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Old 04-25-06, 01:21 PM   #1
Helmet Head
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Alejandro Valverde: all-rounder extraordinaire?

Not only is he a climber who can sprint, he can TT with the best of them. This guy is scary...

Results from today's prologue at the Tour de Romandie:

1 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 4.27
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 0.01
3 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française des Jeux 0.04
4 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 0.07
5 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Crédit Agricole
6 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Lampre-Fondital 0.09
7 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Laurent Lefèvre (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
9 Andreas Dietziker (Swi) Team LPR
10 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC
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Old 04-25-06, 01:31 PM   #2
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If he can keep TTing like that up, well, he'll be a force to be reckoned with come July.
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Old 04-25-06, 01:33 PM   #3
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Not only is this guy a future Tour winner but he has and will continue to win the short stage races and one day races. Valverde is my wild card winner for the Tour this year.
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Old 04-25-06, 01:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 2Rodies
Valverde is my wild card winner for the Tour this year.
If he can hold up for 3 weeks.
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Old 04-25-06, 02:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
If he can hold up for 3 weeks.
Hence the wild card status. He also doesn't really have a team that is built around winning a GT. If Basso cracks and Jan shows up in his usual out of shape form AV is in with a shout. Still you got to love guys like him, and Boonen, they show up at every race with winning as the chief objective.
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Old 04-25-06, 02:29 PM   #6
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And he didn't need a TT helmet or TT bars to finish second today... here's a pic from VeloNews with Valverde sporting his ProTour leader whites....

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Old 04-25-06, 02:35 PM   #7
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LBL was awesome, he made it look easy at the end.
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Old 04-25-06, 02:43 PM   #8
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LBL was the best race I've seen in a long time. Exciting finish!
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Old 04-25-06, 03:17 PM   #9
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LBL was the best race I've seen in a long time. Exciting finish!
x2
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Old 04-25-06, 03:19 PM   #10
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When Valverde's on, he looks virtually unbeatable. Right now, based strictly on form, I'd slot him in ahead of Der Jan.

My favorites:

Basso
Landis
Valverde
Vinokourov
Ullrich
Leipheimer
Evans
Rasmussen
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Old 04-25-06, 03:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veloduo
When Valverde's on, he looks virtually unbeatable. Right now, based strictly on form, I'd slot him in ahead of Der Jan.

My favorites:

Basso
Landis
Valverde
Vinokourov
Ullrich
Leipheimer
Evans
Rasmussen
I like your list, but Rasmussen need to learn how to ride a TT bike if he's going to place well. I don't think the field will let him go on the climbs like they did last year.
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Old 04-25-06, 07:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TYB069
If he can keep TTing like that up, well, he'll be a force to be reckoned with come July.
What's that guy's name on cycling.tv? Not Anthony McCrossen, but the other guy. Anyway, he made a comment during LBL that I'm not 100% sure I agree with, but is interesting nonetheless.

Basically what he was saying was that the grand tours are so hard and people are getting so specialized that he thinks riders have to choose between being GC guys or classics guys. He took Valverde's recent wins as a message that Valverde wants to be a classics guy.

Can Valverde do both? Probably not this year, but if he keeps on improving like this who knows. Perhaps the biggest question (fair or not) is his durability since he posted a DNF in the TDF last year.

Say he has a good showing at the Tour this year. Would his team even give him a chance to do both next year, or would they take a "focus 100% on the Tour and the Tour only" approach with his schedule?
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Old 04-25-06, 07:58 PM   #13
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Riders like Cunego and Valverde show up at Leige Bastogne Leige because it suits their strengths and it is a good test of fitness against a class field. The list of winners is mixed, with some riders who are capable of doing well in a Grand Tour and others who have no hope of placing high in a Grand Tour. Vinokourov and Hamilton are two recent examples of winners who are capable of a high place in a Grand Tour. Bettini and Bartoli are two examples of riders who have won LBL but have/had little chance of getting near the podium in a GT. So this race, more than most of the classics, gets a wide range of rider types winning.
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Old 04-25-06, 08:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyLowe97
And he didn't need a TT helmet or TT bars to finish second today... here's a pic from VeloNews with Valverde sporting his ProTour leader whites....

It was a hilly technical course. I believe most of the riders that posted good timesroad their road bikes not their tt bikes
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Old 04-25-06, 08:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DXchulo
Can Valverde do both? Probably not this year, but if he keeps on improving like this who knows. Perhaps the biggest question (fair or not) is his durability since he posted a DNF in the TDF last year.
I think his DNF last year is indicative of developing a knee injury - which is no longer an issue - not lack of "durability".
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Old 04-25-06, 08:38 PM   #16
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It all depends how strong of a team Valverde has for the tour. With teams like CSC, and Phonak dominating the peloton it's going to be hard for any GC rider without a strong team to podium in Paris.
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Old 04-25-06, 11:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veloduo
When Valverde's on, he looks virtually unbeatable. Right now, based strictly on form, I'd slot him in ahead of Der Jan.

My favorites:

Basso
Landis
Valverde
Vinokourov
Ullrich
Leipheimer
Evans
Rasmussen
Not going to happen:

Leiphiemer (Rides too cautious)
Evans (horrible build up so far)
Rasmussen (what are these funny bars they put on my bike?)

Going to happen:

Landis (podium)
Basso (probable winner)
Vino (podium)
Ulrich (4th and a retirement announcement)
Valverde (Could win, could podium, could implode mid second or beggining of third week)

My wild card: Savoldelli. Just killed at Romandie.

How Disco plays this will determine where he ends up. I agree with one mag pundit that Paolo's better suited to this year's TDF route than he is trying to defend at the Giro. Best all arounder at Disco right now.

The three teams that will be killing it for their leader are Phonak, Liberty, and of course CSC. Disco's indecision in naming "the man" is going to cost them, this is a group of guys who have known exactly who to ride for during the last 7 years, and I can't see having 2,3, or 4 leaders being a good thing or a good way to save bullets when you really need them.

Of those three CSC is built for the tour and Riis practices witchcraft, voodoo, and santeria so that's why Basso has got to be the favorite.

T Mobile, as usual, is a nice collection of riders for your fantasy squad, but not a "team".
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Old 04-26-06, 08:32 AM   #18
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God Landis must have the best PR guy on planet. He gets more press for less reason than Ben Aflack. Last year in every race that mattered, on every climb that mattered Levi spanked Floyd yet nobody gives this guy any props.
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Old 04-26-06, 08:49 AM   #19
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I think it's Landis' goofy appearence, unique background, and the time with Postal/Discovery .that draws everybody's attention. Also I think he's on the upswing moreso than Leipheimer.
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Old 04-26-06, 09:05 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
I think it's Landis' goofy appearence, unique background, and the time with Postal/Discovery .that draws everybody's attention. Also I think he's on the upswing moreso than Leipheimer.

IMHO his upswing is going to result in to early of a peak. Yeah he's riding really well but come the Tour of Switzerland, and the Daulphine, he may be on down swing. Then again he may be hitting the best form of his life and dominate the rest of the season. Levi has said is only objective this season is the Tour, I think come late May and June you'll be seeing him come into form.
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Old 04-26-06, 09:25 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
My wild card: Savoldelli.
Paolo for the Tour? What about Popo? And here's a real Disco wild card for you: Georgie.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Rodies
Last year in every race that mattered, on every climb that mattered Levi spanked Floyd yet nobody gives this guy any props.
Judging by his 04-05 climbing perf improvement in the tdg, Floyd is climbing better this year (not to mention better TTing).
But, then, apparently so is Vino.
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Old 04-26-06, 09:41 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
I think it's Landis' goofy appearence, unique background, and the time with Postal/Discovery .that draws everybody's attention. Also I think he's on the upswing moreso than Leipheimer.
Don't forget his "riff" with Lance.... that made a lot of news last year

I don't think Levi will podium this year, but I will prolly root for him just becuase he could turn out to be a wild card at some point.
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Old 04-26-06, 09:53 AM   #23
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Everybody remembers stage 10 of the Tour last year, right? Valverde surprised Armstrong on a mountaintop finish, and Armstrong remarked that Valverde was a future Tour De France winner. He has stuck by this statement.

I don't know about this year, though. It does seem that Valverde is concentrating on the classics.

The prologue of Romandie was a short, hilly sprint, not a Tour De France style time trial. The finishing times were under five minutes. It's difficult to deduce anything from it, since not all riders would be taking risks on such a short course. The rest of the race should tell us who (particularly Ullrich) is on target with his training, though.

My pick for the tour is still Basso - he won the Criterium International almost by accident. No apparent effort at all, and he seemed to be as surprised with the victory as everyone else.
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Old 04-26-06, 09:59 AM   #24
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I don't know about this year, though. It does seem that Valverde is concentrating on the classics.
.
He's just using some of the late spring one-days as a ramp-up to the summer tours. Same thing with Cunego and Basso.
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