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Top Alien Awards 2017

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Top Alien Awards 2017

30 Sep 2017 00:00

Can be updated in lieu of Autumn Italian classics.

Winner: I nominate Gilbert. Last year of contract, has been legless for 4 or 5 seasons and then pulls out a truly alien spring. Looked a totally different rider from 2016. The RVV was quite frankly unbelievable.

Runner up: Moscon dropping quality climbers in the 3rd week of the Vuelta. Talent and predigree, sure.....but come on. Genuinely alien.

Rounding out the podium: Sky train Tour & Vuelta. I'm still not fully desensitized to this.

On the whole, I don't think it has been a particularly alien year.
User avatar The Hegelian
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Re: Top Alien Awards 2017

30 Sep 2017 00:56

The Hegelian wrote:Can be updated in lieu of Autumn Italian classics.

Winner: I nominate Gilbert. Last year of contract, has been legless for 4 or 5 seasons and then pulls out a truly alien spring. Looked a totally different rider from 2016. The RVV was quite frankly unbelievable.

Runner up: Moscon dropping quality climbers in the 3rd week of the Vuelta. Talent and predigree, sure.....but come on. Genuinely alien.

Rounding out the podium: Sky train Tour & Vuelta. I'm still not fully desensitized to this.

On the whole, I don't think it has been a particularly alien year.


After Jiffy bag saga, Sky have had probably their best year results wise. Their team has also been unstoppable. I’d say it’s been very alien year, just haven’t had the full retard Froome attacks of GTs past.
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Re: Top Alien Awards 2017

30 Sep 2017 02:41

thehog wrote:
The Hegelian wrote:Can be updated in lieu of Autumn Italian classics.

Winner: I nominate Gilbert. Last year of contract, has been legless for 4 or 5 seasons and then pulls out a truly alien spring. Looked a totally different rider from 2016. The RVV was quite frankly unbelievable.

Runner up: Moscon dropping quality climbers in the 3rd week of the Vuelta. Talent and predigree, sure.....but come on. Genuinely alien.

Rounding out the podium: Sky train Tour & Vuelta. I'm still not fully desensitized to this.

On the whole, I don't think it has been a particularly alien year.


After Jiffy bag saga, Sky have had probably their best year results wise. Their team has also been unstoppable. I’d say it’s been very alien year, just haven’t had the full retard Froome attacks of GTs past.


He made up for it by doing the double.
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30 Sep 2017 04:14

Team Sunweb- They are a smart bunch.
Gilbert- Where did that come from?
Froome- Just because he did the Double.
Contador- Because of well....everything he did at the Vuelta, except Andorra, which made sense.
Moscon- Future P-R and Tour winner. ROFL.
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Re: Top Alien Awards 2017

30 Sep 2017 07:32

Winner: Moscon, The number 5 of Paris Roubaix dropping pure climbers like they were amateur racers. Fantastic.
Runner up: Froome. Of anyone who attempted the double, he was the only one who actually looked better the 2nd GT.
Other notabales: Sunweb surprisingly strong eveywhere
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30 Sep 2017 07:48

Why not make a list of people looking clean instead?
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30 Sep 2017 07:50

Dumoulin on Oropa.
Valverde braking uphill on Mont Caro.
Sagan with the fastest ascent on Poggio since '98!
Porte going nuclear the whole first half of the season.
Goodbye, Tommeke; thank you for all you have given us!
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30 Sep 2017 08:46

Image
User avatar Libertine Seguros
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30 Sep 2017 09:05

No, Alarcon doesn't fall into the categorie Alien. He falls in the categorie GODLIKE
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Re: Top Alien Awards 2017

30 Sep 2017 11:46

Jspear wrote:
thehog wrote:
The Hegelian wrote:Can be updated in lieu of Autumn Italian classics.

Winner: I nominate Gilbert. Last year of contract, has been legless for 4 or 5 seasons and then pulls out a truly alien spring. Looked a totally different rider from 2016. The RVV was quite frankly unbelievable.

Runner up: Moscon dropping quality climbers in the 3rd week of the Vuelta. Talent and predigree, sure.....but come on. Genuinely alien.

Rounding out the podium: Sky train Tour & Vuelta. I'm still not fully desensitized to this.

On the whole, I don't think it has been a particularly alien year.


After Jiffy bag saga, Sky have had probably their best year results wise. Their team has also been unstoppable. I’d say it’s been very alien year, just haven’t had the full retard Froome attacks of GTs past.


He made up for it by doing the double.[/quote

Whilst you can make a strong case for Sky winning the award I think Froome has had his most non alien year since 2011.
You have to look beyond the headlines that he did the double and consider how he did it.
Starting with the tour. Despite the winning margin being his smallest ever, I would say this was his easiest win to date. A combination of a ridiculously strong team and competitors with no belief that they could seriously challenge him and therefore happy just stay on the podium rather than attack Froome, meant that he hardly had to stretch himself at all.
So Froome arrives at the Vuelta, with fresher legs and a much stronger team than previous years (not forgetting how close he's come to winning in previous years with much more effort in his legs). The field at this years Vuelta was well below the level of previous years, evidenced by the fact that Contador (let's face it he's been a spent force for several years now) was able to look so good in the final week.
It might have been a very different story if Porte (who perhaps could have earnt the Alien award this year) had hung around to really make Froome work in the mountains. But he didn't, and that's why I think Froome was able to make history without even needing to bring out the Alien
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Re: Top Alien Awards 2017

30 Sep 2017 15:39

Whilst you can make a strong case for Sky winning the award I think Froome has had his most non alien year since 2011.
You have to look beyond the headlines that he did the double and consider how he did it.
Starting with the tour. Despite the winning margin being his smallest ever, I would say this was his easiest win to date. A combination of a ridiculously strong team and competitors with no belief that they could seriously challenge him and therefore happy just stay on the podium rather than attack Froome, meant that he hardly had to stretch himself at all.
So Froome arrives at the Vuelta, with fresher legs and a much stronger team than previous years (not forgetting how close he's come to winning in previous years with much more effort in his legs). The field at this years Vuelta was well below the level of previous years, evidenced by the fact that Contador (let's face it he's been a spent force for several years now) was able to look so good in the final week.
It might have been a very different story if Porte (who perhaps could have earnt the Alien award this year) had hung around to really make Froome work in the mountains. But he didn't, and that's why I think Froome was able to make history without even needing to bring out the Alien


Froome won the TDF without having to try. That's pretty alien.
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Re: Top Alien Awards 2017

30 Sep 2017 18:55

Dekker_Tifosi wrote:Winner: Moscon, The number 5 of Paris Roubaix dropping pure climbers like they were amateur racers. Fantastic.
Runner up: Froome. Of anyone who attempted the double, he was the only one who actually looked better the 2nd GT.
Other notabales: Sunweb surprisingly strong eveywhere


Yeh Froome looked better in the 2nd GT. But he also had a slow buildup and was less than impressive at the Dauphine compared to previous years.
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30 Sep 2017 19:02

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Re: Top Alien Awards 2017

30 Sep 2017 22:34

Cookster15 wrote:
Dekker_Tifosi wrote:Winner: Moscon, The number 5 of Paris Roubaix dropping pure climbers like they were amateur racers. Fantastic.
Runner up: Froome. Of anyone who attempted the double, he was the only one who actually looked better the 2nd GT.
Other notabales: Sunweb surprisingly strong eveywhere


Yeh Froome looked better in the 2nd GT. But he also had a slow buildup and was less than impressive at the Dauphine compared to previous years.


The Tour had hardly any MTFs so he didn’t need to go full retard. He had a lot in reserve for whenever it was needed.
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01 Oct 2017 05:16

I reserve the term 'alien' for things that literally look absurd - to the extent that if you're watching live, you can't help muttering out loud 'this is f*king ridiculous,' and potentially even turning it off.

Froome in other years has certainly qualified, but not this year. As I said in the OP, it hasn't been a particularly alien year.

As much as I like the guy, Gilbert's RVV was by far the most alien looking thing I saw. I was definitely muttering at the tv, and, I turned it off before the finish.
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01 Oct 2017 07:13

Gilbert for sure - 50km dash for the finish - then that odd "injury" the next week. Uran's return to TdF contender - even won a stage with a busted bike! - was unexpected.
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01 Oct 2017 08:49

Gilbert & Moscon, but then again I wasn't following cycling very closely this year except for the monuments and GTs. Valverde was looking rather frisky early on, too. If I had to choose, would say Gilbert. (Though his 2011 season was...otherworldly)

Moscon is basically Hincapie redux. Classics contender and super-mountain-dom? Uh, sure.

You could argue that the general level of performance SEEMED lower this year, at least in the GTs. Froome looked like he was suffering in both tours at various points, and given that he had the luxury of sitting on for almost every important stage, that says either he's losing something or he's riding clean(er).

Ah, heck, I don't know. Everyone and no one seems guilty and innocent. PEDs have tainted the sport so much that everyone is dirty just by the fact of being a pro cyclist. That's not good.
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01 Oct 2017 08:58

Afaik, it has only been slow in the high mountain stages in the GTs. Fast everywhere else.
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Re:

01 Oct 2017 10:02

Netserk wrote:Afaik, it has only been slow in the high mountain stages in the GTs. Fast everywhere else.

Giro: Blockhaus and Oropa were super fast. Etna was headwind. Umbrail is hard to tell because it was such a high and hard stage (probably up there with Mont du Chat in the Tour). Rest of the third week was all weak to ok.

Tour: Aru on la Planche, Contador on the Croix de Fer, and the Izoard across the field were pretty fast. But I agree, not the strongest climbing performances of the year.

Vuelta: All short climbs were fast. All the big ones pretty slow. I think all of Calar Alto, Pandera, Sierra Nevada and the Angliru had headwinds. Froome must've sacrificed a large number of bunnies to the cycling gods

Strongest climbing performances would probably be something like

In a random order

Quintana on Blockhaus and Terminillo
Valverde on Tortosa
Contador on Muchachos and Angliru
Lopez on the Sierra Nevada
Porte on the PN and Romandie MTFs
Dumoulin on Oropa
Alarcon (didn't watch Portugal, so I don't know how good/bad it actually was)
Barguil on the Izoard - Maybe
Aru on La Planche and Mont du Chat (Dauphine) - maybe

Then you might get Froome - Cumbre del Sol and Xorret de Catí.
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01 Oct 2017 11:32

Alarcón is more than just Portugal though, although that was the capping grace.

At the age of 31, he has never scored more than 100 CQ points in a season before. This year he scored 573. He achieved nothing as a youngster with Saunier Duval and spent two years as an amateur again in Spain before being picked up by Loulé in Portugal. It's not like he dominated the Spanish amateur calendar like Arkaitz Durán did on his return either. He then spent five years bouncing around teams in Portugal not achieving too much, save for a stage win in the Volta in 2013 which was from the breakaway after Efapel miscalculated and pulled a rider back who was with him. Last year he stepped up in the Volta, for sure, but he was still enough of a minor player that his own team's website described him as a rouleur helper, with César Veloso, Antunes and Ricardo Mestre the team's expected leaders. He rode quietly and fairly insignificantly as a helper in Mallorca, Valencia and Algarve where Antunes was the team's major player, and rode anonymously at the small one-dayers during the Catalunya-País Vasco Spanish WT mini-season.

Then, the second Spanish mini-season, post-Ardennes and pre-Dauphiné, began, and Balarcón was reborn.

At Asturias, he escaped from an elite selection on the short, steep Alto del Carabanzo to come in 2nd behind solo escapee Weimar Roldán. He assumed the lead on day two by riding to the summit with Nairo freaking Quintana as the duo demolished the chasing pack. And on day three, on the Alto del Violeo he took everything Quintana could give him, before attacking solo to drop the Colombian and take the stage win on the descent into Oviedo. At Madrid, he made the decisive move on the Puerto de la Morcuera that made the selection of 9 that set the GC, before outsprinting them all in Las Rozas. In the undulating Valdemoro stage, he was outsprinted by Barbero and Sevilla but put time into everybody else, only to lose the GC to El Niño on the final day due to countback.

He then returned to Portugal, dismantling everybody on the queen stage of the GP Beiras e Serra da Estrela, putting over a minute into the field on the Alto da Torre, and only losing the GC because W52 had put Ricardo Mestre in the break that was allowed to go on stage 1 (in the end, Mestre was dropped after Alarcón's monster attack shattered the field, and W52 lost the GC to Jesús del Pino of the Efapel team). And then came the Volta. On the first road stage, he set down a marker, attacking on the flat and downhill to the line and just riding away from everybody, including his own teammates chasing him. He won atop Monte Farinha at Senhora da Graça with the same kind of final kilometre hyperspeed sprint that Gustavo César did a couple of years ago that caused people to shy away, as W52 put 4 in the top 8, the kind of mountain achievement usually reserved only for Team Sky (yes, Moscon doing an even better impression of Hincapie than Thomas can is probably similar ridiculousness in level, but at least the guy is a young talent, not a 31-year-old with no results to speak of who came into the season in almost Benjamin Noval shape). The one weakness in his armour was that he lost a few seconds in a slightly uphill sprint into a headwind at Oliveira de Azeméis on stage 8. But he bounced back in stage 9 in style. August 14th, 2017 is the date that will send shivers down the spine of all that dare to tread through the valley of the shadow of A Volta. Antunes attacked and annihilated 83km from the finish to join Mestre at the head of the race. César Veloso dropped and let his domestique, Carvalho, ride up to the camisola amarela group to support Balarcón. But before he could get there, Balarcón decided he wanted none of this domestique nonsense, so attacked the heads of state group himself, and rode across solo to Antunes and Mestre. Remember, this is a rouleur helper, in his own team's description, chasing the best climber Portugal has produced in years. They had a minute with 75km remaining. 1'15 at the summit. They went hell for leather on the descent, and dropped a couple of their number, only Alarcón, Antunes and Neilands (for Israel Cycling Academy, had been in the original break) left with 30km to go, and 2 minutes. And the gap just kept growing no matter what the chasers did. It climbed up to 4, to 4 and a half minutes. It was like watching Tabriz Petrochemical Team in their heyday at the Asia Tour. They finally dropped Neilands on the final climb and he came in a minute and a half back, but everybody else was nearly 5 mins back when Alarcón finally gifted his teammate the win. It was a bloodbath. Feast your eyes on hours of hilarity here.

Then after 80km at the head of the race, charging like a MFer, riding five minutes into everybody, he was 2nd in the ITT the next day. Even David Blanco never stamped this much authority on the Volta, and he was a guy who'd been top 10 of Grand Tours before being dispatched to Portugal in the Puerto aftermath, not somebody who'd been riding for a decade with next to nothing to show for it.

Moscon has been absolutely absurd. Hard to take coming from anybody, let alone someone who's cut such a difficult figure to have any sympathy for. His performances in the late season have been difficult to suspend disbelief for. But Raúl Alarcón has been so unapologetic, so transparent about it and so unwilling to even consider for a second what it looks like from the outside, that he makes Jonathan Tiernan-Locke's breakthrough spring look unremarkable. It's been so blatant that it's almost endearing.
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