Russian Men’s Tour Performances
Even without the somewhat dramatic ending, it seemed to me that the Russian men had a fairly strong Tour showing, and a quick graph seems to confirm this:
Legkov seemed to have sort of plateaued over the previous 2-3 seasons, but so far appears dramatically improved overall. Vylegzhanin had a generally off year (for him) after several seasons of steady improvement, but also seems to have rebounded. Bessmertnykh and Japarov are both younger and so we’d expect improvements from them (lower baseline).
But Tour results can be a bit funny, since a combination of the unusual tactics it produces, and the field being slowly reduced with each stage. Indeed, there does seem to be a slight trend among these guys to fall off a bit post Tour:
This is all distance results, with last season (2011-2012) in red. The blue trend line is fit to all the data, not just 2011-2012. Both Legkov and Maxim (screw it, I’m not typing that name again) had a cluster of strong races at the Tour and then drifted back into what for them is more “average”. Still pretty fast, mind you, but they certainly didn’t continue reeling off the results like they did at the Tour. The effect seems stronger for the two younger guys but there’s also considerably less data for them.
I’m sure they’re planning on resting up for World Championships (as is everyone else, most likely) but I’ll be interested to see if Legkov in particular can put together a full season of this sort of work, which he really hasn’t in the past.