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Old 08-28-13, 09:33 AM   #26
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I'm just curious as to why Chris Froome and others who were top dogs at the TDF simply were not players at the Challenge. Is it altitude or some other reason.

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Because they took off loads of time after the tdf and post tour criteriums and did not train specifically to arrive in the US and win.
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Old 08-28-13, 12:47 PM   #27
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out side of the TdF and maaaybe the WCs and the monuments, its pretty easy to follow the money trail and figure out whos gonna be motivated to perform in a given regional event.

Its got less to do with the nationalities of the riders and more to do with the markets of thier sponsors.

Sky, Argos, Saxotinkoff send out squads to the USAPC, but they dont heavily invest in making sure the A team is primed for it and fighting for it.

famously, froome showed up a couple of days before the race started and the altitude was very hard on him (this isnt an excuse, come here from sea level sometime and try racing your bike at 10K two days after you get here)

Saxo probably only bothered cuz they have two VERY strong americans who on paper looked like contenders for stages and potentially even GC (Rory Sutherland and Timmy Duggan), but otherwise, no real real reason, from an investment perspective, to put resources here.

Argos was barely present all week. but even theyre looking at developing a US rider base next year with Chad Haga and a couple of other promising americans.

On the flip side, look at the teams that really animated Colorado: BMC, Garmin, and Cannondale. All american based teams with big american market presence. Granted, BMC and Garmin also had american riders to defend and GC hopes, but its worth noting that Sagan was out here training at altitude a few weeks ahead of the race. Suggesting he came into it with pretty serious aspirations, and obviously delivered on them. I'm sure thats got a lot to do with nibali being gone and Cannondale being in a position where thier biggest star is a classics star rouller, and not a GC hopeful. So they're putting a ton of pressure on him in the american market (and in the global market) to get clean, photogenic wins, and colorado provided an opportunity for him to do so, and he ran with it to become the winningest racer os 2013 to date.

So americans on american teams come to CO to win, american stagiers and neopros get team support as payback/auditions for the big time, euros on american teams get big money to come and promote american events, and euros on euro teams dont really take CO very seriously, other than as a tune up or a paid vacation.

If you go into ToC and CO with that in mind, its not really that surprising when froome sorta half asses his way though it, though it does seem a little mercenary to not at least put on a show, but i actually think he really underestimated the altitude more than anything else.
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Old 08-28-13, 01:55 PM   #28
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So americans on american teams come to CO to win, american stagiers and neopros get team support as payback/auditions for the big time, euros on american teams get big money to come and promote american events, and euros on euro teams dont really take CO very seriously, other than as a tune up or a paid vacation.
.
what you said makes a lot of sense. so many different agendas for different people. exactly like my thanksgiving dinner.
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Old 08-28-13, 09:31 PM   #29
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• It's just not a big race. It's big for the US, but that's sort of like talking about "the biggest baseball game in Italy."
Even this example isn't as accurate as reality. There have at least been a few Italian minor league baseball players, and a ton of Italian-American ball players in the majors. People in Italy wear Yankees caps. Seen it with my own dumb 'Murikan eyes.

But, the actuality of the USA Pro Challenge is more akin to "The Third Largest Co-Ed Team Ping Pong Event in Algeria."

Ask 100 random Americans who Chris Froome is, and I would be shocked if more than 1 out of 100 had any clue. But I bet 10 out of 100 Italians would respond "a 70kg version of E.T."
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Old 08-28-13, 10:44 PM   #30
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But, the actuality of the USA Pro Challenge is more akin to "The Third Largest Co-Ed Team Ping Pong Event in Algeria."
\."

i mean

it gets somethin like a million viewers between NBC and eurosport, and has a 30mil a year budget. thats a pretty specious comparison.

just cuz americans arent flocking to it in the same numbers they watch baseball, doesnt make it algerian ping pong.
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Old 08-29-13, 07:08 AM   #31
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I live in NC at 800 ft My wife and I have been to Colorado Arizona and Utah 7 times in the last 10 years and going to high elevations for days at a time. I have spent a lot of time at 12,000 ft and had no problems until two years ago I got altitude sickness after spending the day at Rocky Mountain National park. I went back the next year and was OK. It is easy to ignore unless you are going hard exercise. I had felt it but not bad until I did a very long hike and I thought I was going to pass out. I recouped fast but was not as strong for several days. This could happen to the riders and they might just pass it off as being tired. One year I rented a bike and road around Leadville Co 12,000+ft and felt OK. What I am saying being in great shape does not stop you from having a bad few days. I am in very good shape but not like a pro bike racer and I am now 73. High altitude can do strange things to the body and the Rocky Mountains prove it every year
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Old 08-29-13, 07:32 AM   #32
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i am curious, if heritage and tradition were set aside and all the races are viewed primarily from the physical standpoint, how would one rank the difficulties/challenges of each tour.
I've ridden the course for a full stage of the TDF, and ridden a number of the HC climbs. I've ridden all the stages of last year's US Pro Cycling Challenge, ahead of the actual race, so I've got a pretty good idea of the topography.

I'd say the climbs are about a wash. Climbs tend to be steeper in France than in Colorado, but the climbs in Colorado go to higher altitude than France and can be longer.

As to the races themselves, there is simply no comparison. The TDF is dramatically harder. First, it's 3 weeks instead of one. There is an order of magnitude difference between racing one week and racing 3 weeks. Second, the competition is tougher in the TDF than any race in the world. THe best teams in the world are there, i.e. all the Pro Tour teams, not a smattering of pro tour teams, and then PRo Continental and Continental teams. Third, everyone there is motivated to win. It's the biggest race in the world, and riders don't use it for a training race, virtually everyone is targeting it as a major goal and is trying to win GC, win a stage, have a showing to get a contract for next year, or is working for teamates to win.

The TDF is the hardest race in the world,even harder than the Giro, or the Veulta, which typically will have tougher topography, because the racers make it the hardest race.
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Old 08-29-13, 07:36 AM   #33
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i mean

it gets somethin like a million viewers between NBC and eurosport, and has a 30mil a year budget. thats a pretty specious comparison.

just cuz americans arent flocking to it in the same numbers they watch baseball, doesnt make it algerian ping pong.
True, the USA Pro Cycling Tour is a "minor race" compared to the 3 grand tours, but it's still a UCI 2.HC event, which it places it with races like the Criterium International when it comes to UCI points. If it wasn't a reasonably high level race, you wouldn't have teams like Sky even coming.

Using a Golf analogy, not every week's Tour stop is the US Open, or the Masters. The US Pro Challenge is roughly the John Deer Classic.
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Old 08-29-13, 07:51 AM   #34
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The US Pro Challenge is roughly the John Deere Classic.
ftfy - sorry, my dad was a tractor mechanic.
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Old 08-29-13, 12:45 PM   #35
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it just doesnt do us any favors in developing the sport in the US if we are constantly comparing it to the TdF, really. and fixated on all the ways its not as good as the longet running, most watched, most famous cycling competitiion in the world.

thats just not a fair or reasonable comparison. of course its not the A teams in top form, of course the coverage isnt necessarily as extensive and sharp, but neither is any other race.

its a bummer that thats the expectation that sets the tone for any conversation about racing in the US.

if we cant get behind it and give it a little slack and help it grow, we're doomed.
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Old 08-29-13, 01:14 PM   #36
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I'd prefer to watch a USAPCC stage over a TdF stage just about any day of the week. I think the fact that it's "less important" means the riders are more willing to have fun and take risks. I also like that some of the development teams get in the action, and teams like Novo Nordisk (the Type 1 diabetic team) that wouldn't get any airtime otherwise.
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Old 08-29-13, 01:15 PM   #37
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Ask 100 random Americans who Chris Froome is, and I would be shocked if more than 1 out of 100 had any clue. But I bet 10 out of 100 Italians would respond "a 70kg version of E.T."
Might be even fewer than that. I would say it might be 3 out of 100 Americans for Greg LeMond. Maybe more now since L'affaire Lance.

Really want to draw blank stares? Mention Andy Hampsten to a non-cycling American. Or even the Giro. Maybe 10% would think you're talking about bike helmets.
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Old 08-29-13, 03:21 PM   #38
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it just doesnt do us any favors in developing the sport in the US if we are constantly comparing it to the TdF, really. and fixated on all the ways its not as good as the longet running, most watched, most famous cycling competitiion in the world.

thats just not a fair or reasonable comparison. of course its not the A teams in top form, of course the coverage isnt necessarily as extensive and sharp, but neither is any other race.

its a bummer that thats the expectation that sets the tone for any conversation about racing in the US.

if we cant get behind it and give it a little slack and help it grow, we're doomed.
Agree, and I didn't mean to disparage the US Pro Challenge. It's not reasonable to compare it to 3 week Grand Tour. As a 2.HC race on the UCI calendar, it's a reasonably significant race.

It would be great if it could take one step up to be an Elite stage race, along the lines of the Tour down Under, Tour of Romandie, Paris Nice, etc.

Those races are classed a level ahead of the Tour of California, and the Pro Challenge, and are more fair comparisons, and the level the PRo Challenge can reasonably aspire to.
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Old 08-29-13, 04:03 PM   #39
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Or keeping form for the Worlds
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Old 08-30-13, 02:00 AM   #40
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as long as the scenery is beautiful, any pro race will earn my eyeballs.
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Old 08-30-13, 09:06 AM   #41
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I think that the organizers/promoters/sponsors of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge want this race to be the premier American race so they need to get big names to participate, even if some of those big names e.g., Froome, have no intention of contesting the race.
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Old 08-31-13, 11:03 PM   #42
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I think the Euro's don't care because the event name sucks.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge? Really?!
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Old 09-01-13, 12:39 AM   #43
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it just doesnt do us any favors in developing the sport in the US if we are constantly comparing it to the TdF, really.
I agree. You don't see this going on nearly as much with the Tour of California. But I blame NBCSN for hyping up the Tour winners coming as well as the Colorado race organizers.
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Old 09-03-13, 07:28 AM   #44
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I think the Euro's don't care because the event name sucks.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge? Really?!
My understanding is that a couple of things went into the name choice. IIRC, they had some legal issues with their first name choice. Then, they didn't want a Colorado based name because they have ambitions to expand the race beyond Colorado, and become the premier American race.
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Old 09-06-13, 10:51 AM   #45
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Just gonna jump in here and say thanks to badhat, yourgroupride and the ft collins crew for bringing that stage to the northern front range and making it a success.

it's sad that sky phoned it in, but not surprising. garmin & bmc were pretty fun to watch, though.
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Old 09-07-13, 08:09 PM   #46
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I think the Euro's don't care because the event name sucks.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge? Really?!
Yeah, the name is pretty ridiculous, definitely not monument or grand tour material. There are a number of other issues that make the US races second rate. In addition the Europeans don't send strong teams, and the ones that do come basically consider it a training ride, or more likely, a vacation.
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Old 09-07-13, 09:23 PM   #47
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To be fair, I think there were a fair number of big names in Colorado, sure they didn't all perform to top standards, but they did show up.

I'm personally wondering where all the big names are at the Vuelta, sure there are some, but for it being a grand tour with lots of climbing, it seems pretty sparse.
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Old 09-07-13, 10:55 PM   #48
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Well, probably they are paid to show up. None of the Europeans but maybe Sagan likes to travel to the US to start with, so sometimes (if not all the time) the big names are paid to come, but that doesn't mean they have to perform.
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Old 09-15-13, 08:36 PM   #49
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OK. Internets are Serious Business.

• The days of "win everything" are gone. Modern pro training is about periodization, and making sure you're in shape for the big races -- spring classics, grand tours, Worlds. This results in riders blowing through their reserves during the Tour, and needing time to recover.

• Winning in Colorado requires more commitment that just showing up. Because of the altitude, riders need to spend at least a week acclimatizing.

• It's just not a big race. It's big for the US, but that's sort of like talking about "the biggest baseball game in Italy."
The above bascially covers it. Rather than a TdF-to-USPCC, look at it in reverse. A lot of TdF riders don't do the Giro, but come over for the Tour of California instead (Sagan, Valverde, Rodriquez, and a few others were all here in May; sagan's been here the last three years). That way they get some race time on their legs without the three week grind of the Giro. And the "Monkey Wrench in the Gears" situation: I can't explain Valverde's and Rodriquez's success at the Vuelta after both doing well in the Tdf
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Old 09-16-13, 02:10 AM   #50
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I still think it's trying to find the right exit and hitting that bumper to bumper instead.
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