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The Best of the Worst?

Old 06-05-11, 10:10 PM
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Kasseien
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The Best of the Worst?

Okay, I am starting to get excited about the Tour and the recent posts regarding Phillip Gilbert and the one about what other athletes one would like see riding in cycling have bewilderingly fused in my mind to form the following thought experiment. Name the best GC rider you can think of that will NEVER win any grand tour.

I had originally thought to just say 'will NEVER win the tour' but I decided the Contador factor in that race will rule out almost everyone for the next two or three (or four .... or five?) years.

As a starter I am going to put out there Robert Gesink. Obviously he has trouble keeping the rubber side down (what is it with Rabobank GC guys?), but that is not even what I think troubles me about this guy. I keep reading here and there that he is the next rising star form up north. But here is the thing, he is 27! It's not like he is 22 or 23. And while I personally think that cyclist are staying competitive much older these days, to my mind, his star has risen as far as it will go. Podium is the best he is going to go.
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Old 06-06-11, 01:05 AM
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Cadel Evans is really good at pretty much anything which requires the use of a bicycle, has six top-five finishes, and no wins. No way to know how things will go though, for anyone. If someone is one of "the best GC rider"s, then they have a shot, which is why we watch.
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Old 06-06-11, 09:47 AM
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Really good calls on those first two/three, imo. I'm tempted to say Andy Schleck, but if Alberto were suddenly out of the picture for some reason, that would almost certainly change - plus he's a bit younger, so he might have a small window a bit farther down the line in his career. That said, until he won in 2008, I would have said Carlos Sastre - although I no longer consider him one of the sport's elite.

Looking back at the entire career amongst still respectable GC riders, I think Vino belongs high on the list.
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Old 06-06-11, 10:58 AM
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Well, Edvald Boassen Hagen got tons of press stating he was the "next big thing" in cycling, both as a GT GC threat, and as a classics contender. He has shown skill and race savvy in the classics, but only time will tell if he can hone his conditioning/recovery enough to go three weeks with the best out there (presently Contador, Basso, and A. Schleck). Gesink is a strong talent, but it doesn't seem like he has a) a team strong enough to support him for 3 weeks, or b) the ability to recover over three weeks at that level. His time-trialling leaves a bit to be desired, too. Nibali has the ability to win all 3 GT's, but only if Basso lets him. He's an exceptional GT rider, that doesn't get the level of attention he deserves. Beyond these three, I can't think of anyone with talent and no current suspicion of doping.

Cadel is getting older. His time is now. If he doesn't pull off a Tour win this year or next, he never will. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing him win one, even if he has to chop someone's head off to do it...
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Old 06-06-11, 07:57 PM
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Cadel, that is a good call. He is always up there in everyone's top three and I for one really like rooting for him cause he is so distinct. I mean how often do we see an Australian GC Contender (Richie Porte anyone?). Anyways I really like rooting for Cadel, even though he doesn't have much of a personality. But I don't see him going much better than he has already. There was a bit in cyclingnews about how he likes his new time trialing bike so much. Any chance he goes all Miguel Indurain and starts dominating the TT's and is still able to hang in the mountains and thereby lands him self a GT win?
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Old 06-07-11, 06:24 AM
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Franck Schleck - he had it the year Carlos won. Just not sure how he and Andy got duped into the "I'll go first and if I don't make it then one of you try" game. Then again he blew up on the TT so maybe they knew he was toast ...
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Old 06-09-11, 01:48 PM
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Levi Leipheimer is right up there with Cadel. Like Cadel he has three GT podiums. He has two other top tens, while Cadel I think has three. Kloeden is another guy, still riding well but no longer mentioned as a contender. I think Gesink (according to Wikipedia still only 25 years old) has to actually finish on the podium before you can mention him in the same breath with these guys.

Also, Vino and Nibali don't qualify, since they've each won the Vuelta.
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Old 06-09-11, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by harlond View Post
I think Gesink (according to Wikipedia still only 25 years old) has to actually finish on the podium before you can mention him in the same breath with these guys.
You're totally right, that was some faulty math on my part. That changes things for me a bit. He might sill be young enough to give the benefit of the doubt to. I don't see him winning a Tour but perhaps a Vuelta, maybe a Giro.
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Old 06-10-11, 05:39 AM
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Raymond Poulidor would own this category, with 10 GT podium finishes, if he hadn't messed up by winning the Vuelta once. Ten GT podiums is pretty awesome.
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Old 06-11-11, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by harlond View Post
Raymond Poulidor would own this category, with 10 GT podium finishes, if he hadn't messed up by winning the Vuelta once. Ten GT podiums is pretty awesome.
LOL ... that is hilarious in a tragic sort of way. I never knew that about Poulidor.
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Old 06-13-11, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Kasseien View Post
Okay, I am starting to get excited about the Tour and the recent posts regarding Phillip Gilbert and the one about what other athletes one would like see riding in cycling have bewilderingly fused in my mind to form the following thought experiment. Name the best GC rider you can think of that will NEVER win any grand tour.

I had originally thought to just say 'will NEVER win the tour' but I decided the Contador factor in that race will rule out almost everyone for the next two or three (or four .... or five?) years.

As a starter I am going to put out there Robert Gesink. Obviously he has trouble keeping the rubber side down (what is it with Rabobank GC guys?), but that is not even what I think troubles me about this guy. I keep reading here and there that he is the next rising star form up north. But here is the thing, he is 27! It's not like he is 22 or 23. And while I personally think that cyclist are staying competitive much older these days, to my mind, his star has risen as far as it will go. Podium is the best he is going to go.
Actually Gesink is 25. Still, I'm not sure he'll win a grand tour. We'll see how he does this year. He seems to be able to climb but not much else(odd for a guy that lives in the flatlands; I rode by his hometown today and there's not a hill to be found around there).

Gilbert is awesome to watch but I think he needs to get better at the TT before anybody takes him seriously as a GC contender. He sure is good at the Spring Classics though.
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