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Vuelta al Pais Vasco Discussion
The reports will be brought to you by Ulrich Ulriksen!

Welcome to the Basque Country for the 2022 edition of Vuelta al Pais Vasco! This C1 race brings together Basque national territory in Spain and France, and it also brings together PCT and CT teams as part of the C1 circuit.


The course is the same as last year, with a combination of the hills/mild mountains and time trialing. The riders start with a TTT before entering some hills, time trialing individually through the valley, and then finishing it off with two more days in the hills. This course offers many different kinds of riders a chance for success - ideally you'd want to be a puncheur who can time trial, but that archetype is rare. So, the top 10 usually sees a combination of puncheurs and stage racers interspersed after making their gains in different stages. The last three years have been won by stage racers, while puncheurs fared better earlier in the race's history. Since it's impossible to make a true favorites list given this uncertainty, we will engage with each rider type first.

Team Time Trial
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/anz.png Air New Zealand p/b Pirelli*
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/bia.png Bianchi - Panerai*
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/bee.png Bonduelle - Eesti Energia*
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/bdx.png Bordeaux Métropole - Euskotren
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/bwt.png De Luna BWT Hyundai N Cycling**
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cct.png Caja Rural Cycling Team*
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cdb.png Carlsberg - Danske Bank***
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ced.png Cedevita****
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/gla.png Glanbia*****
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ino.png Indosat Ooredoo****
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/jur.png Jura GIANTS**
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lec.png Le Creuset
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lpu.png Lierse SK - Pizza Ullo PCTeam****
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/min.png Minions - Subwoolfer****
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/oph.png Oktal Pharma - TotalTV**
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/pns.png Pas Normal Studios - Mikkeller*
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/afr.png Project: Africa*
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/rbz.png Red Bull Zalgiris***
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/taf.png Tafjord Kraft*
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/tlt.png Trans Looney Tunes
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/voy.png Voyagin - Bird*
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ziz.png Zara - Irizar*****

I wouldn't give the star counts in the table above too much credence except as a surface level vibe - I jus went through the startlist and tried to get a brief assessment. The bigger takeaway is probably that most teams here have either decided to go all in on the TTT, or haven't tried at all. There are as many great teams as absolutely abysmal teams.

So, while the TTT is only 20k, teams who have decided not to send any time trialists may lose relatively huge time on contenders with teams who did. We can probably expect the gaps among the first 6-8 teams to be relatively minor, but beyond that, entire GC chances could be sunk on day 1.

Stage Racers
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ziz.png Taaramäe817477737470
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/rbz.png Reis817376787664
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lpu.png Oomen817574787769
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cdb.png Guldhammer807670737475
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lpu.png Novak807766747676
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/voy.png Min797666757766
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ced.png Pogacar787574777871
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/pns.png Ratiy786872677055
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/anz.png Fabbro787567717273
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ino.png Dunbar777679747768
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cdb.png Kämna777178767367
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ziz.png Conci777477767568
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lpu.png Senni777374767972
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ced.png Borisavljevic777374747465
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cdb.png Eg777174767468
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/jur.png Masnada777673767573
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/min.png Brown757376747371

As noted earlier, stage racers have won the last 3 years. While they may not be favored for stage wins on the hills, the race can suit them overall. The hills are relatively gradual and long, so they don't stand to lose much time there. And their puncheur counterparts tend to be worse time trialists, where we know significant gaps will be made.

Last year's winner pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lpu.png Oomen is back, and he's a favorite once again. He's a fantastic climber, good time trialist, and has a great TTT setup backing him. Plus, it's pretty insane to have a superdomestique like pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lpu.png Novak at your side. Oomen is a guy who could really try to break the race apart on the climbs with his energy stats, as he'll need at least a little time on the better time trialists.

We don't have any Basque riders among the favorites, but pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ziz.png Taaramäe leads the way for Zara, whose secondary sponsor Irizar is looking for some very good publicity on home soil. The Estonian is the best time trialist among the top climbers, and Zara bring one of the best TTT setups. It isn't hard to imagine a scenario where Zara take the GC lead on day 1 and Taaramae holds it the entire race. Would be a dream come true for the locals.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/rbz.png Reis is another well rounded stage racer, though it remains to be seen if these hills suit him as well as the other favorites. He lacks any acceleration, and missing a split could be deadly for his chances even with a great TT. It will be conservation mode uphill for him.

On the flip side are guys like pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cdb.png Guldhammer and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/voy.png Min, who may struggle to place due to the TT kilometers. It makes sense then that both have brought other GC options in the form of puncheurs, though Voyagin's TTT setup may preclude any real GC challenges.

The upshot of this chart though is that we should expect the minor placings to be taken up mostly by guys in the bottom half of those listed. If you can hang around on the hills and put in a good TT, you have a shot at scoring.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/voy.png Kinoshita728366807777
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/taf.png Hagen668168756873
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cdb.png Jensen708067777376
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/tlt.png Waeytens718065727073
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/jur.png Moscon737966767773
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/afr.png Gebrezgabihier707966747469
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/tlt.png Bystrom687961757276
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cct.png Quevedo717865727275
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/taf.png Dyrnes727861737377
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/bee.png Kanepejs677769727171
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/tlt.png Calmejane717767737676

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/voy.png Kinoshita is far and away the best puncheur here. Absolutely zero question about it. Like everyone on this list though, he lacks any TT ability. Moreover, his team won't carry him at all in the TTT. These factors make it hard to imagine he can replicate his 3rd overall in 2019. Never count him out though. And regardless, there are 4 stage win chances that could lead to a points jersey as well.

Other contenders on the hills include pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/taf.png Hagen, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/tlt.png Waeytens, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cdb.png Jensen, and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/jur.png Moscon among others. They all share a lack of time trialing, and many have other leaders with better shots at GC. Plus, not a single guy on this list has a very strong TTT to give them a free ride for day 1 time.

Time Trialists
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ino.png Dunbar777679747768
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/rbz.png Beniusis696079717367
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/min.png Dennis747578737568
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cdb.png Kämna777178767367
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/bwt.png Brändle757078717167
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ziz.png Cosnefroy687178788169
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/oph.png Sterobo716378746973
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lpu.png Sajnok616578707672
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ced.png Christodoulos686878756964
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/voy.png Onodera666978757468
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cdb.png Belevics606478737266
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ziz.png Thomas566678757379
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ziz.png Taaramäe817477737470
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ziz.png Conci777477767568
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/rbz.png Fernandes757077787767

Eveyone on this list will be hoping for glory on stage 4, and many will play integral parts of their team ambitions on stage 1. However, there are a few riders here who are puncheur or stage race hybrids, and thus may be the actual GC favorites for the entire race.

For instance, it's not hard to imagine a scenario where pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ino.png Eddie Dunbar wins this race overall. He is the best time trialist present and leads an equally solid TTT team, but he's also strong enough to feature as a climber and puncheur. Especially with his backups, he will be hard to drop on the hilly stages. And if you can't drop him, he already has you beat against the clock.

Similarly, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/min.png Dennis will have all the Minions at his disposal throughout the race, and he'll be looking to make a big impact. He'll need the race to be slightly easier, but he also has a knack for shorter TT's, and at only 18.6 km's, stage 4 may offer him an opportunity to showcase that.

Other guys like pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/cdb.png Kämna, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/bwt.png Brändle, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ziz.png Conci, and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/rbz.png Fernandes hope to be in that conversation as well. None are terrific puncheurs, but they're good enough stage racers to tag along and survive most of the way before stealing time in the TT. It was that strategy which got Fernandes 4th overall last year, and the others will be hoping to do something similar this time around.


Edited by baseballlover312 on 09-11-2022 14:44
No expectations, but in desperate need of a result here. Hoping the race goes a similar way as the past few seasons and gives Eddie a chance at going for a top-5. I think this is also the strongest TTT team we’ve had in our 8 seasons, I’m a little too used to having one star next to our name Smile

Interesting there’s no Assa Abloy here, Paillot along with Gonzales Salas and co would have crushed the TTT and both could have also taken the ITT as well as a decent Gc for Paillot. Hopefully Eddie can syrup up in their absence Smile

Thanks for the preview Smile
Indosat - ANZ HQ

"This Schleck sandwich is going to cause serious indigestion for Evans" - Phil Liggett
First race for Dennis, let's see how he does. Should hopefully hang on or limit the loss on the hilly stages. Don't like the look of the opposition though...

Thanks for the preview bbl!
Thanks BBL

As always not huge expectation in C1 races and mainly here for the Time Trials.

Weird to be very competitive for the TTT but no favorites for the individual

Best outcome is Craddock or McKenna scoring a top 15 (or ten on a great day) and of course a couple of good TT days
I guess its Reis time again. Lets see if Fernandes can start a streak of big results here. Being close to home will surely help
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I know I'm going to regret saying this, but anything but a win would be disappointing here.
Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
Woooooooo, a stage is France is the only thing which would have made this race more a home race.
Three stages in Bilbao, two in Vitoria... I hope all teams and spectators will come in train.

And I've managed to send not one of my 6 basque riders in this race Grin
Well, the goal is to be seen, try to snatch a stage from all the favorites, be it in a breakaway or a late attack...
Tbf, anything more than Guadeloupe will be good, so I hope we'll at least try to do anything.

Good luck to everyone, and thanks BBL for the preview.
No clue what to expect here. Didn't have enough RDs from my more TT competent riders, so we'll lose some time on stage 1 for sure - hopefully not too much for still being GC relevant, or so much that my riders would get more freedom on the following days.

If we were to stay in GC contention, Masnada should once more be our leader. The length of the climbs should perfectly suit him, and with his acceleration advantage over many pure climbers some good stage results could be at stake. Moscon probably will do close to nothing again - to be fair, the profiles aren't great for him.
Marchewka could get a good result in the TT on a great day, but that's not very likely. And maybe Aregger can compete for line honors on stage 2, given that he's probably the only sprinter here and the other stages are too rough.

All in all, not an optimal team in terms of GC fight, but Moscon and especially Masnada have quite some potential to score well.

More generally speaking, Oomen should have a good shot at getting back-to-back wins, but Taaramäe won't be easy to beat - especially with that TTT lineup backing him.
Also hoping for Dunbar to perform here, after a sub-par start to the season.

Thanks for the preview, bbl, and thanks in advance for the reports to UU!
Luis Leon Sanchez
Gone all out with the team here and it’s the first showing for big boi Rein. Although he’s not the strongest in the Hills, no one else is significantly better here of the favourites.

Got plenty of support in the hills/mountains in Conci & Soler who combine with Cosnefroy, Thomas and Castrillo for a strong TTT squad.

Hoping for at least a podium but expecting us to be in GC winning contention!

Thank you for the preview! Looking forward to the reports. Good luck all Wink
Since I'm actually in the race, I'll comment from a manager's perspective as well.

We've sent leaders galore here. Not sure it was the right move, but with the extra race days, I didn't think they would be used better elsewhere. Common problem for me this year. This leads to a scenario where Jensen and Guldhammer could easily be preferred by the AI and cost Kamna a really good GC position. I hope that's not the case because I'd say Kamna is actually our best bet here for time, but I could easily see him working for the others. However, Guldhammer/Kamna did work in Hong Kong, at least in terms of AI (Kamna's terrible TT notwithstanding).

Ideally we just have all our guys tag along to the favorites, try to steal stages in the end, and gain enough time in the TT for Kamna to place. But that's very optimistic.
RIP Exxon Duke, David Veilleux, Double Feature, and Monster Energy
Can we finally do a good race? Probably not.

Thanks for the reports.


"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
I hope that we lose plenty of time on the TTT, and then will be able to go in lots of breaks, and hopefully win one.
Yes!! We finally woke up and produced a result!

I didn't think we'd win, but thought we should be at least good enough to keep the deficit under 30''. This is certainly the best way to start a race. We even managed to keep all our big 3 riders Pogacar, Roman and Borisavljevic together in the winning time. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the other stages and have a big scoring race, because after all the shitty performances so far we really need it!

I think this is the first time I've won a TTT. Looks like I can be happy I kept my small TT core together, at least for today.


"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
Never have we been so close to a TTT win, but stupid AI made Oomen lose 5 extra seconds, so not amused. Congrats Cedevita!
Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
Looks like 3rd place is our TTT natural home this year!

In a C1 race that's not bad. Hopefully the time cushion over some competitors will help Craddock and McKenna. Actually, really hope the AI picks Craddock as a leader given the other TT

Thanks for report and congrats Cedevita
Guess 11th is OK, shared 2nd best CT team with BWT. Guess sending Rekita instead of Moscon would have made quite an impact, but the time loss looks pretty manageable. The 34" gap is probably too small to get some leeway for breakaways already on the next stages, but especially Moscon should be far enough behind after the ITT.
On the other hand, Masnada stays in contention for a Top10 spot, if he can deliver in the hills as he already did in Hong Kong! He should be among the stronger hybrids, and compared to many others has his acceleration as a big plus.

Congrats to Cedevita, good to see one of the favorites taking the win - and getting a solid base for things to come. Good result also for Glanbia, although they were obviously hoping for the win.
On the other hand, commiserations to Indosat, who once again are way off where they should be. Really a cursed season especially for Dunbar so far Sad

Thanks for the report, UU!
Mediocre TTT and especially Dennis losing another handful of seconds. This race required a better start team!
Luis Leon Sanchez
Thanks for the report and congrats to Cedevita!

Not too happy with that. Looks like the teams coming in later definitely fared better. In the scheme of things, maybe not having the GC lead isn’t too bad and it’s only a few seconds so we’re still in a strong position.
Cedevita Cool
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Not great but we will manage. Easy dub on stage 2
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