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  1. #1
    Upgrading my engine DXchulo's Avatar
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    2011 Vuelta Stage 17



    This is Sky's last realistic chance to gain time. I don't think they'll do it.

    Meanwhile, this stage would be perfect for Purito, but how hurt is he? Maybe Poels can finally pull it off.
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    Last 6k are 9% average, the last 2k are 12%. Nice.

    The Sky guys are toast unless they learn how to attack by tomorrow. Wiggins couldn't possibly be more boring to watch, but I would love to see him prove otherwise.

    I'd like to see Mollema attack to work his way onto the podium, or Morena attack to try to break into the top 10.

    Side note: I don't know why they even have the first half of stages like this. Just do the second half and show it all on TV. Faster, more attacks, better to watch, easier on the riders, cheaper, etc.

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    I wouldn't call Wiggins boring. Cadel Evans was boring in the past, rarely attacking in the strictest sense AND afraid to come to the front and work. Wiggins on the other hand was willing to risk blowing up and do a lot of tempo setting at the front since the second mountain stage- and at one point or the other, he cracked almost all of his opponents, many of which are better climbers. It was impressive and exciting to watch, especially on Covatilla where all of sudden you saw Scarponi, Moreno, Rodriguez, Nieve, Menchov and finally also Van den Broeck and Nibali being dropped. Such riding IMO is more gutsy than what many explosive climbers usually do- way better than Schlecks' half-hearted 2 seconds attacks and them constantly showing others to take a pull. It's true he doesn't have Contador's acceleration but in it doesn't make him boring. It's also how for example an in-form Ivan Basso climbs, first Szmyd comes to the front and then Basso takes over and rides everyone off his wheel. Wiggo is just a lesser climber so he can't win on the mountains like Zoncolan (or Angliru) with that... and is actually pretty unlikely to win on any MTF, he usually takes someone who has a better finish for a ride.
    But it's Froome who should attack, not Wiggins, who should rather help to make the selection. (I doubt they're capable of doing 1-2.) Though hurting Cobo will be very hard since the climb is so short and not really suited to them. Also, Cobo lives in this area which can make him even more comfortable.

    As for the length of the stage. Shorter stage doesn't have to mean more exciting racing, if everyone is fresh for the final climb that on top of it isn't so hard- you are more likely to see all the favourites crossing the line together as no one will be able to get away. The most exciting stage this year was Giro stage to Gardeccia- 229 kms, multiple climbs, pretty much up and down all the way. Of course nothing particularly important happened until Passo Giau (the climb started after about 150 km of riding) but earlier climbs broke almost all of the domestiques and wore out some of the leaders, only thanks to that insane attacks started so early and could stick for some time. If anything, Vuelta lacks stages like that, that would have more tough climbs and open bigger differences.

    Today, I won't be surprised if Cobo wins again. At first I thought maybe Purito should set up Moreno, if his injuries allow him to do anything. But on the other hand if he still thinks about points jersey, he has to win, Sagan will have more opportunities. Or maybe Poels will finally win the stage? Also, will Nibali try on the descent?

  4. #4
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I agree that it's Froome rather than Wiggins who needs to attack. Their only chance (and it's a small one) is for Wiggins to burn most of them off and then launch Froome towards the top. he probably can't outclimb Cobo, but then, until last week i thought he couldn't possibly TT better than Cancellara.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  5. #5
    Upgrading my engine DXchulo's Avatar
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    Froome!!
    centuryperweek.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Upgrading my engine DXchulo's Avatar
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    Man, what a shame for Froome. Glad to see him give it a shot, though.
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    Senior Member SouthFLpix's Avatar
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    This Vuelta is turning out to be the most exciting grand tour of the year. Froome and Cobo both were heros today. It was a real shame that the Spanish tifosi threatened Froome's life after the finish. They should follow the example of Cobo, who's been a real gentleman.

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    This has been one of the most exciting GTs I've ever seen. Those last 2km were breathtaking...

    paperbackwriter, I agree the Gardeccia stage was fantastic. Seven and a half hours of pain. This face says it all: Nieve at the finish line

  9. #9
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    A star is born, I mean it. Phenomenal from Froome, who when one considers how much work he has done at the front for Wiggins, is hands-down the strongest man in the field. Simply superb. What the hell Sky are going to do next year in picking their team I don't know.

    Brilliant also from Cobo in front of his home crowd. But he looked beyond exhaustion at the finish. It isn't quite over.

    One of the best GTs for many years and the best Vuelta I can remember. Astonishing.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  10. #10
    Upgrading my engine DXchulo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    What the hell Sky are going to do next year in picking their team I don't know.
    Sky hasn't signed Froome for 2012 yet. Don't be surprised if he signs with a different team.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/froo...nsfer-interest
    centuryperweek.blogspot.com

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    Wowzers. That was awesome. I stand by my statement that Wiggins is boring as hell, only because I'm a sucker for a madman attack, especially when it pays off. Hat off to Froome for giving it everything he had.

    Froome could get some serious dough for next year, but you have to wonder what kind of price tag he considers fair if he's really expected to suffer that severely on a regular basis.
    Last edited by Kind of Blued; 09-07-11 at 03:39 PM.

  12. #12
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DXchulo View Post
    Sky hasn't signed Froome for 2012 yet. Don't be surprised if he signs with a different team.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/froo...nsfer-interest
    Yeah, I know that. In fact, I'd be prepared to bet that before this Vuelta they were ready to let him go. You can bet your life they'll want to make space for him now, though.

    I agree, however, that he might choose to go elsewhere. As I've said in other threads, I don't see how Sky are going to meet the aspirations of all their top riders next year. I'd be very surprised if Froome is less aware of that than I am. LOL
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  13. #13
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    By far the best final km of racing I have ever seen.

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    That was a frickin' epic finish. One thing I like about the Vuelta and Giro is that there doesn't seem to be as much team tactics and tentative riding. Seems like more riders think they can win, so we see some guys really going for it. The Tour is the granddaddy, but I seem to enjoy the racing of the Giro and Vuelta more. At least I have for the past few years.
    Everyone has a right to an opinion. However, this does not mean that one's opinion is right.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Giacomo 1's Avatar
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    Woooh, what a finish today!

    Both Cobo and Froome are real hero's. They certainly left it all on the road today. I really thought Cobo was dead and buried in that last km, but boy, he came back in a big way. Froome said it was the toughest day he ever spent on a bike. I believe him!
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  16. #16
    Dopamine Junkie dglevy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Brown View Post
    By far the best final km of racing I have ever seen.
    I agree. I haven't seen a whole lot of racing --maybe 6 or 7 TdFs. But this is the most exciting race I can remember seeing. It was like a fight to the death. Froome was coughing throughout the post-race interview. I hope he's okay.

    I think it's a real shame that Froome was not allowed to ride for himself earlier. It seemed pretty clear that he was very, very strong and yet, despite that, he had to shelter Wiggins through several stages. As far as I'm concerned, Froome should be in red now.

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    It's easy to blame Sky now for choosing the wrong leader. But before the Vuelta Wiggins was the guy who came 4th in the Tour, won Criterium du Dauphine and podiumed in Paris-Nice. Froome's best GT result was 35th in Giro and as for shorter stage races, he was 15th in Romandie and 14th in Castilla y Leon. Of course they must have known his numbers but it seems that until now he always had issues with making the most of them- they couldn't have been certain whether he'll last three weeks. Maybe after the time trial they could have had both as protected but I guess other Sky riders don't have it this Vuelta so it was complicated. Froome did say himself he thinks he's in this position thanks to Brad and it might be more than just courtesy- I suppose it did help him mentally plus despite having to work at the front, he didn't expand all the energy too early and blow up big time (like he tends to, if some opinions are to be believed). We (rightly) critisized Schlecks for caring more about 2 of them on the podium than one of them winning- but Sky didn't make this mistake, they just picked the wrong guy... and it's understandable. Should Henao be Sky's leader for the Tour next year? There's a big possibility that as a GC rider he's more talented than Wiggo, Froome, Porte and Uran. But what, should they trust him immediately? It doesn't work like that and it's not the first time someone stronger has to burn himself for his leader.

    Have to say though, I'm impressed by Menchov. Not every triple GT winner would be so ready to sacrifice himself. He looked amazing on Farrapona, Angliru and Pena Cabarga, I think with a bit of luck he could have climbed to the podium himself but he's been a perfect domestique- marking Wiggo and Froome, taking bonus seconds, setting the pace. Sastre did alright too.

    Anyway, amazing finish yesterday. A bit like Bola del Mundo last year but even better.

  18. #18
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paperbackwriter View Post
    It's easy to blame Sky now for choosing the wrong leader. But before the Vuelta Wiggins was the guy who came 4th in the Tour, won Criterium du Dauphine and podiumed in Paris-Nice. Froome's best GT result was 35th in Giro and as for shorter stage races, he was 15th in Romandie and 14th in Castilla y Leon. Of course they must have known his numbers but it seems that until now he always had issues with making the most of them- they couldn't have been certain whether he'll last three weeks. Maybe after the time trial they could have had both as protected but I guess other Sky riders don't have it this Vuelta so it was complicated. Froome did say himself he thinks he's in this position thanks to Brad and it might be more than just courtesy- I suppose it did help him mentally plus despite having to work at the front, he didn't expand all the energy too early and blow up big time (like he tends to, if some opinions are to be believed). We (rightly) critisized Schlecks for caring more about 2 of them on the podium than one of them winning- but Sky didn't make this mistake, they just picked the wrong guy... and it's understandable.
    Completely agree. There are plenty of riders who deliver big numbers in the lab but don't win races, and until this Vuelta, Froome has been one of them. It would have been crazy to take the gamble when in Wiggins they had a proven GC contender in the shape of his life. And who knows, if Wiggins hadn't dropped his chain at the foot of the Angliru and had to chase to get back on, we might now be congratulating them on their wisdom.

    I also like your point about riding with Wiggins helping Froome. Watching them closely, they are talking to one another a lot of the time and it wouldn't surprise me if he's learned a lot from Wiggins about pacing himself and timing his efforts.

    It's too easy to criticise now we know what's happened. In my view Sky's mistake wasn't their strategy, it was their shambles at the TTT on the opening day. If they'd been anywhere close to the pace that day, it would all have been very different.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  19. #19
    Dopamine Junkie dglevy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paperbackwriter View Post
    ....
    excellent points. i wasn't aware of froome's less than stellar performance before the vuelta. one could chalk it up to his age. he looks so young but he's actually not that young--26. who knows? there are so many ways an athlete can make improvements: diet, training, psychology, etc. somehow, he got the combination right.

    and he's been amazing! like a lot of people have been saying, stage 17 was a race to savor. i watched it again last night. froome and cobo exchanged the lead four times in the last kilometer. it looked to me as if, the first exchange, froome went so hard that he sort of blew up. he left cobo way behind but then came virtually to a stop and cobo gained back the ground very quickly. i would love to see a graph of their power output. i bet froome's was very high, then very low, while cobo's was more steady.

    one point of clarification: contrary to what schlanger and gogulski said after the interview, froome said it was "one of the hardest days on the bike", not the hardest. nevertheless, that is not to take away from the achievement. it was a slugfest on a scale i haven't seen before.

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