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  1. #1
    Coppista Rhinelander's Avatar
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    Vuelta a España - 2012

    Vuelta a España 2012

    I was sitting around with a few friends the other day when talk turned to the Vuelta. A random comment was made that the 2012 edition would be a Vuelta of the Domestiques. I pointed out that first of all the Vuelta, being last on the calendar, has traditionally lost some of the cycling stars, specially from among those who have the Giro and the Tour in their legs and that this year, the Olympics have certainly contributed to take additional top 20 riders out of contention. It was further pointed out that "Team Politics" determine who is "sent" to any given event.

    I felt that there were still plenty of top riders left to make this interesting and taking team orders into account, Froome should now have the freedom to dictate his own fate. Others in our discussion feel it will be an uneven contest because Contador will have a (full?) team around him and unlike Froome, does not have a full season in his legs.

    I for one will follow what the likes of Gadret, Roche, Kreuziger, Menchov, Cunego, Van Den Broeck, Gesink and Froome, will do (Sorensen is riding for Contador). Not to forget that Hoogerland, De Gendt and a few others may still want to mix things up. Also the question came up who will take the reigns at Astana, BMC, Euskatel, Garmin, Katusha, Quickstep, Cofidis etc. For me, too bad Voeckler isn't part of this.

    Your thoughts...

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    Contador should blow the peloton appart as he did in the giro a few years back.

    AS is not even in the list or riders.
    Last edited by ultraman6970; 08-10-12 at 12:46 PM.

  3. #3
    lead on macduff!
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    can't wait. course is tailor made for the hard men of the mountains. between the suspended, domesticated, injured & 'no-shows' at the tdf, we've gotta helluva start list chock full of great climbers that should animate the proceedings suitably.

  4. #4
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    This would be an interesting Vuelta. I am curious as to how Contador and Froome will affect the peloton's dynamics. Also looking to see how Van Den Broeck and Cunego mix things up.
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    Coppista Rhinelander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
    can't wait. course is tailor made for the hard men of the mountains. between the suspended, domesticated, injured & 'no-shows' at the tdf, we've gotta helluva start list chock full of great climbers that should animate the proceedings suitably.
    Should that make us think that on a more purist line of thought and taking the inevitable changes of the times into this, that the Vuelta should emphasize the climbers in light of the fact that since the days of Charly Gaul, Bahmontes etc, no pure climber has won one of the three greats (Pantani may be one of the exceptions). Since Coppi, it became clear that the allrounders have the odds and Anquetil was a prime example of this as is Contador. Personally, I'd love to see the Vuelta cater to the climbers and ease off the time trials. I don't dare speak of Mercks in the same context. Never say never but I doubt we'll ever see one like him again. At least not in my lifetime
    Last edited by Rhinelander; 08-10-12 at 03:04 PM. Reason: correction

  6. #6
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Froome will have a pretty good team around him with Uran and Flecha. He won't be as fresh as Contador but I still think he will give him a challenge. I think Cobo was a one-hit wonder but I could be wrong, and Rodriguez should be rested. My money would be on Contador with Froome second.

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    Coppista Rhinelander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
    I am curious as to how Contador and Froome will affect the peloton's dynamics.
    What i'm hoping for. I fear that Froome has the Tour and the Olympics (plus the season) in his legs while Alberto is rested....

  8. #8
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhinelander View Post
    What i'm hoping for. I fear that Froome has the Tour and the Olympics (plus the season) in his legs while Alberto is rested....
    Being a mere mortal who happens to just like riding a bicycle, I cannot fathom how these professionals can go from one grand tour to another and still perform the way they do. Is it even a factor for them if one has had a whole season of riding vs one who is well rested? Is it an advantage to have rested or will riding for the whole season give you the edge?
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  9. #9
    Coppista Rhinelander's Avatar
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    For what it's worth and anyone is free to call me an anachronistic old sap, I was so much hoping for Andy to be there with Voeckler to try and throw a monkey wrench into Alberto's train... maybe some of "leader-less" teams will align themselfs to help. Heck, yer sponsors might even like the lime light...

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    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    What about Joaquim Rodriguez? Will he be a contender?
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  11. #11
    Coppista Rhinelander's Avatar
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    Don't know enough about Rodriguez. He could be the dark horse.

    Quote Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
    ... I cannot fathom how these professionals can go from one grand tour to another and still perform the way they do. (I feel you already answered half of this question) Is it even a factor for them if one has had a whole season of riding vs one who is well rested? Is it an advantage to have rested or will riding for the whole season give you the edge?
    In my humble opinion, yes. As a consumate pro, with plenty of experience in the grand tours and classics, he knows that he didn't have to seriously measure himself against anyone this year so far. That does not mean (why he is a consumate professional) he does not know how to prepare himself, which at that level takes utmost dedication and focus (blood, sweat and tears). He simply had the benefit of not having to deal with neither the physical strain of a full season (speak training at his own pace which, granted is hard enough to stay at the top level) but also cope with the mental parameters of often being couped up in marginal hotel rooms, occasional inadequate nutritional programs (yes Alberto. don't eat no more o' them "delicious" andalousian steaks (lol)) to the fact the he may have at least a resemblance of a support team while everyone else takes the "tired" left-overs of the season (hope I didn't offend you...)

  12. #12
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
    Being a mere mortal who happens to just like riding a bicycle, I cannot fathom how these professionals can go from one grand tour to another and still perform the way they do. Is it even a factor for them if one has had a whole season of riding vs one who is well rested? Is it an advantage to have rested or will riding for the whole season give you the edge?
    I believe the last time a rider won back-to-back grand tours in the same season was Marco Pantani in 1998 with the Giro and the Tour de France, so it appears that rest is extremely important.

  13. #13
    lead on macduff!
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    Quote Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
    What about Joaquim Rodriguez? Will he be a contender?
    definitely. there are so many mtn stages that everyone is due for at least one bad day. the key will be to minimize the extent of the 'badness' for all the serious contenders. the mountains start in stage 3 so we should have a pretty good idea early on as to the gc contenders vs pretenders...time trials are not as big a factor this edition.

  14. #14
    Coppista Rhinelander's Avatar
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    For those (like me) who follow things more sporadically (most of you will know)
    I was diggin' around to look up Joaquim Rodríguez' 2012 schedule:
    Feb) GC - Tour of Oman (7th)
    Mar) GC - Tirreno - Adriatico (ITA) (6th)
    Apr) GC - Vuelta País Vasco (ESP) (2nd), (Points 2nd)
    (2nd stage 3), (1st st4), (1st st5), (6th st6)
    Apr) Amstel Gold (24th)
    Apr) Liège - Bastogne - Liège (15th)
    Apr) Flèche Wallonne (BEL) (1st)
    May) GC - Giro d'Italia (ITA) (2nd)
    Points classification Giro d'Italia (ITA) (1st)
    (1st stage 10, 17), (2nd st4, st15), (3rd st8, st19)
    seems he had a fairly light workload this year with some great results. He should be firing on all cylinders for the Vuelta.

  15. #15
    Coppista Rhinelander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Brown View Post
    I believe the last time a rider won back-to-back grand tours in the same season was Marco Pantani in 1998 with the Giro and the Tour de France, so it appears that rest is extremely important.
    Since "Domestiques" (speak teams) are bought and sold almost on a yearly basis these days and therefore "team - engineer" GC wins for their respective designated leaders, I have serious doubts we will see another back-to-back Giro / Tour winner on his own merritt in the near future.
    Last edited by Rhinelander; 08-12-12 at 04:39 PM. Reason: spelling

  16. #16
    Senior Member dstrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhinelander View Post
    What i'm hoping for. I fear that Froome has the Tour and the Olympics (plus the season) in his legs while Alberto is rested....
    I'm not convinced that Alberto being rested is a good thing. He hasn't raced at all this season...and I've always understood it to be that training and racing are two different things.

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    Senior Member colombo357's Avatar
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    Sources say the UCI is mandating that all riders in the Vuelta eat Spanish steak daily during the race, in order to honor tradition.

    Sources may or may not be reliable.
    "I just googled triple crank set and i see what your saying. this bike has 9 of those "cranksets".
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  18. #18
    Velo Club La Grange Cat4Lifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dstrong View Post
    I'm not convinced that Alberto being rested is a good thing. He hasn't raced at all this season...and I've always understood it to be that training and racing are two different things.
    Well he did race the Tour de San Luis.
    But that was back in January.

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    Not only San Luis- he also rode Eneco Tour (which finished yesterday). What he achieved there was pretty amazing actually- despite the race being almost completely flat and despite 6 months of not racing, he finished 4th on GC. He came 7th in the 18 km flat ITT (losing 22 secs to stage winner Tuft and only 17 to Taylor Phinney), while testing some improvements to his bike and position. And then he attacked on the Muur (the cobbled hill which was featured in Tour of Flanders until this year; basically Boonen/Cancellara's terrain rather than smth for skinny climbers) and dropped most of the classics specialists... it was on the penultimate lap and his group was reeled back but he still finished 8th (and he would've been even higher than 4th on GC hadn't it been for the TTT).
    The race didn't suit him at all and he was half-expected to just hide in the peloton and prepare for the Vuelta, I guess any other GC contender would've done this. But Contador wanted to honour the race and his fans, and chose to attack like he always does, even though it was hopeless. Feels so freaking good to have him back.

    Of course, him being underraced probably means he won't be 100% at the Vuelta but his 90% should be enough. He may even be a bit weaker than Froome at the beginning but Froome should fade like Tour guys tend to. Also, we don't know how Froome (even at his best) measures against someone like Contador, who completely changes the dynamics of the race. Even if AC was to lose, he'll make mountains hell and Anton knows something about it, Rodriguez knows something about it, Valverde knows something about it- but Froome doesn't. Like Voeckler said "it gets a little bit scary when Contador attacks"- and UK Postal train may not be enough to help with it.
    OK, I admit I just want to see Froome dropped like a stone on Bola del Mundo. But I believe I will.

    In fact I think it won't only be Contador vs Froome. Cobo seemed to be getting better by the end of the Tour- his season goal is obviously the Vuelta and he's a podium contender at least. (And he has Valverde and Quintana in his team, not too bad.) Perhaps Anton will finally manage to bring his best form and not crash. And though last year I lost faith in Rodriguez as a GC rider, he proved me wrong in the Giro and the route suits him. Plus I think Sky will try to keep Uran or Henao high on GC as they don't have the Tour in their legs.

  20. #20
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I must say I don't think Contador's performancemin the Eneco was "pretty amazing". The best stage racer of his generation finished fourth to Boom, Chavanel and Terpstra. A good performance for a comeback, but hardly amazing given that while he has not been racing, he has been training. It's not as if he were returning from a long-term injury.

    It's very difficult to know how this Vuelta will pan out. I'm interested to see how a Sky line-up built around a climber will work, and there's no doubt that Contador's return adds interest and increases the unpredictability, which is great. Last year's vuelta was absolutely terrific to watch. Here's hoping this one is as good.

  21. #21
    Coppista Rhinelander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colombo357 View Post
    Sources say the UCI is mandating that all riders in the Vuelta eat Spanish steak daily during the race, in order to honor tradition.

    Sources may or may not be reliable.
    can I have some beans with that? Gotta have a "masking agent"

  22. #22
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    I personally think this years Vuelta is more interesting than the Tour was. 10 Mountain top finishes! That is gonna be crazy. I can't wait to see the battles between Contador, Froome, Anton, Van Den Broeck and Rodriguez among others. This race was totally built for climbers.

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    Coppista Rhinelander's Avatar
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    Some interesting points... This should be fun to watch. Not sure on how much I buy into the "underraced" thing. I know it can be a factor but I suspect it's more mental than physical. I believe that young, 1st and/or 2nd yr pros are more suceptible to this than a seasoned pro like Contador. After all, this is no longer the age of a Gino Bartali who would just wheel his bike out of his garage and get with it. Riders like Contador have already gone through a few years with a car on their wheels and cardio sensors stuck all over them on every training ride. He has a database behind him that let's him know beyond the shaddow of a doubt as to his form. Plus he's been around long enough not to get psyched out by anything. I believe he's got his priorities (timetable) mapped out to the day. He knows there's a few out there who can (potentially) throw a monkey wrench into this and as everyone knows, all it takes is to flat at the wrong time or have your chain come off or something like that and before you know it, you're 3 min. down... once he has to chase in the mountains, he'll burn fuel... Like him or not, I still think he's gifted

  24. #24
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
    What about Joaquim Rodriguez? Will he be a contender?
    I guess he is looking better and better as the Vuelta goes on!
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