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Old 07-08-11, 10:28 PM   #1
junkyardking
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Is Saxo Bank holding Contador back?

The three time champ is the only member of his team who's currently placed in the first 100 riders. Saxo Bank has been the last placed team for the first week of le Tour.

Today HTC-Highroad proved a beautiful example of a team working for one man to win it.

My question: does Contador have a shot at a 4th tour win while on a team that does not have the collective strength the support him? I honestly don't think so.
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Old 07-08-11, 10:44 PM   #2
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You're probably wrong. People said the same thing about the Astana teams he was on. They don't have to do anything on the flat stages. Their overall placing is unimportant. His team is built around climbing strength. It will show when the big mountains come along. And the team support argument is tired and overused. In the end AC will have to out climb and out TT everyone (mainly Andy Schleck). Given that he's done that in the last 6 grand tours that he's ridden in, he's probably up to the task. He one a couple of years ago when his team was usurped by an aging veteran who was past his prime. He made through that drama. I don't think Saxo is going to be the issue if he doesn't win. It will be because someone flat out beat him.
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Old 07-08-11, 11:15 PM   #3
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Saxo has some strong riders. They will be fine.
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Old 07-08-11, 11:47 PM   #4
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How much time can he make up on flat stages? Seconds, at best. When they reach the mountains? Minutes. They're just biding their time for the real fireworks to begin.
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Old 07-09-11, 02:44 AM   #5
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Wait to you see the look on Sornenson's face when he's pacing Contador up a mountain. Navarro will also be a good teammate in the mountains.
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Old 07-09-11, 03:14 AM   #6
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My question: does Contador have a shot at a 4th tour win while on a team that does not have the collective strength the support him? I honestly don't think so.
Navarro had the entire peloton on their knees last year on a couple of stages - and dropped Lance, Wiggins and a few other top 10 contenders. AC has the appropriate support needed for the mountain stages I think.

And Riis is a very good tactician - IIRC, he had told AS to attack much earlier (on the stage where AS put 10 seconds on AC) b/c he felt AC was hurting. However, AS didnt. Had he done so, he might have gained another 10-15 seconds, at which point the rest of the Tour might have played out differently.
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Old 07-09-11, 03:35 AM   #7
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Today HTC-Highroad proved a beautiful example of a team working for one man to win it.
My question: does Contador have a shot at a 4th tour win while on a team that does not have the collective strength the support him? I honestly don't think so.
HTC have the best sprinter in the world to work for on a sprint stage. Saxo Bank on the otherhand are protecting AC and making sure he uses as little energy as possible for the overall GC win. The mountains will tell if AC has a shot at a 4th Tour win.

My guess is he has more than a shot at it and his team are also conserving their energy by not contesting sprints and doing long leadouts like HTC have been doing over the last week.
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Old 07-09-11, 05:14 AM   #8
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Saxo Bank on the otherhand are protecting AC and making sure he uses as little energy as possible for the overall GC win....
+1

GC candidates can't make up significant time on the flats, especially since unlike the Giro this year, there aren't any time bonuses.

There is no reason for Saxo to set up a sprint train like HTC did yesterday, because AC has nothing to gain by it. Doing so is a waste of critical energy at a time when they are actually trying to ride into form; they won't peak in fitness for another week or so, while the sprinters time their training to peak at the start of the Tour.

This was a week for the sprinters to do their thing. All Saxo has to do is keep AC close to the front, and that's not as easy as it looks since everyone else wants to be in that spot as well. As per usual, things will change in the mountains.
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Old 07-09-11, 05:53 AM   #9
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The main thing the GC men have to do for the entire first week is try to avoid crashes.
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Old 07-09-11, 06:15 AM   #10
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Leopard Trek has not won any flat stages or sprints either. AC is still 1:40 behind. He still has a chance in the mountains.
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Old 07-09-11, 06:35 AM   #11
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I don't think the team is the problem, it's Contador. If you want to be a GC rider, you ride closer to the front than Contador does or you risk trouble. His mid-pack riding cost him time two years ago, when there was a split, and it's cost him big time this year. Two years ago he didn't lose enough time that it cost him the Tour win. This year, I believe he lost the win on the very first day. Unless something major happens to Frank and Andy, I just don't see how he can make up 1:40+ on those two. They're pretty much his equal climbing and his only advantage over them is individual TT'ing. Cadel Evans can't stay with the Schlecks or Contador in the mountains. So, it comes down to the Schlecks finishing 1 and 2 unless something major happens to them. For Contador to gain that amount of time on those two, it's going to take a very mighty and memorable performance.
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Old 07-09-11, 07:45 AM   #12
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I don't think the team is the problem, it's Contador. If you want to be a GC rider, you ride closer to the front than Contador does or you risk trouble. His mid-pack riding cost him time two years ago, when there was a split, and it's cost him big time this year. Two years ago he didn't lose enough time that it cost him the Tour win. This year, I believe he lost the win on the very first day. Unless something major happens to Frank and Andy, I just don't see how he can make up 1:40+ on those two. They're pretty much his equal climbing and his only advantage over them is individual TT'ing. Cadel Evans can't stay with the Schlecks or Contador in the mountains. So, it comes down to the Schlecks finishing 1 and 2 unless something major happens to them. For Contador to gain that amount of time on those two, it's going to take a very mighty and memorable performance.
Contador has been behind before in a grand tour and won. Jeez, it's not like the guy hasn't won a big race before.

Contador has shown the ability to take that deficit down to under a minute on even the Schlecks. With several mountain top finishes to go, he doesn't have to get it all on one stage. He can chip away and take 10-20 here or there to get the time down under a minute. And he is a much better TT guy than they are. The way he rode the Giro this year, 1:40 is nothing. The big question is whether or not the Giro took to much out of him and his legs don't have same form for the Tour. And Andy hasn't shown great form all season, including already being dropped on a short climb this race. Maybe that was a fluke or maybe it was indicative of his form.
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Old 07-09-11, 08:36 AM   #13
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I don't think the team is the problem, it's Contador. If you want to be a GC rider, you ride closer to the front than Contador does or you risk trouble.
The guy has won 6 GTs - he probably knows a thing or two about where to ride - I am guessing when it comes to something as obvious as this, there probably is a reason for him riding where does. That is far more likely than the idea that he doesnt know Racing 101 (and no matter what Lance likes to tweet, Contador is a very tactical racer).
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Old 07-09-11, 08:38 AM   #14
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Probably just saving his energy and biding time until he gets to the mountains.
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Old 07-09-11, 09:08 AM   #15
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I'm not saying he doesn't know about riding GTs, I'm saying it's not smart to ride in the middle or back of the pack, which is where he's been and gotten in to trouble because of it. While Contador can really climb, he's not going to get 1:40+ back on the Schlecks. He tried today and got nothing. It is a long race and anything could happen, but I continue to believe Contador lost the race on the first day. I really hope he proves me wrong, that will mean some spectacular racing happened. What's not to like about that.
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Old 07-09-11, 09:13 AM   #16
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Again, today was not a big climbing day. Gilbert finishing amongst the leaders says as much. Things won't get interesting until we see multiple Cat 1 and HC on one stage. Then we'll see who can drop who. A Cat 3 finish where Hushovd is with the leader is not a test. He doesn't need 1:40 in the mountains. AC needs to chip away and be closer for the TT. Both AC and AS aught to be concerned about the form Evans is showing. Because he can TT very well. If he's close to AS, that will be a problem for AS in the TT as well.
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Old 07-09-11, 10:16 AM   #17
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I don't think the team is the problem, it's Contador. If you want to be a GC rider, you ride closer to the front than Contador does or you risk trouble. His mid-pack riding cost him time two years ago, when there was a split, and it's cost him big time this year. ...
I saw a replay of the stage 1 crash yesterday, with the arrow showing where Contador was. He was actually very close to where he should have been Had he been on the right side of the road, rather than the left, he would not have been the first rider caught behind the domino-effect carnage that resulted.
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Old 07-09-11, 11:21 AM   #18
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I saw a replay of the stage 1 crash yesterday, with the arrow showing where Contador was. He was actually very close to where he should have been Had he been on the right side of the road, rather than the left, he would not have been the first rider caught behind the domino-effect carnage that resulted.
Yeah, this "back of the peloton" bull is annoying, all the times that AC got caught behind a crash he was never further than 1/3 behind the front of the peloton. 1/3 back is easily explained by the constant repositioning of riders.

Most of this is from the old "he needs to learn more" rap that LA and Bruyneel started when they were trying to explain why AC should ride in support of LA in his bid for #8.
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Old 07-09-11, 11:40 AM   #19
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Yeah, this "back of the peloton" bull is annoying, all the times that AC got caught behind a crash he was never further than 1/3 behind the front of the peloton. 1/3 back is easily explained by the constant repositioning of riders.

Most of this is from the old "he needs to learn more" rap that LA and Bruyneel started when they were trying to explain why AC should ride in support of LA in his bid for #8.
Yup, too far back. Absolutely, the constant repositioning of riders while AC took a mental holiday was how he ended up 60 or so riders back from the front. Not where you want to be on the early twitchy stages, especially in this crash happy Tour.
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Old 07-09-11, 07:57 PM   #20
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Yup, too far back. Absolutely, the constant repositioning of riders while AC took a mental holiday was how he ended up 60 or so riders back from the front. Not where you want to be on the early twitchy stages, especially in this crash happy Tour.
Did you even read the post you quoted and the one prior to it that he was replying to?
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Old 07-10-11, 12:41 PM   #21
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Contador crashed again today so whatever he's doing it isn't working ... He's now not likely to win and may not even finish
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Old 07-10-11, 12:57 PM   #22
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I'm not saying he doesn't know about riding GTs, I'm saying it's not smart to ride in the middle or back of the pack, which is where he's been and gotten in to trouble because of it. While Contador can really climb, he's not going to get 1:40+ back on the Schlecks. He tried today and got nothing. It is a long race and anything could happen, but I continue to believe Contador lost the race on the first day. I really hope he proves me wrong, that will mean some spectacular racing happened. What's not to like about that.
I think on a good day he can easily put 1:40 on the Schlecks. Whether or not he has the legs this year remains to be seen.
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Old 07-10-11, 05:16 PM   #23
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I don't think the team is the problem, it's Contador. If you want to be a GC rider, you ride closer to the front than Contador does or you risk trouble. His mid-pack riding cost him time two years ago, when there was a split, and it's cost him big time this year.
Two years ago NONE of the contenders made the split except LA. So that incident doesn't reflect on Contador's tactical sense any more than that of the other contenders.

Interesting opinion by Chris Horner (before he crashed out) about Saxo Bank: http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/...-strong_182389
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Old 07-10-11, 05:27 PM   #24
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Two years ago NONE of the contenders made the split except LA. So that incident doesn't reflect on Contador's tactical sense any more than that of the other contenders.
good point

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Yeah, this "back of the peloton" bull is annoying, all the times that AC got caught behind a crash he was never further than 1/3 behind the front of the peloton. 1/3 back is easily explained by the constant repositioning of riders.
true
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Old 07-10-11, 05:29 PM   #25
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Did you even read the post you quoted and the one prior to it that he was replying to?
Uh. Yeah. We both agree he was in the top third or so of the peloton. We both agree that positions in the top third of the peloton are always shifting as riders scramble to be in the best position. If you want to remain at the front, you have to pay attention to stay in the top. If you don't, you'll easily drift back. A third of the way back is in the middle of the peloton, which is not where one wants to be to minimize the chance of a crash.

I mean, you saw it again today and Contador was even further back than that. He tangled himself up with another rider and ended up on the ground. Not much more than a bruised ego on that one, but another day another crash.
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