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Tour de France - Discussion
Well it was nice to see Lecuisinier finally making a move, the GC looks like it should be in the bag now (touch wood). I wonder if he has previously been happy to lean on De La Cruz to chase down attacks given the buffer that existed for much of the race.

Excellent reporting by LLS so far, even as a neutral it is still exciting to track both the GC & stage win battles - even the fight for polkadots!
Thanks for yet another nice report.

Olivier again passive and still losing time on similar riders. GC wise he shouldn`t be that far behind Hirt, Eastman, Roglic, Choi or Chiarello but if you don`t try, nothing will happen...unfortunately the ITT will see him lose another couple spots I fear, which might make it one of the worst GT results of the team scoring wise when comparing lineup and outcome as the points scored from a Olivier-Groenewegen combination plus pretty good depth around them should be more than what the team did so far.

If Olivier is riding passive, at least send one of the guys into the break, which is getting all the big points.
SotD wrote:
I'll try to put all the obvious dissapointments aside for a moment.

It looks like the Tour de France win with Lecuisinier is actually going to happen. Back when I started Festina it was my number 1 goal - To make a french rider win the Tour de France.

Christophe Moreau was out of reach, and became to old about the time when I started.

John Gadret was the best French climber in 2011-2012 with his 79-80MO, and was a reasonable climber - but he was also getting too old - and was never among the top 20 best GC riders in the Man Game.

Back in those days french climbers wasn't a thing. They were attackers, and nothing more. But then in 2013 Romain Sicard came in as a major talent. He was contracted Pearl Adidas and was still unmaxed, but then a nomade lifestyle made him unreachable. Either his team was relegated or the manager pulled the team. So in 2014 he landed a 1,5mio contract as the 15th strongest GC rider. Thibaut Pinot was another decent prospect, but was difficult to get a hold of

Instead I landed Lecuisinier (2013!) as a backup plan until I managed to get Sicard.

But in 2015 he switched to Orange - KLM for 1,4mio, another french team. He stayed in 2016 and because of the high wages and many team changes he was never invested in. So his chances of ever becoming a GT winner decreased...

In 2017 I made a final dash, but CrueTrue was hardly ever online and didn't respond. Instead I decided to train Lecuisinier so he now was almost on par with Sicard and decided to throw the Sicard plan in the bin.

Ever since 2017 I have built Lecuisinier up - First to win all possible U25 jerseys in the 3 GTs (4 in total did he land), and from then it was a build towards ultimately winning the Tour de France.

In 2020 the route wasn't ideal though, and thus I sent him to win the Vuelta a España - which he did (almost didn't though).

And now, in his 9th season at Festina it finally seems to come true. It should have been a dead given including 3-5 stagewins, a fight for green, polka dots and Team GC along the way, but for some reason the AI was dead. Still the race now seems somewhat in control and with almost 2 minutes to Sicard - and without EVER wasting energy, I can't possibly see him losing the race. Only 38km left of TT, being the best TT rider of the GC favorites, it has to be it.

On paper he is the 2nd best timetriallist (atleast shared) in the race - behind Kritskiy, but I can't even get my hopes up for a stagewin at this point. For now it's just about getting to the line in yellow, and then I'll have to take it as it is. A milestone.

Quite a remarkable journey you went on with Lecuisinier, I'm happy for you he will fulfill his ambition, even if not quite in the dominant fashion we might have anticipated Smile
Wait… what?!

baseballlover312 wrote:
Nice to see Inkelaar and Bardet have been so active for Isostar, but selfishly I wish Gregaard got a bit of that role. Pfft

He did well to support which was very nice. Also our "star attacker" Roman got relegated to that role, but if it turns out as it did I'm of course very happy. Loving the standings. Congrats to SotD, stage win, winning Le Tour with a self-trained french guy, what a great achievement!
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Great reporting throughout the race (expecting Champs-Elysées won't be any different), thanks a lot for the great work, LLS!

From a neutral perspective, it was a great and incredibly tense race to follow, at least until Lecuisinier finally put the hammer down on stage 19. And from a French point of view, what an amazing result to have not just one, but two locals leading the GC heading to Paris! They obviously had to wait for a much shorter period to see a Frenchie win than IRL, but it must obviously be a huge relief for La Grande Nation to finally see that generation succeed!

Obviously huge congrats to SotD for reaching another career milestone! Sure, it might have been the worst scoring TdF ever - and the AI definitely was huge crap for the GC riders most of the times. Especially Lecuisinier got a very strange treatment - I'm honestly relieved he still somehow got that (very likely) TdF win. Happy as well that he finally got a stage win - and genuinely surprised he's actually 2nd in the points standings despite having pretty few good stage results.
Congrats also to cio on the green jersey; with those couple of stage wins, the risk of sending Démare to his home GT definitely paid off!
But well, probably the biggest winners of the Tour are the men in lime - especially Inkelaar's showing has been far beyond my comprehension. Is it luck that Croatia's guys apparently always succeed from breakaways in GTs? Definitely a part of that, but somehow he just always finds the right riders for those stages. Congrats!

All in all, I was very, very disappointed by the AI in this race. Too many no-shows of the GC favs, too many breakaway wins for my liking. And - maybe most annoying for me, but unfortunately a know issue - always the same riders doing well from the breakaways, while other (similar) riders don't move their a**es all race long... I do really hope there's a fix for this one day, because I find it really annyoing when teams benefit so much from this - sometimes in several GTs a year - while others almost always miss out...
Jan Hirt - what a legend. Banana

A podium result in the TdF is way above my expactations and even before this TT I thought I will be glad he will finish like 6th. So glad I was wrong about his TT abilites. Grin

Congrats SotD, it finally happened, but was also somehow expected win in this startlist, but all together it was way more interesting than expected. Quite a lot weird AI, but in the end it helped to make the whole race a lot more interesting as my boy could finish anywhere from 2nd to like 14th before the final mountain stage. And also huge thanks to LLS, great pleasure to read all those nice reports.
Manager of Moser - Sygic
Ulrich Ulriksen
Early congrats to SotD for achieving a mangame long dream. Also great reporting from LLS who has been the workhorse of the team of late.

I have to take on my pollyanna AI role now. I am not seeing where it wasn't really out of line considering how dominant PHL was on paper. His team don't need to make the race hard because he is going to win anyway. In the Vuelta with 3 evenly matched top GC guys they each took turns to push things resulting in all of them gaining more time versus the rest of the field.

I agree the same riders get in the break a little too much. Here I think the number of evenly matched GC competitor probably further concentrated the breakaway winners by taking more teams out of the breakaway equation in the earlier stages. And leading the KOM is a big advantage as it gets you good positioning. But its not like the same riders winning multiple breakaway stages in a grand tour is unprecedent.

Also, I think the GC result was reflective of the rider strength which is a standard many have advocated. I just added up the MT/TT/RS/RC for the favorites in the preview plus Chiarello minus Denifil, a more sophisticated algorithm might do even better.

Pts% from AvePts RankGC Rank

The top 3 are dead on. The bottom 3 are pretty good as well. More noise in the middle but the stat differences there are tiny. Roglic and Chiarello overperformed and Yates and Barguil under performed. But in general it seems like a pretty reasonable outcome.
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Superb TT from Eastman to overtake Pluchkin for fourth. In the end, a solid result for the American. Disappointed to not get on the podium, but that was always going to be a stretch with a 82MO climber at the TDF.

Thanks for the great reports! Grin
Great Analysis Ulrich. A very cool tour (almost) comes to an end. Yes, I'm biased Pfft
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It looks like the race will end on the same note that it started for us, after a rather great middle part of the race. Unless Van Poppel pulls off some magic again on Champs Elysees.

@SotD imagine losing the Tour to Sicard of all people after all that backstory Pfft
Congrats SotD for the stage win. Much deserved after a rather weak scoring on the mountain stages.

Olivier closely was able to hold on to 9th, which is less than expected really before the race, in especially as he never really tried except for the first few days in the mountains.

Losing time on the hills and losing time on the later mountains to breakaway riders or late attackers wasn`t doing well for his own GC.

Tiny scoring GC really.

Groenewegen tomorrow would be best to compensate a bit with a 2nd stage win. Otherwise sending 2/3 leaders here was rather pointless and pretty funny that Carboni might have scored better in both his GTs than Olivier in his run..., which makes it a triple scoring that might be lowest in the whole division. Pfft
Not completely sure what to think of the final stages
Roglic in 6th is definitely better than I expected in the beginning but stage results in the end are lacking. At least Smith tried in the last mountain stage but unfortunately not really successful.
Unbelievable, we won the Alpe d'Huez stage. Our first TdF, our first TdF stage win and its a classical mountain. Choi dropping to 7 isnt good, but this win more then satisfy me Smile
Thanks for the exciting reports!
Thank you very much for an awesome tour Lulu! The reports have been a joy to follow!

Then congrats to Festina to finally achieve the big dream. Dominant performance by Lecuisinier that seemed to be never in doubt.

Finally also to everybody else that got a great race out of it, like Puma with an awesome Demare, Hirt scoring the GT podium for Moser or our former man Kamberaj winning 3 (?) stages including the biggest sprinter stage of the year. Loved the very realistic final standings in the Top15 at this touras well.

Then we have to be proud of our showing. Our team played out our plans to perfection. We brought 7 good climbers/puncheurs to make sure that every group that we can join we can play our trumps on the uphill section. At the end it was Bardet first and then Inkelaar with stunning performances. We obviously were benefitted by the great positions due to our jerseys at the front of the race to get into the groups, but I also assume that our pretty radical team choice played into our hands here. Then we also always played it pretty well with supporting riders doing the work for our jersey leaders even if that sacrificed the chances of individually better riders like Roman. We did awesome in winning the Mountains Jersey and a couple of stages. Taking white and the Teams Classification is an insane bonus we never could've planned for. I'm obviously delighted with what we did here!

Again, thanks to all that made this race a joy to follow and to interact with!
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Inky pinky ponky Grin Guess I need to give him most of the money I will save on Kelderman next season Pfft Eenkhoorn also in 3rd is amazing!

Congrats to Sotd! Nice that Lecuisinier eventually did win one stage at least. Congrats to everyone else who had a good race. It was a great race for the neutrals.

Thanks for the reports LLS!
Great reports throughout the whole race. Thanks for covering this. It was a pleasure to follow.

That said, just from a reading perspective. My team really was awful. 1 stage win and 9th in GC might sound okay actually. But seeing that other than that the team basically got like 0 stage points as neither Olivier nor Groenewegen got any team decent scoring positions and also the breakaway participation was small, the race must be counted as big disappointed. 21 failed race days for 2/3 leaders.

Congrats SotD for the big win. Understandably a lot less scoring than expected/hoped but getting the GT win is still nice. In especially with the background story of it as you posted above.

Congrats Croatia for the successful race which might lead to the PT win maybe. Same for Farfetch or ISA stage wise. Puma at least also got some scoring by Demare on the hills, which is good to see.

Race rankings might be interesting how close Inkelaar can come to Lecuisinier. Pfft
Thanks for some fantastic reporting LLS - I stopped commenting after the stage 9 debacle so as not to post negatives every day, but the reporting managed to bring me round by the end of the race Pfft

First and foremost, congratulations to SotD! Lecuisinier made harder work of this than anticipated, but definitely a deserved winner and nice to see many seasons of investment paying off. Also glad to see Sicard on the podium, even if I remain as bitter as SotD does about not being able to sign him in the past Pfft

From our perspective a dreadful race from Yates but a brilliant one from Kamberaj (plus Bettiol and Velasco with some good moments) evens out as a pretty good race in terms of points scored, but a feeling of 'what might have been'. It will likely be enough to pull us well clear of the relegation zone for a little while, with none of the current bottom 3 having great races and only Generali and Zwift of the others in the relegation battle scoring well.

I'll get to Yates - like Ulrich, I have a table to share Wink - but firstly it's worth taking a moment to appreciate the brilliance of Kamberaj here. When sending him here I had no expectations, and when seeing the field I thought a few podiums might represent a good race. Three stage wins including both the first stage and the Champs Elysees, a stint in yellow and 2nd in points was definitely more than I ever expected. Probably more than I expected from Kamberaj's entire career to be honest!

On Yates though, 12th is far worse than even my worst case scenario for him. I would have expected a top 10 even when not knowing the field here, and after seeing it I'd have hoped he would fight for 5th or 6th. Losing 4 minutes on stage 9 put paid to those hopes - had he gone with Chiarello and Roglic or even made the group behind (as his stats would suggest) he'd ultimately have ended up between 4th and 6th. Yet again, the overpowered daily form in PCM20 ends up having a disproportionate effect - more of that in the suggestions thread...

Ulrich does make a good point though that the results aren't overly unrealistic, and that some of the lack of separation comes from the nature of the field. For comparison I thought it would be interesting to see how it compared to the formulas I used for rider strength - they need updating for PCM20, but they've been good at identifying overperformers in the past (Yates, Turgis, now Kamberaj...) Pfft

Pts% from AvePts RankGC Rank

Similar to Ulrich's numbers, the top 3 and 3 of the bottom 4 are about as expected. The noise in the middle can be attributed to small differences with the difference between 4 and 13 on these numbers similar to that between 1 and 2. Eastman as a big overperformer is likely due to overestimating HIL and ACC impact, with the same true for Yates, Barguil and Godoy as underperformers. Confirms the need for room for improvement with the formulas, but also confirms Ulrich's theory that there's nothing overly unusual - likely just the vagaries of daily form.
Thanks for the great reports throughout this race!

Congrats to SotD and everyone who had a great race!

For my team it's mixed feelings, as unfortunately couldn't get a stage win with multiple options here, but Roglic in 6th in the end and a few days in yellow are a good consolation.
Thanks for all your reports, LLS!

Not a great race for us. Not a big surprise, but at least a little highlight with Sosa on the podium on the 19th stage. A decent race by Nesset as well, but not much more than that.

Big congrats to SotD on claiming the biggest win of the year!
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