day he's also third in the battle for green. Can't expect him to win, but any extra MGUCI point we can get will be welcome Smile Both Keough and Scully not scoring could be good news for the tt'ists here hoping for a good GC. I just hope the game doesn't treat them as some kind of GC favourites because of their prologue stat, and that's why they don't sprint (at maximum capacity).

Thanks for the nice report again, red!
62nd? Any logical reason Bennett is doing so badly this year compared to last?

Is there just an inflation in rider stats?
Glanbia Foods Cycling Project

Yup, that's about right. He's right there at 3 km to go with a teammate, and then despite having the highest flat around, he sits up instead of following the trains. There's just nothing I can do when the game is this stupid.
RIP Exxon Duke, David Veilleux, Double Feature, and Monster Energy
Sigh... Scully was even ahead of AKA at the 3km mark, but then did even less. Nemo's suggestion could actually be right, i.e. that the supposed race favorites do nothing. So it was actually better to bring a sprinter with lower PRL stats, at least that's what it looks like after day 1...

Funny to see Guillén taking 4th, while last year - with higher stats - he never got higher than 8th... PCM ever was, is, and always will be a mystery, especially in such races...

Well, there's still some hope for the rest of the race, but right now it doesn't look good at all. Commiserations to McCormick and (once again) Carlsberg.
Ulrich Ulriksen
A lot of similar sprinters here so I am going to console myself with the fact that it may be different sprinters on different days and reserve my angst for now.

But the point raised that the because of the epilogue high PRL riders are "favorites" and therefore won't sprint is a scary one - Scully and Keough finishing 15th and 16th is very consistent with the kind of position you would expect from "GC" riders.
Man Game: McCormick Pro Cycling
Not a bad start, 2 in the top 10. The whole team looked unorganised during that sprint stage at the end. Pitty considering Wippert has probably the best stamina. Oh well, stage 2 to come.

Thanks for the report!
MacC wrote:
62nd? Any logical reason Bennett is doing so badly this year compared to last?

Is there just an inflation in rider stats?

What a difference a day makes, just 24 little hours.

Happy to see a leadout and all. Bennett will need more bonuses tomorrow to have any chance of holding a top 10
Glanbia Foods Cycling Project

Damn Guillén, another fourth place, some nice stuff! Ruiz trying to be in the break two days in a row and failing as many times is a pity, but I'm sure next year he'll be more successful with 73 flat Smile

Interesting to see the sprinters with a strong prologue still not scoring too many seconds. This could mean Sterbini actually being a bit higher in the GC than I could have expected (if he has a good day, that is). Guillén might be 30 seconds ahead of the "peloton" right now, but with a 55 prologue stat I'm not having any illusions of him in the top 25 of the GC at the end Pfft

Thanks for the report, red!
Van der Sanden not even being treated as a sprinter in this race! Guess this is 4 wasted RDs that could've gone elsewhere. Cepeda Hernandez getting us some points at least.
Doesn't matter if he tries or doesn't try, AKA ends up in the same place. :lol:

It's weird how whenever he doesn't sprint, nobody catches the first sprinters and they ride away in a small group. When he does sprint (or Appo last year), everybody stays with him and he cracks early enough to be overtaken. The gap to some of those who passed him looked quite big with under 1 km to go, and many of them had to be in the wind too to bridge up given the gaps. How come when it's the other way around, AKA can't come close to catching them despite a higher top speed and more resistance? Between two guys in the wind over a long distance, acceleration shouldn't be the decider, right?

I'm glad I expect nothing anymore. The report almost managed to get me hyped up that he would place, but luckily I'm smarter than that at this point. I knew he'd crack, though going from 1st->9th within the final couple hundred meters is pretty hilariously bad.

All I can say is thank you Larry Warbasse for not spending too much time around Asbjorn Kragh Andersen!
RIP Exxon Duke, David Veilleux, Double Feature, and Monster Energy
So, it's actually better to have no top-level GC contender in those races... Good to know. But bad news, obviously. Scully really hang around where you'd expect a GC contender to be; by chance he even got one tiny stage point from this. Which is more than AKA and Keough combined - which obviously is completely ridiculous. This race was one of the main focus races when I signed Scully - I honestly didn't expect PCM to be so dumb and not let him sprint due to being a GC favorite.
And it's even much worse for McCormick; they were clearly better off with Holloway not being among PCMs GC favourites last year than they now are with Keough. So it's basically a bad idea to bring a good sprinter with very good PRL to this race - which is absolutely stupid behaviour by PCM. And if anyone needed a confirmation of the yellow jersey curse - here you are...

Really crazy to see Guillén do that well again while he did absolutely nothing last year with higher stats. That's something I REALLY don't understand. Well, probably I should just be glad I was generally lucky with sprints this year, and never focus on that discipline again.
Fabianski wrote:

Really crazy to see Guillén do that well again while he did absolutely nothing last year with higher stats. That's something I REALLY don't understand. Well, probably I should just be glad I was generally lucky with sprints this year, and never focus on that discipline again.

Yeah, not to go too deeply into offseason plans and stuff in a race thread, but I do think the obvious plan from here on out in terms of cost/benefit is to just have one or two cheap secondary sprinters to throw in races and see if you get lucky, but focus on other disciplines.
RIP Exxon Duke, David Veilleux, Double Feature, and Monster Energy
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