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  1. #1
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    Why do top TDF riders do poorly in USA Pro Challenge?

    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.

    curtwally

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    Senior Member lsberrios1's Avatar
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    European Pros are not at the level of US Pros. Training here in the US is much more intense and the terrain is definitely much harder with thinner air and climbs with grades up to 30%s...
    Cat 6 going on PRO....

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Because it is viewed as a minor race and is either training time or payback time. Payback time meaning that they ride to help those who worked their butts off in the races that do matter.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lsberrios1 View Post
    European Pros are not at the level of US Pros. Training here in the US is much more intense and the terrain is definitely much harder with thinner air and climbs with grades up to 30%s...
    I think nutrition has a lot to do with it, too. Europe had 2 World Wars fought on their land and it isn't as productive.

  5. #5
    I'm doing it wrong. RJM's Avatar
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    Ummm, because we dope better than those euros. duh.
    "...this place is to trolling as salt licks are to deer hunting." - 3alarmer

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    Senior Member peckma's Avatar
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    USA Pro Cycling Challenge is held in August; which is vacation month for Europeans. The Euro pros come here to relax.
    Don't upgrade, ride up grades - Mercx
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    Europeans can't compete in our time zones -- it's late at night for them when our races are decided.

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    Senior Member SpeshulEd's Avatar
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    You can't win all the races all the time.
    Hey guys, lets go play bikes!

    Strava

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    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    Because it is viewed as a minor race and is either training time or payback time.
    +1 - along with what the sponsors (Team Sky) wants. While I knew none of them were even going to try the win the race, at least they could have acted like they wanted to be there at and least try to win one stage. The first year it was held, Andy Schleck put in an effort to win a stage there but then started to play cat and mouse which allowed to peloton to catch them right at the end.

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    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Glad to see there were two serious answers.

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    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    Hinault won the Coors Classic GC in '86, on much of the same ground, after working for Lemond the year bofore in his win. (They were riding for the Red Zinger team specifically for that race). That was right after their rivalry that year for Greg's first TDF win. So there's no real reason why Europeans couldn't take it if they wanted it. Personally, I think they're just leaving it for Americans.
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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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."

  13. #13
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtwally View Post
    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.

    curtwally
    The Challenge is a footnote to an afterthought in the Pro season for the Giro & TdF teams.
    The last Grand Tour of the season is the Vuelta, that gets raced by teams dedicated to it.
    What matters, matters, what doesn't is used for other purposes.

    Read: "Domestique" by Charlie Weygelius to get a feel for how much riding a Grand Tour takes out of an experienced pro.
    Winning everything was only possible for Merckx.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member lsberrios1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
    The Challenge is a footnote to an afterthought in the Pro season for the Giro & TdF teams.
    The last Grand Tour of the season is the Vuelta, that gets raced by teams dedicated to it.
    What matters, matters, what doesn't is used for other purposes.

    Read: "Domestique" by Charlie Weygelius to get a feel for how much riding a Grand Tour takes out of an experienced pro.
    Winning everything was only possible for Merckx.

    -Bandera
    I am curious about this Vuelta dedicated teams. Is it any different than the TDF in terms of geography type of riding etc? or is it just a smaller event not worth doing for the likes of team sky etc.?

    P.S. lol, I was one of those with terrible smart ass answer but it just seemed like the most appropriate thread for it. Other responses were hillarious as well.
    Cat 6 going on PRO....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    Because it is viewed as a minor race and is either training time or payback time. Payback time meaning that they ride to help those who worked their butts off in the races that do matter.
    This. The 2 biggest stage races in the US this year clash with the Giro and the Vuelta. Any European pro who cares about winning important races in the months of May or August is/was at those 2 races.

    Incidentally, did any teams ride the tour of Utah as altitude training for the Vuelta?

  16. #16
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lsberrios1 View Post
    I am curious about this Vuelta dedicated teams. Is it any different than the TDF in terms of geography type of riding etc? or is it just a smaller event not worth doing for the likes of team sky etc.?
    It's Spain and the end of the season, look at Velo News none of the Belgian Classic riders are desperately trying for a win.
    The pride in the last Grand Tour of the season is immense (RIP Euscadel.)
    Pro teams these days have depth, same jersey's different rosters for the Classics, Giro, TdF & Vuelta.

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/...stage-4_300606

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    Froome is from the UK. The highest point in the UK is ~4500' with no paved road to the top. I'm not sure if they even have any paved roads going higher than 3000'. Australia fares only a little better, with most of the population basically at sea level and the highest city at 3500'. There are some mountains in France and Spain, but even the famed Alpe d'Huez climb tops out at 6000'.

    USA Pro Challenge takes place in the mountains of Colorado. Most of the riding occurs above 6000'. This year, stages 1, 2, and 5 started at 8000'. Stage 6 route climbs from 5000' to 8000' and back.

    In these conditions, strongest performers are those most experienced with high altitude. #1 - Tejay - grew up at the elevation of 4800'. #2 - Frank - is from Switzerland. #3 - Danielson - lives in Colorado. #1 by points - Sagan is from Slovakia (fairly hilly, though not as hilly as Colorado).

  18. #18
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Eddy would have chewed up the altitude, spit it out, and asked for more

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Froome is from the UK. The highest point in the UK is ~4500' with no paved road to the top. I'm not sure if they even have any paved roads going higher than 3000'. Australia fares only a little better, with most of the population basically at sea level and the highest city at 3500'. There are some mountains in France and Spain, but even the famed Alpe d'Huez climb tops out at 6000'.

    USA Pro Challenge takes place in the mountains of Colorado. Most of the riding occurs above 6000'. This year, stages 1, 2, and 5 started at 8000'. Stage 6 route climbs from 5000' to 8000' and back.

    In these conditions, strongest performers are those most experienced with high altitude. #1 - Tejay - grew up at the elevation of 4800'. #2 - Frank - is from Switzerland. #3 - Danielson - lives in Colorado. #1 by points - Sagan is from Slovakia (fairly hilly, though not as hilly as Colorado).
    Froome grew up in Nairobi and Johannesburg, both similar elevation to Denver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
    Froome grew up in Nairobi and Johannesburg, both similar elevation to Denver.
    That's only a partial plus. There's a pretty significant difference between 5000' (Denver) and 8000'. Nairobi works because there are some mountains going above 8000' in the area. Johannesburg is on a plateau 200 miles from the nearest mountains.

  21. #21
    Heretic Caretaker's Avatar
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    They used to do end of season criteriums, now they do the USPC.
    History is the future

  22. #22
    Keep on climbing
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    I wouldn't think a person's birthplace has much to do with how well they handle the altitude. I know people who live in Colorado ski country (elevation 9000 feet or so) who come east to visit family for a few weeks every summer... And then when they go back to Colorado, they get winded again just walking up the stairs (although they "get it back" pretty quickly).

    There may be some pros who were born at altitude, but unless they spend a significant amount of time at altitude, I doubt it helps them much at events like the US Pro Challenge.

    For unknown reasons, some people just seem to be immune to the effects of altitude. If you can come up with an explanation as to why, the mountaineering community would like to know the answer.
    "There is more to life than increasing its speed" -- Mahatma Gandhi

  23. #23
    Senior Member totalnewbie's Avatar
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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.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    That's only a partial plus. There's a pretty significant difference between 5000' (Denver) and 8000'. Nairobi works because there are some mountains going above 8000' in the area. Johannesburg is on a plateau 200 miles from the nearest mountains.
    So how did Christian Vande Velde manage to win? He's from Illinois (HP=1235ft), lives there in the off season and has spent most of his competitive career racing in and training for European races just like Froome.

    Froome and the like are not competitive in the USPro Challenge because they don't care to be. Not bothering to acclimate by coming out early or riding Utah is just a sign of it. It is possible if they went for it that they wouldn't be as competitive due to not being raised and trained at elevation, but that doesn't enter it here because they just don't try. It is just a transition period for them as they prepare for Worlds.

  25. #25
    In the Pain Cave thechemist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    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."
    Why are we still talking about this? Read the above, end thread.

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