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Does Contador race hard too often?

The "Contador Best Ever?" thread got me thinking about this. Does AC race for the win too much?

You rarely see him doing a race for training, and when he does, he still is in the mix for the win or a stage win. There has been some debate about whether AC was weaker this year, Schleck stronger, or both. Did AC possibly dig too deep, too much this year?

I know he doesn't race as much as some, but his race days for this year, 2009 (through the Tour), and 2008 are right in line with most GT contenders.

Every race Contador has done in the last 3 seasons:

2010
TdF - 1st
Dauphiné - 2nd
Liège - 9th
Flèche - 3rd
Castilla y Leon - 1st
Critérium International - 15th(with a 2nd in the TT)
Paris-Nice - 1st
Volta ao Algarve - 1st

2009
TdF - 1st
Dauphiné - 3rd
Spanish TT Championships -1st
Pais Vasco - 1st
Castilla y Leon - 2nd
Paris-Nice - 4th
Volta ao Algarve - 1st

2008
Worlds - DNF
Vuelta - 1st
Clasica Ciclista a los Puertos - 2nd
Olympic TT - 4th
Olympic RR - DNF
Clasica San Sebastian - 26th
Giro - 1st
Pais Vasco - 1st
Castilla y Leon - 1st
Murcia - 3rd
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana - 6th
Trofeo Soller - 66th
Trofeo Cala Millor - Cala Bona - 41st

Pretty much all quality. I guess you could point to the Worlds and Olympic races, but those are raced a bit differently as most of us know.
You really have to go back to Feb of 2008 to find a race where he is just content to get the miles in. Not saying it's a bad thing - I love that about the guy, but is he starting to reach a point where it's detrimental to his primary goals? In the last 4 seasons he's won 9 stage races to go along with 5 GTs which is almost twice the amount of stage races LA won during his 7 year reign.

With almost all the GT guys you see them finishing in the middle of the pack at a bunch of races that aren't primary goals. Valverde is the only other recent GC guy I can think about who raced at the front of pretty much every race. Next closest would probably be Cadel and I certainly think it's hurt him at times.

You guys think he can continue to race this way and still win GT's or is he going to have to go the traditional (new) route? Maybe he's the only guy currently talented enough to be able to pull it off?
 
No.

Certain riders are suited to different preparations. Obviously Contador is confident in preparing for peak events (TdF) in this manner whereas others like Schleck do nothing outside of Ardennes week and July. Contador did nothing after the TdF in 2009 - it's not like he's doing damage to his body by racing 10 months a year.

You also must remember that even though AC is getting good results in these races, a lot of the times he isn't at his peak or indeed going at 100% (Dauphine 2009, 2010 and some of the earlier stage races).

Contador and others like Valverde and Evans should be applauded for their competitive approach.
 
Ferminal said:
No.

Certain riders are suited to different preparations. Obviously Contador is confident in preparing for peak events (TdF) in this manner whereas others like Schleck do nothing outside of Ardennes week and July. Contador did nothing after the TdF in 2009 - it's not like he's doing damage to his body by racing 10 months a year.

You also must remember that even though AC is getting good results in these races, a lot of the times he isn't at his peak or indeed going at 100% (Dauphine 2009, 2010 and some of the earlier stage races).

Contador and others like Valverde and Evans should be applauded for their competitive approach.

Indeed, and I do applaud him for it, after Indurain and, especially, Armstrong. I don't think some people realize just what he has actually achieved in terms of athletic class by his age. By the time Lance won his first Tour at 27 years old, Alberto has won 3 Tours a Vuelta and a Giro. And he doesn't have to equal Lance's Tour record to be considered the better athlete. In my book the above mentioned statistic says it all, namely that he already is.
 
Aug 12, 2009
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rhubroma said:
Indeed, and I do applaud him for it, after Indurain and, especially, Armstrong. I don't think some people realize just what he has actually achieved in terms of athletic class by his age. By the time Lance won his first Tour at 27 years old, Alberto has won 3 Tours a Vuelta and a Giro. And he doesn't have to equal Lance's Tour record to be considered the better athlete. In my book the above mentioned statistic says it all, namely that he already is.

+1 :) Riders like him make that sport interesting to watch!
 
Jul 27, 2009
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I definately understand the point you're making - and I agree with some of it. You are right about him racing competitively all the time (like you pointed out, there aren't many races where he hasn't got a top 10 finish) but I don't think it's hampering him. Everyone suits different training, and I guess Contador has established that this is the approach that works for him.

As for Valverde, he's similar to Contador - however I think that Cadel is just desperate for results and that's why he races hard all the time.
 
Jul 22, 2010
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rhubroma said:
Indeed, and I do applaud him for it, after Indurain and, especially, Armstrong. I don't think some people realize just what he has actually achieved in terms of athletic class by his age. By the time Lance won his first Tour at 27 years old, Alberto has won 3 Tours a Vuelta and a Giro. And he doesn't have to equal Lance's Tour record to be considered the better athlete. In my book the above mentioned statistic says it all, namely that he already is.

+2 I like the way you make your case and it flows with the excellent post made by jaylew as well. El Pistolero is an extremely exciting cyclist to watch and clearly stands apart from the rest of the field and always gives a great show. His dedication and competitiveness show off his great character as well. Eddy Merckx recently called him "the most complete rider." I think he will be the only one from this era to be mentioned in the same breath as Eddy when his chapters have all finally been written.

We are witnessing a "great one" now and should be very appreciative of this fact. The harder he works and the more he pushes himself, the more my respect for him keeps growing. It would be fantastic if he would race the Vuelta and the TdF in the same year at least once....that would help cement his legacy in my mind.
 
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LoveShack said:
+2 I like the way you make your case and it flows with the excellent post made by jaylew as well. El Pistolero is an extremely exciting cyclist to watch and clearly stands apart from the rest of the field and always gives a great show. His dedication and competitiveness show off his great character as well. Eddy Merckx recently called him "the most complete rider." I think he will be the only one from this era to be mentioned in the same breath as Eddy when his chapters have all finally been written.

We are witnessing a "great one" now and should be very appreciative of this fact. The harder he works and the more he pushes himself, the more my respect for him keeps growing. It would be fantastic if he would race the Vuelta and the TdF in the same year at least once....that would help cement his legacy in my mind.

+3, but I have to disagree that Alberto will never be in the "same breath as Eddy" with 5 TdF wins, 5 Giro wins, 1 Vuelta win, 5 Paris-Nice wins, 3 World wins, 7 Milan-San Remo wins, 2 Ronde wins, 3 Paris-Roubiax wins, 5 L-B-L wins, 2 Lombardia wins just to name a few...
 
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markrosen said:
+3, but I have to disagree that Alberto will never be in the "same breath as Eddy" with 5 TdF wins, 5 Giro wins, 1 Vuelta win, 5 Paris-Nice wins, 3 World wins, 7 Milan-San Remo wins, 2 Ronde wins, 3 Paris-Roubiax wins, 5 L-B-L wins, 2 Lombardia wins just to name a few...

Well... based on what he did in April, it's not hard to imagine Contador winning a few L-B-L's and La Fleche Wallones, a few more Tours, a few more Vueltas, a few more Giros and perhaps Lombardy (if he ever races that long in a season)... as well as some more march (P-N, T-A) and June (DL, TdS) races... and Catalunya and Basque/Pais Vasco races as well.

If his total is 6 Tours, 2 Giros, 4 Vueltas, 5-7 Paris-Nice/Tirreno-Adriaticos, 3-4 Dauphine Libere/Tour de Suisses, 5-7 Pais Vasco/Basque Countrys, 2-3 La Fleche Wallones, 2-3 Liege Bastogne Lieges and 1 Lombardy... well that would be "in the same breath" in my book. Not as broad a range of accomplishments... but better results in the stage race arena. And to be honest... that's not a total that's out of the question given his current results and his age.

By the way, Eddy only has 3 P-N wins, not 5. Does have a TdS as well.
 
Jul 17, 2010
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+ 4 . Remarkable achievements when you see the list of results laid out like that. Whether he continues with the same approach is open to question though, he obviously wasn't happy with his form at the Tour (cold or no cold).

What he has done is given a boost to the sponsors and organisers of every race he attends because he comes to compete, not just to roll around and be seen. For that reason alone he gets my respect above that of the one month wonders.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Yeah, he has already won 10 stage races and 5 Grand Tours at the age of 27.

Too bad he bonked hard at Paris-Nice in 2009 or he would have won that as well(rookie mistake I guess). And he would probably also have won the Criterium International this year if it wasn't for his allergy attack during the race.

I want to see him win the Dauphine at least once though. Every great cyclist has won that one.
 
danyela said:
I definately understand the point you're making - and I agree with some of it. You are right about him racing competitively all the time (like you pointed out, there aren't many races where he hasn't got a top 10 finish) but I don't think it's hampering him. Everyone suits different training, and I guess Contador has established that this is the approach that works for him.

As for Valverde, he's similar to Contador - however I think that Cadel is just desperate for results and that's why he races hard all the time.

Compared to Armstrong he probably does but he handles it well. They say racing is the best training. The comment about Evan's is ridiculous. He is someone that has a longer season than most but is also getting good results at the end of each season. Last year, third in the Vuelta. 1st in the World Championships and helped Gilbert win the Tour of Lombardy. No more desperate than Andy Schleck was to win the Tour de France. It's called being competitive which is what he is being paid to do. After all he is the team leader.
 
50 racing days a year is a joke,was a joke and will be a joke...todays cyclists are too picky what to ride they are preparing whole year for 1 or 2 races wtf? just reading lemonds blog he said coming to the TdF hes had already 80 racing days under his belt

unfortunately this is the trend,you cant blame cyclists but the outcome is very predictable races...how many of forum posters got right podium this year?
 
jaylew said:
Pretty much all quality. I guess you could point to the Worlds and Olympic races, but those are raced a bit differently as most of us know.
You really have to go back to Feb of 2008 to find a race where he is just content to get the miles in. Not saying it's a bad thing - I love that about the guy, but is he starting to reach a point where it's detrimental to his primary goals? In the last 4 seasons he's won 9 stage races to go along with 5 GTs which is almost twice the amount of stage races LA won during his 7 year reign.

With almost all the GT guys you see them finishing in the middle of the pack at a bunch of races that aren't primary goals. Valverde is the only other recent GC guy I can think about who raced at the front of pretty much every race. Next closest would probably be Cadel and I certainly think it's hurt him at times.

You guys think he can continue to race this way and still win GT's or is he going to have to go the traditional (new) route? Maybe he's the only guy currently talented enough to be able to pull it off?

Good post, I've had many of the same thoughts myself. Love that he races hard all year, wonder if it hurt him this year. Not sure I can reconcile why it would hurt him this year and not last. Good questions, but I sure don't have any answers!
 
Jun 9, 2010
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Ufff I really agree with a lot of posts here...

El Pistolero has an amazing Palmares and He is just 27... When he goes to a race he tries to win it, all ways trying to give everything to be in the top stops and right now he is getting interest in the spring races, he made podium in Fleche Wallone so we can say the he is getting the timing in that kind of races also Liege-Bastogne-Liege, where he made 10th this year...

AC is going to have a more brillant future cuz his present is awesome, if he finishes his career now he still will be considered in the "Top 5" of all times... Some ppl has said that would be difficult to him to win another GT but I think that they are wrong, each year Contador is adquiring more experience in every race, is knowing better his body and how to dosify his energies to win even if he doesn't has his better form (Like this year)...

At the end we can't put Eddy and AC in the same place just cuz are quite different times... right now the sport is more specialized - proffesional - one way orientated, etc. We have specialist for each race, examples:

Boonen: Spring Classics - Sprints
Cancellara: TT - Spring Classics
Contador: Stage Races - GT - Climbs and TT - and is trying to get into the Hilly Spring Classics
Cunego: Hilly Spring Classics
Manxman: Sprints - Milano - San Remo
ETC...

Eddy will be the ONE forever just cuz his Palmares can't be matched for any other rider but AC at the end of his career will be right behind Eddy in the books...

Grande Alberto! Sigue Asi que ya eres todo un Campeon!
 
I have a feeling Contador peaked too early this year. He struggled in the third week of the Tour. Riding the Ardenne classics was probably not a good idea. He rode very well in those races but I think next year he may not ride them. It it only takes one bad day to lose the Tour and he went as close as anyone to losing the race in the time trial. Menchov put two minutes into him and normally that just does not happen.
 
The best are nearly always the best.

Like others have said, just because he is winning does not mean he is peaking, either. Similarly, training styles are different.

The answer to the OP is a very simple no. The first post proves that : he can race rad, often, and still produce good results. Now, he is testing his limits at the extreme end of that spectrum with a Giro TDF double (and he might pull it off).