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Contador as Spanish ITT champion - seriously???

Jun 20, 2009
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I had forgotten that Bertie was Spanish ITT champion until I saw the Paris-Nice prologue photos today. http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/68th-paris-nice-his/prologue/photos/109538 Is there any higher farce in pro cycling than that???

I mean, really, look at his skinny little climber's frame and then compare it with Big Mig or Spartacus.

Generally, I'm tranquil about doping, but this is as ridiculous as FLandis' breakaway on stage 17 of the '06 Tour.



indurain.jpg


corvos_fabian-cancellara.jpg
 
laziali said:
I had forgotten that Bertie was Spanish ITT champion until I saw the Paris-Nice prologue photos today. http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/68th-paris-nice-his/prologue/photos/109538 Is there any higher farce in pro cycling than that???

I mean, really, look at his skinny little climber's frame and then compare it with Big Mig or Spartacus.

Generally, I'm tranquil about doping, but this is as ridiculous as FLandis' breakaway on stage 17 of the 96 Tour.

I didn't know floyd rode the tour back then;)

But in all seriousness i know what you mean. But and its quite a big but. (no pun intended) Contador is actually a timetrialer that learnt to climb, not the other way round as most people assume. He actually had some really good results as a young rider. Then when he started climbing really well his tt dropped abit but as you'll see with his results he was and is always pretty high up.

I can't be bothered to go and dig up results at the moment so i'll leave that to someone else.....
 
Feb 14, 2010
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El Imbatido said:
I didn't know floyd rode the tour back then;)

But in all seriousness i know what you mean. But and its quite a big but. (no pun intended) Contador is actually a timetrialer that learnt to climb, not the other way round as most people assume. He actually had some really good results as a young rider. Then when he started climbing really well his tt dropped abit but as you'll see with his results he was and is always pretty high up.

I can't be bothered to go and dig up results at the moment so i'll leave that to someone else.....

Here's part of it from an interview after the Tour. Keep in mind that he missed most of a season with his cavernoma, and wasn't welcome at two other Tours besides that year.

Contador's response to the question marks is simple: in fact he's always been a lot better time triallist than people realise, but it's only now that they are realising.

"I can see why they're surprised because they look at my body and think ‘hmph, he's a climber', but in fact I've never been that bad a time triallist, and I'm just getting better with time."

There is some truth in this, and not just because Contador's first ever victory was a time trial in the Tour of Poland in 2003.

"This year alone," says Contador as he ticks off the results with his fingers, "in the Tour I finished first and second in the time trials."

"I also finished second and fifth in the Dauphiné's time trials, won the Spanish national time trial championships, finished second in the time trial in Castilla y Leon, won the time trial in the Tour of the Basque Country, won the prologue of Paris-Nice and won the time trial in the Tour of the Algarve."

"Last year I won time trials in Castilla y Leon and the Tour of the Basque Country and was second in time trials in the Vuelta and Giro."

"And people are still surprised?"

http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/436521/after-the-tour-the-alberto-contador-interview.html

Specialized411 also has a recent video on youtube of Alberto talking about Time Trialing. He said that a lot of guys can ride fast with someone along side, but when they're alone and can pick the effort level is when you need to be mentally tough and willing to hurt.
 
Jun 20, 2009
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El Imbatido said:
I didn't know floyd rode the tour back then;)

But in all seriousness i know what you mean. But and its quite a big but. (no pun intended) Contador is actually a timetrialer that learnt to climb, not the other way round as most people assume. He actually had some really good results as a young rider. Then when he started climbing really well his tt dropped abit but as you'll see with his results he was and is always pretty high up.

I can't be bothered to go and dig up results at the moment so i'll leave that to someone else.....

Thanks - edit made :eek:

I know the history and his explanation, but still - it's like watching a flyweight beat a heavy weight.
 
Jan 30, 2010
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A few things to note:

1) Contador being spanish TT champ is not so much of a farce,but more people assuming that spanish champ is the be all and end all of time trialling. His greatest opposition in that race was LL Sanchez and maybe Guiteirez, who are good, but not fantastic, at the discipline. So don't put too much weight on the colour of his jersey. If he beats Cancellara in October for that stripey jersey, then i'd be concerned.

2) Most of the time trials he has won, are shorter, hillier, and against a lower opposition (except 09 tour, explained below), where, up until 2009, he often lost minutes.
But a note on the Tour, it was a 15k TT (which contained a decent section of uphill) and a 40kTT (which contained a cat 3 hill). Look at the time splits, and you'll see, especially in the Annecy TT that he struggled from the 28km mark, losing about a minute to the bigger stronger cancellara. He is doing well in these time trials because they actually take into account power/weight, whereas your usual flat as TT it's all about power (see 07 tour where he loses 2 minutes against power rider like leipheimer)

3) Doping aside, mentality, in my opinion, plays a huge role in TT. There is a reason that when a rider is in the yellow jersey, he can TT himself like he never has before. Example. Alpe d'Heuz time trial, Contador loses 6 minutes to an on form Armstong. Contador literally had no incentive to try and win that TT, being his first tour, it was more about the experience of racing. Also look at that time trial for Basso's performance. He got caught by Armstrong, then basically held his position, because he had a reference point to judge his effort, if i remember correctly.


So i'm not surprised that Contador is the spanish champ. It's easier to win the spanish TT title than the worlds (or say the German, UK, Swiss) because you're literally lining up against traditional climbers.

The answer as to how good Contador can time trial will be truly tested in the 51km TT at the Tour this year. This will be the ultimate benchmark. Dead flat, and over 50km. That is his true test, and I predict he will lose at least 1 minute to the winner (like Cancellara or Leipheimer). Don't be fooled by his performances in shorter and/or hillier time trials. He's great, but it's not too 'unbelievable'. He's always been a very decent TT rider, but he is never going to dominant as he prevails due to his power/weight ratio, not his absolute power.

Note that if he wins the 50km flat TT (assuming all contenders stay upright, and the course is dry for the whole day) then i'd be seriously worried, but for now, his TT performances have been pretty consistent (with a steady, not worrisome build up) throughout his career
 

flicker

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Aug 17, 2009
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oooo I like that time trial. Which stage


The answer as to how good Contador can time trial will be truly tested in the 51km TT at the Tour this year. This will be the ultimate benchmark. Dead flat, and over 50km. That is his true test, and I predict he will lose at least 1 minute to the winner (like Cancellara or Leipheimer). Don't be fooled by his performances in shorter and/or hillier time trials. He's great, but it's not too 'unbelievable'. He's always been a very decent TT rider, but he is never going to dominant as he prevails due to his power/weight ratio, not his absolute power.

Note that if he wins the 50km flat TT (assuming all contenders stay upright, and the course is dry for the whole day) then i'd be seriously worried, but for now, his TT performances have been pretty consistent (with a steady, not worrisome build up) throughout his career
 
Inner Peace said:

All good points, but Contra's TT abilities still crack me up, even more than LL's new found consistency at TT'ing as a top 3. Granted, LL is compact and likely has low drag numbers. Ditto for Contra due to his flexibility. But then again, it seems all of the good TT riders have good aero posiitons.

So, at the end of the day, I think it is silly. It's not just his physical appearance, it is also the physiological differences between training a steady state for the TT, and the constant attacking and accelerations of the climbing. I can believe one or th other, but not both.
 
I thought that something was fishy after he beat Wiggo in the Paris-Nice prologue last year, but after looking at his history he might be legit.

Dr raised the 05 Paris-Nice prologue in another thread. Berto took 7th. Not too shabby for a 22 year old kid.

I also remembered this velonews article from way back when?
http://velonews.competitor.com/2005/10/bikes-tech/tech-report-the-heirs-of-indurain_9083

Able to climb as well as time trial, Contador is a big prospect for team director Manolo Saiz, who gave him his first pro contract with ONCE in 2003 and just signed him again for an extended contract.

Contador, 22, and Sanchez, 21, made the trek from Spain to Boston in late September, with the intention of improving their time trial positions in the MIT wind tunnel. Both of them put up some impressive numbers in the facility, leading us to believe some of the hype surrounding them.

Note the date: October 26, 2005, almost two years before his first Tour win. I wouldn't think you'd take some young riders to a wind tunnel for testing unless they had some talent in the TT.

Although he was on ONCE/Liberty Seguros with Saiz ....
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Inner Peace said:
3) Doping aside, mentality, in my opinion, plays a huge role in TT. There is a reason that when a rider is in the yellow jersey, he can TT himself like he never has before. Example. Alpe d'Heuz time trial, Contador loses 6 minutes to an on form Armstong. Contador literally had no incentive to try and win that TT, being his first tour, it was more about the experience of racing. Also look at that time trial for Basso's performance. He got caught by Armstrong, then basically held his position, because he had a reference point to judge his effort, if i remember correctly.
Kim Kirchen rode great chronos in 2008 Tour, and the only example of him ever doing a decent tt was in 2007 TdSuisse, or it was 2007 Romandie. Apart from that, he sucked a$$
 
Jun 20, 2009
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Inner Peace said:
...

3) Doping aside, mentality, in my opinion, plays a huge role in TT. There is a reason that when a rider is in the yellow jersey, he can TT himself like he never has before. Example. Alpe d'Heuz time trial, Contador loses 6 minutes to an on form Armstong. Contador literally had no incentive to try and win that TT, being his first tour, it was more about the experience of racing. Also look at that time trial for Basso's performance. He got caught by Armstrong, then basically held his position, because he had a reference point to judge his effort, if i remember correctly.

Interesting point, Inner Peace. There might be some merit in it. In stage 20 of the '98 Tour, a 53km ITT, Pantani while in yellow lost only 2:35 to Jan Ullrich. No one will dispute they were both doped to the eyeballs, so there was a level playing field.
 
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Ripper said:
So, at the end of the day, I think it is silly. It's not just his physical appearance, it is also the physiological differences between training a steady state for the TT, and the constant attacking and accelerations of the climbing. I can believe one or th other, but not both.

Look at Lars Boom, in Cyclo-cross you are always attacking and sprinting hard out of corners and up short steep climbs, yet he is U23 world TT champion.
 

Joey_J

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Metamorphosis?

I heard Dr Ashenden is planning to do a nyvelocity interview to discuss AC’s
TT “metamorphosis”; how he went from losing 6+ min to LA in the 2005 Tour TT to winning the TT in the 2009 Tour over TT great Cancellara.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Inner Peace said:
A few things to note:

1) Contador being spanish TT champ is not so much of a farce,but more people assuming that spanish champ is the be all and end all of time trialling. His greatest opposition in that race was LL Sanchez and maybe Guiteirez, who are good, but not fantastic, at the discipline. So don't put too much weight on the colour of his jersey. If he beats Cancellara in October for that stripey jersey, then i'd be concerned.

2) Most of the time trials he has won, are shorter, hillier, and against a lower opposition (except 09 tour, explained below), where, up until 2009, he often lost minutes.
But a note on the Tour, it was a 15k TT (which contained a decent section of uphill) and a 40kTT (which contained a cat 3 hill). Look at the time splits, and you'll see, especially in the Annecy TT that he struggled from the 28km mark, losing about a minute to the bigger stronger cancellara. He is doing well in these time trials because they actually take into account power/weight, whereas your usual flat as TT it's all about power (see 07 tour where he loses 2 minutes against power rider like leipheimer)

3) Doping aside, mentality, in my opinion, plays a huge role in TT. There is a reason that when a rider is in the yellow jersey, he can TT himself like he never has before. Example. Alpe d'Heuz time trial, Contador loses 6 minutes to an on form Armstong. Contador literally had no incentive to try and win that TT, being his first tour, it was more about the experience of racing. Also look at that time trial for Basso's performance. He got caught by Armstrong, then basically held his position, because he had a reference point to judge his effort, if i remember correctly.


So i'm not surprised that Contador is the spanish champ. It's easier to win the spanish TT title than the worlds (or say the German, UK, Swiss) because you're literally lining up against traditional climbers.

The answer as to how good Contador can time trial will be truly tested in the 51km TT at the Tour this year. This will be the ultimate benchmark. Dead flat, and over 50km. That is his true test, and I predict he will lose at least 1 minute to the winner (like Cancellara or Leipheimer). Don't be fooled by his performances in shorter and/or hillier time trials. He's great, but it's not too 'unbelievable'. He's always been a very decent TT rider, but he is never going to dominant as he prevails due to his power/weight ratio, not his absolute power.

Note that if he wins the 50km flat TT (assuming all contenders stay upright, and the course is dry for the whole day) then i'd be seriously worried, but for now, his TT performances have been pretty consistent (with a steady, not worrisome build up) throughout his career

This post perfectly sums it up! i think on the flat tt he will lose closer to 2 mins!
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Joey_J said:
I heard Dr Ashenden is planning to do a nyvelocity interview to discuss AC’s
TT “metamorphosis”; how he went from losing 6+ min to LA in the 2005 Tour TT to winning the TT in the 2009 Tour over TT great Cancellara.

I can't wait for that! We should send that off to Angliru and Publicus;)
 
Mar 18, 2009
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It shouldn't need to be said--but this is a singularly stupid discussion, even by the low CN forum standards--but there is a huge difference between winning a TT as a single event, as, say, the World's, or a national championship, and winning an ITT in the second week of a grand tour. Yes, Contador is good against the clock, and has always been, but what's more important is that, according to the myth of his abilities, he has an exceptional ability to remain strong during a long multi-stage race, and recovers quickly from the kind of efforts that disable his competitors. So he beat Cancellara in last year's Tour--that doesn't mean he's a better time trialer, it means he's better in GTs. Different things.

None of which is to say that anyone mentioned above is either clean or not clean.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Wallace said:
It shouldn't need to be said--but this is a singularly stupid discussion, even by the low CN forum standards--but there is a huge difference between winning a TT as a single event, as, say, the World's, or a national championship, and winning an ITT in the second week of a grand tour. Yes, Contador is good against the clock, and has always been, but what's more important is that, according to the myth of his abilities, he has an exceptional ability to remain strong during a long multi-stage race, and recovers quickly from the kind of efforts that disable his competitors. So he beat Cancellara in last year's Tour--that doesn't mean he's a better time trialer, it means he's better in GTs. Different things.

None of which is to say that anyone mentioned above is either clean or not clean.


there are only a few who can win a Tour de France GT.

Lets look at it.

Armstrong
Botero
Ullrich
Millar
Leipheimer
Cancellara
Vino/Evans (pending your rules on positives intra tour)
Schumacher (again, qualified on sanctions

Depends on your objectives.

If say, you are Michael Rich or Uwe Peschel, what is the point in training in the mtns and doing 200km rides. They may as well use the 2 months before the Tour, on their chrono bike and training that threshold. Because they cant win an open road stage, and they are far better served pulling out in the first mtn stage if they have won a stage.

In the Worlds, or GP des Nations, the riders who think they have a shot, will be doing all their work on the chrono bike and training that threshold.

That is what makes Cancellara's performance last year, in the Worlds, so impressive. He pants'ed the chrono riders, and he was the strongest in the road race.

There is different doping also. Recovery doping. Versus preperation doping. A GT classement tilt, requires both. And if you want to win the chronos at the Tour, you NEED the recovery doping. And bus gas, the perfluorocarbons made famous by Gianetti and Museeuw. The big guys, if they have done some experimentation in training, with the PFCs, will know if they respond to them, or have those anaphylactic shocks.

So, doping. Big input. But being able to straddle two objectives, climbing versus max watts, in the chrono. Rogers has never been able to manage this. Zabriskie has never been able to manage this. But this may be to do with their programs. Rogers came third or fourth in the chrono, in 2006, when he was going to Freiburg.

adequate answer?
 
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Wallace said:
It shouldn't need to be said--but this is a singularly stupid discussion, even by the low CN forum standards--but there is a huge difference between winning a TT as a single event, as, say, the World's, or a national championship, and winning an ITT in the second week of a grand tour. Yes, Contador is good against the clock, and has always been, but what's more important is that, according to the myth of his abilities, he has an exceptional ability to remain strong during a long multi-stage race, and recovers quickly from the kind of efforts that disable his competitors. So he beat Cancellara in last year's Tour--that doesn't mean he's a better time trialer, it means he's better in GTs. Different things.

None of which is to say that anyone mentioned above is either clean or not clean.

good point. also worth noting the amount of work each rider puts in. Spartacus is practically always riding up front which takes energy away come the TT stages, in comparison AC is riding his team mates wheels for a long as possible..

TT's in a GT is as much about the energy you've saved for them as it is the power you have left - Evan's learnt this the hard way in 08 when CSC made him work hard in the lead up.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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laziali said:
I had forgotten that Bertie was Spanish ITT champion until I saw the Paris-Nice prologue photos today. http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/68th-paris-nice-his/prologue/photos/109538 Is there any higher farce in pro cycling than that???

I mean, really, look at his skinny little climber's frame and then compare it with Big Mig or Spartacus.

Generally, I'm tranquil about doping, but this is as ridiculous as FLandis' breakaway on stage 17 of the '06 Tour.
i think you're caught up in stereotypes - big for tt, small for mountains.

not saying there is no merit to your observation as i myself use the same general rule. but there are plenty of valid exceptions to the simplified rule.

if you question contador you need to question every similar-sized pro excelling at time trialing.

levi would be the first id want to know.

one point everyone needs to keep in mind. contadors time trialing progression is most noticeable from shortish events (about 30k) to longish events (40k +).

i dont see that as anything unusual for a maturing super talented rider.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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Inner Peace said:
A few things to note:

1) Contador being spanish TT champ is not so much of a farce,but more people assuming that spanish champ is the be all and end all of time trialling. His greatest opposition in that race was LL Sanchez and maybe Guiteirez, who are good, but not fantastic, at the discipline. So don't put too much weight on the colour of his jersey. If he beats Cancellara in October for that stripey jersey, then i'd be concerned.

2) Most of the time trials he has won, are shorter, hillier, and against a lower opposition (except 09 tour, explained below), where, up until 2009, he often lost minutes.
But a note on the Tour, it was a 15k TT (which contained a decent section of uphill) and a 40kTT (which contained a cat 3 hill). Look at the time splits, and you'll see, especially in the Annecy TT that he struggled from the 28km mark, losing about a minute to the bigger stronger cancellara. He is doing well in these time trials because they actually take into account power/weight, whereas your usual flat as TT it's all about power (see 07 tour where he loses 2 minutes against power rider like leipheimer)

3) Doping aside, mentality, in my opinion, plays a huge role in TT. There is a reason that when a rider is in the yellow jersey, he can TT himself like he never has before. Example. Alpe d'Heuz time trial, Contador loses 6 minutes to an on form Armstong. Contador literally had no incentive to try and win that TT, being his first tour, it was more about the experience of racing. Also look at that time trial for Basso's performance. He got caught by Armstrong, then basically held his position, because he had a reference point to judge his effort, if i remember correctly.


So i'm not surprised that Contador is the spanish champ. It's easier to win the spanish TT title than the worlds (or say the German, UK, Swiss) because you're literally lining up against traditional climbers.

The answer as to how good Contador can time trial will be truly tested in the 51km TT at the Tour this year. This will be the ultimate benchmark. Dead flat, and over 50km. That is his true test, and I predict he will lose at least 1 minute to the winner (like Cancellara or Leipheimer). Don't be fooled by his performances in shorter and/or hillier time trials. He's great, but it's not too 'unbelievable'. He's always been a very decent TT rider, but he is never going to dominant as he prevails due to his power/weight ratio, not his absolute power.

Note that if he wins the 50km flat TT (assuming all contenders stay upright, and the course is dry for the whole day) then i'd be seriously worried, but for now, his TT performances have been pretty consistent (with a steady, not worrisome build up) throughout his career

overall a considered post except that one point i bolded.

you selected a benchmark for an itt 'ultimate test' thats highly arbitrary.

time trial courses like mountain courses come in all forms and shapes. and there is a good reason the organizers vary it. a course when an itt was dead flat 40k out and back test is now rare in the international completion.

there is no knowing if the world's itt course in say 2018 will not favor a rider with contadors physique. should we change a benchmark every time a new course is designed ? or should we just look at the progression of a rider and his limitations ?
 
Mar 13, 2009
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python said:
i think you're caught up in stereotypes - big for tt, small for mountains.

not saying there is no merit to your observation as i myself use the same general rule. but there are plenty of valid exceptions to the simplified rule.

if you question contador you need to question every similar-sized pro excelling at time trialing.

levi would be the first id want to know.

one point everyone needs to keep in mind. contadors time trialing progression is most noticeable from shortish events (about 30k) to longish events (40k +).

i dont see that as anything unusual for a maturing super talented rider.
u23 Jani Brajkovic at about 58 kg won the Worlds in about 2005 or was it 2004.

Beat Dekker, and beat Nibali.

Then there was the Cornu/Boom era.

Then there was Malori who is a Cancellara clone. Bobridge is only about 67kg at race weight.
 
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python said:
overall a considered post except that one point i bolded.

you selected a benchmark for an itt 'ultimate test' thats highly arbitrary.

time trial courses like mountain courses come in all forms and shapes. and there is a good reason the organizers vary it. a course when an itt was dead flat 40k out and back test is now rare in the international completion.

there is no knowing if the world's itt course in say 2018 will not favor a rider with contadors physique. should we change a benchmark every time a new course is designed ? or should we just look at the progression of a rider and his limitations ?

I mean in terms of Contador's 'ultimate test'.

Reason is, people doubt his time trial ability, but i think the evidence is skewed, because the time trial's he has performed extremely well in (i'm judging this on time lost to winner, not position) have either been shorter than 50km, hillier, or both.

Tour 2007, he lost about 2 minutes to Leipheimer on flat 50+ k, which I see as a standard evidence of Contador, not being a bad TT by no means, but being a power/weight style rider. He is yet to develop, or been tested, in a long flat 50km TT since then, which is why I think for him, this years 50k in France will be his ultimate test.

He is great time triallist, but if he wins the 50k flat this year, then questions should probably be raised. Interesting that in the story about him and LL Sanchez, was that Contador can put out 500 watts for an hour (unless I read wrong, i only skimmed the article). That's truly mind boggling if true, for a rider of his size, weight and build. I don't raise questions about him winning hilly TT's becoz that suits his style, but if he beats cancellara in France this year, then, well.. WOW.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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Inner Peace said:
I mean in terms of Contador's 'ultimate test'.

Reason is, people doubt his time trial ability, but i think the evidence is skewed, because the time trial's he has performed extremely well in (i'm judging this on time lost to winner, not position) have either been shorter than 50km, hillier, or both.

Tour 2007, he lost about 2 minutes to Leipheimer on flat 50+ k, which I see as a standard evidence of Contador, not being a bad TT by no means, but being a power/weight style rider. He is yet to develop, or been tested, in a long flat 50km TT since then, which is why I think for him, this years 50k in France will be his ultimate test.

He is great time triallist, but if he wins the 50k flat this year, then questions should probably be raised. Interesting that in the story about him and LL Sanchez, was that Contador can put out 500 watts for an hour (unless I read wrong, i only skimmed the article). That's truly mind boggling if true, for a rider of his size, weight and build. I don't raise questions about him winning hilly TT's becoz that suits his style, but if he beats cancellara in France this year, then, well.. WOW.
i did not even need to finish reading the rest of your post to notice that you again taylor-fitting an arbitrary situation.

i can turn it around and make a case that cancellara needs to step up and do better in the 'benchmark itt' that by my artificial design (for an argument's sake) is an itt up AdH.

let him show if the 500 watts can work wonders they perform on a pan cake flat course.

the point is, itt courses are a mix. riders excelling at them whist generally tending to be heavier and larger, dont necessarily have to be large.

we all know that individual characteristics particularly physiology play a huge role.


your 'benchmark' for contador is bogus as i explained above.
 
Inner Peace said:
I mean in terms of Contador's 'ultimate test'.

Reason is, people doubt his time trial ability, but i think the evidence is skewed, because the time trial's he has performed extremely well in (i'm judging this on time lost to winner, not position) have either been shorter than 50km, hillier, or both.

Tour 2007, he lost about 2 minutes to Leipheimer on flat 50+ k, which I see as a standard evidence of Contador, not being a bad TT by no means, but being a power/weight style rider. He is yet to develop, or been tested, in a long flat 50km TT since then, which is why I think for him, this years 50k in France will be his ultimate test.

He is great time triallist, but if he wins the 50k flat this year, then questions should probably be raised. Interesting that in the story about him and LL Sanchez, was that Contador can put out 500 watts for an hour (unless I read wrong, i only skimmed the article). That's truly mind boggling if true, for a rider of his size, weight and build. I don't raise questions about him winning hilly TT's becoz that suits his style, but if he beats cancellara in France this year, then, well.. WOW.

Really can't see him winning the 50km TT this year.

As you said, his early wins in TTs have been hilly/short - 1st - 1.6km @ Circuito Montanes 20002, 1st - 28.7km @ Vuelta a Palencia 2002 (can't find profile), 2nd - 5.1km @ Ruban Granitiers Bretons 2002, 1st - 19km @ Tour de Pologne 2003 (MTT) - Profile, 1st - 9.3km @ Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2005..

Then again, on that 2005 TT, Rogers was 5.18 down, Grabsch was 4.55 down, and Cancellara was 4.03 down.