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  1. #1
    Yo no fui.
    Reputation: Pablo's Avatar
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    Iban Mayo, Heras, and the (sunk) Spanish Armada

    I was at a book store flipping through Dan Coyle's new book on Lance and suddnely remembered . . . Iban Mayo! He was a revelation but two years ago, now he's nearly two hours down. Roberto Heras is in a similar boat. I am left wondering why.

    The standard explanation leats year was that the cobbles and a tough first week undid all the tiny Spanish pure climbers (and Tyler too). But, this year, that doesn't seem to hold any water--especially given Razzy's strong performances.

    Any theories?
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Laurent Fignon

  2. #2
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    My guess is the temp riding is what does them in. Disco has kept the pace up leading up to the mountains. Maybe it is harder for small climbers to keep up with the pace of the peleton on the fast flat sections and leaves them with a little less in the tank when it is time to climb.

    Plus fininshing high in the GC can hurt these pure climbers. They will have everyone tell them if they can improve their time trial performance they can win the GC. THey will make an effort to improve that in the offseason. But often when someone makes the effort to improve their TT times, their climbing suffers. I think this is what happenned with Mayo.

  3. #3
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    Sarcastically and Seriously

    Alpedhuez55 brings up good points.
    I'll offer an alternate possibility that could be taken seriously or sarcastically, depending on your opinion of the Spanish GC's.
    Is it possible that they are not in top form yet and are preparing for the Vuelta?
    Heras dropped out of the Tour last year only to win the Vuelta.
    While the TdF is the the most prestigious of the GT's, some GC contenders prefer to ride more competitively for their own nation's GT.
    Of course, that same reasoning could be a smokescreen excuse to explain why the Spaniards are sucking so bad this year.
    Regardless, watch out for them in the Vuelta. The Spanish Armada, sunk as it is, will compete fiercely and in top form come September.

  4. #4
    Yo no fui.
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    Well said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inspector Gadget
    Alpedhuez55 brings up good points.
    I'll offer an alternate possibility that could be taken seriously or sarcastically, depending on your opinion of the Spanish GC's.
    Is it possible that they are not in top form yet and are preparing for the Vuelta?
    Heras dropped out of the Tour last year only to win the Vuelta.
    While the TdF is the the most prestigious of the GT's, some GC contenders prefer to ride more competitively for their own nation's GT.
    Of course, that same reasoning could be a smokescreen excuse to explain why the Spaniards are sucking so bad this year.
    Regardless, watch out for them in the Vuelta. The Spanish Armada, sunk as it is, will compete fiercely and in top form come September.
    Good points, but I still wonder if, even for some of the better Spanish prospects like Heras was, the Vuelta isn't a safety. I mean, the Tour has really eclipsed all other stage races, and it seems like Mayo and Heras really made a go for the Tour.

    I just read a short interview with Heras where he admits as much.
    http://www.marca.com/edicion/noticia...655170,00.html (sorry, it's in Spanish).

    It just seems like maybe the Tour is significantly harder than the Vuelta--or the Giro for that matter.
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

    "Fact is only what you believe; fact and fiction work as a team." Jack Johnson

    "A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Laurent Fignon

  5. #5
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    Alpe did a good job of describing how a little success in a GT can turn one into a Tour hopeful and ruin their career--or at least prevent them from doing races they would be better at while chasing the big one.

    We saw this happen with Andy Hampsten, who spent his better years trying to win the Tour when he should have been doing the Giro every year..

    As long as the Tour has a fifty-five to sixty kilometer time trial the small guys like Heras and Mayo and Simoni don't have a chance. It is very frustrating to see the italians who win the Giro and the spanish who win the Vuelta do the Tour instead of each others' GTs. Those two GTs are very simlar and anyone who wins one should have a good shot at the other.

    Luckily, it appears Manual Saiz has finally seen light and become disappointed with Heras. Heras has been told he will do the Giro next year. Too bad it didn't happen two years ago. He is reaching the end of his career and I am not sure he will be able to hold off the new generation at either the Giro or the Vuelta.

    If Cunego is over his mono he should be a favorite for the Vuelta. Unfortunately, he and his DS have talked about not even finishing and just using it as preparation for his defense at the race of the falling leaves. I hope he finds himself in contention early and decides to go for the overall win.

  6. #6
    bas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    I was at a book store flipping through Dan Coyle's new book on Lance and suddnely remembered . . . Iban Mayo! He was a revelation but two years ago, now he's nearly two hours down. Roberto Heras is in a similar boat. I am left wondering why.

    The standard explanation leats year was that the cobbles and a tough first week undid all the tiny Spanish pure climbers (and Tyler too). But, this year, that doesn't seem to hold any water--especially given Razzy's strong performances.

    Any theories?
    OLN just does a big job trying to find ANYONE who might be able to hang, and
    they are on the fringe of the list - but OLN pumps them up to make them sound
    like they are on the same page as Lance, which might make for some more exciting
    TV until they get dropped badly on the climbs.

  7. #7
    Gronk SMASH!
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    Not exactly true

    Quote Originally Posted by bas
    OLN just does a big job trying to find ANYONE who might be able to hang, and
    they are on the fringe of the list - but OLN pumps them up to make them sound
    like they are on the same page as Lance, which might make for some more exciting
    TV until they get dropped badly on the climbs.
    While OLN has a stake in hyping these guys, The cycling mags are all over them much earlier (and OLN probably gets some cues from them).
    The simple fact is that no one has competed with LA lately.
    Mayo was a legit threat as he and Zubeldia finished just off the podium in '03. He just seems to be in a tailspin.
    Beloki certainly enjoyed some success at the TDF, as did the whole ONCE team.
    Heras was never much more than a mtn. goat, and that's been borne out at the Tour, but his Vuelta success is nothing to sniff at.
    I think these guys are coming around, tho. Valverde looked like the goods this year before tendinitis did him in.
    Basso's climbing doesn't seem to be suffering despite his attempts to improve his time trialing, and he looks like the '06 pre-Tour fave. (I know he's not Spanish, but he disproves the notion that adding emphasis to TTing in deference to the Tour necessarily destroys the rest of the cyclist's game.
    ... and so it goes

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