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Classique du Grand-Duché Discussion

It's that time of year again in the MG ProTour - the Triple Clash. Just as managers organize their riders between Paris-Nice and Tirreno, a lone classic throws itself into the mix at the exact same time. This offers a unique chance for strategy and can lead to some big risks and payoffs in terms of points and competition. It also means that PT teams are stretched thinner than ever.

For those that are making the trip to Luxembourg, it is a standard affair. A mellow first half followed by a grueling second half. The climbs are short, but not Ardennes length. Longer, with more room for pure attrition to take over. Add in the fact that it's 227 km of racing, and that teams don't have as much terrain depth due to the clash, and there's potential for some carnage. It is uphill to the line as well, so sprinting ability shouldn't be a large factor.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/evo.png Lopez7984767478
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/iso.png Lutsenko7383767381
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/mos.png Sagan7483787476
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/kng.png Mohoric7183787277
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/zpc.png Yates7081777080
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/fes.png Koretzky7181777079
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/map.png Buchmann7681737473
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/isa.png Vakoc7181757174
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/gzl.png Formolo7980767671
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/duo.png Borges7080757381

The clear favorite here is pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/evo.png Miguel Angel Lopez. He's the best here, period. Best puncheur, best climber. Last year he went into the final stretch after attacking with a small group, and easily powered away to the victory. Now he's even stronger. He also has some significant help in pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/evo.png Blums and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/evo.png Budenieks. Clearly he is the man to beat.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/iso.png Lutsenko will be hoping to take it for himself. Last year's runner up will have a chip on his soldier, now with a new team. That team isn't backing him super well, unsurprisingly with the clash. But Lutsenko has the skills and especially the acceleration to finish first here.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/mos.png Peter Sagan won here in both 2017 and 2019, which already makes him the winningest rider of this race. But 3 wins would look even better, and there's no doubt he wants to get that win now as he enters his 30's. He's in a similar situation to the Kazakh rider, though he has a bit bigger of an engine and is a little less spry out of the saddle.

Last of the elite tier puncheurs is probably pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/kng.png Mohoric of King Power. Can he prove his superiority and prove his current team was right to favor him over Lutsenko in transfers? Perhaps. If climbers push the pace early, that is when he and his team will likely struggle. If the puncheurs duel towards the end, he has as good a shot as anyone.

The uphill finish is not quite to pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/zpc.png Yates liking. On paper, he edges out other puncheurs from small groups in flat sprints. Here, that's not really an option. But he's also continued to train his uphill abilities, and he's been known to win from solo moves even when he doesn't need to - so he's in the hunt.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/fes.png Koretzky was 5th last year and could definitely improve on that this year. However, he doesn't have much that sets him apart. He's a pure puncheur with a lack of team support, which is not unusual here, but he's a step behind the top guys. He'll be hoping for good legs.

Mapei are fully behind pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/map.png Emmanuel Buchmann. He's not the fastest or more resilient puncheur out there. But, like Lopez, he's a better climber than most of his competitors, and that could make the difference here. He was 7th last year, but that's a little misleading, as he didn't make the final split and finished almost 2 minutes down. He'll be on high alert this time, and maybe try to pace his way up the longer climbs.

Two other top puncheurs are in similar situations. Both pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/isa.png Vakoc and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/duo.png Borges can perform on their own merits, but they're not alone here, instead being paired with climbers. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/isa.png Pinot for ISA, and both pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/duo.png Gesink and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/duo.png Mino for Duolingo. In the latter'scase, their status as a PCT wildcard team has allowed them to avoid the triple clash issue, and they have all their best suited riders here with a lot of cards to play. It should be especially interesting to see how they utilize their resources without anything at stake.

Finally, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/gzl.png Davide Formolo is kind of a secret weapon here. 4th last year, he's shown he has the strength to do well, and he's only improved. His combination of mountain and hills strength is matched only by Lopez, and Gazelle have provided him pretty solid depth all things considered. Just a matter of being able to match the attacks, as he lacks that sudden burst.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/fpc.png Meintjes8078777669
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/mol.png Preidler8078717769
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/isa.png Pinot8074767969
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/duo.png Gesink7977727462
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/duo.png Min7976757766
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/eav.png Kirsch7974757367
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/evo.png Blums7777717370
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/map.png Buchmann7681737473
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/aeg.png Schlegel7677717475
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/hsk.png Benoot7579757471

We've already mentioned a bunch of riders here. There are some new true leaders here too though. A few guys who decided to pass on both Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico in order to presumably gain race days elsewhere in the season. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/fpc.png Meintjes is the headliner. He's not an Ardennes rider but is no slouch on hills and has an incredible engine that may outlast a lost of puncheurs. He lacks the kick to finish it off though. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/mol.png Preidler is like him in a lot of ways, but won't like the length of the race too much.

Hometown kid pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/eav.png Kirsch will be hoping for a steady race. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/aeg.png Schlegel gets a rare leadership role. And pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/hsk.png Benoot is as versatile as ever, though he might not have the skillset for success here.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/mol.png Waeytens7180727073
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/eav.png Gastauer6980756773
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/fpc.png Turgis6779767877
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/eav.png Ulissi6579827074
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/tti.png Trakhov6979787475
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/tti.png Chernetskiy7179806971
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/hsk.png Gerts6678768070
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/xr0.png Meurisse7477747478

Old man pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/eav.png Gastauer gets his last shot here in his home race. 2nd in 2017 and 3rd in 2015, but a lot more disappointing finishes over the years. Last chance for him. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/mol.png Waeytens has Priedler to take the pressure off. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/tti.png Tinkoff with two options, and special mention to pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2021/Micros/xr0.png Meurisse who is always a candidate to overperform.

de KleijnArvidAegon - Peroni
DenzNicoAegon - Peroni
EeckhoutKevinAegon - Peroni
SchlegelMichalAegon - Peroni
van der HoornTacoAegon - Peroni
Van HooydonckNathanAegon - Peroni
ChristensenRyanAmaysim Cervélo
CuleyMarcusAmaysim Cervélo
HamiltonChrisAmaysim Cervélo
HindleyJaiAmaysim Cervélo
NaudPatrickAmaysim Cervélo
SummerhillDannyAmaysim Cervélo
ArdilaAndres CamiloCedevita
Cepeda HernandezJeffersonCedevita
LopezJuan PedroCedevita
MinKyeng HoDuolingo
RachidElias AbouDuolingo
CabreraNicolas AlejandroEA Vesuvio
CentroneIvanEA Vesuvio
GastauerBenEA Vesuvio
JungelsBobEA Vesuvio
KirschAlexEA Vesuvio
MuntonByronEA Vesuvio
PokäläSamuelEA Vesuvio
UlissiDiegoEA Vesuvio
BecisArmandsEvonik - ELKO
BlumsMartinsEvonik - ELKO
BudenieksKristapsEvonik - ELKO
CrncevicAleksaEvonik - ELKO
LopezMiguel AngelEvonik - ELKO
PolancJanEvonik - ELKO
WilliamsStephenEvonik - ELKO
BoutopoulosGeorgiosFarfetch Pro Cycling
CrasSteffFarfetch Pro Cycling
MeintjesLouisFarfetch Pro Cycling
SalzmannJodokFarfetch Pro Cycling
SouliousZisisFarfetch Pro Cycling
TurgisAnthonyFarfetch Pro Cycling
AgrotisAlexandrosFestina - OAKA
KastrantasCharalampasFestina - OAKA
KoretzkyClementFestina - OAKA
KortsidakisMichailFestina - OAKA
MiltiadisAndreasFestina - OAKA
SpanopoulosIoannisFestina - OAKA
VilaAimilianoFestina - OAKA
De BuystJasperGenerali
GadayLucas ManuelGenerali
BenootTiesjHuski Chocolate
DimaEmilHuski Chocolate
GertsFlorisHuski Chocolate
GoldsteinOmerHuski Chocolate
LammertinkMauritsHuski Chocolate
Van der KooijBasHuski Chocolate
ArissolAhmadISA - Hexacta
BaskaErikISA - Hexacta
FrameAlexISA - Hexacta
PinotThibautISA - Hexacta
SanogoAbouISA - Hexacta
SantosEmersonISA - Hexacta
VakocPetrISA - Hexacta
VincentLeoISA - Hexacta
BesterShaun NickIsostar - Specialized
GregaardJonasIsostar - Specialized
HagenCarl FredrikIsostar - Specialized
LutsenkoAlexeyIsostar - Specialized
PedreroAntonioIsostar - Specialized
PerDavidIsostar - Specialized
DarbinyanVarshamKing Power
FerreiraRicardoKing Power
KasperkiewiczPrzemyslawKing Power
MarzukiNur AmirulKing Power
MohoricMatejKing Power
SirironnachaiSarawutKing Power
van den BergJuliusMapei
BorosMichaelMoser - Sygic
HosekJosefMoser - Sygic
PolnickyJiriMoser - Sygic
SaganPeterMoser - Sygic
SchönbergerSebastianMoser - Sygic
ToupalikAdamMoser - Sygic
AmanuelMeronTeam Puma - SAP
MeilerLukasTeam Puma - SAP
NiuYikuiTeam Puma - SAP
PolittNilsTeam Puma - SAP
StorkFlorianTeam Puma - SAP
SütterlinJashaTeam Puma - SAP
WeinsteinDomenicTeam Puma - SAP
ChernetskiySergeyTeam Tinkoff - La Datcha
FoliforovAlexanderTeam Tinkoff - La Datcha
KamyshevArmanTeam Tinkoff - La Datcha
O'BrienKellandTeam Tinkoff - La Datcha
RybalkinAlekseyTeam Tinkoff - La Datcha
SenechalFlorianTeam Tinkoff - La Datcha
SulimovAlexanderTeam Tinkoff - La Datcha
TrakhovDmitryTeam Tinkoff - La Datcha
BazhkouStanislauXero Racing
FoucheJamesXero Racing
MeurisseXandroXero Racing
MudgwayLukeXero Racing
van ZylJohannXero Racing
VermeerschFlorianXero Racing
JonesCarterZwift Pro Cycling
KurianovStepanZwift Pro Cycling
OleiFedericoZwift Pro Cycling
StrollLewisZwift Pro Cycling
WackermannLucaZwift Pro Cycling
YatesSimonZwift Pro Cycling
YechezkelAvivZwift Pro Cycling
A bit stronger startlist than I would have hoped. Interested to see what Serrano can do here. Just crossing fingers for good positioning through the day really, and then he should have a good kick if it's a a semi-big group coming together to the line.

Other than that, just getting all the guys through will be the goal.
Thanks for the great preview, bbl!
We went for our hi/mo support for Lutsenko with Per and Bester as energy beasts. Podium should be the goal, the revenge for last year the dream. Classics always are the best chance with our ACC advantage, though the race might be slightly too tough.
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Radsim'05: Quick-Step (since 2022) Astana (2018-2021)
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A lot of pressure on Lopez here as this has to be the starting point for Evonik to deliver. It's a strong startlist for a triple header classic but was to be expected with the route in P-N. But it only made sense to send Lopez here anyway so didnt have to sweat the decision.

The support basically decided itself via looking at the race day planning as it includes almost entirely versatile riders with strengths over the hills (Blums, Becis, Polanc, Budenieks) to maximize usage elsewhere while being very useful here and climbers who ride 2 GTs (Crncevic, Williams). It's still very strong though and not that far from a top support.

I'm very hyped for this to finally see post training Lopez.
For people who like to see the bibs before the race:


Expect the report sometime this evening Smile
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redordead wrote:
Just here for the xp, which I can write for all my races this month Pfft

A breakaway appearance would be nice Smile


"I am a cyclist, I may not be the best, but that is what I strive to be. I may never get there, but I will never quit trying." - Tadej Pogačar
No big expectations really.

Would be cool to see Schlegel fight to hold on for a decent result, but it`s the weakest triple header lineup for me.

MAL vs the rest led by Sagan/Yates/Lutsenko I guess.
Nemolito wrote:
For people who like to see the bibs before the race:


Expect the report sometime this evening Smile

Thanks a lot. Im a bit concerned by the number of top favourites with a 6 men team. Hopefully that doesnt bite us.
We don’t have a particularly strong team here, but let’s see. Koretzky liked Racing here last season. Hopefully he can land another top 5
Ulissi got himself in position to challenge for Top 10, just looks like he faded at the end. Was never going to be an easy home race!
Very disappointing final 10km. Evonik played the first 210km almost to perfection. Controlled the break without being the sole working team, strong positioning with man power in every single split. It looked like there were 4 Evonik guys in every 25+ rider group, Blums with a strong showing till the foot of the last climb who would have been the 2nd Evonik guy in the 9 men group if the Turgis attack from 20km out would have sticked.

In the end 6th is quite disappointing - especially because Lopez looked faster than everyone else once he freed himself from being boxed in. But at least we've got some good depth scoring going for us. Most notably by Budenieks who once again delivers big time!

Congrats jph, what a victory! Feels like Turgis deserved it after being an earlier aggressor too.
A Big Thank You To All MG Reporters!

Gerts doing better than in the previous two years even though he wasn't the leader this time and even worked for Benoot. Maybe I should have trained his hill stat instead of Benoot's Pfft

A very good result for us here.
Despite being very close to the win we are very happy with 2nd here! Koretzky off to a great start to the season!

Kastrantas doing his thing getting 26th for some decent additional points. It’s a demonstration of stability really!

Congrats on the well deserved win for Turgis. If he can win races like this he could be a great PT rider!
FFS why would you let yourself box in by only two riders ahead of you Lutsenko. Still achieved the podium we wanted, but it seems like with a smarter line the win would've been possible :/ thanks for the very nice report!
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Radsim'05: Quick-Step (since 2022) Astana (2018-2021)
Most Improved Team 2018 & 2019 // Manager of the Year 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021 // Team of the Year 2021
Ardila gets in another break which was nice to see Smile

Thanks for the report Nemo, Turgis is like a cheat code in classics Pfft


"I am a cyclist, I may not be the best, but that is what I strive to be. I may never get there, but I will never quit trying." - Tadej Pogačar
If Anthony Turgis can win this, I should've sent Demare! Pfft
Congrats jph, really enjoyed watching your team take this. What an exciting final kilometre!

Stork made the break in his first sighting in a Puma jersey, and he persisted so well to even finish in the Top 50 together with Niu (who else), making it a great 10 points above minimum in the easily least prioritized race of the triple header for us.

Thanks Nemolito for another outstanding report. Smile
Impressive win by Turgis. Congrats!

Formolo in 15th is sadly not good enough, but Malecki 17th and Furdi 21st somewhat makes up for it. Formolo needs a more selective finale to do well.
Good race by both Borges and Min. Another worrying day for Gesink.

Turgis on the other hand, imposing himself in the PT after a superb season in 2020. Congrats jph!

Thanks for another report Nemo!
Manager of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/duo.png Duolingopcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/duo.png
Turgis Shock Awesome result from him. Congrats jph!

14th from Buchmann not a great result, but he aint one of the top top puncheurs, so we take what we get
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