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Old 09-06-09, 02:30 PM   #1
OrionKhan
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Vuelta a Espana 2009 talk

So Cadel has openly come out and said that he doesn't think he can win the Vuelta this year. He's had a bad season. Been a mental basket case.

Now low and behold, this joker is wearing the gold jersey. Kind of ironic. Its not like he attacked to get it either. Did like he usually does, finished near the top on a mountain top finish. Somewhow he's ended up in the lead. It will be interesting to see how well he defends it or even tries.

On another note, it will be interesting to see if Greipel can hold onto the green jersey. That is, will he finish the race. The pretty freakin' ridiculous mountain stages still to go. Boonen has shown that he's strong enough to drag is ass to the finish of a grand tour and win the points jersey.

And speaking of Greipel, for all the talk about how strong Astana is as a team, I've gotta say that Columbia has impressed me the most over the season. They've got something like 74 wins this season. Been very dominant in the grand tours. And Cavandish only accounts for 20 something of those wins.
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Old 09-06-09, 06:08 PM   #2
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this is likely cadel's (and valverde's) last/best chance to win a grand tour. if not now, when for both?
many of the riders are contesting the vuelta with the worlds foremost in their thoughts-either in a
supporting role or vying for the win; that should help the chances of evans/valverde.

totally agree with OrionKhan; columbia has been a juggernaut this season. i can't remember a single
stage/race entered this year (or last) where they didn't figure into/impact the race significantly. if in
doubt, pick a columbia rider. previously woulda said that their weakness was in the mountains but
tony martin gives them a heavy hitter there too-tremendous balance.
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Old 09-06-09, 08:57 PM   #3
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this is likely cadel's (and valverde's) last/best chance to win a grand tour. if not now, when for both?
many of the riders are contesting the vuelta with the worlds foremost in their thoughts-either in a
supporting role or vying for the win; that should help the chances of evans/valverde.

totally agree with OrionKhan; columbia has been a juggernaut this season. i can't remember a single
stage/race entered this year (or last) where they didn't figure into/impact the race significantly. if in
doubt, pick a columbia rider. previously woulda said that their weakness was in the mountains but
tony martin gives them a heavy hitter there too-tremendous balance.
Could you imagine Columbia, less Hincapie, but with Contador? Most GC riders need a full team designed around them for a shot to win, but I actually think that, if they have the payroll, and could keep the chemistry they have, that would be a very fortuitous match for them.

I missed the stage today, but I would not be at all surprised if Cadel were to hang on and win.
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Old 09-06-09, 09:42 PM   #4
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^Not even close. He looked like he was riding for his life just to hold on to the Peloton, and on the podium he looked like **** (seriously depressed). I hope the best for him, but he looks incredibly tired.

Andy Schleck dropped out today, which is disappointing but it was a very exciting race, with a suprise finish.
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Old 09-06-09, 10:31 PM   #5
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Yeah, I'd be surprised if Cadel won. Hell, he even said that he didn't think he could win. But somehow he's in first.

This Vuelta course is almost ridiculous. Todays stage had 8 climbs with a mountain top finish. More of the same tomorrow. Something like 8 mountain stages with 5 mountain top finishes. I think the guys who are thinking more about the World Championships are going seriously start dropping out.

I really hope Boonen, Tyler, and the Columbia sprinters hang in there.

Regarding Columbia with a GC rider like Contador - Hard to say how they would be. They are hell bent for winning races/stages. But they aren't built for mountains. It seems as if they like being a team of sprint specialists. 74 wins on the season (so far) is crazy. What's really impressive is who many other good sprinter they have besides Cav. They're tactics are very solid. Once they get a hold of at leadout, they very seldom get beat. Unlike Garmin (Tyler), who can seem to quite get it all together against the big sprinters.
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Old 09-07-09, 01:40 AM   #6
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yes, stage nine looks like another potential kom breakaway day and another chance for
a few more contenders for the overall to drop out. sure that many would pick tommy d
and cadel as two of the likely candidates for big time loss. silence-lotto did put on
a good show today though shepherding evans. not sure how much sanchez's
crash will affect him on another long day in the mountains. valverde is due for his
scheduled "bad day" in the mountains but caisse (and j. rodriquez) looked today to be
fully capable of supporting the green bullet into the last week of the vuelta. nice to see
cunego finally get a mountain stage win after many attempts the last couple of years.
very impressed by gesink's turn of speed the last two kilometers but does he have
enough support (and stamina) to go the distance as a contender? methinks he needs
one more (next) year and he'll be ready to contend in 2011. he's in the same boat as
both schlecks though; he'll have to improve on his tt (to be fair, andy schleck has shown
signs of improvement there but may be resigned in the forseeable near future to being
number two behind contador).

if columbia managed to get contador, their setup would be similar to deutche telekom/
t-mobile during the ullrich/kloden/kessler/zabel years; a lot of talented & capable riders.
we all know how that turned out. they should have "podiumed" in every race they
rode in but frequently seemed unsure whom exactly to ride for or employed
questionable tactics. who knows how many races they would have won if not splitting
time between riding for ullrich and zabel? stapleton seems to have a pretty good
handle on things now and if anyone could still achieve daily results and still have a shot
at the whole enchilada, it's him. i think the bigger question is why would columbia
bother with contador (or similar)? with the ability to seriously contend in every one-day,
classic or grand tour stage with their stable, mgmt. can throw a bone to nearly
every rider on the squad several times a year to keep them all happy & unified.
-grabsch, hincapie, martin & pinotti for tt's & prologues,
-hincapie, albasini, eisel, lovkvist, pinotti, hagen, siutsou & cavendish for one-days,
rolling or small mountain stages & classics
-kirchen, monfort & martin for the big mountains
-kirchen & martin for the gt's
-cavendish, greipel, hansen & henderson for the sprints
not too shabby! obviously changes for 2010 such as hincapie's departure but still...
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Old 09-07-09, 09:32 AM   #7
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Haha, that's a sick climb on the end of today's stage.
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Old 09-07-09, 09:41 AM   #8
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wow that was awesome. Wicked cool descent.
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Old 09-07-09, 11:59 AM   #9
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wow that was awesome. Wicked cool descent.
Yeah, it was a pretty good stage. Great racing. Cadel, Valverde, and Basso went at mana a mano. I thought Cadel would lose a lot of time today. But he manned up. To bad he caught a bad break coming into the line. Cost him the gold jersey. But he rode well. Lookin' like its going to come down to Cadel, Valverde, and Basso.
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Old 09-09-09, 06:51 PM   #10
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Nice win by Tyler today. Big win for the Garmin boys. Nice to see them finally get their act together in a sprint at a grand tour.
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Old 09-10-09, 12:09 AM   #11
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It was good to see it come together for Farrar. I honestly expected it earlier and was beginning to doubt it would come together for him.

I'm also curious to see what the placement of rest days is going to do to the peloton. Seems to me like there is a good chunk of time left with some hard riding ahead. Ten days, five of those in the mountains.
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Old 09-10-09, 01:10 AM   #12
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Nice win by Tyler today. Big win for the Garmin boys. Nice to see them finally get their act together in a sprint at a grand tour.
It was a strange sprint (what was Cancellara thinking? ) but good win for Farrar, he was comfortably ahead. And it was kind of funny seeing how helpless Greipel is without the support of his teammates.
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Old 09-10-09, 08:08 AM   #13
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Cancellara saw the chaos at the front and hoped to get some gap but the sprinters had too much left.
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Old 09-11-09, 10:51 AM   #14
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Nice win by Hesjedal. First Grand Tour stage win by a Canadian since Steve Bauer. I raced against Ryder a couple times back when he was a mountain bike racer. He was only 19 racing against the big boys like Roland Green and holding his own already. I was in the same race, but not in the same race.

Ce bon Ryder.

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Old 09-11-09, 01:39 PM   #15
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Nice acceleration by Gesink at the end...........
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Old 09-11-09, 01:52 PM   #16
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There are some monster mountain top finishes coming up over the next couple of days. Quite a few withdrawals today. This Vuelta could come down to who can survive it.
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Old 09-11-09, 03:23 PM   #17
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Lance fanboys won't agree with this but I think that this years addition is a harder race than this years TDF. These three days are just brutal.
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Old 09-11-09, 10:51 PM   #18
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Lance fanboys won't agree with this but I think that this years addition is a harder race than this years TDF. These three days are just brutal.
I'd agree with that, though so far I think the level of difficulty is having the same effect as the Ventoux stage - no one wants to go all-in with that amount of climbing still coming up. The ideal position is to keep a reserve and stay close to the front of the GC, while "the other guy" has to burn up his team keeping the breaks on a short leash.

Then on the last serious climbing day you lay it on the line and burn through your matches to take the lead...its a close race so far, and I think Sunday will be the real killer.
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Old 09-12-09, 08:49 AM   #19
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There's always something with Evans, isn't there?

Awfully bad luck, but that's just Evans I guess...
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Old 09-12-09, 11:44 AM   #20
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There's always something with Evans, isn't there?

Awfully bad luck, but that's just Evans I guess...
He seems like the guy everyone always wants to kick out of the group...just before he flatted on the last climb the commentators were talking about how he was looking a little ragged, and the others were likely to try to get rid of him. I'd imagine they want to put time on him on the climbs so they can get to the time trials safely ahead.
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Old 09-12-09, 12:12 PM   #21
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Lance fanboys won't agree with this but I think that this years addition is a harder race than this years TDF. These three days are just brutal.
Hell, this is one of the toughest grand tour courses of any year.
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Old 09-12-09, 12:14 PM   #22
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Boy, I was thinking that Cadel had a real shot. He was lookin' pretty good. As long as he stayed close with a ITT still go to, he was in pretty good shape. Then the damned flat. He rode pretty well to limit his losses, but the damage had been done.

Still another mountain top finish for tomorrow.

Valverde is lookin' real strong.
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Old 09-14-09, 06:05 PM   #23
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Evans is kind of a whiner. Yeah, losing a minute for a wheel change that turned into a bike change is tough, but is it really the end of the race for him? Apparently he thinks so...seems like if you're always looking for a reason to throw in the towel you will find one.

I'm not much of an Armstrong fan, but when crap got between him and the podium there was no question what his reaction was going to be.
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Old 09-14-09, 07:14 PM   #24
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There's always something with Evans, isn't there?

Awfully bad luck, but that's just Evans I guess...
There's always something with Valverde too, so his sticking power to this point has been a surprise. I don't think Cadel has lost it entirely, certainly not lost the podium if he still wants it given there's a ITT ahead. And Friday's stage will be crucial too.
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Old 09-14-09, 10:48 PM   #25
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Valverde is looking like the strongest guy. Cadel had a shot with there still being an ITT, but its not a long one. That wheel change really cost him because he's not a climber that can't put in bursts to try and make up time. He's been riding pretty strong.

In the end, I think Valverde is showing he's the strongest rider. His ride the other day showed it. He got dropped, but then caught back up and passed the lot of them. Still a way to go though.
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