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  1. #1
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    Leadership In The Pro Peleton

    Now that the racing season is in full swing I have been thinking about past races and the one thing I noticed that is within the last 5 or 6 years or so there seems to be a glaring lack of a clear leader in the Pro Peleton. I am talking about one racer who is the undisputed Top Dog, larger than life, a class act, a gentlemen, sets the example, and sort of acts as boss of the peleton. Nothing happens in the peleton without their knowledge and consent. I am thinking of a racer along the calibre of a Miguel Indurain or an Eddy Merckx and I can't come up with any racer in recent memory who fits the bill.

    Lance Armstrong certainly didn't do it. Sure he won the Tour a bunch of times but he always seemed way too self-absorbed to care much about the sport and the other riders. Jan Ulrich always had his hands full just staying in the race.George Hinacapie just wanted to be the best Domestique he could be. Mark Cavendish, not going to happen. The Schlecks, sure they are great riders but neither of them have the presence to carry it off.

    I cannot think of a single rider who would have what it takes to step up and be the Top Dog of a modern day peleton. Would anyone care to jump in and share their thoughts? All comments and opinions are welcome.

  2. #2
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    I recall a couple of races where Cancellara did just that.

  3. #3
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    I agree with the Cancellara comment.
    But why is such a leader needed?
    It is a race after all and I think things have gotten too controlled.
    break aways are allowed to go free only to be brought in by teams at precisely the last few Kms.
    Then the "leaders" who have been sucking wheels the whole day fight it out.
    I long for the earlier days when cycling was more of an individualistic sport as demonstrated recently by Matteo Rabottini.

  4. #4
    downhill quickly
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    Robbie McEwen!

    wait...ah shyte,

    nevermind.

    Back to Jens.

  5. #5
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    I think the difference is that the modern day professional bunch is so much more competitive overall and the way teams are run is so much different. Gone are the days of having a team where there is really one superstar and everyone else is dedicated to him. As a result, the mythical patron of the peloton like Bernard Hinault has disappeared.

    Indurain was never the patron, he was much to reserved and calm to really have this role. Since Hinault I would wager that Armstrong comes closest to being the guy, but then again only for 3 weeks in July. Pretty sure guys like Bassons and Simeoni would say Armstrong was the boss of the bunch back then.

    Cancellara has in the past acted in this role (think rainy TdF stage to Spa in 2010), but his actions were totally self-serving for Andy Schleck and when he attacked on the cobbles the next day with Andy in his wheel a lot of the bunch were pissed that they sat up the day before.

    But I think globalization of professional cycling, the importance of UCI/Pro Tour points, and a general overall increase in riders abilities from top to bottom have pretty much eradicated "le patron".

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    I agree with Eric. Sadly, gone are the days when the TdF GC riders would test their mettle by clashing in the spring classics. Now there are no tour GC riders who will win Roubaix, Liege or Flanders. But that's just modern training; you can only peak twice a year (say) so you peak for the races you want to win. Choose either of le Tour and WC, or spring classics and WC.

  7. #7
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    I think there are patrons of the peloton, but I think with the way racing has changed they don't show it on the road as much. Instead of being the iron fist the controls the peloton they are the guiding hand. I'm thinking of course of Cancellera and also, David Millar. His anti-doping stance and how he helped put together the tribute to Wouter Weylandt at last years Giro stand out.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoelS View Post
    I recall a couple of races where Cancellara did just that.
    Yeah, and he rolled his eyes and waved his arms and whined about anyone who did not do exactly as he said. I recall one time when Cancellara decided to neutralize the field for some reason and some rider had the audacity to roll past "Spartacus" not even half a bike length while soft pedaling and Cancellara screamed at this guy like he went on an attack.

    There is no "leader" right now who kowtows to the wishes of one lone rider?

    I say GOOD.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordy748 View Post
    I agree with Eric. Sadly, gone are the days when the TdF GC riders would test their mettle by clashing in the spring classics. Now there are no tour GC riders who will win Roubaix, Liege or Flanders. But that's just modern training; you can only peak twice a year (say) so you peak for the races you want to win. Choose either of le Tour and WC, or spring classics and WC.
    andy Schleck has won Liege and the Tour, although not the same year (did podium though).
    Blows your hair back.

  10. #10
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    Cadel Evans also won the Tour and Fleche Wallone.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by agm2 View Post
    I think there are patrons of the peloton, but I think with the way racing has changed they don't show it on the road as much. Instead of being the iron fist the controls the peloton they are the guiding hand. I'm thinking of course of Cancellera and also, David Millar. His anti-doping stance and how he helped put together the tribute to Wouter Weylandt at last years Giro stand out.
    I agree^.

    Just going back to the Armstrong days, after he had won his third title, he started to exert his influence on the road more and more. Some of the change is just the personalities; Armstrong laid down the law more than the current patrons do. I think it's better this way, even though it does feel strange sometimes.
    “In an honest search for knowledge, you quite often have to abide by ignorance for an indefinite period.”
    – Erwin Schrödinger, 1948

  12. #12
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    Jonathon Vaughters.... oh wait, you said IN the peleton.
    JV seems to be quite a spokesman FOR the peleton and riders/teams.

  13. #13
    AJL
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    Quote Originally Posted by SantaCruz View Post
    Jonathon Vaughters.... oh wait, you said IN the peleton.
    JV seems to be quite a spokesman FOR the peleton and riders/teams.
    JV likes to here his own voice, I think, so he will talk about anything!
    “In an honest search for knowledge, you quite often have to abide by ignorance for an indefinite period.”
    – Erwin Schrödinger, 1948

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