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Old 09-12-13, 03:24 PM   #51
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interesting blog. I think he goes overboard in social-psychologizing any problem that anyone could have with Horner's performance, but having watched Horner the past few years, I don't actually find the performance outlandish. Not saying he's necessarily clean, but it's plausible to me that someone of his talent level could pull this off.
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Old 09-12-13, 03:38 PM   #52
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Tour is a big symphony concerto with everyone perfect and drilled to the nth degree. Giro is a jazz quintet full of style and emotion. And the Vuelta is a profane late night improv club where any $!(?@%#^! thing goes.
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Old 09-12-13, 03:45 PM   #53
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I think Nibali has more weapons - he is a great descender, seems resistant to weather, good time trialer, aggressive attacker, in addition to being a skilled climber. In the Giro he had the chance to use all those weapons. But the Vuelta or at least this Vuelta is really geared to climbing and specifically to steep mountaintop finishes. As a pure climber, perhaps Nibali isn't as dominant over other GC riders as he is when the whole package is considered.
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Old 09-12-13, 04:10 PM   #54
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Tour is a big symphony concerto with everyone perfect and drilled to the nth degree. Giro is a jazz quintet full of style and emotion. And the Vuelta is a profane late night improv club where any $!(?@%#^! thing goes.
Nice analogies.
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Old 09-12-13, 04:12 PM   #55
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I think Nibali has more weapons - he is a great descender, seems resistant to weather, good time trialer, aggressive attacker, in addition to being a skilled climber. In the Giro he had the chance to use all those weapons. But the Vuelta or at least this Vuelta is really geared to climbing and specifically to steep mountaintop finishes. As a pure climber, perhaps Nibali isn't as dominant over other GC riders as he is when the whole package is considered.
Yeah, that's why I thought Rodriguez would dominate, as he's the mountain goat of the bunch - his performances on the even steeper finishes in last year's Vuelta were just amazing. But as others have said, he rode the TdF, and so maybe he's not fresh enough.
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Old 09-12-13, 04:20 PM   #56
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(You know, it's funny to me that there seem to be only a handful of us on BF following the Vuelta closely. Or at least following it enough to post and discuss. Sure, I know it's not the TdF, but I find the Vuelta much more interesting to follow. In the Tour, you know that the peloton is going to rule and that the breakaway will almost never succeed, but in the Vuelta, the breakaway sometimes survives. And the Vuelta has more exciting hilltop finishes. To me, this beats watching the coronation of Froome or Wiggins in the Tour- though I admit that watching Froome is pretty exciting.)
I agree with you, though the Tour was very interesting this year.

It pisses me off that so many riders are using the Vuelta, Tour of Alberta, and USA Pro Challenge as training for the Worlds. The three grand tours are what I live for, not the Worlds. I am expecting a more exciting World Championship this year after two years or relatively flat racing, but I regard a podium in a grand tour as much more prestigious than a world championship.
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Old 09-12-13, 05:24 PM   #57
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(You know, it's funny to me that there seem to be only a handful of us on BF following the Vuelta closely. Or at least following it enough to post and discuss. Sure, I know it's not the TdF, but I find the Vuelta much more interesting to follow. In the Tour, you know that the peloton is going to rule and that the breakaway will almost never succeed, but in the Vuelta, the breakaway sometimes survives. And the Vuelta has more exciting hilltop finishes. To me, this beats watching the coronation of Froome or Wiggins in the Tour- though I admit that watching Froome is pretty exciting.)
I've been watching, but not commenting since I'm still a few stages behind. Just finished stage 15.

I think the vuelta coverage has been great along with the riding. I also enjoy the fact that the crowds seem to be more polite.
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Old 09-12-13, 05:46 PM   #58
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(You know, it's funny to me that there seem to be only a handful of us on BF following the Vuelta closely. Or at least following it enough to post and discuss. Sure, I know it's not the TdF, but I find the Vuelta much more interesting to follow. In the Tour, you know that the peloton is going to rule and that the breakaway will almost never succeed, but in the Vuelta, the breakaway sometimes survives. And the Vuelta has more exciting hilltop finishes. To me, this beats watching the coronation of Froome or Wiggins in the Tour- though I admit that watching Froome is pretty exciting.)
The GC battle has been great. Nibali is a great champion and Horner is an upbeat, interesting personality. Valverde and Rodriguez and Roche et al. have been attacking the leader for the win, not just defending a top five finish. The course has been decisive. I like time bonuses for finishing first and mountain stages that end on the mountain, not 30k later when the leaders have all come back together on the descent and flats.
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Old 09-12-13, 08:02 PM   #59
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Of the three GTs this year, the Vuelta is turning out to have the most interesting GC battle.

Giro was interesting for the sheer awfulness of the weather and Wiggins' struggles, but Nibali had the GC race well in hand most of the time.

Tour was interesting for Froome's willingness to furiously attack instead of just defending a lead, watching Team Sky crack, for the inspirational Quintana, and for the Cavendish-Sagan-Kittel sprint competition, but again the GC race was decided fairly early.

The bummer though is that the TV coverage of the Vuelta is the worst. I so wish cycling would get it together with worldwide TV coverage and pay-internet streaming. If I could get good-quality live and on-demand streaming of all the classics, Grand tours, Worlds, etc - I'd pay, happily, at least $250/yr.
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Old 09-12-13, 11:03 PM   #60
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The bummer though is that the TV coverage of the Vuelta is the worst. I so wish cycling would get it together with worldwide TV coverage and pay-internet streaming. If I could get good-quality live and on-demand streaming of all the classics, Grand tours, Worlds, etc - I'd pay, happily, at least $250/yr.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, cyclingtorrents.nl - I've watched almost every major race since the giro this year in HD and most times the commercials are removed.
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Old 09-13-13, 03:40 AM   #61
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The bummer though is that the TV coverage of the Vuelta is the worst. I so wish cycling would get it together with worldwide TV coverage and pay-internet streaming. If I could get good-quality live and on-demand streaming of all the classics, Grand tours, Worlds, etc - I'd pay, happily, at least $250/yr.
For you maybe.

The coverage of this Vuelta has been superb and in HD. Only on one stage was the coverage hampered by the weather. Almost two hours of live feed.

The lack of TV options in your area is related to the viewing market. A good indicator has been this thread where interest has only started picking up since an American rider became a likely GC winner.
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Old 09-13-13, 07:37 AM   #62
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Came across this photo from the TT. Horner looks like a teenage alien.
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Old 09-13-13, 07:44 AM   #63
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I think Nibali has more weapons - he is a great descender, seems resistant to weather, good time trialer, aggressive attacker, in addition to being a skilled climber. In the Giro he had the chance to use all those weapons. But the Vuelta or at least this Vuelta is really geared to climbing and specifically to steep mountaintop finishes. As a pure climber, perhaps Nibali isn't as dominant over other GC riders as he is when the whole package is considered.
Nibali would win the Vuelta going away if he'd come in peaking for it. However, he hasn't been able to get a 2nd peak as good as his first one this season.

The fact that Valverde and Rodriguez are doing as well as they are (after riding hard in the Tour) implies that the level of competition in the Vuelta isn't as high as the Tour or Giro, where people come in fresh. Part of why Horner will probably win.

That said, this Vuelta has been more fun to follow than either Nibali's coronation at the Giro or Froome's at the Tour.

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Old 09-13-13, 09:17 AM   #64
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Nibali would win the Vuelta going away if he'd come in peaking for it. However, he hasn't been able to get a 2nd peak as good as his first one this season.

The fact that Valverde and Rodriguez are doing as well as they are (after riding hard in the Tour) implies that the level of competition in the Vuelta isn't as high as the Tour or Giro, where people come in fresh. Part of why Horner will probably win.

That said, this Vuelta has been more fun to follow than either Nibali's coronation at the Giro or Froome's at the Tour.
I don't know if this is all of the explanation. The Giro was more than 3 months ago.

Contador won the Giro and the TdF in 2011, so it's possible for top riders to compete in more than one grand tour in a season (though maybe he was doping).
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Old 09-13-13, 09:27 AM   #65
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I don't know if this is all of the explanation. The Giro was more than 3 months ago.

Contador won the Giro and the TdF in 2011, so it's possible for top riders to compete in more than one grand tour in a season (though maybe he was doping).
He won the Giro but was later disqualified, he didn't win the TdF in 2011 Cadel Evans did.
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Old 09-13-13, 09:33 AM   #66
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It's Horner's Vuelta to lose now. Leads Nibali by 3 sec, Rodreguez wins stage.
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Old 09-13-13, 09:34 AM   #67
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For you maybe.

The coverage of this Vuelta has been superb and in HD. Only on one stage was the coverage hampered by the weather. Almost two hours of live feed.

The lack of TV options in your area is related to the viewing market. A good indicator has been this thread where interest has only started picking up since an American rider became a likely GC winner.
Yes, my comment was US-specific. Ah, America, the land where the Colorado Pro Challenge is televised but the Vuelta is ignored. Meanwhile my digital cable network has 500 channels of utter garbage, music, and infommercials.
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Old 09-13-13, 09:49 AM   #68
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It's Horner's Vuelta to lose now. Leads Nibali by 3 sec, Rodreguez wins stage.
Nibali seems to be getting weaker daily. Valverde and Rodriguez seem to be getting stronger, relatively anyway. Anyone think Valverde or Rodriguez can crack him badly enough to take 2nd? 1st even?
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Old 09-13-13, 09:53 AM   #69
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I doubt Contador was clean in 2008 when he won the Giro and the Vuelta. But that aside, your point remains that it is possible to peak for the first and third grand tours of the year.
But Nibali's camp has acknowledged that he isn't as in-form right now (estimated 15-20 max watts lower than his Giro form).

I think the point remains that it is very difficult (or unlikely) to have two maximum peaks in a given calendar year.


However, I may be wrong in thinking that Horner is barnstorming this year's Vuelta because everyone else's form is a bit below max peak. Apparently his ascent on yesterday's stage was the fastest-ever ascent of that climb, and his power numbers are off the charts. However, remember that VAM is a fairly rudimentary measure of true power and doesn't control for a number of other relevant factors.
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Old 09-13-13, 10:05 AM   #70
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Stage 19: OMG
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Old 09-13-13, 10:15 AM   #71
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Yeah! Go Horner!
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Old 09-13-13, 10:17 AM   #72
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Nibali seems to be getting weaker daily. Valverde and Rodriguez seem to be getting stronger, relatively anyway. Anyone think Valverde or Rodriguez can crack him badly enough to take 2nd? 1st even?
Not unless Nibali totally cracks. Just over a minute on Valverde and just under two on Rodriguez should be plenty. Even less likely that Horner will crack.

I think the top five positions as they are now post stage 19 will be the same in Madrid.
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Old 09-13-13, 10:30 AM   #73
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Not unless Nibali totally cracks. Just over a minute on Valverde and just under two on Rodriguez should be plenty. Even less likely that Horner will crack.
I think the top five positions as they are now post stage 19 will be the same in Madrid.
Agreed, this is the most likely scenario. Nibali hasn't cracked badly on any of the climbing stages in this year's Vuelta, and the only time he lost more than 30s to anyone was when Horner was still not considered as much of a threat (stage 10, I think).

Nibali will probably lose more time tomorrow - and it IS killer climb, so it's possible he could lose over a minute to Valverde - but odds are he loses no less than 40s.
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Old 09-13-13, 11:10 AM   #74
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I was, sadly, thinking that Valverde or Rodriguez should turn themselves inside out, even risk blowing up and falling off the podium, to get into second place. Because, if something were to happen to Horner's result - just being cynical here - 2nd place would get a Vuelta 1st place.

To be very clear, I do not think Horner is doing anything untoward. But it is just good contingency planning for his competitors.
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Old 09-13-13, 11:46 AM   #75
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Chris Horner - 42 years old and just reaching his peak.
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