As we hurtle full gas towards the Tour de France there have been a number of shorter one week races going on to hone the skills of the multi day rider.
We have seen Primoz Roglic in the Tour de L’Ain and Dauphine (ahead of the final stage!) and Remco Evenepoel in the Tour of Poland. But some if not all of that good work could have been undone by crashes leaving us no further on in terms of indicators of form.
Roglic was great in the northern half of France and but for a spill had seen off Ineos in the Dauhpine. So much so that Chris Froome was sitting up on the climbs, Geraint Thomas was complaining about his weight and Egan Bernal had a back injury that saw him fail to start the last stage.
It could well have been Jumbo’s race with Roglic but he was struggling after a crash and also failed to complete the Dauhpine.
This left the door open for Thibault Pinot to win the race with him leading into the last stage and having a ‘combine’ of the major French contenders trying to keep him at the head of the GC.
However, he couldn’t watch the whole peloton and Dani Martinez of EF Education First/Cannondale snuck off up the road with Tadej Pogacar and held on to win the race. He might have made a few pundits top 10, but I don’t remember anyone tipping Martinez to win the race so this was a real upset.
As well as losing Roglic, Jumbo saw Steven Kruijswijk hit the deck and abandon. So far from seeing off Ineos ahead of the Tour de France and stamping their authority, there are now questions about the teams fitness.
There will also be questions over mentality after the bad crash in the Tour of Poland which was caused by Dylan Groenewegen and left Fabio Jakobsen with every bone in his face broken and in an induced coma.
Whilst the team have been present in most races since, there could be a reaction coming.
The accident in Poland highlighted the danger in the sport and it was in the Il Lombardia classic at the weekend that the Remco Evenepoel run of wins came to an end after he overshot a corner before vanishing over a bridge.
He is young enough to come back physically but will this accident have an effect on his mental ability to push downhill and in sprints?
Only time will tell.
Stay tuned to the blog for more ahead of the Tour de France.