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Criterium International - The showdown

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Feb 14, 2010
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I'd believe Martinelli might have played a big part in the decision. For fans, especially those of us who don't believe there's a rivalry, it will be good for other fans and the media to compare the levels of the two guys and try to figure out how the old one will improve enough to win the Tour. It's kind of like this time last year when Contador invited Armstrong to join him in the race where he broke his collarbone.

I think it's also another show of how committed Alberto is to winning the Tour, as he's giving up two stage races he had a good chance of winning, and extending his early season by two weeks. He also wants to ride with some of the classics riders he wouldn't otherwise see, as he has to have the eight best riders from Astana on that Tour team. I don't think he wants to go through three weeks like he had at Paris-Nice.

Then there's the part where we're really just at the start of his career, and the book hasn't been written on what type of rider he is, or which grand tours he'll compete in the most. I think it's a really positive sign that he's stepping away from a "template" to see if there are other ways to prepare for the Tour.
 
Mar 14, 2010
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I asked the palm reader on the boardwalk...needed a second opinion...

In looking at the undissolved carbohydrate powder on the sides of my bike bottle... I see Lance pulling something or straining his tempermental hip in MSR and pulls out of the showdown for the good of the team.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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Finally Armstrong has the chance to prove that this "rivalry" actually exist.

but..... well let's just say that he will probably fail.

But it's a very good thing. No more hide and seek. Contador will most likely end up winning the event, while Armstrong will struggle to do better, than the seventh place he arrived at in Murcia, but nevertheless, there's so much more quality related to those two riders, competing on the bike against each other, compared to the media hype surrounding them all the time.
It will be like a breath of fresh air.
 
thehog said:
I'm concerned Lance might get mistaken for a motorcycle cameraman he's so large.

There's going to be a lot of fat jokes flying around the bunch.

"Hey Lance got any donouts in your jersey pocket?!!"

"Hey Lance watch you don't test positive to cream cakes"

Alberto 61kg & Lance at least 81kg now going to be a great photo.

Halfway through a stage Armstrong will yell at the cameras, "Screw you guys! I'm going home."
 
Jamsque said:
... except Contador IS riding.

I predict that this showdown will be both over-hyped and anticlimactic in the extreme.

I agree.

Tell you what I want to see - Kloden. Is he riding CI? Cause if Vino is there it could be interesting. They have never ridden against each other - or have they? (T-Mobile attacking each other does not count).
 
Feb 14, 2010
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@Trek60
@grahamwatson10 Do you think Alberto is trying to intimidate Lance early?

On Tuesday 16th March 2010, @grahamwatson10 said:
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@trek60 ..no, I don't think Alberto has the ruthlessness in him to try that, nor the right entourage to guide him. His motivation might be a lack of start money in Catalunya, and a wish to embed him and Astana with ASO prior to the Tour; Astana needs an invite as well. There are already rumours that salaries are unpaid, that Contador might need to play up to ASO to get into the Tour...on another team.

The spin doctors are coming out of the woodwork. Astana is guaranteed an invitation from the 2008 agreement. It's carved in stone unless there's a doping scandal or something. Didn't the UCI require Astana to post a huge bank guarantee before renewing their license? The race schedule change was made after evaluation by the Astana technical staff, so insulting the entourage was toeing the party line. And I really think that Contador is in the good graces of the ASO right now. What a load of nonsense. I can almost smell the cigar smoke from the back room conversation.
 

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theswordsman said:
The spin doctors are coming out of the woodwork. Astana is guaranteed an invitation from the 2008 agreement. It's carved in stone unless there's a doping scandal or something. Didn't the UCI require Astana to post a huge bank guarantee before renewing their license? The race schedule change was made after evaluation by the Astana technical staff, so insulting the entourage was toeing the party line. And I really think that Contador is in the good graces of the ASO right now. What a load of nonsense. I can almost smell the cigar smoke from the back room conversation.

Thats pretty ironic - as Graham is part of LA's 'entourage', (Turtle or Vince?) he was the 'offical Astana team photographer' last year and he now writes a blog on the Team Radio Shack website.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Bicicleta said:
I agree.

Tell you what I want to see - Kloden. Is he riding CI? Cause if Vino is there it could be interesting. They have never ridden against each other - or have they? (T-Mobile attacking each other does not count).

Contador just made his point this weekend. He's free to work for someone else as preparation and Tour strategy; if he wants. He might hit it in the TT to emphasize that point.
Lance has nothing to gain other than fanning the flames of "rivalry" for the media. If he rides a credible TT we could see some additional fireworks from both but I agree with many that LL and the Kazakh could be the show with other contenders.
 
Aug 16, 2009
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Berzin said:
Yes, like why wouldn't Contador lead last year at the Tour when he was the best Astana rider on form? :eek::eek::eek:

yeah because that is totally relevant to this topic......

I simply said Levi being the leader for the past week, well before AC said he was even doing this race, is not evidence of LA backing down.
 

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Surprised no one has mentioned the probable reason - that Paris Nice was more difficult and has taken more out of Contador than they expected. That's what the spin about his form "being good enough" means - he's been on the absolute limit all week and now does not want to burn out.

It did turn out to be a difficult Paris Nice in general this year.
 
Aug 16, 2009
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Bike Rider said:
Surprised no one has mentioned the probable reason - that Paris Nice was more difficult and has taken more out of Contador than they expected. That's what the spin about his form "being good enough" means - he's been on the absolute limit all week and now does not want to burn out.

It did turn out to be a difficult Paris Nice in general this year.

Valid idea, he did say he wants to reduce his upcoming racing miles on the schedule and thus the switch.
 
Bike Rider said:
Surprised no one has mentioned the probable reason - that Paris Nice was more difficult and has taken more out of Contador than they expected. That's what the spin about his form "being good enough" means - he's been on the absolute limit all week and now does not want to burn out.

It did turn out to be a difficult Paris Nice in general this year.

I think that's probably true. You could see he was basically having to hold Valverde and Sanchez in check on that last stage. It was quite impressive to see. Probably a good decision to back it off and get some rest after a race like that.

Barely even saw RadioShack at that race. A team like that should at least pretend to be interested.

Of course, it was cold and Levi's vagina cramped up.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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Moose McKnuckles said:
I think that's probably true. You could see he was basically having to hold Valverde and Sanchez in check on that last stage. It was quite impressive to see. Probably a good decision to back it off and get some rest after a race like that.

Barely even saw RadioShack at that race. A team like that should at least pretend to be interested.

Of course, it was cold and Levi's vagina cramped up.

All I can say is lol
 
Feb 14, 2010
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Bike Rider said:
Surprised no one has mentioned the probable reason - that Paris Nice was more difficult and has taken more out of Contador than they expected. That's what the spin about his form "being good enough" means - he's been on the absolute limit all week and now does not want to burn out.

It did turn out to be a difficult Paris Nice in general this year.
That was pretty much in the press release. I don't see any spin - it sounds pretty honest to me, as usual. I don't think that a guy who is two for two in stage races against some top riders in awful weather conditions needs to spin that he's happy with his fitness three and a half months before the Tour.

“I’ve had very good results in the first two races of the year, my preparation is well under way, so we’ve decided to change the calendar in order to look for less-exhausting races both for me and for my team,” explained Alberto Contador. "
After an edition of Paris-Nice that demanded a great physical and mental effort, Alberto Contador has decided to give up both the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta al País Vasco.
Alberto Contador concluded by saying that he had decided “to sacrifice Catalunya and País Vasco because of my preparation, because it’s well under way and I don’t want to run the risk of overdoing it.
Translation by http://www.albertocontadornotebook.info/index.html:cool:
 

flicker

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Moose McKnuckles said:
I think that's probably true. You could see he was basically having to hold Valverde and Sanchez in check on that last stage. It was quite impressive to see. Probably a good decision to back it off and get some rest after a race like that.

Barely even saw RadioShack at that race. A team like that should at least pretend to be interested.

Of course, it was cold and Levi's vagina cramped up.

Now thats what I'm talkin about Wilis
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Moose McKnuckles said:
I think that's probably true. You could see he was basically having to hold Valverde and Sanchez in check on that last stage. It was quite impressive to see. Probably a good decision to back it off and get some rest after a race like that.

Barely even saw RadioShack at that race. A team like that should at least pretend to be interested.

Of course, it was cold and Levi's vagina cramped up.

When did he get that installed and did Lance approve it? We know there's only one nut on that team. Chris Horner is simply crazy to ride for them.
 

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theswordsman said:
That was pretty much in the press release. I don't see any spin - it sounds pretty honest to me, as usual. I don't think that a guy who is two for two in stage races against some top riders in awful weather conditions needs to spin that he's happy with his fitness three and a half months before the Tour.

But it was being presented here as a move just to trump Armstrong, when in fact it's more likely because the Paris Nice was harder than expected for AC. This is interesting because most of the top riders at the Paris Nice are also going for the Tour - they were all in the same boat. It shows it may not be a walkover is AC is only marginally ahead of them.

As for honesty - I think most riders are fairly honest about how their form is. Armstrong was honest when he said that he needed more races to get up to form. I've also seen he has been playing down his chances of beating Contador in a very realistic manner. It's usually the media and frankly internet forums spinning things where things get distorted.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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More interested to see how Contador does against the competition at the classics than the criterium international.
I think people underestimate how hard one week +/- tour can be. In 3 weeks there is always another opportunity to gain time and eventually you are too far away to bother. In something like paris nice, there are limited opportunities so riders go all out to take them every day.
i think it was Bobby Julich said 6 day tours were/could be tougher, because you need one day of luck and/or form, then to hang on while everyone else looks for their one day.