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gerry12ie

The Sky Challenge

Just thinking about Sky's near-invincibilty and wondering where any possible challenge in the future might come from, and TBH the situation doesn't look terribly healthy.  Remember we are talking about a team that can pay the most, doesn't have to worry about looking for a secondary sponsor, drives team Jaguars, and is able to successfully manage a roster that includes a number of potential GT winners.  Ok, Wiggins looks like he has had his day in the sun(set) and Uran appears to be heading off, but maybe not before he has bagged the Vuelta.  In truth, with Kiryienka and EBH available for all of the Tour Froome probably could have taken even more time out of the rest.  They will undoubtedly strengthen again when the season is over and probably have their pick of any available riders.

They also have Richie Porte Shocked

So who can put it up to them?

Evans - finished
Andy Schleck - finished
Valverde - finished at this level
Contador - finished at the highest level but smart
Rodriguez - probably unable to repeat the highs of last season
Rui Costa - Improving and has a bit of something about him alright, will need a very strong team
Kreuziger - probably as good as he is ever going to be
Mollema, Fuglsang, Tejay - scope for improvement, but to what level?  I'm not sure they look as if they could compete over 3 hard weeks.
Quintana, Betancur - both have what's needed in the mountains but Betancur will in particular will need to find a TT.  Both also look (IMO) to be the kind of rider that Sky would snap up though...
Kwiatkowski, Majka - The Poles are good make no mistake.  Good enough to take on Sky?  Er, no.

So that leaves Nibali as the main (and maybe only) contender!

Any thoughts?
Fontfroide

Just to keep a perspective, there are all the Sprints, where Sky is crap (except sometimes EBH), and all the Classics where they also have won not much at all.  

GTs, I admit it looks good for continuing dominance.  Mainly since they can hire anyone they want.

The only hope I can see if s doping scandal.  Laughing
gerry12ie

Sorry, I did of course mean GTs - my bad.
SlowRower

Another way of looking at it is that they've invested wisely with Porte, Rogers, Cav, Uran, but no more wisely than other teams.

They've simply got lucky with Wiggins and Froome who for whatever reason went from autobus-fodder to GT contenders.

There's no invincible system behind getting lucky with Froome and Wiggo, unless there is truth in the runour that they enjoy a financially induced protection from the UCI.

Lightening sometimes does strike twice. Britain had Coe, Ovett and Cram simultaneously, but then didn't have a world class males distance runner for 25 years, despite spending loads of cash on athletics.
Boogerd_Fan

If you look at their record in other GT's - they're hardly unbeatable. It's just they're terribly good in France.

The dawg has been found out on the harder climbs in the Vuelta twice, and let's not bother to summarize Wiggo's half-hearted attempt to battle Nibs at the Giro.

Froome has always had a bad day until this tour (i don't want this post to descend into a doping rumour but it is what it is)...

Wiggo had a course tailor made for him last year. Arguably to the point where seeing the British market potential ASO threw in a course that would highly favor the Brit. This year was more balanced of course, but with everyone else treading water - Froome has dominated.

Next year. Nibali vs. Froome is going to be a corker.  As these are clearly to two riders in their prime and with strong team backing. <probably> knowing what they now know - some of the other favourites like Valv or Bertie who don't look on the juice this year, will have a "better preparation" for 2014 too.

If Bertie was riding clean last year - and coming off his ban, used his smarts to win the Vuelta thanks to that lucky break that caught Jrod with his bibshorts down. Then maybe he thought he could chance his arm at the Tour with the same preparation?? Well, obviously mid-race it's too late to join the arms race. But he can certainly consider this years race as a green-light to start again imo.


I agree about EBH and Kiri - had they been in the third week this would've been an even bigger whitewash.
berck

Well, last time I saw dominance like this at the Tour was about 10 years ago...
Bartali

Last time I looked, Nibali put Froome, Wiggins and Sky to the sword at Tirreno–Adriatico, Trentino and the Giro.  Sky should count themselves lucky that Nibali chose to sit this one out - else he would have kicked there arses here as well!!
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:
Sorry, I did of course mean GTs - my bad.


Well they don't do too badly lately in short stage races either, but still, classics, sprints.  Nothing.
Fontfroide

Bartali wrote:
Last time I looked, Nibali put Froome, Wiggins and Sky to the sword at Tirreno–Adriatico, Trentino and the Giro.  Sky should count themselves lucky that Nibali chose to sit this one out - else he would have kicked there arses here as well!!


I am not sure I would say that Nibali "put Wiggins to the sword" on the Giro.  It might be a little more complicated.  Certainly the Giro was a disaster for Wiggins.  Even Sky didn't come out too badly there with the second string guys.  

But this anti-Sky, Froome is doping thing is getting too heavy for me.  Too much vitriol.  Its just a bike race.
SlowRower

Gerry - Kiryenka's absence is due to missing a time limit. This is hardly a sign of Sky invincibility. EBH's demise was an accident.

Also, Lopez and Siotsov (sp?) have been fairly anonymous, so other than the top rider, Saxon and Movistar are clearly stronger than Sky in the Tour. If Sky hadn't targeted the Giro then their squad would have been strongest, granted, but strong squads bring problems of their own such as spreading resources across multiple objectives.
Fontfroide

I would like to float possibility of an interesting challenge to Sky.  

Sooner or later, somebody or something is going to fund a serious Colombian team (like the Australian team or the Basque team).  They would have to have enough money to buy the best Colombians.  I am pretty sure the riders all have solid links.  I think Quintana shares a flat with Uran or Henao, they must talk.

Anyway, then there would be a team, at some moment with Henao, Uran, Quintana, Betancur, Esteban Chavez, Darwin Atapuma and other guys I have never heard of.  Obviously they would need one or two guys like Stannard who can pull for hours on the flat, maybe not Colombian, but loads of Americans and others speak Spanish.  They would be invited to all the big races assuming they had the finance.

I am sure it is a facile idea, won't work, but just a thought.  No idea where they would get the money, some big bank or huge multinational or the national lottery or whatever.  Colombia is not at all an economic joke for sponsors.
pantanifan

back to the future: wasn't there a Columbian team (Café de Colombia) in the late 70s/early 80s, in the days of Luis Hererra and Fabio Parra?
gerry12ie

Here is Sky's record on GT's ans major stage races since the breakthrough Vuelta:


2012 - Paris - Nice 1st Wiggins
2012 - Tirreno - Adriatico - Nowhere
2012 - Catalaunya - 5th Uran
2012 - Pais Vasco - 6th Nordhaug
2012 - Criterium International - 3rd Rodgers
2012 - Romandie - 1st Wiggins
2012 - Giro d’Italia - 7th Uran
2012 - Dauphine - 1st Wiggins
2012 - Tour de Suisse - 17th Lofquist
2012 - Tour de France - 1st Wiggins, 2nd Froome
2012 - Vuelta - 4th Froome

2013 - Paris - Nice 1st Porte
2013 - Tirreno - Adriatico - 2nd Froome
2013 - Catalaunya - 5th Wiggins
2012 - Pais Vasco - 2nd Porte, 3rd Henao
2013 - Criterium International - 1st Froome
2013 - Romandie - 1st Froome
2013- Giro d’Italia - 2nd Uran
2013 - Dauphine - 1st Froome
2013 - Tour de Suisse - 35th Dombrowski
2013 - Tour de France - 1st Froome?

A few things are worth noting:

Even without a Wiggins victory this year, who accounted for all their 2012 wins, they have improved quite dramatically.

Their wins and good placings are shared more between other riders, although Froome is clearly top dog.

If they had been a bit more tactically astute they might have been looking at the top podium spot for both TA and Pais Vasco.

Nibali was untouchable at the Giro, but without the Wiggo shambles Uran might have pushed him harder.

They clearly don't have TDS on their radar.
Bartali

Fontfroide wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Last time I looked, Nibali put Froome, Wiggins and Sky to the sword at Tirreno–Adriatico, Trentino and the Giro.  Sky should count themselves lucky that Nibali chose to sit this one out - else he would have kicked there arses here as well!!


I am not sure I would say that Nibali "put Wiggins to the sword" on the Giro.  It might be a little more complicated.  Certainly the Giro was a disaster for Wiggins.  Even Sky didn't come out too badly there with the second string guys.  

But this anti-Sky, Froome is doping thing is getting too heavy for me.  Too much vitriol.  Its just a bike race.


It's not anti-Sky .... if you read my posts you will see plenty of praise for sky riders (including Froome).  You will probably also remember that Nibali  'put Froome to the sword' at TA, 'put Wiggins to the sword' at Trentino and Sky 'to the sword' in the Giro ... which is what I posted.

I'm pro Nibali not anti-Sky.  I guess you are pro Sky so you see all criticism as 'anti-Sky'.  Rolling Eyes
Fontfroide

I am against anti-Sky sometimes.  Other times for Sky, very respectful anyway.  I am mainly anti many anti-Sky.

I am mostly respectful of your posts.  When I say something negative or critical, is is an exception.  Figured I been on here long enough to do that.
Bartali

Absolutely FF.  You are very welcome to criticise ....
CapeRoadie

What did Froome do pre-Sky?  Palmares for 2009:

1st, Stage 2, Giro del Capo

This Armstrong re-incarnated without the self-infatuation

#Froomestrong
gerry12ie

Robert Millar's thoughts on the subject...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/b...is-froome-team-sky-tour-de-france
mr shifter

pantanifan wrote:
back to the future: wasn't there a Columbian team (Café de Colombia) in the late 70s/early 80s, in the days of Luis Hererra and Fabio Parra?
Certainly ("Kelly") there was and if you do not remember that, then you must be a relative newcomer to the sport.
(those Dam motorbikes on Alpe D'Huez)

CapeRoadie wrote:

What did Froome do pre-Sky?  Palmares for 2009:
1st, Stage 2, Giro del Capo
This Armstrong re-incarnated without the self-infatuation
Brailsford seems to have shut the media up, with providing L'Équipe with data and Froome's verbals seem to be so genuine and believable.

The more this TDF has progressed, the more I have become uncomfortable with the similarities of 96 and 99 etc.
I was out of order and ridiculed in both those years but I kept  belief from what I had "seen" about those Journey men.
Maybe, now my eyes fail me in my observations because I don't know what to believe. YET !

So at the moment I have to accept that I've seen the first African to win the TDF.
Bartali

An interesting perspective/thought might be to look at who Froome actually beat.  I'm not sure whether this shows a changing of the guard or that Sky's dominance is not as outrages as it first appears. Looking back at the last 10 GT winners we have:

Wiggins - absent
Evans - second tour on the bounce
Schleck - not yet fully fit
Hesjedal - second tour on the bounce(ish)
Scarponi - absent
Basso - absent
Cobo - absent
Nibali - absent
Contador - in the mix

... only 4 previous GT winners, of which only Contador (and arguably Hesjedal) might reasonably have been expected to be competitive.

So, a changing of the guard, or a weak field?
berck

Bartali wrote:
An interesting perspective/thought might be to look at who Froome actually beat.  I'm not sure whether this shows a changing of the guard or that Sky's dominance is not as outrages as it first appears. Looking back at the last 10 GT winners we have:

Wiggins - absent
Evans - second tour on the bounce
Schleck - not yet fully fit
Hesjedal - second tour on the bounce(ish)
Scarponi - absent
Basso - absent
Cobo - absent
Nibali - absent
Contador - in the mix

... only 4 previous GT winners, of which only Contador (and arguably Hesjedal) might reasonably have been expected to be competitive.

So, a changing of the guard, or a weak field?


Not sure those absent Italians would have made much difference. Wink Very Happy
Fontfroide

Interesting point, Bart.  To be fair however, we might have to do the same exercise for the two or so Tours before.  There is always someone who misses the Tour, and I don't know if this year was weaker or stronger.  Certainly there were only two big favourites at the start of this Tour.  Are there more usually?  And can we say that this field was weaker?  Not having Cobo or Basso is not a big surprise and is unlikely to have changed anything.  Cobo seems to have vanished.  Certainly Schleck and Evans did not really play a part, not what one might expect when Schleck has won the Tour and Evans came third in the Giro.  I wish I knew what has happened with Hesjedal, maybe he was a one off flash.

If I were looking at things, I might try to see what percentage of the top twenty in the UCI ranks of this year were there.  But I am a bit lazy and overwhelmed trying to catch up right now.  Obsessing with the Tour has got me a bit behind on things.

I still like your point.
Bartali

berck wrote:

Not sure those absent Italians would have made much difference. Wink Very Happy


Well one of those Italians has already taken it to the Sky machine 3 times this year and with two GT wins and three more podiums has plenty of pedigree.  Smile
gerry12ie

I think we have certainly seen a transition period this decade and there have been some odd podiums and a few void results, so its probably fair to say that any of the GTs over the last three years or so might not have had the stiffest field imaginable.  Velits, Mosquera, Gadret, De Gendt, Hesjedal and Cobo are hardly top class GC men but have all got results.  I do think that something more consistent is starting to take shape and Froome, Nibali and Quintana should lock horns for the next few years.  

Looking forward to when Nibs and Froome do get it on though, because for all Froome's obvious firepower he is way behind on the experience front against The Shark.  I would put my money right behind Bartali's... Wink
berck

Bartali wrote:

Well one of those Italians has already taken it to the Sky machine 3 times this year and with two GT wins and three more podiums has plenty of pedigree.  Smile


True, true... Very Happy
Biosphere

berck wrote:
Bartali wrote:

Well one of those Italians has already taken it to the Sky machine 3 times this year and with two GT wins and three more podiums has plenty of pedigree.  Smile


True, true... Very Happy


But he was a distant third to Sky at the Tour last year and his Giro numbers from this year wouldn't have gotten him near the Tour podium . . . .

I will say he looked to be riding within himself at the Giro so could probably do better if pushed, but I think TA was a one day bad weather aberration and I wouldn't extrapolate that too much.
gerry12ie

The key to Wiggins' successes last year were a rigid adherence to Sky Plan A, with SRM being the order of the day.  Fair enough, as Wiggo needed that constant high pace and they just played to his strengths.  Boring as hell but effective and successful.  The dynamic seems different this year as Froome's races have been about him and Porte with less of an emphasis on the power riding from the team (who have often looked surprisingly weak).  That could be interesting if it stays that way as it should be a bit more entertaining than last year's model...
Boogerd_Fan

I also noted the SKY train was dismantled quite far from the finish of stages (8-10km away from MTF summit); but Porte on the last leg of the train was always just too strong, his little burst for 0.5-1km was always enough to unhinge or break the rhythm of almost all competitors. When Froomey attacked out of Porte’s shadow, there wasn’t hardly anyone left to try to follow him anyway!

I consider that tactic quite risky (similar to what happened in the Alps) – going so early usually does leave some slight room for blowing up further on the climb.
Probably some of SKY rivals this year had plans to go “at 5km to go” mark or pull a JRod and attack in the last km or so… that obviously doesn’t work if SKY have already broken up the yellow jersey group as soon as the climb started.\

Going from further out wouldn’t work – re: Quintana in Pyranees.
Going from closer to finish – means its damage limitations cos you’ve already been shelled out the back.

Not sure how Nibs would’ve got on during this Tour. I agree he’s the best bet for someone to challenge the SKY dominance. But he would definitely have to race harder & sharper than he did in TDF 2012.
HuwB

Probably not the most informed comment, since I'm yet to see the final mountain stages.
I did see a little of the Alpe finish and witnessed Froome difficulties there.

But for Movistar's mechanical in the wind, they would have been a much more potent threat.
Not five minutes lost, but ten, all in a handful of seconds.
Quintana is hardly out of short trousers and became an itch Sky had trouble scratching. Given the right parcour......

Bio: Not sure of what figures you speak, that suggest Nibali to be under-powered by this Tour standards. Maybe it speaks more to the reliability of the data appearing on the net than anything else?

He's certainly looked an improved rider since last year, with an eye for Sky's underbelly. To me, he's the right guy to take advantage of the efforts and tactics employed by the other squads.
Bartali

Nibali's figures seem to be anything between 5.4w/kg and 6.4w/kg depending on whether you believe La Gazzetta or Ferrari!

As to being a distant third to Sky last year ... well 6 minutes of his 6'19" deficit was in the TTs.  Now that he's fixed that problem we might see a different story.  We also know he was ill in the Alpes ... so I wouldn't be too complacent.

I hear what's said about the youngsters ... but I still say this was a Tour without any/many of the major protagonists from previous years.  The loss of the Schlecks removed a major threat as did the absense of Nibali.  And to me this is a good thing because it is helping me believe more in Sky. Certainly the Alps seemed a well matched affair with both Quintan and J-Rod seemingly on a par with Froome and Valverde doing his thing of finishing strongly on each climb.  Through in there the schlecks, nibali and a stronger Contador and I think we have the basis for some good races.

On a less positive note ... any thioght as to whether Porte was told to dump all that time in the middle of the race for 'marketing' reasons?
mazda

Bartali wrote:
On a less positive note ... any thioght as to whether Porte was told to dump all that time in the middle of the race for 'marketing' reasons?

That would be a possibility if it weren't for the manner in which it happened.
Kiryienka and Porte put in a huge amount of effort to get back, which is either a superb bluff or it rather suggests is wasn't planned like that.
mr shifter

Bartali wrote:
... but I still say this was a Tour without any/many of the major protagonists from previous years.  

Oh dear, were back to Stephen Roche again.  Rolling Eyes
Bartali

Please can you explain that to me Mr S? I don't follow.
kathy

I would think that someone like Rigoberto Uran would be a big threat (he's going to another team, isn't he?).  He seems to be by far the best time triallist of the Columbians
gerry12ie

Uran seems most likely to go to Quickstep, which seems a little odd as they don't really have strong GC aspirations or strong backup for an overall rider, especially if they have to focus on cavendish for the sprints...
Biosphere

Sitting in the hills above Monterosso enjoying the evening breeze so I shan't be digging out the Niballi numbers Smile

They were a lot closer to the Gazzetta end of the scale that Bart quoted rather than the Ferrari end. I think they are as accurate as any numbers out there and the same people were calculating the Tour numbers.
SlowRower

The current "era" has been distorted most by the removal of the old Berto and to a lesser extent Andy S.

All other things equal, the old Berto would have been the most likely Tour winner in 2011-2013, so we'd have had a traditional 5-7 year dominance by one rider with various challengers coming and going. This assumes that without his 2010 test failure, Berto would have focused on the 2011 Tour rather than the Giro.

What is also striking is the absence of genuine young pretenders until Quintana. Rolland, Pinot and TJ have all flattered to deceive in the last couple of years and prior to them the last youngsters to emerge and seriously challenge were Berto and Andy S.

Throw in the "left field" emergence of Sir Brad and Froomedog, and it is a very strange era indeed. Going right back to pre WW2, there have historically been young genuine challengers emerging regularly and very few first time winners as old as Sastre, Evans, Brad and Froomedog.
Bartali

SlowRower wrote:
What is also striking is the absence of genuine young pretenders until Quintana. Rolland, Pinot and TJ have all flattered to deceive in the last couple of years and prior to them the last youngsters to emerge and seriously challenge were Berto and Andy S.
... and Nibali!  5 GT Podiums (including 2 wins) at the same age as Andy S is probably enough to qualify as a serious challenger?  

IMO, not been out of the top 10 in a GT since 2009 and never out of the top 20 in his career together with those 2 wins and 5 podiums puts him at leas on a level with Andy S and arguably the greatest GT rider of his generation.
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
SlowRower wrote:
What is also striking is the absence of genuine young pretenders until Quintana. Rolland, Pinot and TJ have all flattered to deceive in the last couple of years and prior to them the last youngsters to emerge and seriously challenge were Berto and Andy S.
... and Nibali!  5 GT Podiums (including 2 wins) at the same age as Andy S is probably enough to qualify as a serious challenger?  

IMO, not been out of the top 10 in a GT since 2009 and never out of the top 20 in his career together with those 2 wins and 5 podiums puts him at leas on a level with Andy S and arguably the greatest GT rider of his generation.


Agreed. Genuine oversight on my behalf. Probably a notch below the old version of Berto, though, as he's not really dominated until this year.

Even so, Berto, Schleck and Nibs are of a similar age (late 20s / early 30s) leaving a big "serious young contender" void for the last 6 years.
Bartali

I'd like to see Rui Costa let off the leash a lot more and Ulissi shows promise as do Talansky and Kennaugh.

For different reasons, Schleck(s) and Bertie may never be a force again ... time will tell.  So lets hope a few of the youngsters step up.
Fontfroide

Who else might be considered a young contender, or relatively young.  Perhaps reaching their prime.  Perhaps not.

Henao.  Uran.  Martin, Dan.  Talansky or Tejay soon enough. Quintana.  EBH.  Kreuziger.  Kwiatkowski.  Pinot (maybe). Kennaugh.  Hesjedal.  Mollema.  Thomas.  Porte.

I am sure there are reasons why each might not make it, and that there are some I have missed.  But it seems a pretty reasonable list.  Maybe even Sagan, who knows.

Just some thoughts, I am not really going to back heavily any of them, but there is something here.  Top ten anyway.  Some would need to change teams of course.
mr shifter

Bartali wrote:
Please can you explain that to me Mr S? I don't follow.
Self explanatory I thought.
The winner in 1987 and 1988 would never have happened if Fignon or Lemond had been riding.
But you have to be "In it to Win it" so your post is along the lines of "what comes around goes around, don't you think. Exclamation
Bartali wrote:

... but I still say this was a Tour without any/many of the major protagonists from previous years.
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
For different reasons, Schleck(s) and Bertie may never be a force again ... time will tell.  So lets hope a few of the youngsters step up.


I suspect that the Schlecks and Berto are suffering from the same thing - a real or feared heavier out of competition testing regime.

Andy finished 20th in the Tour and I guess he may still be a little short of match fitness following his injury, but that's a large performance gap to make up simply by means of further training.

Looking on the bright side, a few years of Nibs vs Froome vs Quintana vs Porte (assuming he jumps ship sooner rather than later) vs Uran would not be the worst prospect in the world re GTs, with Pete K hopefully joining the ranks of those snapping at their heels.
gerry12ie

Yes, I think Rui Costa deserves a crack at tour leadership now.  I think Talansky flatters to deceive a bit as he can have exceptional days and some right stinkers (I guess we had kind of forgotten that should be the normal state of affairs though).  I also thought Majka had an exceptional Giro this year and I would like to see more of him next year.
gerry12ie

[quote="SlowRower:213552"]
Bartali wrote:


Andy finished 20th in the Tour and I guess he may still be a little short of match fitness following his injury, but that's a large performance gap to make up simply by means of further training.



SR you should know that training is the answer to everything... Just ask Brad, who according to DB is rearing to go:

Quote:
Wiggins has not raced since abandoning the Giro in May but has been training hard in Mallorca in recent weeks – he is understood to have ridden more than 30 hours last week – and is due to start the Tour of Poland next weekend. He then expects to target the Tour of Britain in early September before his big objective for the end of the season, the world time trial championship on 26 September.


Very Happy

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2...chris-froome-bradley-wiggins-tour
Bartali

mr shifter wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Please can you explain that to me Mr S? I don't follow.
Self explanatory I thought.
The winner in 1987 and 1988 would never have happened if Fignon or Lemond had been riding.
But you have to be "In it to Win it" so your post is along the lines of "what comes around goes around, don't you think. Exclamation
Bartali wrote:

... but I still say this was a Tour without any/many of the major protagonists from previous years.


Good O.  Makes sense.  I'm not so sure about '88 as Delgardo was competitive in '89 even giving Lemond and Fignon a head start!  But your point is well made.
Bartali

Quote:
Wiggins has not raced since abandoning the Giro in May but has been training hard in Mallorca in recent weeks – he is understood to have ridden more than 30 hours last week – and is due to start the Tour of Poland next weekend. He then expects to target the Tour of Britain in early September before his big objective for the end of the season, the world time trial championship on 26 September.


FFS ... I rode more than 30h last week!!

On a serious note, it will be interesting to see whether the big names are there to race or build up to the Vuelta.  And in Wiggins' case, whether he has got his head together.  Hope so for his sake ...
kathy

I would throw Betancur and Bardet into the mix of promising riders as well, especially if they join 'more competitive' teams!
mr shifter

Bartali wrote:


Good O.  Makes sense.  I'm not so sure about '88 as Delgardo was competitive in '89 even giving Lemond and Fignon a head start!  But your point is well made.

In most circumstances then Robert Millar would drop Pedro Delgado while climbing mountains.
Offhand I cannot remember it the other way round.
Robert was an excelent climber but never one of the "Greats".
Just trying to put your thread into my perspective regarding great climbers.
mazda

On the evidence of the Tour then Porte is the obvious all rounder who is most likely to win GTs in the future.
In some ways that is rather depressing because it means our chances of seeing classic battles is limited by the choice of the Sky management.

Whilst the Tour was quite good IMO, it still relied heavily on the ultimate failure of Contador and his team whilst trying to win.
That seems to be a fairly common theme in GTs.
Nibali vs Contador in the 2011 Giro was similarly good in reverse and I think Nibali retrospectively deserves that title as well.

So for me I am looking for a rider in the same vein as those two.

Regarding the trait of riders winning their first GT at an older age.
Is that not down to the rigid tactic of supporting a single GC rider by team managers ?
Bartali

I would suggest ... without doung the research ... that while Millar was one of the best climbers on his day, Delgado was a more consistent performer and a better TTer?  I'd have to look back at stats to support that - but its my gut feel.

Everything is a 'what if' - but I have always thought that the '89 TdF might have had a different outcome had Degado not missed his prologue start time by 2-3 minutes.  As it was, Lemond (admittedly past his best) wheel sucked his way around France then delivered the killer blow through technological advances.  No point in crying over spilt milk - but a bad result for cycling IMO.

Equally, Millar should have had a Vuelta to his name and possibly a Giro.  I never understood why he nursed Roche around Italy in 88 rather than let Vinsentini and Roche nock seven bells out of each other.
SlowRower

gerry12ie wrote:
SR you should know that training is the answer to everything... Just ask Brad...


Not sure how Wiggo relates to Schleck's career progression tbh. I assume you're simply accusing Wiggo of doping in an indirect way!
SlowRower

mazda wrote:
Regarding the trait of riders winning their first GT at an older age.

Is that not down to the rigid tactic of supporting a single GC rider by team managers ?


Maybe. But in my view, more likely to be because the youngsters simply haven't been good enough, in general. Contador didn't have much bother bagging the Disco leadership in 2007, as he was good enough to do so. Likewise, Movistar switched to fully supporting Quintana once Valverde was out of the picture. They appeared to be supporting both, which seems reasonable, but were prepared to give Quintana a chance as he didn't have to drop back and help Valverde.

Sky seem a bit of an exception in this respect eg Froome/Wiggo in Vuelta 2011 and Uran/Wiggo in Giro 2013. But Sky are an odd case given the profile Wiggo has, so sticking with him longer than other teams might have done made sense commercially to Sky. With all due respect to Uran, him winning the Giro would have been nigh on worthless marketing-wise to Sky, so it made sense to persist with Wiggo until the bitter end.
mazda

SlowRower wrote:
Movistar switched to fully supporting Quintana once Valverde was out of the picture.

But will they give Quintana the lead role next time ?
He is still only 24.
(subject to contract negotiations of course).

What about Rui Costa, nevermind the old man Valverde himself ?
SlowRower

mazda wrote:
But will they give Quintana the lead role next time ?
He is still only 24.


I would say "yes". He is now fully proven. Costa would be a gamble - though he could still tip their hand by sheer weight of performances - and Valverde's promising future is now well behind him.
gerry12ie

SlowRower wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
SR you should know that training is the answer to everything... Just ask Brad...


Not sure how Wiggo relates to Schleck's career progression tbh. I assume you're simply accusing Wiggo of doping in an indirect way!


Nah, just highlighting that the Guardian felt it necessary to point out 30 hrs of Bartali like training as if it was somehow revelatory for a person whose job it is to ride a bicycle...  Wink
SlowRower

gerry12ie wrote:
Nah, just highlighting that the Guardian felt it necessary to point out 30 hrs of Bartali like training as if it was somehow revelatory for a person whose job it is to ride a bicycle...  Wink


Excellent - any reference to the utter pointlessness of the Guardian is entirely justified!
HuwB

Has to be Quintana.
Guy is only 23 (b 1990) and he got stronger the longer this race went on.
Contrast that with the other incredible young find of the year, Kwiakowski,
who weakened somewhat in the final week.
More what you'd expect from a rider in his first Tour.
The Colombian's recuperation looks to be his second asset, along with his climbing prowess.
He also has a third; a smart racing brain.

Carlos Betancur is the other Colombian who seems to be similarly blessed.
I'd like to see what they could do, riding in the same team.

It has to be said, not a great deal of obvious, new contenders from the traditional cycling countries.
Biosphere

Since I couldn't do so last week, I had a bit of a hunt around for the Nibali power numbers from the Giro versus the power numbers from the Tour. I don't try to read too much into them cos of the difficulties in comparing a limited data set to another limited data set and the Giro weather was crap which would have some impact (even at the simplest level more watts are diverted to the basal metabolism just for staying warm). But for what it's worth here they are:



The three Tour sets of results that I think went a reasonable way towards "determining" the podium are the highlighted sets of approximately 30, 40 and 50 minute efforts for Semnoz, Huez and Ventoux respectively. Nibali had two longer efforts of 30 min+ for Montasio and Galibier respectively. These were well below the Tour's longer efforts, but the fact that people were finishing in bunches at the Giro suggests less all out racing and a more tactical effort. Looking at two shorter efforts from the Tour there's a ballpark 15ish min climb from the last week ITT and the ball park 20ish minute climb for A3X. Nibali actually does well here and gives a good performance in Giro hilly ITT which also came at pretty much the same point in the GT (mid final week) so fatigue should be comparable, whilst his Jafferau efforts with Santambrogio see him pretty much matching Froome's A3X efforts. On the other hand most of the top 10 on the Giro stage that day had better numbers than Porte on A3X, so there is something else like tail wind or very easy day prior to final climb going on. The shortest timed climb for Nibali is the is the final 15 minutes of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo which I don't like being presented like that as the climb itself was much longer and it makes the ~5.6 W/kg look like a very poor effort when the rest of the climb is discounted. Anyway, that's what the numbers that someone took the time to calculate are. I hadn't looked at them all together like that before and I made a comment last week that he wouldn't have gotten near this year's Tour podium with them. I probably went too far with that, as his shorter efforts are about what's needed and we didn't see him do an all out longer effort, but gut feeling is that he didn't have that much in reserve even if numbers are inconclusive.

Numbers are taken from here. For some reason it's not formating properly on here so cut and paste entire link into browser address bar.

http://www.fillarifoorumi.fi/foru...y%F6r%E4ilij%F6iden-nousutietoja-(aika-km-h-VAM-W-W-kg-etc-)&p=2033540#post2033540

All very simple and just makes use of Ferrari's timed ascent VAM approach for all the results so at least there is consistency. I think it's accurate enough for the purposes of a discussion about what someone did, but the bigger unanswered question is what can someone do when they are riding flat out rather than being tactical. In that sense I think the Tour numbers are a better indication of riders at their limits.

On the subject accuracy, there was also a recent post on the Science of Sport blog showing a comparison of actual Tour SRM data that was released vs. stopwatch calculations of VAM to derive the Ferrari values vs. the more comprehensive Cycling Power Labs, which try to include things like rolling resistance, the impact of altitude on air resistance and so on. Simple works well though as it's nearly all about work done against gravity which is the same for everyone and has been understood since Newton's time.



And as to the new king on the block, looking at the above numbers it's got to be Quintana. Outperformed Froome in the final week and his worst loss came A3X when he was stirring things for Valverde rather than riding for himself. Mind you questions of the form he and Rodriguez found in the final week were asked.
Bartali

Good work Bio - thanks for that.
Biosphere

Interview with Kimmage from during the week. Starts at 10 minutes in.

https://soundcloud.com/secondcaptains-it-com/second-captains-july-23rd

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