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post #31 of 115 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 12:19 PM
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Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Damn, Rodriguez is such an animal on those type of finishes. Great ride from Froome too though not too unexpected for anyone who saw his stage win at the Tour De France.

Contador lost more time than I expected there. He's not the world's best sprinter but I thought he'd be a little sharper than that.
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post #32 of 115 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 01:04 PM
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Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Yeah, it suited Rodriguez, he looked in great shape again. Bertie is still riding into form, he has a lot more stages to come that suit him better, i wouldn't be too worried about him yet. He has mentioned cramp/dehydration in an interview, i believe him, he just didn't have the legs at the end for some reason. Saxo worked hard on the front to get him safely to the climb alongside the contendors, assuming he had the power, and so at the least he did stick with the leaders, limiting any major losses. We were expecting him and Froome to do this much and be there about's, but maybe not contesting the sprint win. I'm not hugely suprised, although i wasn't expecting him to not attack at all, i think he might have considered Sky leading out Froome and thought it wasn't worth it, idk? He had those kicks on stage 3 but couldn't make them stick or contest the sprint there. They were more warning signs of what's to come when he comes good and the stages work in his favour.

People are speculating that that was just to intimidate the others, some are saying today was a rope-a-dope tactic, sandbagging, i don't know, i just think he is racing into form again. Oppositely, Froome should start to crack towards the end as we reach the major mountains and the recent riding catches up with him, just when Bertie will be coming good. Sky did well today to work behind until the climb and then got men on the front to protect Froome, he was never going to beat Rodriguez at the end but he's put some time on the others. Good ride from both today, not a huge shock or major issue for Bertie imo, only that before today we were thinking the previous days have showed he has the legs to really push on as we get towards the business end, and now maybe there are some doubts about his conditioning and form. He will dispel those doubts soon enough. Hopefully.


I think this just hots up the race even more, Bertie is now not the outright man to beat, and the likes of Rodriguez and Froome especially (now bookies equal fave) are showing they are up for the fight. I still fancy Contador as favourite, but it's not so clear cut. The battle between him and Froome needed the pendulam to swing back and forth, Bertie just has an even bigger point to prove after today.

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post #33 of 115 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 01:28 PM
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Re: The Cycling discussion thread

One day on/One day off. Apparently we might see a breakaway get away, and stay away tomorrow.



Huesca – Alcañiz. Motorland Aragón

Distance: 160km
Highest point: 475m
Category: Rolling

High-speed finish
The Vuelta has bypassed Aragón for the past four years but remains in the region for a second finish today. Unlike the previous stage that leaves the sprinters with almost no chance of prevailing, this one looks very likely to deliver a bunch finish. There are a few undulations as the riders head towards Alcañiz then the route heads on another few kilometres to the Motorland Aragón motor racing circuit. Finishing straights don’t come much wider than this one but the sprinters will have to judge their final effort very well as the wind could well be a complicating factor on such open terrain.

Bingen Fernández: "The key issue here will be if the wind starts to blow and which direction it comes from. When I rode the Vuelta in April, the wind in this area used to be hell but it does drop in September. If it does blow, it could easily split the peloton."

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post #34 of 115 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 02:11 PM
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Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Froome went a little too early to hold off Purito on a finishing climb but he showed better than I was expecting from him on this stage. I'm still not sure what form Contador has. He may get stronger in the final week, and Froome may fade, but I'm not so certain who (if either of these two) is the real favourite anymore.
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post #35 of 115 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 02:46 PM
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Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Which makes it great imo. After the last two stages some people are saying this tour isn't looking as promising as it had done previously. I think it's just that a couple of stages before had been exciting and now we've naturally dropped off again. It's the first week though so we're only just feeling our way in, the next week starting with stage 8 is where we will have a better idea, then again the last week is another step up.

I'm enjoying every stage so far, much moreso when Sky get their tactics right, not just cos they are BC but it makes the race more interesting, (perhaps not on the day itself a lot of the time with Sky's tactics). I suppose that could be what has happened here, i wouldn't have enjoyed today so much if Froome had shown signs of weakness, (he did lead Rodriguez out like you say, idk what else he could have done there? he just doesn't have the speed). Whereas i think this has hotted things up now that Bertie is on the back foot, he's a fighter and this is what he needs to fight, maybe this plays into their thinking though. There was a lot of people talking about how many minutes he would win by, not if he would win. Now they have doubts and the tour starts looking unattractive, i think we've seen enough though so far, and they should know surely that Bertie will always make things exciting, he is just building it up, lol.

I'd rather see a more even race than someone walk away with it, there is a long way to go though and the balance will shift back and forth depending on the stages, conditions, fate. There are still the question marks hanging over Froome, not least any continuation from the crash situation a few days ago. He is still growing into his role, while Bertie has a huge experience advantage. Has he got the legs to do what he does best? Time will tell, i'm confident.
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post #36 of 115 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 03:12 PM
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Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Bertie admits he should have been contesting the stage...

“I'm happy because I saved the day quite well. Due to the heat and the high temperatures, I suffered some cramps on the last climb and I told myself, hey, Alberto, go as far you can. I think I managed quite well. For me it's not the best climb but normally I would have been in front without any problems even to fight for the stage but I'm happy because the loss has however been minimal”

“I like the action of this race because it is important for everyone that the favorites attack. It's good for the race and I'm looking forward to my opportunity later on in the Vuelta.”


He knows there is still plenty of opportunities and that he has the firepower to attack and force himself in front. It's expected of him. Froome being defensive in many ways can only limit losses still. This all plays into Bertie's hands coming from behind on the offensive. Any question marks over him will only fuel his fire.
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post #37 of 115 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 07:10 PM
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Re: The Cycling discussion thread

It's early days yet but every time I've seen Froome on a climb, he just seems unshakable. When you combine his climbing with the fact that he's comfortably one of the world's top 5 time triallists you are looking at one hell of a rider. These mini mountains have really whetted the appetite for the longer climbs to come and I honestly can't wait.

Aside from the obvious trio, Gesink seems to be riding really well and has somehow thus far avoided crashing, Valverde is in super form, Roche is riding out of his skin and Cobo might still show something once the real mountains emerge.

This looks set to be, by far, the most exciting, unpredictable tour of the year and will hopefully send a message to Prudhomme about how to establish an intriguing parcours for a three week race.


Edit:
Hopefully Rojas will pick me up some points tmr. He was very poor in the last bunch sprint.

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post #38 of 115 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 11:04 PM
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Re: The Cycling discussion thread

He's looking good, pacing himself, positioning and then covering any attacks, keeping things minimal, hanging on to the leaders. Seems a hard nut to crack, plus if you don't take him, he will (with Sky) put time on you. His downside, if he can't keep the pace up to the end. If he does crack badly he's going to get majorly dropped, and he won't have the attacking ability to then go past people to reduce the gap back down again. It's critical he can defend something, hopefully the lead when the times right, so if he does have a bad day will have a fallback. Nobody is going to be on form everyday, he will have that time it's key that nobody else capitalizes. Needs to be on top form to pick up any stages, bonuses, obviously the TT will be huge. He has the support, the riders, the team, the form, the brain, the legs? We'll see.

Yeah, we have a host of guys from a mix of teams not too far down, many haven't shown their best form yet and will have stages where they come to the front. This years is supposed to be more unpredictable, and it's looking good so far, apparently todays stage was relatively unknown. If it delivers on it's promises and stands above the other GT's, in what's supposed to be an end of season, wind down/last chance saloon tour, with many names not on show, then it will have been as exciting as we're expecting. There is a lot to fight for here. The lead 3 are each set apart by styles, each have huge motivations to win, and abilities to match, equally with each also having potentially very costly unanswered weaker points that will be revealed in due course. It's shaping up very nicely ATM.

Tomorrow it sounds like a break could get away, obviously depends who's in it, just as likely to be a bunch, usual suspects are being talked about, also a number of others who could come through vying to improve on recent results. Degenkolb surely favourite to pick up a 3rd victory, who knows how well the other teams can organize judging on the last few sprints.

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post #39 of 115 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 03:56 AM
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Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Lance Armstrong just had his 7 Tour De France Wins stripped.
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post #40 of 115 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 06:46 AM
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Re: The Cycling discussion thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by chada75 View Post
Lance Armstrong just had his 7 Tour De France Wins stripped.
He may not be in the record books any more, but, he still made some serious coin from it so he still wins in the end.
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