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George Bennett’s “Landis” comment about Froome was a compliment not an insinuation according to his team

Team Sky say planned attack was built on fuelling strategy

George Bennett’s comment that Chris Froome “did a Landis” on stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia was “not an insinuation, but a way to express admiration for an exceptional achievement,” according to his team, LottoNL-Jumbo.

Froome attacked with 80km to go and rode solo to the finish over three major climbs. Questioned at the finish while warming down, Bennett, in ninth place overall, was unaware that the attack had been successful.

“Did Froome stay away?” he asked his interviewer.

Informed that the Team Sky rider had ridden his way into the pink jersey, the Kiwi gave an astonished, “bullshit,” and followed that up by proclaiming,“he did a Landis.”

Most will take that as a reference to Floyd Landis’s infamous 120km solo breakaway on stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France, a day after losing eight minutes to his rivals. A post-stage doping test turned up traces of synthetic testosterone in his urine and he was subsequently stripped of the overall win.

Aware that likening Froome to Landis could be taken as somewhat inflammatory, LottoNL-Jumbo later clarified: “Disclaimer to avoid any misinterpretation: this is not an insinuation, but a way to express the admiration for an exceptional achievement. Congratulations to Chris Froome and Team Sky.”

Speaking after the stage, Chris Froome said: “I’ve had difficult moments in the Giro so I had to try something crazy. We took this tactical decision last night together with our nutritionists because there was a need for a good fuelling strategy for that and for how the guys would execute the orders.”

Dave Brailsford elaborated on this in an interview with Eurosport, saying it had always been the plan to attack on the Colle delle Finestre.

“We thought that it might be a little bit too far out but you had the 27 hairpins at the bottom and we thought that was where we were going to put things on the line and split things up and make things really hard.

“If someone’s not quite on a good day then they’re going to pay for it there. It gave us a morale boost when Simon [Yates] was unfortunately dropped and stage two was to get rid of Tom [Dumoulin]. We decided that on the gravel roads that that was where we were going to do that.”

He continued: “This day is a lot about the staff and the fuelling, making sure that you can fuel a ride like this all the way to the end – that is fundamental.

“So every member of staff, myself included, was out on the side of the road to put in place a fuelling strategy for him to make sure that he wouldn’t miss a beat. That was the game changer.

“We tried to segment it up. You know how much someone is going to burn and you know how much they’re going to need to put back in, then you know where you need to eat and you can figure it out. But then you’ve got to make that happen and put it into practice.

“Knowledge isn’t the thing, it’s the practical stuff of making things happen, and thankfully the staff got out today and made it happen. They did a fantastic job, every single one of them and he delivered.”

Froome said the key to his ride was reducing the group of favourites such that everyone had to make a similar sort of effort.

“I knew the Finestre really well since I had a training camp in the area last year. I knew how to pace myself correctly. It was also a calculated risk. If there was not a big group behind me and other teams didn’t have domestiques, the GC riders had to make the same efforts as me.

“I was getting time checks from the motorbikes and via radio. I was 20 seconds from the Maglia Rosa for a long time. What I didn’t know was whether Tom Dumoulin still had good legs but I got the feeling that everyone was at the limit. It was raw bike racing.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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17 comments

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darnac | 5 years ago
1 like

I can't see that he'd have risked doping - also all his immediate opponents had contradictory goals>/strategies so it was a good moment to try it. I've been watching it live here in France on Equipe and even the French commentators didn't immdiately acusse him of doping ...

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bobbydazzler | 5 years ago
6 likes

I thought it was amazing, and I think the performance is believable [unless they're all doping!]:

- gained 38 seconds on the Finestre.  He's always been a better climber than Dumoulin

- gained about 1:30 on the descent, when Dumoulin himself said Reichenbach descended like an old woman and held them all up, and Froome descended like a lunatic

- Same time in the valleys and you could see the Dumoulin group arguing between themselves and losing time because of the lack of contribution from Carapaz and Lopez

- They all gained time on Froome on the last climb - from 34 seconds for Carapaz to 10 seconds for Dumoulin

I'm not a big Froome fan cos he's dull as chuff, but the spectacle of watching the stage was fabulous.

 

 

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atlaz | 5 years ago
1 like

It wasn't quite like Landis. Yes he rode away from the chasers but it wasn't like he put those three minutes into them on a single climb was it? The first attack and descent did the majority of the damage unlike with Landis where he just kept on riding away whether it was up or down.

That said, Bennett's latest words are a bit puzzling. Either make an accusation or don't. We all know what he meant, it's just odd that once it was out there he tried to back out of it. 

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Kadinkski | 6 years ago
1 like

Haha - I love George Bennet, he's so raw and honest and he wears his heart on his sleeve. The whole interview was cool.

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FatBoyW | 6 years ago
7 likes

The only dope is you look, did you watch the stage? An attack near the top gaining an impressive 40 seconds as de moulin failed to chase. Then he gained a massive amount in the descent, that is skill not some massive effort or anyhthing.

they both rode near identical efforts in the valley with Tom failing to pick it up when the other riders failed to hit hard so the chase was disorganised and lost more time.

so  no it looked like a slow motion race at times and the power figures given were not outrageous, so get over yourselves and celebrate a fantastic race

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Beecho | 6 years ago
1 like

If he did beat them by 80km I’d be checking the bike, not the rider.

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The_Vermonter | 6 years ago
2 likes

In fairness to George Bennett, I immediately thought of Floyd Landis as well watching Stage 19. How else are we meant to contextualize what we saw? I'm not accusing him of doping but unbelievable performances like that should be viewed through the lens of history in this sport. 

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nigerian prince replied to The_Vermonter | 6 years ago
0 likes
The_Vermonter wrote:

In fairness to George Bennett, I immediately thought of Floyd Landis as well watching Stage 19. How else are we meant to contextualize what we saw? I'm not accusing him of doping but unbelievable performances like that should be viewed through the lens of history in this sport. 

 

Whadda ya mean you are not accusing him of doping. You are! It's all this talkabout that perpetuates the sham. To come from barely holding the wheels of the leaders to beating them by 80kms over what? 2000 vertical metres? This is a farce and it needs to be called out. 

Avatar
The_Vermonter replied to nigerian prince | 6 years ago
2 likes
lork wrote:
The_Vermonter wrote:

In fairness to George Bennett, I immediately thought of Floyd Landis as well watching Stage 19. How else are we meant to contextualize what we saw? I'm not accusing him of doping but unbelievable performances like that should be viewed through the lens of history in this sport. 

 

Whadda ya mean you are not accusing him of doping. You are! It's all this talkabout that perpetuates the sham. To come from barely holding the wheels of the leaders to beating them by 80kms over what? 2000 vertical metres? This is a farce and it needs to be called out. 

 

Skepticism and accusations are two different things. Landis in 2006 and Pantani's various wins in the late-90s are the only such wins I've seen in my life that are similar. I want Froome to clean because the last thing professional cycling needs is its second biggest star (Sagan is the bigger in America) to found to be a cheat. However, I remain skeptical. 

Avatar
SNS1938 replied to The_Vermonter | 5 years ago
0 likes
The_Vermonter wrote:
lork wrote:
The_Vermonter wrote:

In fairness to George Bennett, I immediately thought of Floyd Landis as well watching Stage 19. How else are we meant to contextualize what we saw? I'm not accusing him of doping but unbelievable performances like that should be viewed through the lens of history in this sport. 

 

Whadda ya mean you are not accusing him of doping. You are! It's all this talkabout that perpetuates the sham. To come from barely holding the wheels of the leaders to beating them by 80kms over what? 2000 vertical metres? This is a farce and it needs to be called out. 

 

Skepticism and accusations are two different things. Landis in 2006 and Pantani's various wins in the late-90s are the only such wins I've seen in my life that are similar. I want Froome to clean because the last thing professional cycling needs is its second biggest star (Sagan is the bigger in America) to found to be a cheat. However, I remain skeptical. 

I agree. We were told Pantani was clean, until he wasnt, then Armstrong was clean (passed 500 tests!), until he wasnt, Landis too. Now we have a rider who makes a Landis-esq comeback, and has an unresolved over limit drug test ... There is so much smoke here. The sport is rife with full on drug use and hard core grey area abuse too. It is no better than wrestling, it's just a show.

 

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nigerian prince | 6 years ago
0 likes

Froome's a doper 

the fanboys've no hope'r

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Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
0 likes

If Yates won't dope, he just won't cope!

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nigerian prince | 6 years ago
1 like

yeah Bennet was saying what we were all thinking. Froome's a doper. No reason to question it. 

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crazy-legs replied to nigerian prince | 6 years ago
7 likes
lork wrote:

yeah Bennet was saying what we were all thinking. Froome's a doper. No reason to question it. 

You should send your CV to WADA. Think of all the money and time they could have saved on minor things like investigations and evidence and due process and making sure the labs are doing their work - they could just have popped along to an internet forum to see what you had to say!

Avatar
Simon E replied to crazy-legs | 5 years ago
4 likes
crazy-legs wrote:
lork wrote:

yeah Bennet was saying what we were all thinking. Froome's a doper. No reason to question it. 

You should send your CV to WADA. Think of all the money and time they could have saved on minor things like investigations and evidence and due process and making sure the labs are doing their work - they could just have popped along to an internet forum to see what you had to say!

To true.

Sadly, the people with the most strident opinions are usually the least well informed (or deliberately ignore the facts). In their world there is only black and white with NOTHING in between.

They'll trot out the same bullshit about whether Froome should be riding the Giro - the rules say he is eligible to ride but the clowns on forums and social media know better than everyone else. I'm not saying everyone has to be happy with it (and some more measured views here show it's not universal) but the rules exist for good reasons.

700c wrote:

Am I being naive in taking this at face value and feeling pleased for him?

Nothing wrong with that IMHO. I thought it was the most thrilling day of racing I can remember for a very long time. So many people get all hot and bothered about presumed guilt, doping and so on that they can't even appreciate a good bike race.

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Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
1 like

This is the racing equivalent of Ali's 'rope a dope' if it comes off.

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Leviathan | 6 years ago
0 likes

Still watching with my finger hovering over the delete button. What a flipping mess. 

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