Big Donkey

Your team should be here

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Robyklebt
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:01 am

July

2nd in D1 with 13'954 points. Won the TdF, Tim Eiffel obviously, plus 3rd place with Apicella and the team classification. 6 stage wins in the TdF, 4 of them in July, 3 Eiffel, 1 Apicella. Another 4 wins after the Tour, 2 stages of the Tour of Wallonie (the 2 I thought I had no chance, thought the other 3 looked much better), Löffel and Coderch, 3rd in GC for Coderch there. Then a fantasy race with Löffel and finally San Sebastian with Eiffel again. Eiffel and Löffel now both with 9 wins, One more for each to enter the exclusive 10 win club. Eiffel though wins the more important races. So surely a successful season. Even if it sounds better than it was in some respect, no real opponents for Eiffel at the Tour, San Sebastian ok, there, but somehow the win was not that exciting since I had no clue or plan for most of the race. More fun to win, or lose more often, when you spend your time thinking, making plans etc, not just being there like the Donkey in San Sebastian.

Rider of the month: Tim Eiffel
Tour win, even if it was an unexciting one. 3 stages, San Sebastian, 1 win of the 10 win list (but will be hard for him to reach 10 wins) and he took over the position as Donkey rider with most points ever, 17'589 overtaking Zipoli's 17'551. And possibly the first Donkey rider ever to lead the eternal points for active riders. For once we found time to interview team, well actually Tim just appeared on the screen and demanded an interview, otherwise he wouldn't leave.
-Tim, rider of the month again, how many times is it now?
-The 5th time. Shows how underappreciated I am here. Conti and Zipoli won it 8 times, Zafzaf 7. I have 5 now.
-Conti, Zipoli, Zafzaf... ah, the good times!
-See?
-Didn't mean it's not good times with you, if you'll be mentioned later I'll say good times too!
-But only 5 times rider of the month so far? As eternal no 1 of Donkeys?
-Well, you couldn't ride the Andes, you didn't win the December tour, so nothing there, both Zipoli and Zafzaf won in in November. Then Baaba winning Pais Vasco of course. It's just the way it is.
-Last month? Apicella? It's clear, the Donkey is afraid of giving me my due! Even this month until yesterday there was talk of Löffel getting the award. Scandalous, I won the Tour, 3 stages.
-But you won! Anyway, congratulations! Giro-Tour double, successful!
-Thanks.
-So a great career.
-Yes... and no. I won the U23 title, Strade Bianche and now San Sebastian, 3 wins I never expected. In addition won Tirreno, Romandie, the Giro, TdS and the Tour. But we all know my goals were bigger.
-Yes, but that's the way it turned out, we're still satisfied with that.
- The goal was Andes-Dec Tour-Jan Tour, Tirreno-Catalunya-Pais Vasco-Romandie-Giro-TdS-TdF-Vuelta. In the end I won the 2 most important ones, but somehow more seemed possible.
- Yes, but you can't blame us or yourself for the Andes. Only 2 teams starting, cancelled. December Tour finally just a bit too hard for you, there we tried, even if Apicella probably would have been the more logical leader. Then we didn't ride the January Tour. Catalunya wasn't offered in the afternoon. Pais Vasco, Baaba won. There wasn't much more we could win. And as a team of course we're satisfied with Faye's win in Pais Vasco.
-I didn't blame anybody, just saying. as a plus I have 1 day races, but regrets too, since I hoped to win more stage races. in the end thogh I'm ok with it as it is. Winning 2 classics is fantastic.
-So no regrets for your career?
-Well, real regret one, Lombardia, got second, I was the strongest there, we rode well, Belhassen waited for me, despite some chances in front, but in the end I lost the sprint despite being stronger.
-And now?
-I don't know. The Donkey hasn't told me if I ride the Vuelta yet.
-Would you like to ride?
-Of course. Yes, I'm getting older, feel it a bit in the mountains already, but why not try. Michele of course wants his own chance and Ardila to get experience, but I deserve a chance to do the triple.
-Do you think you will ride it or was San Sebastian your last race?
-Before San Sebastian the Donkey had basically said it would be Apicella-Ardila. After San Sebastian he said let's look at the training in August. I'm confident I can keep my level, so....
-Otherwise it's retirement?
-Think so yes. Vuelta or no more races.
-Anyway, congrats to your outstanding July, and let's hope we somehow win the Vuelta, either with you or with Apicella-Ardila!
-With me please!

Training Löffel! Espariat still at 70, angry at no Tour probably. Quaghebeur 86! Trewlove 88. Both good for the Vuelta then. Rest forgot, ah, Gabel-Baas a bit more flat would have been nice.

Finances
+2'927'426
Still no financial trouble...

New rider
Dario Meucci from Firenze, 48-74-49-48-47, 39 reg for 1'208'021. Pure cheap flat rider, pavé 66,8, so will never be a star there either. Since Tran has 47 reg, Baas pavé, wanted a cheap flat one. Meucci fits the bill. Training flat, mountain up to 50 ok, not more. Rest the same, why not go to 50 downhill-sprint if there's open training units. Dario will debut soon, flat races before the Vuelta. And then train to be already useful and at 79 flat when the Vuelta ends.

Retirements:

Izatullah Totakhyl: 01.01.2020-07.07.2021: Starting skills 55-64-79-52-52, 68,2 pavé and 35 reg. Topskills 72-75-80-50-52, 75,9 pavé. 4 wins in 167 races, 2865 eternal points. Thanks to a certain aptitude on cobblestones the team was never too sure about how to train him, always left wondering if we should have gone for more pavé, but probably changed little, even with 80 flat his pavé would only have been 79,4, nice, but then less mountain, without much flat and 52 sprint, he probably never would have played a big role in the hilly pavé races. Thanks to Izatullah we had 4 decent classics in the team at the same time for a short while, new experience, opens up new attacking possibilites, we had fun for a few weeks. Izatullah has left the team and is training refugees in cycling now.

Goals for August:
Vuelta By now pretty sure we'll start, just the team isn't decided yet. Löffel-Trewlove-Apicella-Stakhanov are sure to be there. Eiffel or Ardila, Coderch-Espariat-Lambert all hope, 1 or 2 should go, Gabel wants to go, Quaghebeur too. Moretti-Teixeira as well...
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
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Robyklebt
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Sat Sep 04, 2021 5:19 pm

August

3rd place in D1, 12'985 points. 3 wins, 2 Vuelta stages with Gabel and Apicella and Messerli with a fantasy race before the Vuelta. Vuelta, at the end of the month in second place in GC, highly unlikely to go higher, it will be second or third, seems clear.
Good month, very happy to win 2 stages, Gabel his first stage win, Apicella continues his category 5 wins.

Rider of the month: Michele Apicella. SEcond in GC and the stage enough to beat Gabel. Apicella doesn't win much, first time as leader in a stage race since Provence in February, where he failed miserably. Still managed to win 3 Tour stages, the Flèche Wallonne and now a Vuelta stage. 5 category 5 wins, good. And is basically assured of the podium here too. Which is worth more than the one at the Tour.
Since he's still riding the Vuelta no time for an interview.

Finances: +359'352, while riding the Vuelta that's good enough, September will be much higher thanks to the end of tour money.

Training: The thing that dominates here is Ardila at 23 who didn't train a single time. Still 81 mountain. I seem to mismanage him badly, seems frustrated at not riding the Tour and now overwhelmed at the Vuelta, the result that he doesn't train. Let's hope he does better in September. Rest forgotten, probably ok.

New rider: Asier Basterretxea from Bermeo on the atlantic coas in the Basque country, Spain. 73-53-73-51-48 with 59 reg for 3'078'703. So the second climber for 2022, the plan is to have Ardila as Leader for the Giro, possibly the Tour, after that Basterretxea for the Vuelta, possibly the Andes. But first he has to train, he most likely will give his debut only in October, Emilia, Lombardia, around there.

Retirements:
Oisin Swift 01.02.2020-06.08.2021. flat rider. Starting skills: 47-73-55-48-51, 50 reg. Top skills: 50-86-55-48-51. A very reliable flat rider, due to his reg often used early. But he even developed into a 86 flat guy, so on some occasions he could relax and ride later. He rode 339 races for the team, joins the 300+ races club, 12th place for him there. Only 774 eternal points, so he failed in the quest for 1000, which is what we hope for every rider to achieve. But with his reg he was an early helper too often, so ok. Swift now is back in Ireland and helps his cousin on his horse breeding farm.

Goals for September:
Finish the Vuelta as well as possible, then just do well in the 1 day races, try to win one of the classics/semi classics.
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
Basics reform: Give blue a chance!
Don't punish bugusers. We all have to use bugs, since most of them are declared as "features"!

Robyklebt
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Fri Oct 01, 2021 10:41 am

September

Place 6 in D1, 10'059 points in 28 races. 3 wins. Löffel a Vuelta stage and a fantasy race, Gabel GP van Petegem. The Vuelta finally 3rd place for Apicella. Team classification and youth jersey for I. Ardila.
The classics and semi-classics after the Vuelta went ok, but lots of placements, no wins. Ok, Van Petegem if you count it as semi-classic, but I don't.
Québec: 4 Löffel
Fourmies: 2 Messerli
Montreal: 2 Eiffel
GP Wallonie: 2 Moretti
Coppa Sabatini: 2. Stakhanov
Coppa Agostoni: 3. Löffel

Some of those races were in super small groups, so 2nd really worth nothing there, the 3 classics though were in groups of a decent size.

Rider of the season:
Johann Löffel, he got his 10th career win at the Vuelta, winning stage 19, even without the fantasy race win later in the month that would have been ok. With this win Johnny joins the exclusive 10 win club, depressingly few Donkeys have managed to join that, including the still active Messserli and Löffel only 11. Short interview:

- Johnny, rider of the month! Congratulations
- Thanks!
- How important was it for you to win your 10th race?
- Very, but more important was winning a Vuelta stage. I had been left out of the Giro and Tour, so was my first chance and took it. Same as Moritz, we showed that maybe we would have deserved more opportunities.
- But your palmares before the Vuelta while being quite impressive in quantity, really lacked a lot in quality. 9 wins, many vs small groups
- Well, that's not completely true, if you actually look at my wins only 1 was in 2 team group. And it was against Team Seven Down, so that still is a strong field. I won the races right before and after the Giro, vs decent groups, I showed the form was there, if I had gotten the chance, I might have gotten a GT win earlier. Or helped Messerli get one. Being 2 helped us a lot during the Vuelta, Messerli was alone.
-950 points in September, by far the most in your career. Are you really starting to get going now?
-No, I was there the whole time. I didn't get 9 wins by chance until the end of August. Apart from my wins I was 3rd in Gent, 4th in Dwars door Vlaanderen, 4th in Québec, 3rd Agostoni. So I'm there, not only in September.
-But with Messerli getting older now more pressure is on your shoulders.
-Messerli is still sprinting strong, so not much changes really.
-What are your goals for October?
-October is a month that looks quite nice for me honestly. I really hope to win another important race, no matter if it's Beghelli, Bernocchi or something else.
-And for the rest of your career?
-Well, win as much as possible. October, then November possibly I ride the Andes then the December tour, and fantasy classics of course.
- Milano Sanremo 22?
-Well... I'll be 37. Of course I think about it, I would be lying if I said otherwise. But I don't know how well I'll feel then, how good my legs will be in the climbs, so I'm certainly not making plans for Sanremo now. Now I concentrate on the next race, Beghelli today.
-Good luck then
- Thanks

Finance

+2'673'234

End of the Vuelta of course big here, August-September finally around 1,5 million average, so pretty normal month lately.

Training
Ardila 1 from 4. so 1 from 8 at 23-24. 82 mountain at the end of 24, my worst training climber ever. Prospects for leadership in the Giro don't look too good for him anymore, Basterretxea more likely now. 77-55 for him, +4+2, really one more flat would have been nice, but can't complain anyway, not compared to Ardila.
The rest ok, Gabel 2 flat, Lambert and Espariat one mountain each, Quaghebeur to 88 flat. Good training for them. Tran rather disappointing with only 1 flat at 23.
So finally a mixed bag, but Ardila's August-September clearly is bad and creates problems for 2022

Retirement
Tim Eiffel retired on 13.09.21. 9 stage or 1 day race wins, U23 Road race WC 20, Strade Bianche and San Sebastian the 3 most important 1 day races. 5 stage races, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour de Romandie, Giro d'Italia, Tour de Suisse and Tour de France, 2 points jerseys, Pais Vasco and Tour de Suisse. 132 races, 18'044 points, so most ever in the team. A successful career but a different one that was envisioned. He joined the team 01.07., with the following skills: 70-56-79-60-56 with 45 reg. Top skills 84-64-79-62-55. So surprisingly good flat training, while we hoped for 1 or 2 more points in the mountain really.
An untypical Donkey climber, TT, normally we get guys with around 50 TT. So the goal for Eiffel were the double triple and the quintuple, Giro-Tour-Vuelta the first triple, Andes-Dec Tour-January Tour the second triple, PN/TA-Catalunya-PV-TdR-Dauphiné/TdS. Didn't work, Andes only 2 teams at the start, cancelled, December Tour despite starting as leader he was overtaken by his teammate Apicella later and finished third, Apicella second, and we didn't even bother with the January Tour anymore after that.
The chase for the quintuple started off better. Tirreno won, but then Catalunya wasn't offered in the afternoon, so couldn't ride it. Pais Vasco, while Eiffel looked set to get second place the team attempted to win the tour with somebody else, Baaba Faye, it miraculously worked, Eiffel 4th, but Faye first. Romandie then was won again, as was the Giro, an entirely forgettable Giro really, but a win is a win. Tour de Suisse, Tour de France, here the machine was working as planned. But downtraining started early, so we decided to skip the Vuelta with him, he wouldn't have had a chance anyway most likely. So while it sounds strange, as a stage rider in the end Eiffel was a slight disappointment. 2 GTs, 3 cat 4 stage races...but with 84 and 62 TT more seemed possible. Even if looking at the races in retrospect there's not many races he could have done better. But on paper at the start of his career we hoped for even more. Still, 5 stage race, all high category, number 2 after Zafzaf in the team, only the 4th of our riders to win more than 2 stage races. So not complaining.
But Tim Eiffel's career still was great, thanks to his unexpected flat strength, that he developed more or less by accident, never more than covered after his first season. That combined with his above average sprint for a Donkey-climber made him competitive in 1 day races too. It started with the U24 World Championship, although not guided by the Donkey. Then his most bitter defeat, second place at Lombardia, stronger in the sprint,, weaker in flat, starts from the back, can't overtake his opponent. Then his win at STrade Bianche really kickstarted his career, beating Sindarov, as became usual for him, after a rather difficult winter. And to end his career he won San Sebastian and got second place in Montréal in his last 2 races. He rode sparingly after the TdF..
So, great stage racing career, but not the greatest, great one day race career judging from the low expectations at the start.

Tim Eiffel now lives in Liechtenstein but we are not completely sure what he actually is doing.

New rider

Silvio Bieri from Schwarzenburg: We were looking for a future 60-80, then heard about this talent from Schwarzenburg, 56-69-79-48-60 with 43 reg, not what we were looking for, but for 95%, 1'745'471, we didn't say no and hired him. First as usual we don't expect much, training is enough. After that with his sprint skill we hope to develop him into a winning rider. Training as of now still rather unclear, mountain of course, but then what? At first some flat, but later we might change to sprint to get him up to 65+. But results won't be expected before December/January anyway. If he trains well though next sprint we could have a strong contender for the hilly races in our team.

Goals for October
Lots of goals, almost every day for the first 10 days is something we want to win. From Beghelli (ok, not that important) to Paris-Tours. Main goal Lombardia of course, followed by Paris-Tours. But we'd happily take Emilia,Tre Valli, Milano Torino, Piemonte, or the Italian cat 3 or even cat 2 races very happily. Less inspiring second half of the month, probably that's when we'll finally win something...
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
Basics reform: Give blue a chance!
Don't punish bugusers. We all have to use bugs, since most of them are declared as "features"!

Robyklebt
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Sun Oct 17, 2021 4:02 pm

End of the real season

With today's Veneto Classic, cat 2, the real season comes to an end, time for a short recap.

Stage races:

-Giro and Tour won with Tim Eiffel
-Tirreno Adriatico, Tour de Romandie, Tour de Suisse won by Team Eiffel, Pais Vasco won by Baaba Faye
In addition a third place by Apicella in the Vuelta. The third places he got in Tirreno and the Tour qualify more as substraction than addition, shows that the opposition wasn't that strong...

So of course satisfied, 2 of 3 GTs, 4 of 5 possible cat 4 races, 4 of 4 of the ones offered in the afternoon. Only way to do better would be to win the Vuelta. But we've never done that, so better not to break with traditions probably.

One day races:
Monuments:
MSR: In the end a group for pure sprinters, we never had a chance to keep them away for Messerli. 7th place for Messerli, in a 18 team group.
RVV: Lanz 15th. Not our race, was never going to be. Lanz dropped too early, after following and ill-advised attack. Dropped one hellingen before the Oude Kwaremont, had he hold on till then we could have started to hope, but like this then it was over.
PR: 2nd Lanz. Good race, but on the final pavé Lanz too optimistic, attacks himself instead of just following Tyler Medaglia. 1" back, no chance to catch up, 8" behind and second place finally. Should have sprinted for the win vs Medaglia, but...
LBL: Coderch 4th, we don't remember much, or anything? Kind of early attack somewhere? Yes, km 180, Coderch attacks, with Freudenfeuer then went on, caught by a group of 80-70 and similar near the end, so 4th.
Lombardia: 3rd Apicella, but after a rather early attack by Ardila and Espariat we really had to hope for big mistakes by others, didn't happen.

So no monuments wins, only PR was close enough.

But we did better in category 4+5 races
Fleche Wallonne with Apicella, San Sebastian with Eiffel, Paris-Tours with Gabel. If we could chose 3 cat 5 races to win this year, it would have been FW and PT plus probably Gent-Wevelgem. Or Harelbeke since we never won it. So more than satisfied with those 3.
Strade Bianche with Eiffel, Emilia with Apicella for cat 4. Strade Bianche.
So finally fully satisfied with the classics too. The "wall double" with the Flèche and Emilia. The gravel double with Strade Bianche and Paris Tours. + San Sebastian that we don't really care much, but cat 5 so it's nice.

Another 4 category 3 races, maybe there a bit more would be nice.

In other news we just fired our scout Teppei Umesao. Samuel Lanz who retired this month and Izatullah Totakhyl who quit his job as cycling trainer for refugees in Germany are our new scouts.
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
Basics reform: Give blue a chance!
Don't punish bugusers. We all have to use bugs, since most of them are declared as "features"!

Robyklebt
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Wed Nov 17, 2021 6:23 pm

October

Late, so we try short. Place 3 in D1 with 12'265 points. 7 wins. The most important clearly Paris-Tours, career goal for our great Moritz Gabel, he delivered. Sprint win from an 11 riders containing remaining peloton.
Other wins, Apicella Emilia, very nice, even if it destroyed his pure palmares of only cat 5 wins. Cat 4 in there too now, but we'll take it.
Löffel with Beghelli and Veneto, both category 3 the 2 other wins in the real season.
Fantasy season then Messerli a 1 day race, Baas and Lambert a stage of the pavé tour each. Pavé tour we won the team classification too, so finally a successful tour.

Lombardia: 3rd with Apicella, but after trying an early attack that didn't work we really were out of ideas and in the end rode rather pointlessly and badly. The bad thing was that we knew how it was going to end for us but still kept riding.
Piemonte another story, 2nd and 3rd for Messerli and Gabel, but we really should have just ridden for Gabel there, and do a better sprint too, should have won that.

Rider of the season: Clearly Moritz Gabel. His third win and what will probably be the most important one of his career, Paris-Tours. He still has only wins at cat 3 or higher, we hope he does some cat 1 winning in the future too, some quantity after the quality. Unfortunately Moritz isn't available for an interview, the boss said riders are allowed to do that only until the 10th of the month nowadays.

Finances

+1'238'349. Could be higher, but we absolutely have no money problems lately, no problem.

Training:

Are we supposed to remember that? We don't. Check the training thread....

Retirements:

Samuel Lanz: 01.04.2020-14.10.2021 Pavéstar, great training. Starting skills 50-68-56-49-48 with 71.3 pavé and 35 reg. So an internal pavé skill of 79. He trained exceedingly well, going up to 56-88 and 85.3 pavé. So not only +20 flat, but also +6 mountain. In 213 races he got 4 wins and 2460 points. His main goal Paris-Roubaix, he got a group where he and Tyler Medaglia from Bear were favorites, despite their low sprint. But both having similar sprint skills 48-47 but vastly superior pavé skills made them the favorites, they could work together. They did, siebs by Lanz, but then in the attacking km he instad of following Medaglia was confident enough to try to get away himself. he did, but Medaglia was 1 second further. An advantage he then extended second by second, he was 8" back in the end but saved second place by 3". Normally if we don't win then second or 5th doesn't matter much, but here after riding a good race except that km where we should just have followed, second place somehow was important. 4 wins in his career finally, but the big one eluded him.
Samuel now joined the team as a scout.

New rider:

Archibald Short from Balmain, a suburb of Sydney. His skills 48-74-76-49-44 with 54 reg. His goal is to become a 60-80 or something similar in time for the Giro. The first months of course he'll be far from those skills, so will mostly be there to do early tempo or nothing at all, just get used to riding in the peloton. From January on his role most likely will expand a bit.
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
Basics reform: Give blue a chance!
Don't punish bugusers. We all have to use bugs, since most of them are declared as "features"!

Bear
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Bear » Wed Nov 17, 2021 10:45 pm

Congrats to a nice career of Samuel. PR2021 is one of those races I really loved. Not just because Tyler won, it was also a tough race with lots of exciting moments. Samuel played a big role in this race!

Robyklebt
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Wed Dec 01, 2021 9:03 pm

November

4th place in D1 with 8477 points. Countless wins... just counted, so it wasn't countless, but 13. Great... countless ones in 2 team races, not going to count, so it's countless. But those wins still count! Season goals were the fantasy classics and the Volta a Rio.
Finally we managed to do quite well in the fantasy classics.
Lanzarote, won! Baaba beats Moretti and Löffel. Yes, 1 team race, but at least there was a fight, we really wanted Moretti to win, but Baaba Faye with topform proved too strong.
GP Canyon de Chelly: Gabel wins! Now this one we wanted, never won it, often riding the Andes, Topform for Gabel, won, 6 team race it seems, so not that bad.
Villalba: 2 team race, we absolutely dominated free. Not difficult with Apicella-Ardila. Apicella topform, but we decide to give the win to Ardila.
Aizawl: Espariat with topform. Waits, follows Hofbauer, attacks and surprisingly doesn't have Hofbauer in the wheel. Was already preparing the sprint it seems. After the Andes so better participation again here, 7 teams already. Anyway, happy to have won another fantasy classic that was missing, even if this one is pretty new.
Ganiari-Kalachuri Temples. After Messerli in 2020 this year Quaghebeur. 2 options, the slow but hopefully unmarked train for Löffel, Quaghebeur-Bieri-Löffel, or the last km attack by Quaghebeur. We tried Quaghebeur, he got away and won the 3 man sprint.

So 5 of the 9 winter classics won, clearly satisfied. Next year Brescia! The best of all of them. Rio with strange race readings, but turned out ok finally. We never looked closely at the length of the TT, were kind of shocked when we saw how much our leader Lambert was losing... it was 18 km, looked shorter... So changed to Espariat as GC leader, he came in in the last mintute actually, wasn't planned at all. Finally second, he just not good enough in pavé to win enough time vs Schwackhöfer. Second good enough though.

3 wins for Löffel
2 wins for Quaghebeur, his first ones
2 wins for Basterrextea , his first ones
1 win for Faye, Messerli, Gabel, Ardila, Moretti and Espariat. With Ardila and Moretti with their first wins too.

Actually less wins more fun would be more than ok with me..

Rider of the season:

Moritz Gabel. While 5 other riders scored more points, his win clearly the most important of the season. Only rider who seemed able to threaten him was Espariat, his win at the Aizawl Cup was nice too and if he had won the Volta a Rio... but he didn't, so it's Moritz Gabel.

Short interview:
- Moritz, rider of the season again. Second time in a row after October. Congrats
- Thanks.
- 4 wins so far, but all higher category. Are you big race rider?
- Seems so, certainly. But wouldn't mind winning a lower category race either, I have the quality wins now already, some quantity wouldn't hurt.
- Which win is the the most important so far in your career?
- Clearly Paris-Tours, clearly. That was my career goal basically, that was the race that fit my characteristics perfectly, that's the race I wanted and had to win. More than any other.
-But generally you had a perfect 3 months now. Your first win at the Vuelta in September, then Van Petegem, Paris-Tours and now GP Canyon de Chelly.
-Not perfect, the big regret is the Giro del Piemonte, or Gran Piemonte as it's known nowadays. We rode for Messerli, but really I would have been the better option. We 3 sprinters realized it during the race too, but at the start Messerli was leader and we didn't adapt. In the end Messerli second, me third. Messerli could have won, we just didn't do a good sprint, but me as last man would have been the safer option. That's the big regret of October really. Out of 10 times we would win that sprint 7 or 8 times I think, we didn't.
- But otherwise all everything worked perfectly.
- Sure. Even if as I said winning a bit more wouldn't bother me, I'm not looking for purity of palmares at this point, but some quantity.
-With Messerli and Löffel being 38 and 34 respectively you should be the clear leader more and more.
-Yes, true. Let's hope I manage to win a few more races.
-No young sprinter in the team yet, will somebody join soon?
-Don't ask me, I'm not in management.
-Ok, what are your goals for December and further on?
-December clearly the December tour. After that we'll see.
-You'll be 33 for Milano Sanremo and 34 for Paris Roubaix.
-Forget Roubaix, the Donkey tried to build me up as a future Roubaix threat when I passed pro, but that was never a realistic expectation. I'm good at pavé, but not that good. Even as leader I would not be able to do more than fight for 15th place. Milano Sanremo is a difficult race of course, I expect to be one of the protected riders there, but not the only one.
-Anyway, congrats again, and maybe we'll meet again in a month!

Finances

+1'533'976. So fully satisfied. Not that it was difficult....

Training

Basterretxea 3 of 4 mountain, so that's already a good month. ARdila going up to 84 too makes it even better, +2 this month. +2 for Tran, flat, nice too in view of the pavé classics.

Retirement

Baaba Faye: He joined the team 01.05.20 with the following skills 54-74-75-66-47 and 39 reg. Third Faye in the game, he and Babacar (the second one) started sort of a boom in the Faye clan now. The patriarch of course is still Cheik Faye, the 49-62 flat star that developed into a 49-81 flat guy. And even got a win and a third place in Plouay. We mostly took Baaba as a favor to him to be honest, he still suffers from depression because he only managed 509 eternal points in his career, one of 5 riders for Big Donkey (so not counting Robyklebt and Petit Singe, 12 and 6 there) that failed to make 1000 eternal points. So ok, we'll take Baaba. He developed into a 70-80-74-67-47 guy. 4 one day races won, but more importantly Pais Vasco. Where he profited from a long, almost never ending moment of inattention by fantasticos to get yellow, and the defended it on the last stage under attack from both fantasticos and CC. His other wins were done in similar style, even the last one, long range attacks. Around 80 km at PV to get yellow. In 197 he got 4615 eternal points, even Cheik has lightened up now and enjoys life more again. Not quite enough to join the not very exlusive Donkey 5000+ point, but by winning Pais Vasco he has achieved something even more important. Baaba after spending some time in Sénégal has now accepted our offer and joined the team as mechanic. He's expected to take over as chief mechanic in January or FEbruary, for the moment he works under Nganang.

New rider

Tim Bradman from Bowral, NSW, Australia. The boy from Bowral, although he got very angry when we called him that, is a talented pavé rider, not really what we needed, but we always had trouble resisting cheap riders with talent. 46-69-58-52-46 with 35 reg. And 72,3 pavé, which means a pavé skill of 80. We expect him to become a good pavé rider, be ready to support Baas at Paris-Roubaix, become a rider that can ride for the win maybe later in his career. And of course we expect him to reach not 1000 points, but an average of 99.94 points per race. For the first 2 months he'll mostly be training, riding few races, only when we need a cheap rider that can't contribute much.
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Tue Jan 04, 2022 7:00 pm

December

10th place in D1 with 5968 points. 3 wins, after November a nice change, winning too much isn't good for the team. 3 wins and a stage race win. And a youth jersey, mountain jersey, points jersey, 2 team classifications.
Most important win of the season Asier Basterretxea who saved the December Tour with his stage win on the final day. He won the mountain jersey too.
Rest of the month was all, almost all, Löffel. Johnny on fire. Stage win and GC, points jersey in the short Tour in Vietnam. 3 team race, the 2 more favored teams for GC on stage 1 decided to attack, ok, the Donkey thought, he's known for organized riding, but if we want chaos, he can do that too. Attack including Löffel, beaten on stage 1. Got the win in stage 2, not sure why the opponents there were ok with a MS, and then got yellow on the final hilly stage. Bieri got the youth jersey too. Then the December Tour was tough on the team, stages with GAbel... he just wasn't strong enough to beat Bosilj from Falkenbier. Almost same form didn't help. Moretti and the whole team did a great effort on the pavé stage, but Wout vanThijs was too strong. So finally on the last day it was Asier who survived from an earlier break, waited for a later attack by Berg and was corried to the win by him. Podium seemed more important to Berg, ok for me, we prefer the stage.

Rider of the month: Johnny Löffel, no doubt. 18 wins in 2021 with his second win in December on the 30st. He topped a good year with a great month, winning a stage race and a green jersey.

Short interview:
-Johnny, second time rider of the year! Congrats!
-Thanks
-Only second time, I was surprised, thought you might have won more...
-No no, second time only. I won in September and now in December. I was competitive all year, won something every month except in March and August. But mostly I won small races.
-But even while winning small races they were important for the team. You won the races right before and after the Giro. A Giro that the team ended without a single stage win. Having your 2 wins against decent groups framing the Giro was very important for the moral of the team!
-Yes, of course that was nice. But let's not forget that while the team didn't win a stage at the Giro, Eiffel won the GC.
-Would you have won a stage at the Giro?
-Don't know, of course I would have liked to be there. But one sprinter is enough the Donkey said, and Messerli had been more successful than me until then, so they went with him. I took it hard at the time, but by now it's ok, almost forgot about it.
-No Tour either.
-Yep. There after my performance around the Giro I thought I would have a chance, especially since historically the team sends a less mountain specific team to the Tour. But with Tim Eiffel there things changed, so I had to stay home again. But again, I won a stage at the Tour de Wallonie right after the Tour, so I showed that I wasn't giving up.
-Then the Vuelta.
-Yes, there Gabel and me finally got our chance, we delivered finally, both with a stage.
-AFter that 2 wins in October, 3 in November, 2 in December. 3 great months
- I can't complain. The most important wins were in November I'd say. Beghelli and Giro del Veneto. 2 nice semi classic races. Of course would have preferred Agostoni to Beghelli, but I take any win.
-Tell us a bit about your win at the 3 jours de Hanoi!
-Not much to say, first day, the 2 other teams attack, the Donkey tells us to counter and tells me to go as well, so ok, that's what we did. Then in front it was me against Fortnow, he attacked me in the downhill, I'm not that good there, couldn't follow and he won. Final then I have to say big thanks to Joan, who just retired, without him I would never have won the tour. He pulled me over that nasty final climb, gained enough time to beat Fortnow rather clearly finally, 13" in the end, even got second place in the stage thanks to Coderch.
-What about the future? Now you're 35, not many years left.
-Well, for the moment in hilly terrain I'm still option number 1, but soon Bieri might be that. Different rider though, I sprint much better. In flat sprints with Messerli retiring soon, we do what we can. Gabel and me aren't that weak either, but having Messerli always gave us one more option. Probably now Gabel will be the leader in most flat races.
-Milano-Sanremo?
-Gabel is leader. But Bieri will have his chance. So will I. The Donkey has been clear, Milano-Sanremo 2022 for us will be a bit different from usual years, Gabel leader but with his skills, any other rider can go for his own chance if the opportunity is there. For the moment that's me and Bieri, but somebody like Espariat, Lambert or anybody else can go for himself too if the chance is there. While keeping in mind that with Gabel we do have a card if everything else fails.
-And until then?
-Well, now I'd like to reach 20 wins to be honest. Or 23, to be second in the team behind Fabulous Conti. Even knowing that my 18 wins in 2021 would have been 5 or so in earlier years. But not my fault that the racing scene has become smaller and less competitive.
- Ok, thanks for the interview Johnny and good luck in January
-Thanks

Finances
+975'907. So a worse result than usual. Not riding 4 days after christmas kept us under a million, not riding for GC pretty soon in the December Tour made us fall back there and win less than we're used to in a tour. But since we have reserves, all is fine.

Training
Asier 85 in the last training of the month, with that he's absolutely average, what the expectations are for a climber that starts at 73. And we're ok with that of course, even if after being at 84 at 23 we hoped for 86 or so. Otherwise nothing too noteworthy happened as far as we can remember. Short pissed us off with his refusal for flat trainings, 5 of 8 finally in 2 months. Risked being sacked, but we kept him

Retirements
-Michele Apicella: 01.09.20-05.12.21, so he left at the age of 36. 10'908 points in 127 races, that's 12th in the team in points. Starting skills: 73-53-72-51-48 with 46 reg Topskills 86-59-74-50-48 6 races won, 5 times on the podium in a tour, but never on top, and 1 youth jersey. Most of his career he was a helper to Tim Eiffel. Including his first real race where he had chances, the DecTour in 2020. A mistake probably, Apicella had better chances to win than Eiffel, but the team has always been rather rigid when it comes to climbers and leadership. Finally he still beat Eiffel and got second in GC, plus the youth jersey. His first taste of leadership then was a catastrophe, Tour de Provence in February, an almost guaranteed win, but Apicella failed. Second in GC. But after that when giving a chance he delivered. He won the Flèche Wallonne and the Giro dell'Emilia, the 2 most important 1 day races for climbers. 3 stages in the Tour de France, even beating Eiffel in a sprint against the team orders, taking over yellow. And in his only GT as a leader, he won a stage and got third in GC. Managing to win a stage vs Skeljvik after all is not easy, beating him in GC seemed impossible. So 6 wins, 5 of them category 5, only the Giro dell'Emilia at cat 4 was lower. 5 podiums, third in the TdF and Vuelta, plus Tirreno as well. For a rider that spent almost his whole career as a helper, that's good. Apicella now works as TV commentator for RAI, specialist for the c4f races of course, he never comments lesser ones organized by the UCI.
-Joan Coderch: 01.10.20-02.01.21, left at the age of 36 too. 5640 points in 229 races. Starting skills: 56-71-78-49-46 with 50 reg. Topskills: 73-78-78-49-46. 2 wins, a stage in the Dectour 20 and a stage in the Tour of Wallonie 21. There he got the third place in GC as well. So finally rather limited personal success, the closest he got to something big was 4th in LBL after an early attack 80 km from the goal. But as a helper he was always there, as Löffel mentioned, even in December helping Löffel to win a stage race. Unfortunately Coderch let himself go a bit in the last months with regards to training, down to 69-74 very fast, Even if he did quite well in his last 2 reports in December, we decided to let him go, his training since October simply wasn't up to our standards. Joan now is looking for a job, he thought he could hang around and get a salary from us until April. And while we appreciate what he did for us, for Eiffel mostly, we couldn't keep him around at the level he reached now. We wish him all the best for the future of course.

New riders

- Charles Drinkwater from Liverpool. 55-72-76-63-56 and 42 reg. A classic rider. Expectations are of course mountain training but also flat. He might often have to ride for Bieri in one day races or stages, for that he needs a decent flat skill. With his TT skill he might be able to ride for himself in some stage races too later. But for the moment of course we simply want him to train. Results or work from April on.
-Remmert Huizinga from Rotterdam: 54-74-62-61-51 with 40 reg. So pretty similar to Drinkwater, more flat, less mountain. less downhill. So for him the flat will be even more important, rather 82 flat but on 68 mountain than 70-80. With the TT depending on his training like Drinkwater he might be able to ride for himself at some point in some stage races. While Drinkwater looks like a good helper for GC riders too, with his weaker downhill Huizinga most likely won't ride a GT, but more 1 day races or shorter stage races. For him too, now training, from April on we expect more.

GIro outlook
Ardila and Basterretxea as climbers. Right now looks like Basterretxea should be the leader
Lambert and Bieri classics. But Drinkwater and to a lesser degree Huizinga have chances to ride themselves into the team.
Short as 60-80.
Meucci and Tran as flat riders.

That will be the base of the team, 2 free spots. One another 60-80 or a third classic. The final place at this point is a bit of a mystery to the team management too... Gabel probably too old. So.. ? A new sprinter? A flat rider? Anyway, most likely a rider that isn't in the team yet.
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Thu Jan 27, 2022 4:54 pm

27. January 2022!

It's Roby-Singe-Donkey day! That legendary manager inscribed to the game 16 years ago! People all across the world today are ecstatic, talking about nothing else, just here at c4f, where we can admire this legend every day, we seem to have forgotten what an important day today is. We really should be riding the "Holy Donkey Cup" today, but no, some race in Mallorca and some complete shit tour in Australia instead. With minimal participation. No wonder if we let some inept guy do most of the calendar. People demand that race! But no, pff. So ok, the festivities will be confined to here then. And hopefully shorter than usual

Riders of the season in 2021

01: B. Faye
02: T. Eiffel
03: T. Eiffel
04: B. Faye
05: T. Eiffel
06: M. Apicella
07: T. Eiffel
08: M. Apicella
09: J. Löffel
10: M. Gabel
11: M. Gabel
12: J. Löffel

61 wins which is a record and 7 stage races.

807'908 eternal points in 5032 races. A year ago that was ... bah, didn't write it down.

Best rider (rider of the year award too)

Tim Eiffel. Strade Bianche-Tirreno Adriatico-Tour de Romandie-Giro d'Italia-Tour de Suisse-Tour de France-San Sebastian. Easy decision. Even if the Giro win was some sort of weird present, the Tour basically won before the first stage, and Tim Eiffel himself an annoying guy, he still wins this one easily.

Favorite riders

- Mikhail Stakhanov: He rides and rides, even won a race
- Dario Meucci: No idea why, but he's just a nice guy
- Johann Löffel: Going on winning streaks makes riders popular with me. But at 66 mountain he really was a new experience for me, a guy that can really make the classics sweat, hard to get rid off.

Most useful rider
Has to be Stakhanov. 63 regeneration

Best buy

Silvio Bieri: 56-69-79-48-60, 43 reg. Not my typical classic that is mostly there to help, but one that should win, depending on training at least. Bought at 95% at 1'745'471.

Dumbest buy
Remmert Huizinga. Nice rider, now his training a bit frustrating, missing 2 flat trainings in the first month. The problem is that we bought an almost identical, but slightly better one the same month, Charles Drinkwater. Then Huizinga.. if it wasn't for the 60+ TT it would even be perfect, like this it's a bit... bah, what for?

Luxury buy
Tim Bradman: Too much money, so buy a 69 flat guy with internal 80 pavé, that will reach max 87 flat and 84.9 pavé for Paris-Roubaix. But that's PERFECT training for 4,5 months... so won't happen, Normally an 81-83 flat guy for PR, so just a helper, and basically only for this race really useful. Pure luxury, not needed. But still bought him and not regretting it (yet)

Nicest wins

Michele Apicella, Vuelta stage. Attack, followed, then I took following out, went in the km I thought the others would go, good. Rode behind them for 3-4 km unti the rest km, 1" behind probably, attack, overtook them and win. One of them 88 or 89 monster, thought the other one had topform, which wasn't the case, but still, was happy with that win.
Tim Eiffel: San Sebastian. Mainly for one reason, Eiffel beat Sindarov in the sprint once again.
Johann Löffel: Tsukushima Cup. Big group, morning people, Löffel survives the countless hils to win in the sprint.

But actually in our small groups most wins are complete shit. So the ones here are not really great wins, just the nicest ones out of an utterly mediocre mass.

Most important wins
Michele Apicella, Flèche Wallonne: After our troubled history with this great race now we're on a roll. Record winner.
Johann Löffel: GP Sportivi di Sovilla: Giro, 0 stage wins. Last win, the race before the Giro by Löffel. In the morning. First race after the Giro: Löffel wins again. Uff, we still can win.
Moritz Gabel: Paris-Tours. Only the second time we won it. So important. And the race is the main reason for Gabel's existence.

Hardest defeat
Fabian Messerli: Milano Torino. My stupidity, my paranoia, instead of winning, which wouldn't have been too difficult I let myself be influenced by a trick sprinter in my wheel. Minimizing their chances to win? 100% right, that I'll do every single time. But letting yourself be influenced so much that you sabotage your own chances? That's what happened there, result was a horrible sprint. Second mistake was going for Messerli at all, Gabel was the logical leader, except for form and seniority. Everything else said Gabel.
Samuel Lanz: Paris-Roubaix: Actually still ok with that defeat, attacked myself instead of relying on Medaglia. Didn't work, was behind, but saved second place, 8" before the group. Winning would have been nice, losing much less but still think did a good race, most things right, just that attack not. And might have lost a possible sprint vs Medaglia anyway, energy.. sprint values similar.

Favorite opponents
Easy, there's only 4 in the afternoon really. So all are my favorites
CC who wins 80% of the races, but he was my favorite with Eiffel!
Team Seven Down, who wins 80% of the races too, but one day races. I didn't like him much this year, Messerli-Walker was a short fight, roughly equal a year ago, at the end Walker had more than double the wins. But Gabel for a while was good vs one of his guys, and Löffel even annoyed him a bit lately, we like that, so we now like him again.
AAD: When CC is off, as he is lately, AAD picks up his wins. But he accepted Krankl as a decent rider, he sometimes lets us win too, he's clearly a favorite of the Donkey.
T-Mobile-A: Or as he's called nowadays, Mobster100. He mostly is there as decoration actually, we like it nice in the afternoon! Mobster100 is good for the morale, if somebody has a dry spell it's easy to click on Mobster100's palmares, you feel better immediately! But we fear in a year that might not work anymore, might have to drop him from our favorites then.

Irregulars of course are welcome too and can be irregular favorites, even free once a week is more than welcome! He's my once a week favorite, good for taking away some CC wins. Team FL for the cheap puns, Falkenbier for the cheap beer, etc etc.
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Thu Feb 03, 2022 9:02 pm

January

9th place in D1, 5340 points. 11 wins. No stage race ridden, so mostly small groups. Season goals the cat 3 fantasy classics, the Mallorca challenge races and then the cat 2 classics. Finally did fairly well in that.
Löffel won Letzebuerg and Walis et Futuna (100 form there), Asier only beaten by Johnny Thunders in Napier Bluff Hill. So 2 out of 3 of the cat 3 races. Clearly Johnny's month.
Cat 2, Hobart Hills, the small cousin Tasmanian cousin of Napier won by Asier, Calvia won by Löffel again.
All in depressingly small groups, but what are we to do... I'd rather have a fifth of the wins in 15 team groups.
Anyway, Löffel 4 wins, Gabel 2, Baas a cross race, Basterretxea, Messerli his 16th and last win in his last race, Bieri his first race, and Lambert.

Rider of the month clearly Johann Löffel. 2 cat 3 wins, 1 when he wasn't in especially good form, the other with 100. And Calvia with 86 form. So Bieri leader, Löffel wins twice, not very nice, that might explain why there were 3 votes against him, normally should an unanimous vote in cases like this. Anyway, short interview

- Johnny, rider of the month
- Thanks.
- Third time rider of the month, this time with 4 wins. After December we thought your best month was behind you, but you topped it in January.
- Yes, everything worked perfectly for me. My season goal was Boucles de Wallis et Futuna, a race we had only won with Matuska in the past. Worked perfectly, I beat Skoglund in the last 50 meters.
- Some former riders criticized the team though. No support, just a leader, most of the work to keep the flying Falkenbier away came from T-Mobile-A.
- Well, that's not my problem, but yes, for reasons that only the Donkey knows Moretti didn't start there, even with his form later in the month for the hilly pavé race he would have been useful. Instead we had Meucci and another flat rider at 100 form there... I think the Donkey sort of wanted to ride for Gabel, but then decided to let GAbel be in topform at some other completely mysterious race. For me as well it would have made more sense to target Letzebuerg and Mallorca, but the Donkey decided otherwise. Finally worked out very well for me.
- Mallorca, there again criticism, no team, fully relying on others.
- Yes, it was a strange month in that respect. But I delivered. The truth is that right now the team is in transition. I'm getting old, Moretti too, Vasco even more, Joan is retired. Bieri is still growing..
- Stop, the guy stopped training! We blame you, you winning Letzebuerg when he was leader clearly demotivated him!
- Oh come on, Silvio will do fine, give him time. And this has nothing to do with me winning, that's cycling. Silvio was happy for me to win, as long as the win stays in the team we all have no problem. But as I was saying, we're in transition, Charles and Remmert are still growing too, in a few month we will have a decent team for Silvio, right now we don't have a decent team for either of us. We rely on other teams. Not our fault if me and Silvio then are stronger than their leaders. Cycling is not only the team, but also the leaders.
- Ok, a month ago you said you have 2 goals left, 20 wins first, then 23, to overtake Zafzaf and be second in wins. Now you're at 22.
- 20 seemed realistic, I never thought I'd be at 22 after a month, Now of course 23 is my next big goal. I'm confident to reach it before the real big goal, Milano-Sanremo.
- But with Gabel and Bieri, you weakening...
- Yes, I'm aware of that and if either of them wins it it will be fine with me, no problem. But I'll be there too.
- 23 wins, with you weakening, not a problem?
- I hope not, even if in January I felt I had more problems in the mountains. But still, with a bit more concentration I could already have won my 23rd race, Trofeo Alcudia, we weren't paying attention and both me and Moretti didn't fight in the last hill, if we did we could have followed, and then I think we could have hold it together, possibly with help from behind, Quaghebeur might have been able to come back. But a moment of inattention and that's it. There will be other chances, I hope to do better.
-But once again, Bieri leader, you winning, happened twice this month. Why?
- The races just turned out that way, nobody did the feared or expected harder siebs, I stayed, then I'm just stronger than Bieri in the sprint.
- Gabel 2 wins, Messerli one, 7 sprint wins in a month, is that a team record?
- Don't know, but probably. We were all very happy to see Fabian win one more time! 16 wins as the leader of the cutlery. A win at 39, I hope to manage that too. He won from 21 to 39, that's impressive.
- Ok, goals for February?
- I'm not sure what I'll ride, not Valencia as you see, I'll be back later in the month.
- 243 races, is reaching 300 a goal?
- Hadn't thought about that.. but would be another eternal classification to join. But think that will be hard, I have 4 seasons left, and think I will ride less and less now, save my energy for the goals. So think I'll finish at 270 or so. We'll see.
- So, Milano Sanremo in march then the next big goal. So we won't see you in a month?
- Yes, on the big goal, in a month, I hope not, with stage races restarting and Het Nieuwsblad, I hope my team mates are successful enough to avoid me winning again. Even if of course for me another season like January would be to my liking...
- Good luck then

Finances:
+1'603'436 Happy with that, basically 1,3+ satisfies us.

Training:
Bieri only +1 in mountain at 24
Basterretxea no training at 25
Huizinga missing flat twice at 21

So we're not too happy with January. Baas +1 flat is big, but that really was the only good thing finally. Ok, Short recovering nicely from a slow start is good too of course, but Bieri +2 or Asier +1, or Huizinga missing only 1 flat was really necessary to make the month good.

Retirement
Fabian Messerli 01.07.20-10.01.22. 5976 points in 214 races. Starting skills 49-58-70-55-77 with 35 reg. Topskills 55-64-66-50-87. 16 wins, the first as a 21 year old, the last as a 39 year old. Had a bit of a dry spell last year from February (11 wins until then) to June, then got his groove back a bit. Most important win the Vuelta stage in 2020. Second Fourmies and Piemonte, came close to a cat 4 win twice. With 16 wins he has the third most wins of our retired riders and is the tenth rider to retire with 10+ wins. And with his 5976 points he's number 43 in eternal points, no. 8 among sprinters. Here you see that smaller groups give more wins but less points...As the oldest of our trio of sprinters finally he did well, had to share the leadership in hillier races that might have been possible for him with Löffel, later on the flat ones with Gabel. With a stronger sprinter group in the afternoon in the Giro and Tour was hard for him to win a stage isolated, GAbel and Löffel then in the Vuelta had it easier, being 2. Messerli really wanted to join the team as a sprint coach, but after the formidable job Matsukaze did with the cutlery we couldn't fire him. So Messerli has now joined Radio Schaffhausen where he comments cycling races involving Falkenbier. Not sure if they understand his Basler dialect there, but since their's is even more horrible they shouldn't complain.

New rider

Amancio Carpinteiro from Vigo in Galicia for 1'798'971, 95% as almost always. 52-74-74-56-46 with 56 reg. His the 60-80 that we were missing, starting higher than usually he should reach it earlier too. Maybe even for the Giro? But we might try to stress the flat a bit more than usual, not sure what for, he's too weak in the mountain for Bieri, but 60-85 for the Vuelta then would still be nice. But we'll see. For the moment we hope he just trains and trains. And having another spanish rider in the team might motivate Basterretxea again, he stopped training once Joan Coderch left. AS for his TT, while with the youngsters from January that would make a good TTT team, we don't really need that, so he'll probably lose it fairly quickly. He has more important things to train.

Goals for February:
Het Nieuwsblad above all. Then whatever other real race there is to win, after that we take fantasy races too....
Since we talk about pavé, the PR team is taking shape too.
Baas as leader with now 83.9
Tran 79.5 helper nr 1, hoping to train once more until then.
Bradman 77.9, might become helper nr 1 until PR, he's only 23
Lambert with 78.4 will be nr 4
With that a better support for Baas than Lanz had a year ago, but of course Lanz was stronger than Baas.
Moretti, Quaghebeur and Gabel will downtrain until then, but still should be over 70 pavé, Meucci and Short if anything train up, so a decent 9 man team for PR.

Giro, add Carpinteiro to the likely starters, so Ardila-Basterretxea-Short-Carpinteiro-Meucci-Tran seem sure, 2 classics, still 3 guys fighting it out, 1 free spot left.
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Fri Mar 18, 2022 5:43 pm

February

Damn, late, late
Place 17 in D1, 4534 points.
6 wins, first a Valenciastage with Drinkwater, then 5 wins with Gabel, bringing his total to 11 wins. Most important a Valenciastage for him too. Ardila second in GC there.
Main goal Het Nieuwsblad, tiny group, clueless Donkey, place 6-8 with Espariat-Lambert-Moretti
Rider of the month clearly Gabel, 5 wins, from 6 to 11 within a month, we had some doubts if he would reach 10, now mission accomplished. No time for an interview since he's preparing Milano-Sanremo

Training:
Bad Bieri. Good Baas. Or was that in January?

Finances:
+1'573'833

Retirement

Endeavour Trewlove retired on 09.02.2022. 308 races, 1766 points, no wins. Joined the team on 01.08.2020 with the following starting skills 52-73-66-53-45 with 37 reg. Topskills: 58-88-66-50-45. Flat rider, helper for the cutlery sprinters, Messerli-Löffel-Gabel. Occasionally could ride for himself, but never delivered. Second Brabant 2021 his most valuable result. But as a helper always important. Endeavour is back in the UK now, and started working for the Oxford Police.

New rider:
On 01.03.22 Reinaldo Gamboa from Cali, Colombia joined the team. 48-74-72-49-63 with 35 reg for 1'441'441 He will be trained as a hill sprinter, despite looking more like a flat guy with sprint... Goal 60+-74 and 75+ sprint Our leader for Milano-Sanremo 2023

Goals for March
1) Milano Sanremo
2) Topple Boaz somewhere, Tirreno or Catalunya
3) Strade Bianche
4) Milano Torino
5) Dwars door Vlaanderen
6) Win a Tirreno or Catalunya stage
7) Win anything

So nothing surprising really, not that confident to reach the higher goals, we mostly lack something everywhere.
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Fri Apr 01, 2022 2:18 pm

March

Outstanding, a bit boring too, but outstanding. 4th place in D1 with 9605. 11 wins, one Tour win.
The important races:
Strade Bianche 3rd and 5th
Paris-Nice: 2nd + 4th in GC, 2 stages, Löffel and Basterretxea
Milano-Torino: 4th and 7th,
Milano-Sanremo: Gabel wins
Catalunya: Ardila wins. 4. Basterrextea, 5 stages, 3 Gabel
Dwars door Vlaanderen: Gabel wins.

So after all our goals reached, MSR won and Boaz toppled. 2022 is already a success. 11 wins, 6 by Gabel, after 5 in February he's really the absolute sprint star of c4f lately. 1 win each by Löffel, Basterretxea, Ardila and Espariat during PN and Catalunya, while Bieri won a fantasy race on the 31st.

All nice, but Catalunya was boring like hell most of the time. MSR I enjoyed Mohoric more than Gabel, Dwars was boring again somehow, PN already so far away that I don't remember...

Rider of the month, clearly Gabel, Milano-Sanremo and Dwars door Vlaanderen 2091 points in March, nr 2 of all riders it, just 21 points behind the no 1. Not much more to say about it really, only regret maybe not winning the points jersey in Catalunya, but defending Ardila's GC was clearly more important there. So directly a short interview with Gabel

-Moritz, zum 4. Mal Fahrer der Saison, gratuliere!
-Danke
-5 Siege im Februar, 6 im März. Es läuft. Jetzt 7 Mal in Folge ein Sprinter Fahrer des Monats, warum sind Sie und Johnny plötzlich so stark?
-Wir sind gut. Böse Zungen behaupten vielleicht wir würden von den kleineren Feldern profitieren, die Wahrheit ist aber dass die kleinen Felder eine Folge unserer Stärke sind. Die anderen Sprinter haben Angst vor uns, gehen uns aus dem Weg.
-Aber warum hatten Sie bis Ende Januar erst 6 Siege auf Ihrem Konto, jetzt in 2 Monaten 11, was ist jetzt anders?
-Erst 6 Siege... Paris-Tours, wenn man Paris-Tours gewonnen hat gibt's kein "nur". Sonst, ich habe vielleicht jetzt mehr Chancen als noch vor 2-3 Monaten. Johnny ist natürlich immer noch stark, aber nicht mehr so wie im Dezember als er in Vietnam gleich eine hügelige Tour gewonnen hat. Dadurch bekomme ich bei Rennen, die auch im Januar noch für Löffel waren, jetzt meine Chance. Wallis et Futuna z.B., würde das heute stattfinden wäre ich Leader, nicht Johnny. Eigentlich war ich ja auch im Januar wohl als Leader geplant, meinte der Chef nach dem Rennen, meine Helfer, aber Löffel topform, nciht seine Hügelmänner. Na ja, hat geklappt.
-Milano-Sanremo, ihr grösster Sieg!
-Nein, Paris-Tours ist mein grösster Sieg. Ja, ich weiss, Milano-Sanremo ist Milano-Sanremo, aber für mich war schon immer Paris-Tours das Ziel. Das war das Rennen von dem ich geträumt hatte, das war das Rennen das ich gewinnen sollte, da wurde auch vom Team erwartet dass ich gewinne, da musste ich mit dem Druck umgehen. Sanremo? Da war ich einer von 3 möglichen Leadern, wurde mir schon vor Monaten gesagt. Johnny je nachdem wie er sich fühlt, ich, Bieri wenn er sich gut entwickelt. Natürlich freue ich mich über den Sieg, Bosilj gezeigt wer der Chef ist, aber Paris-Tours war für mich wichtiger.
-Johnny war nach dem Rennen etwas unzufrieden.
-Ja, als ich los bin musste ich ihn etwas zur Seite räumen, wäre das kein Teamkollege wäre ich wohl disqualifiziert werden, wir waren etwas eingeklemmt, er musste ganz an die Bande ran, Tempo raus, volle Konzentration nicht zu stürzen. Sonst wäre er auch in die Top 10 oder gar 5 gesprintet. Und wenn wir, Big Donkey, Falkenbier und Mosca, die vordere Gruppe nicht geholt hätte, hätte er durchaus auch Siegchancen gehabt, klar war er etwas frustriert. Aber auch glücklich mit dem Sieg.
-Bieri will Besteck werden!
-Ja, Silvio ist jung und offenbar nicht so intelligent. Messerli, Löffel, Gabel...... Bieri? Sorry, das geht nicht. Er war bei MSR im Sprint als Anfahrer superb, aber Besteck? Nein. Silvio wird sich noch machen, aber er ist kein Besteck. Gamboa der sehr talentiert ist auch nicht, der gewinnt Milano-Sanremo 23 wohl, aber auch das macht ihn nicht zum Besteck.
-Nach Milano-Sanremo noch Catalunya... Fabulous gewann da 4 Etappen., Sie nur 3.
-Ja, klar hätte ich die 4. auch gerne gewonnen, aber el guapo war im GK vorne, klar war er da wichtiger.
-Dwars door Vlaanderen zum Abschluss.
-Ja, Standardsieg, dieser Faye, also der Cousin von Baaba, war am Ende noch stark, der kann klar besser sprinten als Baaba. Aber sonst hatten wir das Rennen eigentlich immer unter Kontrolle, auch ein wichtiger Sieg, aber Standard. Das REnnen wurde überraschen soft gefahren.
-Noch kurz zur Zukunft. April, Paris-Roubaix?
-Ja, Paris-Roubaix.
-Glauben Sie wirklich Sie können da gewinnen?
-Nein, sagt ja niemand. Aber ich werde fahren. Für Baas und Bradman, ich bin ein guter Pavéfahrer, aber in Roubaix kann ich im Normalfall schon nicht gewinnen. Ich und Johnny müssen sowieso mal wieder einen anderen zum Fahrer der Saison werden lassen, die grossen REnnen überlassen wir also Lambert und Baas, Basterretxea und el Guapo, Bieri und wer sonst noch in Lüttich gewinnen will.
-Im Mai der Giro?
-Mal sehen, das ist noch unklar, aber nach den letzten 2 Monaten hoffe ich schon den Giro fahren zu dürfen. Nach der Vueltaetappe noch eine Giroetappe, das ist schon noch ein Ziel.
-Vielen Dank für das Interview Moritz

Finances
+2'191'304 Lots and lots!

Training

The young riders train as expected, the olders less so... Bieri will next month. After winning a race yesterday in a -5 sprint, he proudly told us that this shows his training is good. All the downhill riding from Schwarzenburg to Bern! But seems he then takes the train back up, we had assumed he went up by bike too. Idiot, from now on he will ride both ways.

Retirement

Vasco Teixeira retired on the 21st of March. 264 races, 1128 points, 1 win, Andes stage in 2020, possibly the one nobody of the 2 teams was online...60-80, he joined the team 01.09.19 starting skills:51-70-76-47-49, 52 reg. He trained well, reaching 62-82-76-47-49. Career helper of course, both for sprinters as well as climbers. He now works in a trading company as office worker.

New rider
Raffaele Pecci 47-70-54-59-55, 71.5 pavé, 36 reg. 1'351'531. The man from Pistoia has some talent on the cobblestones, 75 hidden skill, so that's what he'll mostly train. We hope he can reach 80 pavé, then with his 55 sprint with some luck Roubaix 23 will be his. Seems good in TT too, so if there's a TTT anytime, he can join in the fun.

Goals in April

Paris Roubaix
Fleche Wallonne
Liège
Ronde
Brabant
Schelde
Romandie
Probably some fantasy races
Amstel

So as usual... Pais Vasco won't be ridden, and since Boaz has been beaten, we might pass on Romandie too, no idea yet really. Full concentration on the 1 day races until LBL anyway, we'll see what's next then.
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Sat May 14, 2022 4:38 pm

April

4th place in D1 with 12'581 points. 7 wins. 2 by Carpinteiro, Gabel, Löffel, Drinkwater, Bieri and Basterretxea the others.

The important races:

Category 6

Ronde van Vlaanderen: 7. O. Lambert, 16. T, Espariat 20. G. Moretti, 21. A. Carpinteiro
Paris-Roubaix: 2. D. Baas 6. T. Bradman 10. T. Tran 14. O. Lambert
Liège-Bastogne-Liège: 1. C. Drinkwater 9. S. Bieri 12. A. Basterretxea 13. T. Espariat

Don't even remember Vlaanderen, in addition of not having a contender, as usual, we were rather demotivated by racing in on a Monday.

Paris-Roubaix not much motivation either, in a small group, easter. No Gipfel monster... Baas loses the sprint vs Nöbauer. We still feel that somehow we should have won this, just don't really know how or why, just a feeling.

Liège on the other hand we know we shouldn't have won, a ridiculous race. Fortunately we are already starting to forget the details, give it another month and we will be very proud of that win!!

Category 5:
Amstel Gold Race: 5. S. Bieri, 16. J. Löffel
Flèche Wallonne: 4. I. Ardila, 5 A. Basterretxea,

Huizinga as great Amstel leader failed, but doesn't matter much.
In Huy after 4 wins in a row we were beaten. But even without the surprise invasion of evening teams that streak was coming to an end, even with form 100 for both Asier and el guapo it looked rather hopeless. Asier tried an early attack, but had no chance.

Category 4:
Scheldeprijs: 3. M. Gabel
Brabantse Pijl: 1. A. Carpinteiro 2. R. Huizinga 9. F. Quaghebeur 10. D. Meucci

Schelde, for some reason that I don't remember I didn't want to try to sieb, some free won, Gabel third
Brabant, Carpinteiro, attack with Baas 80-90km from the end, the peloton underestimated him, like it had happened in a fantasy race earlier in the month. Finally 1'17" advantage over Huizinga, who surprisingly won second place in a sprint

So a good month, a monument and a category 4 win. Nice. Small groups unfortunately, Original RVV still had enough I think, but after it was small groups mostly..

Rider of the month:
Thanks to his win in Liège obviously Charles Drinkwater. Broke the 7 months streak by the sprinters, 3x Löffel, 4x Gabel. And the first british rider to win the most prestigious title at c4f too. No interview, since Charles right now is riding around in Napoli.

Training:
Quite good if I remember correctly. Good Huizinga, up to 70 at 24, Bradman good, Carpinteiro good. Bieri and Basterretxea not, but otherwise all nice.

Finance

+1'639'894
Good, as usual, not sure why I still write that down

Retirement
On 7th April Mikhail Stakhanov retired. 355 races, no. 8 in the history of the team (30 riders with 300 races or more now, possibly 31, but probably 30)1307 eternal points, 1 win. GP Le Samyn in March 21.
He joined the team on 01.10.20, starting skills: 49-71-71-50-49, 70,7 pavé and 63 regeneration. Top skills: 49-83-77-50-49 79,1 pavé. His training in flat not perfect (even if I thought he had 84...) we hoped he would reach 80+ pavé. But with his regeneration, unfatiguable as he was, 83 actually was pretty much perfect, if a rider like that has 86 or more it sort of hurts to use him early. So good helper, often in tempo early for Eiffel, later for the cutlery. He retired, wanted to go back to Russia, either to work in a coalmine or to start a Vodka producing business, but for the moment he refuses to go back. Right now he is trying to get the necessary permissions to start his Vodka distillery in Belgium, near Quaregnon, where Le Samyn starts. We wish him lots of luck and hope he can go back to Russia soon, as soon as they get a saner president!

New riders
Patrizio Rossi from Prato, grandson of the great Paolo Rossi. 56-74-67-49-49 with 59 reg. The next classic, so his training seems obvious, mountain first, flat next. Hoping to be there to compete for Liège 23.
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Fri Jun 17, 2022 7:10 pm

May


Very late, so I try to be very short. Place 11 in D1 with 11'036 points.

Giro, 4th with Basterretxea, Ardila only 12th. But he was a helper who didn't have to care about GC. 2 stages, Basterretxea and Drinkwater, winning the final TT. So an ok Giro, we tried, but never really had a chance to win it, in the end 4th, 1" behind 3rd place, but doesn't matter, podium was never a goal.

Rest of the month, Löffel at 39 with his last win, number 25, and Gamboa with his first win, so logically number 1.

So an ok month, 2 Giro stages finally are ok, was worried to end up at 0 for a while.
Rider of the month Asier Basterretxea, but since he's in Switzerland he can't give an interview.

Finances:
+1'035'012, had better months, but with the Giro that's ok.

Training:
Don't remember... but classics stopped training at some point, Drinkwater probably still trained in May?

Retirements:
Johann Löffel, 01.11.20-05.05.22 in the team. Starting skills 50-69-57-51-66 with 35 reg. 1'445'441 is what we payed for him. He rewarded us with 25 wins and good training. Training first, his top skills: 66-71-5x-50-81. With that at his best he was really hard to drop permanently for classics on the right parcours. As second of our 3 sprinters he had a decent amount of races where he was a helper, first for Messerli, later for Gabel, but in hilly races he was the leader pretty soon. 25 wins in 294 races, his first win in January 21 as a 23 year old. His best period was end of September 21 to January 22, when he won 12 races. Big wins.. no real big win. Twice number 2 at MSR, never got to ride the Giro, but gave us the much needed pre Giro win both in 21 and 22. In 21 the post-Giro win too. Vuelta 21 he got a stage, his most important win finally. But finally had a Paris-Nice stage in 22 as well, won the Giro del Veneto, Beghelli, and made us happy winning fantasy classics in the offseason, Wallis et Futuna and Letzebuerg. Letzebuerg while not even being the leader, but in that period he still was so strong that he regularly took over the leadership from Bieri. In December 21 he even won a stage race, Vietnam, 3 day race with 3 teams, not worth much but looks good in the palmares. For a money sprinter an outstanding career, he profited enormously of the small groups of course, in normal times he would never even have won 10 races. But he did the best in his circumstances, and unlike other teams with similar riders, we weren't afraid to ride for him on his days. Even if often he didn't have a real good team around him, so profited from others too a lot, especially once he was at 66 mountain. 25 wins, 1 stage race with points jersey, second most wins ever in the team. 6747 eternal points, no. 37 of all riders, no 7 of sprinters. A great career, we already miss him. But since he's retired so long already we actually forgot what he's doing now.. Good luck in whatever he's doing.

New riders

Guillaume Payot from Chamonix, France, joined the team on the 01.06.2022. Starting skills: 73-54-74-52-45 and 52 reg. His goal, the Giro 2023. Tour de France? We don't care what he thinks, if he trains well and keeps his level after the Giro 23 we might let him start at the Tour, but his first goal is the Giro. For the moment we simply want him to train. Mountain and some more flat, flat which is a bit of a weakness, but we've had weaker ones. 52 TT is huge too, 51 we usually let downtrain, 52 not so sure, we'll see. We payed 95% for him, so 2'901'092. He will make his debut in July in San Sebastian most likely until then we simply ask him to train. Later a Vuelta start is possible, then the Italian autumn races, then the offseason, Andes? December Tour? That's when we'll expect the first results too.
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Thu Jun 30, 2022 7:07 pm

June

8th in D1 with 9001 points, only 27 races!!!!

2nd place for Asier Basterretxea in the TdS, with one stage win. Race wins for Bieri and Carpinteiro as well.

Finance: +1'390'686

The rest will be added later, this now since it doesn't seem to be accessible after the month change....

Basterretxea rider of the month.
Training was done, who knows how...
New riders will be presented later..
Retirements too.
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Sun Jul 31, 2022 11:48 am

July

28 races, 9498 points, 4th in D1 (unless somebody sells somebody too, we were 3rd before getting rid of Ardila)


Main goal the TdF, GC 3rd with Basterretxea. Best climber, only third... didn't ride too well for GC, wrong assumption regarding the opponents form early, so bigger pavé loss than necessary. But more decisive the mountain stages later, that for GC simply weren't ridden very well. But even with better riding there most likely not enough. Got stages instead, 5 of them. 3 with Basterretxea, Planche, no Super Planche de Belles Filles, Granon with topform and Hautacam. Probably could have won 5 with Asier, being online and not fucking up an attack, but actually nicer to have 2 other guys win. Gamboa a sprint with 100 form, good planning, and Rossi out of an escape.

After the Tour 3 other wins, Gabel first Olympic champion, 1896! Ah, second, was afternoon. Then Payot beating Ardila in the sprint in a very unexciting 3 manager (4, but one off) race in San Sebastian. And Huizinga winning the last race of the month. Which made Ardila very angry, he was supposed to win here. In San Sebastian forced by the manager to sprint from the front and early, the group behidn is coming he was told, Payot then easily overtook him. So today for him, and what happens? In the last km Huizinga attacks. Ardila seems to have assumed that Huizinga would do tempo, drop everybody else and then let him the win, but that wasn't the plan, both attack, Ardila wins. El guapo though insists that he was cheated, not only Huizinga went, Drinkwater attacked and dropped him too, instead of reacting he was in the wrong gear and waving at his family that came from Colombia for his last weekend as an active rider. Then couldn't change the gear. According to him all planned, so that the team loses less points when he retires.

Rider of the season: Asier Basterretxea. 3100 current points, including June of course. But clearly the star of July. NO interview, while he was here in the Basque Country, like the rest of the team he escaped immediately after Remmert crossed the finish line, El Guapo looked too dangerous to stay around. I, the fantastic Press secretary could stay since nobody really knows and recognizes me.

Training:

Hm, wasn't always too happy with it, so not spectacular I guess.

Finance To be added tomorrow, but quite good.

Retirements:
Somebody in June, we guess MOretti, but we forgot, we'll deal with him or whoever it was later.
Francis Quaghebeur in early July, flat star 2 races won? We'll check later, if it's possible....
Ivan "el guapo" Ardila: 31.07.22 5657 points in 89 races, Best skills, 84 mountain, the rest will be checked later. Disappointing training, only 84 starting at 73. Was one of the very few elder climbers that turned out to be nr 2 in the Giro, not Leader. 7th in his first GT as helper, Vuelta 21, incl youth jersey, 12th in the Giro. As helper again. 5th Atlantic Islands, wasn't taken to the Tour. But his biggest win came in March. Catalunya, the GC, beating Boaz, preserving Zafzaf's record! Stage and GC, while Basterretxea still hasn't won a stage race, el guapo did, and an important one. HIs only other win came in Villalba, off season classic. He finished his career with a bitter second place in San Sebastian, cat 5 classic, beaten by his young teammate Guillaume Payot. According to him it was a team decision, the general consensus in the press is the same, we will refrain from commenting more. And today due to his own carelessness he ended up only 6th in his last race, a sure win, the whole team worked (very lightly) for him to beat the other team, he then failed, good thing Remmert was there.
El guapo has now left the team, we have no clue what he'll due, suing the team it seems, at least that's what he yelled around in the finish area. We suppose he goes back being a youtuber, influencer, taking advantage of his good looks.

New riders:
In July: Galarrwuy Rrurrambu from Australia, from Elcho Island, NOrthern Territory. And aboriginal as can be guessed from his name. Very talented, 48-55-48-49-76 with 36 reg. A pure sprinter is the plan, so no flat at 70 or so, no mountain at 55, 50-60 and sprint as high as possible is the goal. For the moment we only expect him to train and use him in the train, to train, as we said. But already from August on we hope for some results, not necessarily wins, but good placements.

August: Tomorrow Urs Steiner from Goldau will join the team. 73-56-72-54-53 with 52 reg. His goals of course the Giro, Tour and Vuelta 2023. He will probably give his debut in October, then possibly ride the Andes, if enough afternoon teams join. For the moment he only has to train, train and train. We're not too happy with his downhill, but flat is excellent. Sprint 53 doesn't hurt, no need to cover it. TT 54 will need to be covered, we pay for it, so 54... we cover, not like 51 or sometimes 52. With his TT he might challenge Payot for the leadership at the Giro, but of course it's early, first the 2 youngsters have to train.

Goals for August. A bit more motivated then we were for the TdF, but when it gets closer... we'll see. But 95% we start. Team unclear, Basterretxea, Short and Carpinteiro sure. Drinkwater almost, then lots of possibilities, Payot, Huizinga, Rossi, Bieri, Gamboa, Rrurrambu, Meucci, Bradman Pecci,
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Sat Sep 24, 2022 6:25 pm

August!

It's over! So we need to keep our press center up to date.

4 wins, place x in D1, just ahead of Romoc, that's all that counts at the end of August. The 4 wins: GAbel with a fantasy race, but his 20th win, a milestone, or a metric stone? His big wins are over, but getting no 20 still is nice. Then Bradman with some fantasy race, ah, checked, pavé, was actually a masterpiece that one. It worked perfectly like it should, luck involved as usual, sure, small group, but still a masterpiece, very likely the manager's best performance of the year. Then the main goal of the season, the Vuelta, 2 stages for Asier Basterretxea, red jersey, all that needed to be done then was defending it in September. Easy-peasy! End of September we should be here to celebrate our Vuelta win (spoiler alert, we won't)
Rider of the season obviously Basterretxea, for the 4th time in a row. Considering he hasn't managed to win a stage race yet (but wait till the end of Sept (no don't)) not bad. Or not good for the team that he keeps winning the award?

Finance:
+699'451, good enough considering we had 11 Vuelta stages. September then should be over 2 millions?

Training:
Huizinga 71, Payot 84, good. Rossi 70 was probably in August too, but we want more (But with his reg, 70 might be enough, salary, salary)

Retirement:
Tom Espariat (Fra) 01.02.21-26.08.22. Classic rider. Starting skills 56-74-74-63-45 with 41 reg. Best skills 72-80... 3824 eternal points in 205 races, 2 wins, a stage at the Vuelta a Catalunya 22 the most important. Tom is now going into politics, he wants to become the mayor of Aix-en-Provence. The first "best" classic that didn't really train well in a while, before him we had an incredible series of getting at least one to 74+, Belhassen with 74 was already a bit on the weak side. But now we pay for those golden classic training years and Espariat looks like a top-classic... But generally disappointing training, slightly, and the results not outstanding either, but considering he was mostly a helper that was ok.

New rider
Baykali Gurruwiwi from Elcho Island, northern territory joined the team on 01.09.2022. For 95%, 1'387'831 Starting skills 53-70-54-51-55, 36 reg. We were told by Rrurrambu, that Gurruwiwi was an outstanding, incredible flat rider, he said he hadn't seen anybody as strong as him in the flat, so we offered him a contract. Only 70 flat...ok, we should have considered that Rrurrambu was not exposed to much international or even national competition in his youth career, mostly races in the northern territory, and considering he had only 55 flat when he turned pro... 70 sure looks monstrous. He hadn't mentioned his climbing talent, 53, but having 49 himself that didn't seem so impressive to him. Anyway, now we have Gurruwiwi, the goal is to make him what Rrurrambu thought he already was, an outstanding flat rider. We'll train him a bit in the mountain too, but have no problem if he regresses there a bit later in his career. For the moment he just has to train, ride some races helping Rrurrambu, sprint to get a point or 2 in some races. Long term we hope to have 5x-85 minimum, even if starting at 70 doesn't make it that easy.

Goals for September: Win the Vuelta, do well in the semi-classics (the cat 3 races) and the other one day races after that.
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Fri Sep 30, 2022 4:10 pm

September

8th place in D1 with 8946 points, 29 races
3 wins.
The big goal was to bring home the Vuelta win, in the end Basterretxea failed. 2nd place finally. With 1 stage win in September. Payot 3rd and the youth jersey. 2 more wins later in the month, Short finally wins something, GP de Wallonie, categery 3, and Gabel wins his 21st and final race, the Kampioenschaap van Vlaanderen, category 2.

Rider of the month: Archibald Short! The Australian interrupted Basterretxea's series by narrowly beating him in the vote. Winning a category 3 race, in a small group was enough. Unfortunately no interview with Archibald since he's tired from yesterday and still recovering.

Training
Now all the 70 classics up to 71, Payot to 86 at 24, very nice
Rrurrambu with top training too, +4
So good training

Finances
+2'592'706, including Vuelta money, so over 2 months almost 1'600'000 average, which is good.

Retirements
Moritz Gabel, from Basel, like all good sprinters. He joined the team on 01.03.2021 with the following skills: 50-54-71-51-79, 41 reg, 62,1 pavé, 81 internal pavé skill. The third of the cutlery sprinter, following Messerli and Löffel. The goal was to train him in flat mostly. sprint just up to +/- 85. He finally got to 72-86 with 74.7 pavé, but his training was basically over at 26/27, reached 86 sprint in August, 71 flat in September, after that only a flat training at 32. And when he stopped training, he started winning, his first win in August, a Vuelta stage. Then in October his career goal, Paris-Tours, which he won, career saved, all good. But he continued winning, GP de Chelly, cat 3 off season classic, our first win, Milano-Sanremo, 3 Catalunya stages, Dwars door Vlaanderen. So with the double Paris-Tours and Milano-Sanremo obviously a stellar career. After his 18th win in April, he had a 3 months winning break, before he got up to 21 wins with one win each in July-August and September, at age 37-39. 203 races, 6656 eternal points, nr 38 in eternal points in the team, right behind Löffel, 21 wins 4th in the team. His big regret is the Giro del Piemonte, where riding for Gabel very likely would have resulted in a win for him, but we rode for Messerli. Moritz now will work as a salesman for Victorinox, they are famous for their knives, he wants to make their forks more widely known too! We of course wish him good luck in this new chapter of his life.

New rider

Isidoor Vanuytsel, 50-70-78-49-50 with 56 reg. 70.6 pavé, so 72 internal pavé skill. He looks weaker in the mountain that Gurruwiwi, but unlike that one, Isidoor should become a 60-80. Next 2-3 months we expect him to mostly train, after that we can expect more tempo and more effective help from him in the races. The goal is 60-80 as said, no need for a high flat 60-80, rather 62-80 than 60-82 for him. Even if that pavé skill we hadn't seen before is making us think a bit right now.... maybe 62-82 best?

Goals for October:
-Lombardia
-Paris-Tours
-Other classics
And then the pavé tour, start of the off season
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Mon Oct 31, 2022 6:53 pm

October

9th place in D1 with 10'322 points. 4 wins, the most important one of course Asier Basterretxea, Giro dell'Emilia. Then 3 stages of the Pavé tour with Bradman (2) and Pecci (1). Points jersey and second place in GC for Pecci as well. So thanks to the Emilia win a good month finally. The 2 main objectives were missed though. Lombardia, following mistake, as often happens I thought thinking to follow somebody was enough, didn't bother to change it... and in Lombardia I miss all the luck I have in Roubaix for example. There a following mistake gave Lafargue the win, here in Lombardia once again I fell short, had to chase the missed escape, in the end second place, less tempo there for Payot and maybe the energy is enough for the win? Paris-Tours on the other hand never looked like we would have a chance, not a good group for Bradman, and Gamboa couldn't do more than third.
Short interview with Basterretxea:
-Asier, for the fifth time rider of the month, congratulations!
-Thanks.
-5 times rider of the month, 0 stage races won. Isn't something wrong?
-Well, yes, obviously for a Big Donkey climber not winning a stage race is not ideal. Not ideal at all. But I made that up, at least partly with stage wins. 1 in the Giro, 3 each in the Tour and Vuelta, then one each in Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse. And now the Giro dell'Emilia. So it's not that bad.
- But you still miss a GC win. Any regrets?
- Of course. I was places numerous times, Giro 4th, Tour 3rd, Vuelta 2nd, 2nd in Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse as well. But that's how it is. Of course at the Tour I wish we would have ridden it differently in retrospect. We didn't go all out in the pavé stage, cost us 20-30" I guess. We thought the race would develop differently in the mountains. The Vuelta was close too, but just wasn't to be finally.
-No Flèche, no Giro...
-Yes, but at least I won Emilia. Now we have 6 wins there. We won it the first year with Universo Guevara, a guy who in the end has a similar palmares to mine, no GC win. I have many more wins though
-UNIVERSO GUEVARA! Don't dare compare yourself with a legend like that! Compared to him you're nothing!
-That's the point, as great as Universo was, he finally just never had the necessary luck in the GCs. Just something missing, same for me. So you can't just look at the GTs and the Flèche Wallonne! You have to see how things went. I have more wins, but I'm aware that in Universo's time winning was much more difficult.
-Hm, you retire soon?
-Yes, probably. We're not riding the Andes, the December Tour is far away, I'll be 36 and Big Donkey might prefer Steiner as second climber to me, depending how the parcours is anyway. So.. not much to do for me anymore, I'll try to help Steiner develop a bit, but I might retire in November already as well. Nothing decided yet.
-So no goals for November?
-Maybe we ride one of the 2 late Tours? Or Villalba GP? But yes, I'm not getting younger and there's not many opportunities for me in November, so no real goal. I'll train hard, try to keep my level for December, and see then. Even if I retire in November I'll stay fit until my last day at the team!
-Ok, then, bye, and never ever compare yourself to Universo again!


Training
Bad... Steiner +1 at 23. Payot and Rossi nothing at 25/26, when you still hope for that +1, especially for the classic. But saved by Pecci, +2 flat, 82 pavé now, with that he's back in the contender circle for Paris-Roubaix. Drinkwater at 30 reached 72 is nice too. But Steiner hurts a bit.

Finances
No idea yet, well I guess around 1,5 millions? As usual.

Retirements
On 29.10.22 Dan Baas retired. Starting skills: 49-69-62-46-49,72 pavé, 39 reg. Top skills: 50-86-61-46-52, with 83.9 pavé. So plus 17 flat, good, but not as good as his predecessor Lanz or his heir Bradman. And like Lanz (but not Bradman most likely) he ended up second in Paris-Roubaix, the only race he was in the team for really. 2 wins, a pavé tour stage in 21 the most important, Good as a tempo helper for the cutlery, most Gabel than Messerli or Löffel due to age and skills of the sprinters obviously. 1409 points in 178 races finally. Now he is the president of some import-export company in the Netherlands. We wish him luck in the next chapter of his life as well.

New rider
Gotzon Lekubarri from Bilbao will join the team on November first. 56-69-71-48-55 with 54 reg. A classic obviously, Number 2 for the Giro, we don't like that with Rossi and now Lekubarri we will have 2 guys with over 50 reg, ideally we'd have none. 45 is more than enough. Better downhill than Rossi, little flat, 55 sprint, mostly a helper, but with his sprint we hope he can maybe play a role in some classics. His job at first will be mostly to train, ride some hilly races as helper, we will expect more from him from February onwards.

Goals for November
Cat 3 classics followed by cat 2 classics.... No Andes planned. Reasons (again, already stated those at least twice):
1) We don't actually like long tours that much. For a long time used to ride 2 GTs a year, then Andes-Dectour. First no TdF, 06-08later we did a Vuelta boycot, so 2020 was the first time we rode 3 GTs. Tried Andes, that was then cancelled. But basically for us 3 GTs no Andes, or 2 GTs and Andes is better than riding all.
2) Our team is too strong for the Andes. As the only true consistent climbers team at c4f our usual Andes lineup looks something like this 3 climbers (1 old, 1 still developing) 2 classics, 60-80es. This year would be 3 climbers 81-85-87, 3 or 4 classics 72-71-71 (69) 2 60-80es with reg and if the 69 classics stays home (which would be likely) Lekubarri with 56+ mountain and reg. Considering that right now in the afternoon nobody had more than one climber, showing up with that team? Would be boring for us and for the rest. We'd win it, guaranteed (ok, haven't analyzed the parcours that closely, so might have missed a lot, but normally with such a team and a 87 mountain leader you just win it) If we had just one team with 2 climbers, it would already be way more interesting. Like our old basically 2 team battles vs Bergwerk. Those Andes of course were not THAT interesting either, but at least there was a battle (that I usually won in the Andes) Ideally we'd have me, another 10 teams with 2 climbers, then some team with just a single climber. That would be fun Andes. Donkey vs 5 teams with a single climber? We all are bored. Plus looks critical with those 5 other teams anyway, I think we risk having the Andes cancelled in the afternoon again.... but ok, not the point.
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Wed Nov 30, 2022 7:12 pm

November:

After the afternoon race place 13 in D1 with 5991 points.
2 wins, Bradman the pavé race, Payot the offseaon classic, GP Villalba. With that he clearly is our rider of the season. He's in training now, so no interview.

Finances: Tomorrow...

Training: Rossi 73 mountain now, nice, Steiner not really doing much. 82...

Retirements:
Oscar Lambert: He joined the team on 01.04.2021 with the following skills: 55-72-72-46-45, 73,5 pavé, so 77 internal skill and 47 reg Topskills: 70-79-72-46-45, 78,4 pavé. So a pavé classic, but due to his low flat and low sprint he never had a chance in the northern hilly cobble classics. Best result in Italy, 3rd in Strade Bianche. 2 wins, Tour de Pavé stage in 2021 and a cat 1 fantasy hill-pavé race in January. He got 2970 eternal points in 239 races. He's now works in jail, as a guard. We wish him all the best in is new career.

New rider:

Lucien Trutat from Toulouse will join the team on 01.12.2022. His starting skills: 55-72-66-52-48, 71.1 pavé and 38 reg. A classic, he's not expected to go for pavé, unlike so not really a successor to Lambert, but he still will be decent there. We hope he simply becomes a good classic, good in the hills, with weaknesses in flat and downhill. And sprint. For the first months he's expected to train, train and train mostly.

Goals for December: None really. Will not ride much, ah, of course avoiding relegation is the goal, but that will be difficult, if not in December, it will be in January that we go down. But with no stage races ridden in November.. already December down looks likely. But we'll fight! Here and there...
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
Basics reform: Give blue a chance!
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Tue Jan 10, 2023 5:47 pm

December

Will be a short post... 6 races, 1 win, down to D2. Happy with a win from 6 races though, would have expected 0...Rrurrambu with his first win, wins rider of the month too obviously.

Finances:
+204'516

Training:
Mostly forgot it...Steiner +1 mountain, Gamboa +1 sprint, Vanuytsel good. Trutat annoying, missing very high (90+) flat percentage twice.

New rider:

Leonardo Ceroni, son of the RSI (swiss Italian TV) commentator Armando Ceroni. 49-67-76-49-56 with 47 reg his starting skills. A future 60-80 (or somewhere close to it) For the moment not very usable yet, but we're optimistic he'll be ready for the Tour de France, and decent enough for the Giro, although we don't know if he'll start there yet. With 56 sprint (down to 55 at some point) he should be able to get some placements or even wins for himself from escapes too at some point later in his career. But for the first 2 months he's only expected to train, possibly some early tempo in some races.

Retirements:
Asier Basterretxea will retire as soon as this post is finished! 01.09.21-10.01.22. Starting skills 73-53-73-51-48 with 59 reg. Best skills: 86-58-74-50-48. 4th in the Giro, 3rd Tour, 2nd Vuelta, he wanted a 4th GT. No stage race win in his career, got second in Paris-Nice and the TdS as well. But he made up for his lack of stage race success with wins, 15 wins in his career, 7 GT stages, 1 at the Giro, 3 each TdF and Vuelta. Plus a PN and TdS stage. 1 KoM jersey, Dec Tour 22. And the Giro dell Emilia, always a goal for our team. 10'695 points in 119 races, average 89.9 per race. 5 time Big Donkey rider of the season. 15 wins places him in 5th place for wins in our team (we still only have 14 riders with 10+ wins..), 10'695 points place 14 for eternal points (15 over 10'000, 64 over 5000) Asier who wanted to retire 2 seasons ago, now finally can take the next flight home. He'll work as a receptionist in his brothers dental clinic at first, but plans to become a dentist himself, will start studying dentistry at the University of the Basque Country, Bizkaya Campus in Leioa next fall. We wish him a lot of successful root canals!
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
Basics reform: Give blue a chance!
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Robyklebt
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Fri Feb 10, 2023 8:42 pm

January

10th in D2, 2855 points, so promoted to D1. Unexpected after I saw the situation after a month off, but probably profited from some point sales too. 4 wins plus a stage race, Gamboa and Rrurrambu 1 fantasy race each, Rrurrambu with a Down Under stage, Payot with one too and the GC. Payot rider of the month, but Rrurrambu got quite a few votes as well. No interview, since Guillaume is in Oman right now.

Finances: +616'750 in 2/3 of the month, so ok, but a bit on the low side.

Training: Steiner one up! Bradman stays quite good. Vanuytsel maybe was good too? Yeah, forgot most of it, look at the training thread you morons!

Retirement: DucThiep Tran. 01.07.21-31.01.23 232 races, 867 points, so failed in the obligatory quest for 1000 points. Despite a decent sprint skill, 55. His starting skills: 46-72-53-49-54 with 71,1 pavé, 47 reg, 68 internal pavé. Top skills: 49-84-50-49-55, 79,5 pavé. Only 12 training in flat, perfect until 22, then 0-2-2 at 23-25, then he kept his flat skill from November 21 to September 22. So he was a flat helper and pavé helper, as expected, just with a bit lower pavé skill than hoped. The main reason for his lack of points though was his regeneration, with 47, combined with not super top flat, he often had to work early, thus not being able to score points here and there in mass sprints. Better pavé riders around too, and of course Moritz Gabel being only 4 years older than Tran meant that Tran had a leader he had to work for. Now Tran is back in Vietnam, in Hué, near his native place Dong Ha, and works as an interpreter and tourist guide. We wish him luck in this new chapter of his life.

New rider:
Edwin Verkerk from Maastricht for 1'347'431.Starting skills 55-64-53-48-56 with 35 reg. A sprinter. With classic-like mountain talent. He isn't expected to bring any results himself until after the Giro, for the moment he has to train. A race here and there as helper, nothing more. We haven't made a detailed training plan for him yet, but our rough expectations right now are that he reaches 72+ in sprint, and 65+ in mountain, we will possibly adapt our expectations once we get around to make a serious training plan for him. With skills like the ones we speculate about now of course an obvious candidate for Milano-Sanremo 24, but it's too early to make fix plans for that. As well he joined the team one month to early, but we couldn't let such a huge talent sign anywhere else.

Goals for February: Stay in D1, we're pretty sure we won't have the slightest problem to achieve that. Then Het Nieuwsblad, one of the 1 day classics we've never won. Then stage races, most likely Bessèges-Oman-Algarve, although we might leave out one. Well, only Algarve possible now, but we'll start there, so 3 stage races, much more than usual.


Next topic

Yearly report and awards
17 years RSF/c4f for Robyklebt/Petit Singe/Big Donkey! 28.01.06 the debut, we've been perfoming brilliantly without exception since then. 858'401 eternal points in 5362 races. Almost 2 weeks late for the anniversary though, including the numbers. So let's go to the 2022 review and awards immediately.

64 wins in the calender year, 59 in the Donkey-year.
1 stage race won
2 TTTs

Riders of the season;

01: J. Löffel
02: M. Gabel
03: M. Gabel
04: C. Drinkwater
05: A. Basterretxea
06: A. Basterretxea
07: A. Basterretxea
08: A. Basterretxea
09: A. Short
10: A. Basterretxea
11: G. Payot
12: G. Rrurrambu

5 times Basterretxea, twice Gabel, Löffel, Drinkwater, Short, Payot and Rrurambu once each.


Rider of the year: Moritz Gabel. Only the 3rd sprinter to win this award, usually dominated by climbers. But his first part of the season was really outstanding, and that despite Löffel still running wild early in the year. 13 wins from January to March, among them Milano-Sanremo, 3 Catalunya stages and Dwars door Vlaanderen. Milano-Sanremo the most important win for the team the whole season. And even more important for Moritz, who thus completed the unexpected double, Paris-Tours (which was his career goal) and Milano-Sanremo. From April on then wins became scarcer, only 1 in April, unsuccessful at the Giro, but late in his career he managed to win 3 final races from July to September, the last one even the Kampioenschaap von Vlaanderen, cat 2. So 17 wins in 2022.

Honorable mentions here go to Asier Basterretxea, lots of stage wins, no GC and Amancio Carpinteiro for his 2 wins with long range attacks, Brabant among them. Löffel wasn't mentioned last year, he would have deserved it for his fantastic Dec-Jan 21-22, but we mention him now.

Favorite rider Can mention 3 as usual so:
-Isidoor Vanuytsel. Fairly new, but he already won my heart. Future 60-80 with reg (obviously) and decent on pavé too.
-Amancio Carpinteiro: Yes, we like 60-80es... and his 3 wins help 2, 2 of them as mentioned above with great long range efforts.
-Galarwuy Rrurrambu: Despite his relative lack of success we like him, but not as much as the 60-80es

Best Buy
- Isidoor Vanuytsel, always Isidoor. Possibly, we don't remember the price, and it's not written anywhere
- Lucien Trutat: 55-72-66-52-48, 71.1 pavé for 1'572'751. An absolute bargain with these skills. Too bad his flat training hasn't been impressive, but as a buy brilliant.
- Raffaele Pecci 47-70-54-59-55, 71.5 pavé, 36 reg. 1'351'531. Could mention my pavé leader every year, maybe do, not checking.

Dumbest buy:
- Gotzon Lekubarri: Not an impressive winner in this category, we've had much worse shopping mistakes in the past. This one is a good buy, but the dumbest because all the others were even better. Here it's a low flat, high reg guy when you already have a high reg classic for the Giro, then another high reg guy is not what was needed. But we don't regret buying him at all.

Most useful rider
- Archibald Short, a 60-80.

Nicest win
Were there any nice wins? Not really. Ok, let's say Carpinteiro's first win, when he managed to stay away after an early midrace attack. Although, hm, Brabant might not only have been more important but nicer too? 90 km escape, last 32 km alone. So these 2 in, for the rest. it was mostly (if not exclusively) shit, nothing memorable, nothing nice, nothing really worth anything, 2 to 5 team races all the time

Hardest defeat
See above, with the small groups, in the end who cares? I'm sure there were races that I wasn't happy not to have won, but bah, not unhappy enough to remember now. Remember that even the monuments, regardless of win or loss (mostly loss) were basically boring. Oh, maybe Basterretxea not winning l'Alpe d'Huez. Wasn't our main goal, the Granon win was more important to us, nicer stage, but l'Alpe d'Huez would have been a pretty easy win if we had been online from the start of the race, and not joined the race too late.

Most annoying win
- Charles Drinkwater: Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Small field, race was boring as far as I remember, not going to check... Then at some point Drinkwater and another Donkey attack, basically let go, the rest just look at each other and go "oh, well, we lost" instead of chasing, catching, winning. Or something like that, just a stupid, boring, dumb edition of that great race.

Let's hand out some awards to other teams too:

Favorite opponents, team
Mobster, AAD, Seven Down, but I guess they got awarded last year too. But again. Or maybe let's kick Seven Down, might motivate him to come back! Mobster and AAD stay, Mobster takes being mobbed well, doesn't sprint a la Celestino anymore, doesn't obsess about wins, winning nice, if not, then not, normal frustration of the moment, but is motivated again the next day. AAD a bit more used to winning, so a bit more easily irritated, but nice guy too, rides with Donks and Mobs in the afternoon, imagine without those 2, Donks all alone!
Third mention goes to Romoc. He left us a bit lately, but was a nice addition to the afternoon while he was there!

Favorite newcomers or comeback teams
-Bergwerk, of course. But as I wrote probably every second year here before he stopped. He drives me crazy as well, stupid questions that he asked 87 times already, weird contra-productive tactics, aaargh, remember all that now that he rides again, still nice to have him back. Hopefully he stays so we can have further epic battles like we used to have in the Andes/Dec Tour for a few years.
- Stevens: Don't really remember the guy from before, Astana, or Asstana, something like that, but he rides well, controlled, wins a lot, talks little, good, then I can talk more. Nice part-time addition to the afternoon. And with Velasco full time would be even better.
- Escarteam: A real newcomer? Again, lately doesn't seem to ride the afternoon much, but when he did, he did rather well, fit in well in our closed little Austro-Swiss society.

Most hated opponents, riders
-Orter: Clearly there should be an "n" in there.
-Irvine: Almost announced that he was going to leave Quick, then stayed forever, making sure my great Carpinteiro driven chases never are successful.
-Magnus Marxer: Almost never riding, then winning countless Giro stages.

Favorite opponents
- Ganna: There is something about Ganna, some Fabulous Conti aura, like Conti he seems predestined to win MSR too. More mountain, less sprint for Ganna, but still similar enough overall. And I like him. DIsliked him for 2 days now, after his team thought it needed a farmer trick while being super favorite, but ok ok, for once I forgive him. He's good! And sometimes I like dominators
- Liivik: Winning a Giro TT I thought I might win, but after that in the end he won little. I like that too, not only dominators. Always there, despite his good sprint skill, mostly failing. 3 wins in 176 races, hell, Silvio Bieri has 4 wins in 168 races... (ok ok, smaller groups, cat 1, but still) But it's not only his lack of success, also that he's a veteran that I know, Donks likes Liivik
-Uexküll: With that absolutely crazy sensational training, how could you not have liked him? +21 mountain!!!

Ok, with that we end our awards ceremony, and since nobody is reading anymore, we can publicly divulge our great season plan for 2023

Giro: Payot, Steiner as helper, Rossi classic, maybe a second one, but we consider going the 1 classic route this year too. 2 60-80, flat, possibly a sprinter, maybe not, basically the usual team. We'll continue our so far not very successful effort to start cheaper than other years, hopefully managing to go down to 450-500k sooner or later, team with weaknesses are more fun to ride with and against. With 88 mountain Guillaume certainly is a candidate for some stage race wins at least until the Giro, which of course is the main goal. Program Tirreno/Paris-Nice, possibly Catalunya, possibly Pais Vasco, Flèche, Liège (yes, classics) possibly Romandie. Always Payot expected as leader. Minor races after the Giro, TdS/Dauphiné, TdF and Vuelta, Steiner has a chance to take over the leadership. But right now he isn't ready.

Classics:
-Milano-Sanremo: We don't really have a natural leader. Gamboa is at the bottom of the hill sprinter list, first one dropped, unlikely to come back. For the rest no real candidate either.
-Ronde van Vlaanderen: As usual we have basically nobody, even if Vanuytsel, 60-80 with 80 pavé by then hopefully and Trutat (mountain, not enough pavé) can probably play a minor role and sprint for some top 10 places.
-Paris-Roubaix: Pecci our weakest leader in a while, but unlike past leaders he has sprint, so with 55 sprint... his chances to win are still there, just a different way than Lanz-Baas tried. Bradman will not be a leader anymore in 2 months time we fear, so Pecci number 1, with Bradman and Vanuytsel as 2 other 80+ pavé guys. Worst case for Bradman is 80 flat and pavé for PR, we hope he'll be still a bit higher of course. REst of the team then a bit weaker, 3 good guys for the final part, but then not enough +/-75 pavé guys.
-Liège-Bastogne-Liège: Here with Payot a good guy for siebs, but for the moment we lack the top classic, with 10 or so trainings left for Lekubarri by then of course he might be that, but more likely he won't. 55 sprint not enough for a win as well. But he actually looks like our best card for the moment, unless Rossi starts a training spree
-Giro di Lombardia: Far away, far away, Lekubarri if he trains well a chance, otherwise a new climber or classic that hasn't joined the team yet.

So the outlook IMO is a bit worse than in past years, Paris-Roubaix no super pavé rider, Milano-Sanremo no real candidate, and that's the 2 races we usually started with fairly good cards, a bit worse this year, especially Milano-Sanremo. Ronde van Vlaanderen might looks slighly better than usual, but usually we start with 0-1% chances, this time it's 0-2%?

With Payot though the stage race season prospects look better than in 2022, top opponents a bit weaker than in 2022 as well for the moment.
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
Basics reform: Give blue a chance!
Don't punish bugusers. We all have to use bugs, since most of them are declared as "features"!

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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Sat Mar 04, 2023 11:43 am

February

14th in D1 with 6119 points. 2 wins, Payot a stage in Bessèges and Lekubarri a stage in Algarve. Payot 2nd in Oman, 3rd in Bessèges, Steiner 5th in Algarve. The main goal of the Season, Het Nieuwsblad, once again not a success, as could be expected, 8th place for Drinkwater. Rider of the month was a pretty close vote this time, but finally Gotxon Lekubarri won it. Short interview:

-Gotxon, rider of the season, congrats!
-Thanks. The basque domination continues. Basterretxea, now me, this team should have started employing us much earlier.
-Possibly, yes. Your first title after your first win in your 4th season. Your career is going well!
-Of course.
-Why do you think you started this well?
-My basque genes first and foremost. Then my own commitment to training, being a professional, always striving for more.
-But we heard that the Big Donkey thinks you should improve your flat skills more.
-Well, it was clear when I signed my contract that I had problems in flat sections, that I felt more at ease in the mountains. That was known, I've already progressed lots thanks to my dedication in training, but obviously my strengths are the mountains, my recovery. So sorry boss, but should up and watch instead of complaining about something that was clear when I signed, and that has been partly resolved.
-Are you surprised you won this award despite having Payot in the team?
-We both won a stage, he got better results in GC, obviously. But looking at the standing in the team, and the expectations, I think my award is fully deserved.
-Can you describe your win for us?
-What, you already forgot?
-No, just for our readers, that might not always have time to watch all the races, this is an important source of information for our millions of fans around the world.
-It was a team effort, we had Isidoor and Baykali in front, then me and Carpinteiro attacked at around 70km from the end, at the bottom of a small climb. Isidoor, Carpinteiro and helpers of Perucca, who followed us helped me and Perucca to around 25km to the end, from there on we then did it ourselves and I won the sprint at the top of the Alto de Malhao. A good collective effort that I then finished well.
-Great win! Are more wins coming.
-Count on it.
-Are you now the leader of the classics faction?
-Right now no, but soon I will be. The boss is making fun of the "76 flat classic", what he forgets is that we'll be 76-76 classics, if not more. The Austrian dude, Prachar, Lucien, we all have the potential to reach that, at least I will, Prachar with whom I have a good relationship, we rode against each others as juniors and in our 2 seasons as U23 is very good and commited too. Lucien, I know help him in training a bit, he should reach 76 too, but probably not much more. Personally I think for me 80 is not an illusion in the mountain. And then yes, then I'll be the clear classics leader. Lombardia? That's me, write it down. For March and April though we still have Rossi, Drinkwater, Huizinga that have their chances too, I'm one of 4 for the moment.
-What's your short term goals?
-My program isn't fix yet, maybe STrade Bianche, but more likely not the boss just told me. Then Tirreno, possibly Sanremo, then in the second part of the month we don't even know our program yet, Catalunya or the classics. For April of course I'd like to ride Euskal Herriko Itzulia, but due to time constraints we might not be able to. Then Liège will be my main goal, and by then I should be the number 1 classic in the team, at least co-leader with Rossi.
-Giro, Tour?
-I expect that I will ride both, but the boss hasn't finalized the teams yet. For the tour not even a pre-selection, but of course I will start, with the Tour starting at home, I'll be in yellow after stage 1.
-Thank you for this interview and good luck in March too!
-Thanks

Finances
+744'319, not really a lot, but has a lot to do with riding 3 Tours as well, we earn more in one day races usually, cheaper start. Finally more teams again didn't help either, but we're happy about that. Still 2 millions in the bank so no crisis yet anyway.

Training:
Good. Payot 89, with VElasco and Harris at 89 too, that's very nice to be there as well. Lots of nice fights coming up hopefully. Steiner now 85, nice too. Rossi 74-79 mountain too. Lekubarri 70-76, Bradman training very well towards Paris Roubaix in February, the young guys coming along well. All good. Ah, almost forgot Gamboa who went to 78 sprint with 32. Fully satisfied with February.

New rider:
Callum Blake from London, although he spent his teenage years in Sussex joined the team on 01.03.23. His skills, 49-66-58-57-45 with 70.8 pavé, so 82 internal pavé skill and 47 reg made the boss lose his head. BUY him he barked (and a Donkey barking like a dog is a little wonder), NOW, so he was bought, all a bit confused. At least the Donkey was Donkey enough to admit later that he forgot space and time after seeing Callum, he thought it was already March, the pavé leader for Paris Roubaix 2024. Ok, a bit early now, he will be 35 on the 7th April 24, so 5 minus trainings instead of the only 1 the boss really prefers. But we payed only 1'359'531 for him, the usual 95%, so it's not really a mistake. Callum will take some time to develop we expect, but in a year he should be at least at 50-82-xx-xx-50, with 82 pavé, so at least a very decent helper. At best a very strong leader. He will now mostly train, ride a few races. As said above, mountain up to 50 never hurts, then flat flat flat and sprint up as much as possible, 50 seems realistic.

Retirement
Dario Meucci: He joined the team on 01.08.21 and retired on 28.02.23. 1222 eternal points in 278 races. Flat rider, his starting skills: 48-74-49-48-47, 39 reg , we payed 1'208'021. Top skills: 50-87-49-48-47. So always a helper, with his sprint never really high probability to win something. Helper for Messerli but really mostly Gabel. His best personal result in an important race, 8th Paris-Bruxelles in 22. But that was a 3 team race. A great career as a flat star and helper though. Dario now went back to Firenze where he works as an assitant in a Cembalo building shop, learning the trade. We wish him all the best, but don't plan to buy a cembalo anytime soon.

Goals for March

Milano-Sanremo! Although we are not really fully convinced by our team for 23, Gamboa lacks some mountain skill, Rrurrambu a lot, the classics lack sprint, Verkerk lacks everything (although mountain is already better than Gamboa). But don't think we were that optimistic before 22 either, Gabel wasn't regarded as a Sanremo winner, he still won, so we're not going to give up before the race.
Tirreno-Adriatico: Good Giro preparation in our experience, see Gamov, Zafzaf and Eiffel.
Strade Bianche: Not really goal number 3, but it's the only other race we're sure to ride...
Dwars door Vlaanderen; Wrong, we're sure to ride this too. Really the least important of the hilly pavé "classics", after Gabel won it last year, rather low priority this year, but being category 4, of course we'll do our best.
Catalunya: 5 wins in 7 starts, if we start, we'll start to win again.
Harelbeke: Goal number 3 if we start there, never won it, like Het Nieuwsblad not really a race for our team
Gent Wevelgem: One once many many many many moons ago, a second win might be nice.
De Panne: We don't really care, but it's category 4, now we care. A bit.

So to say it more simply: MSR-TA, then depends if we ride Catalunya or De Panne/E3/GW
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
Basics reform: Give blue a chance!
Don't punish bugusers. We all have to use bugs, since most of them are declared as "features"!

Robyklebt
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Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:50 pm
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Sat Apr 01, 2023 6:10 pm

March

8th in D1 with 9280 points in 30 races. 4 wins, 1 GC win. Tirreno with a stage and the GC for Payot the highlight of the season, Catalunya 2 stage wins and second place in GC very nice too. So a good season, despite the failure in the classics. . Strade Bianche, Milano-Torino, Milano-Sanremo, Dwars door Vlaanderen, all nothing worth mentioning in the end. But as I said, with a GC win the season still was good.

Rider of the season this time clearly Guillaume Payot.

-Guillaume, rider of the season again. Congrats
-Thanks
-Tirreno won, was it difficult
-It was tight yes, could have gone many ways, in the end I was the strongest, so went my way. But was far from an easy win.
-How did the team perform?
-Very well, we were left to control way too much for our taste, but the team handled it well.
-The team rode 0 km the day you won the tour! What are you fantasizing about?
-Not 0, but few. But yes, of course, that was stage 6, by then it looked more likely to go another way, we weren't sure to get away far enough to win it, we weren't sure to be able to drop all the riders we needed to drop. By then other teams looked more likely to end up on top in the end, so we of course let them work.
-It seems Big Donkey is not too happy about how you and Steiner collaborate so far.
-It's not working perfectly yet, true, but there haven't been many stages where we can work together sensibly either yet. In May it will work.
-Steiner co-leader?
-Unless he improves a lot, no. Don't see why he shouldn't be just a pure helper at the Giro. I'm just stronger in the mountain for the moment. If he suddenly improves, we can talk about it, but... no, I'm the leader.
-Tirreno, 4th rider to win it for the team, your predecessors: Gamov, Zafzaf and Eiffel. All 3 went on to win the Giro. Is the pressure mounting?
-I'm used to the pressure by now, Mr. Donkey has been talking to me about the Giro at least once a week since I turned pro.
-Tour de France?
-Of course I'd like to ride that and win it too, but Mr. Donkey has been clear, I'm supposed to win the Giro, the Tour is an afterthought. Maybe Steiner as leader, maybe I start too, we'll see.
-So the team is ready, you're confident for the Giro.
-Yes.
-But is the team really ready? Too many classics, not enough flat riders.
-it will be enough, don't worry. The Giro will be decided in the mountains, not in the flat.
-Ok, thanks for the interview and let's hope for further success in April
-Thanks

Training:
Outstanding classic training, Lekubarri up to 72+ with 25, Trutat 71 with 24, perfect training. Vanuytsel no mountain a bit disappointing of course, but with the 2 young classics training like that, we can't complain.

Finances
+487'273. Expensive classics without results, 2 expensive tours with minus on stages, but think made plus on both thanks to the GC. Hm, thought would be around 6-700'000 +... Ah, Tirreno wasn't plus after all, explains it, -200'000 there.
So now we are back where we were used to be for years and years, good, cheaper teams at the start again immediately!

New rider
Matisse Magritte from Lessines, so close to Geraardsbergen, no wonder he likes pavé. Hometown of Claudy Criquielion as well, so we are convinced we have a future star on our hands. 54-69-48-54-47 with 72.9 pavé and 38 reg. We payed 1'623'261 for him. Goal is Paris-Roubaix 24 of course, with a little eye to RVV, but it's a really little eye. With Callum and Matisse we should have a dangerous, although weak in sprint, duo next year. They are both training sprint too for the moment though.

No retirement in March, but there will likely be more than 1 in April.

Goals for April.

The usual, pretty unnecessary category here, monuments, Paris-Roubaix and LBL first, RVV with our usual lack of leader much less. Then the as usual Amstel is not a goal, all the other cat 4/5 races more important. Basque country or Romandie, let's see, open if we ride it or not at this point. Ah, Romandie for sure out, due to scheduling stuff, no afternoon, no Donkey. Roubaix, Brabant, Amstel, Flèche Wallonne all look critical for a different reason too, Big Donkey wants to entertain visitors from Switzerland, so from the 9th to the 19th we will probably miss a majority of the races... will have to figure out a way to ride the 3 important ones. And maybe unimportant Amstel too.
The more important goals for April are:
-Figure out what youth rider to buy. Normally a classic, but we have 2 young ones. And Blake kind of fucked up our plan, we miss useful flat riders until he and Magritte have trained to over 80.
-Figure out our Giro lineup, with too many classics, not enough flat riders we are a bit lost right now on who to nominate.
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
Basics reform: Give blue a chance!
Don't punish bugusers. We all have to use bugs, since most of them are declared as "features"!

Robyklebt
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Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:50 pm
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Re: Big Donkey

Post by Robyklebt » Mon May 01, 2023 4:10 pm

April

Place 13 in D1, 10'088 points in 20 races. Considering that I missed 10 days, that's ok. 3 wins, a stage in Pais Vasco for Steiner, the Flèche Wallonne for Payot and a fantasy race for Rrurrambu, satisfied with that too finally. The monuments... RVV forgot, result too, think I did an attack at some point. PR was more off than on, final after the carrefour was ridden well, was my only chance at this point, try to anticipate with an attack, in the end 1" was missing to come out with the same time as the later winner. Ended up last and second last of the first chasing group finally. Good end, still have doubts about my tempo a bit before though. LBL, Lekubarri immensely strong, but the manager not, wasn't far from somehow winning it, but at the same time was far from it. So up to Payot to save the season with a Flèche win.
He's also the rider of the season obviously, but has no time for interviews, he's doing altitude training.

Training: Lekubarri now 75, Trutat 73, the classics like their mountain training. The 60-80 like training much less, Ceroni +2 now 79, Vanuytsel still only 57. Steiner a TT training. Something like that, anyway, with the classics training like that certainly can't complain.

Finances:+1'184'686 in 20 races, back to business as usual here. After blowing some money in March, probably overdid it a bit there, now the climber for June is in danger.

New rider René Henri from Cambrai joined the team today for 1'320'231. His skills: 49-74-49-59-47 and 36 reg. 68.3 pavé, so should not play any role in pavé races. Impure flat rider, that TT is a bit high, only saw that now... The team right now is lackign a flat rider with more than 85, he is the guy that is supposed to correct that situation, although it will take time. For the moment he's supposed to train. Flat. And maybe mountain to 50, downhill to 50, sprint to 50 somthing like that. We won't expect much from him for a while, depending on his training he could already start at the TdF though.

Retirements
3 riders left the team this month:

-On the 10th Silvio Bieri retired. The great swiss hope from Schwarzenburg; Joined the team 01.10.21 with the following skills: 56-69-79-48-60, with 43 reg. Ideal skills to make him a sprint classics, After 3 months he had 68-72-49-48-63, all looking good, but then.... Top skils: 69-72-79-48-64 Up one mountain with 24, one sprint with 26, that was it. The results then finally were ok, 4 wins, all fantasy, but still, 4 wins. We hoped for a guy who could challenge in classics, semi-classics, finally he was a fantasy racer. 180 races, 3329 eternal points, money-points sprinter that won 4 fantasy races. Silvio wanted to continue in the team as a DS, since we're in desperate need of one, but sorry, can't use him. He's now back in Schwarzenburg working in the Coop as a cashier.

-On the 23rd it was Charles Drinkwater's turn. Directly after Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the race he had won 12 months prior. Charles joined the team on 01.01.22. His skills: 55-72-76-63-56 and 42 reg. His top skills: 72-79-76-62-55. In 179 races he gained 5447 eternal points, 54th in the team at the time of retirement. 3 wins in his career, a stage in Valencia, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the final TT in Verona in the Giro. So all his 3 wins at a young age, 22-25. After that he stopped performing a bit. He finished 24th in his last race, LBL. Charles wanted to go back to Liverpool and work on the docks, but we convinced him to join our team as assistant DS. The holy trinity Donks-Singe-Klebt wasn't working too well, everybody always tired, only riding 20 races in April, middle aged men that behave like old senile retirees... So Charles now is assistant DS

-Seconds after Drinkwater Remmert Huizinga retired too. He joined the team on 04.01.22, so a few days after Drinkwater, and had similar skills as well: 54-74-62-61-51 with 40 reg. 1 less mountain, 2 more flat, 2 less TT... big difference the downhill and the sprint (5). Might it be that getting 2 new classics instead of motivating Bieri, after all they were announced as potential helpers for him, frustrated him? Hm.... Anyway, Remmert, his top skills 71-79-62-61-51, similar again, but losing his 2 point flat advantage. Started the mountain training perfectly, 16 up in 16 trainings, then only 1 more... In 134 races he got 2841 eternal points, 1 win, Circuito de Getxo. 2nd behind Carpinteiro in Brabant his other palmares entry. Remmert wanted to go back to Rotterdam to work at the docks, but we convinced to join our team as an assistant DS. If he or Charles excels at his job there's a chance for promotion, if not we'll hire a DS later.

Goals for May

How to choose... so difficult? The Giro maybe?
Kraftsystemrevision! Include the distance!
Basics reform: Give blue a chance!
Don't punish bugusers. We all have to use bugs, since most of them are declared as "features"!

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