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Old 07-23-07, 02:33 PM   #1
Pizza Man
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Why are Spaniards so much better than the French (and everyone else)?

Looking through the GC as of today I had to go all the way down to 32nd place to find the first French rider, then I noticed that there were 13 Spanish riders ahead of him (nearly 45% of the top 29 riders).

No other nation has more than 2 riders ahead of Spain's 13th!

Why does Spain have so many great riders? Culture? Genetics? Pharmacists?

And what about France, why such a poor showing? They have more guys in the race than most other nations, but no one in the top 30?
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Old 07-23-07, 02:41 PM   #2
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Too bad they can't win. Besides Indurain, who else has won? Delgado back in the 80's...and then?
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Old 07-23-07, 02:41 PM   #3
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It comes and goes. Italians will dominate for a while, then it might be Belgians or Germans. Right now just happens to be a good time for Spanish cyclists.
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Old 07-23-07, 02:44 PM   #4
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Too bad they can't win. Besides Indurain, who else has won? Delgado back in the 80's...and then?
Ocana
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Old 07-23-07, 02:48 PM   #5
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Maybe these days many more Spaniards cycle, and cycle more often than those other nations? In sport, generally which nation dominates is determined by how many people it has that participate, especially when just comparing similar highly developed nations in the same region. And maybe in Spain they care relatively more about the TDF than in Italy, where the Giro is king?? Not many French people actually ride bikes these days I thought.
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Old 07-23-07, 02:53 PM   #6
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Ocana
In 1973...so that's three cyclists? If we want to go that far back to pump up Spain as a cycling power house, wouldn't it be better to look at Belgium. Correct me if I'm wrong, but outside of France they can claim the largest number of TDF wins.
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Old 07-23-07, 03:05 PM   #7
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Ocana
BTW, Ocana only spent the first 12 years of his life in Spain. He moved to France in 1957.
Gotta love Wikipedia.
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Old 07-23-07, 03:17 PM   #8
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but outside of France they can claim the largest number of TDF wins.

You are correct. Stats by year and (scroll down) total by country here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...France_winners
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Old 07-23-07, 03:48 PM   #9
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Too bad they can't win. Besides Indurain, who else has won? Delgado back in the 80's...and then?
Bahamontes. One of only 4 riders to ever win Polka Dot and Yellow in the same year. Merckx, Bartolli and Coppi, pretty good company.

D@mn, 6 out of the last 20 Tours and they don;t win? And remember before 86 90% of all wins were by France, Belgium and Italy.

Back to the original question. France seems to have some of the strictest anti doping measures and Spain the most lax. Draw your own conclusion.
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Old 07-23-07, 03:50 PM   #10
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Bahamontes. One of only 4 riders to ever win Polka Dot and Yellow in the same year. Merckx, Bartolli and Coppi, pretty good company.

D@mn, 6 out of the last 20 Tours and they don;t win? And remember before 86 90% of all wins were by France, Belgium and Italy.

Back to the original question. France seems to have some of the strictest anti doping measures and Spain the most lax. Draw your own conclusion.
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Old 07-23-07, 03:53 PM   #11
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In 1973...so that's three cyclists? If we want to go that far back to pump up Spain as a cycling power house, wouldn't it be better to look at Belgium. Correct me if I'm wrong, but outside of France they can claim the largest number of TDF wins.
And for Belgium the Tours are much less important in comparison to other countries. top 3 classics riders of all time from one small country.
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Old 07-24-07, 03:49 AM   #12
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because spain is hot as f#ck in the summer and they have mountains!!! anybody who grows up riding in that type of climate/geography is bound to become an excellent cyclist.....same reason kenyan runners are so good.
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Old 07-24-07, 04:31 AM   #13
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because spain is hot as f#ck in the summer and they have mountains!!! anybody who grows up riding in that type of climate/geography is bound to become an excellent cyclist.....same reason kenyan runners are so good.
So, it's equally as hot in Texas, and the last 20 or 30 times I was there I saw no snow capped peaks, but the best US climber ever (IMO) came from there.
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Old 07-24-07, 09:38 AM   #14
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because spain is hot as f#ck in the summer and they have mountains!!! anybody who grows up riding in that type of climate/geography is bound to become an excellent cyclist.....same reason kenyan runners are so good.
This is not very far off, but I am sure that culture plays a role as well. For the most part the tour is about the climbers. Find the countries with large populations near mountains. Add cycling fever and a supportive culture.
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Old 07-24-07, 09:47 AM   #15
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So, it's equally as hot in Texas, and the last 20 or 30 times I was there I saw no snow capped peaks, but the best US climber ever (IMO) came from there.
That's because you can buy EPO in Texas.

Cycling is a much bigger sport in most European countries than the US, it's even bigger per capita in Canada than the US. Every kid in Spain wants to be a racer.
Spanish cycling is all about climbing, this is where most of the U23 races are held, they select for climbers.

Evolution: take a large population, select for an expertise, you get the best at that expertise.

Or, if you live in the south and don't believe in Darwin, ...praise Jebus and pass the EPO.
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Old 07-24-07, 09:59 AM   #16
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Or, if you live in the south and don't believe in Darwin, ...praise Jebus and pass the EPO.
Please stop saying stuff like this. Darwin died for MY sins.
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Old 07-24-07, 11:55 AM   #17
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I lived in a small town in Spain for a few years while in the Navy. They have bike clubs for kids that used to pass me each evening on their training rides escorted by a few adults. On Saturdays the town had bike races for different age groups including toddlers on tricycles. In the winter they had racing and bike repair clinics. It was a very supportive environment for bike racing. The older Spanish men would ride together in big groups on weekends all decked out in their favorite team's kit. That's what got them to start wearing helmets; they wanted to be like Miguel.

I really enjoyed living there.
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