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Froome vs Quintana vs Contador

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Aug 31, 2012
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Following just about every MTF, there is always talk about about how the characteristics of the climb played to a rider's strengths or weaknesses.

Thus far, I've seen those discussions as mostly post hoc rationalisations, but there's little doubt that there are differences across climbers in terms of what they're particularly good at, holding general climbing ability constant, even if they aren't all that large.

If you wanted to characterise and contrast the climbing strengths and weaknesses of the 3 protagonists of this thread as precisely as possible, what would be your take?
 
Re:

SeriousSam said:
Following just about every MTF, there is always talk about about how the characteristics of the climb played to a rider's strengths or weaknesses.

Thus far, I've seen those discussions as mostly post hoc rationalisations, but there's little doubt that there are differences across climbers in terms of what they're particularly good at, holding general climbing ability constant, even if they aren't all that large.

If you wanted to characterise and contrast the climbing strengths and weaknesses of the 3 protagonists of this thread as precisely as possible, what would be your take?

I think it comes down to the nature of the rest of the stage rather than the MTF. At least when speaking about Nairo and Froome.

Quintana seems to be at hist best the harder it gets beforehand. He is a natural climber, where as Froome really isn't, and thus probably spends a little less energy than Froome, while Quintana spends more energy than Froome on the flats. Froome has dominated 3 MTFs in the Tour - Ax-3, Ventoux and PSM. All 3 of the stage had 70-80% of flat roads before the final and the only case was as Ax-3 when you had climbs beforehand.

On Contador, I don't really think the nature of the stage beforehand matters much at all, but on the other hand, he seems to have problems on shallow gradients, >6,5%, especially when compared to Froome and to a lesser extent Nairo. In top form, I think he is marginally better at steep stuff at 3-5 kilometres in top shape) altho Vaujany proved otherwise compared to Nairo and Froome.

Froome prefers explosive one climb stages, whereas Quintana is more of a marathon man and gets better the harder it is. I'd say Contador is pretty neutral and it slightly worse on lesser gradients and slightly better on extremely steep stuff.

Overall, I think Nairo is the overall best climber.
 
Re: Re:

Valv.Piti said:
LaFlorecita said:
I didn't realize Quintana was present on Vaujany

Typical pin pointing, Im sure you understand what I was trying to say. Is it too hard to comment on the content - do you agree, do you disagree?

What a douche. Holy moly.

"In top form, I think he is marginally better at steep stuff at 3-5 kilometres in top shape) altho Vaujany proved otherwise compared to Nairo and Froome."
I now realize that you meant "he is better at steep stuff compared to Nairo and Froome although Vaujany proved otherwise"
I first thought you meant that Vaujany proved he's not better than Froome and Quintana on steep stuff and that would be silly, of course, because Quintana wasn't even present.

No need for name calling.
 
I just simply wrote Nairo and Froome instead of just Froome. Obviously Vaujany didn't prove anything since Nairo wasn't present, so I think it was pretty obvious what I meant.
Anyways, on paper, he should be better than Nairo at that stuff, altho Red Rick has stated a couple of times that Nairo is a bit underrated in that terrain. I don't know if I necessarily agree, but Nairo is for sure much more than just your typical diesel climber. Otherwise you can't be so competitive in Pais Vasco year after year, but its not his forte.

Sorry for the name calling, I just get extremely frustrated with you and I suppose you do the same with me.
 
Mar 31, 2014
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Re:

Well, its pretty same like every year. I don't see anyone of the three with another kind of shape as in the last 3 years.

Quinti started with 3rd Place at San Luis last year, won the Tirreno in a class of its own, rode average at Pais Vasco and Romandie and was good but not superior after the break in Rud du Sud and first Tour week.

This year he started with a 3rd Place at San Luis too, won in Catalunya, rode average at Pais Vasco and will be good but not superior at Rud du Sud and the first Tour week.

2013 he started with average Nice and Catalunya, awesome win in Pais Vasco and rode average in the first Tour week.

Every year he had his peak in one stage race in spring which he win in an awesome way with 2-3 average/good other stage races. Ok, this year he was very good at Romandie too. But not that much difference compared to the last years.

Same for Contador. The spring stage races from 2013 are pretty similar to this year and 2014. Ok, 2014 he looked a bit stronger than in all other years, but not in another level.

And thats the same for Froome. He won his Criterium Dauphine like every year, showed good shape but no freakshows in Romandie this year and last year. And struggled in Catalunya like he always do.

So at the end of the day they will arrive at le Tour like every year. I saw nobody much stronger or less stronger than in recent years. Contador maybe a bit stronger than 2013 and 2015 and less strong as 2014. Quinti maybe a little better as last year. And Froome maybe as good as every year but a bit fresher in the last week of the tour. So i don't think we will see big surprises.
 
I am 110% for Contador, but I am a little surprised by those calling him more of an all-rounder than Froome. He is certainly more balanced than Quintana, with many ITT and MTF victories/strong performances to his name, but I think one of the most devastating aspects of Froome's performances during his victories is the consistency across parcours. Strong, borderline supreme ITTs, successfully captaining the strongest team, positioning well to secure, for example, an ultimately decisive1:29 margin over Quintana due to a cross-wind-inspired split in the peloton, holding his own and even putting pressure on rivals on cobbles stages, shutting down attacks on descents...perhaps it is fear talking, but I find the only potential weakness to be his slightly above average history of debilitating crashes and his fading from in his two Tour victories.

If I had to rank them right now, I think the rational person has to say 1. Froome 2. Quintana 3. Contador . I am pretty confident that Froome and Quintana, barring crashes, illness, or injury, will be at 2015 form or better. Contador is more of a wildcard. If he can neutralize Froome's flat ITT (and put time into Quintana) and first MTF (Froome's traditional means of overall victory), put time into his rivals on the hilly ITT, and hang close when Quintana inevitably becomes the best climber in the final week, then I think he has it. I personally believe Contador is more likely to win than Quintana, but that Quintana and Contador are most likely to finish 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

However, vamos Contador
 
Big question is: how do Contador and Quintana overcome the Sky train?

All things being equal, I'd go - 1. Quintana 2. Froome 3. Contador.

But all things are not equal. Even just psychologically/mentally, the other two know they have to beat off a whole train to make inroads. It always causes defensive tactics at the precise time when attacking tactics are necessary to win.

What can they do? i.e. when it's just the elite GC men left + 3 sky domestiques......

Is going long even possible - Chiapucci or Schleck style?

Thinking about Cadel & TJ's lame attempt in '12 to go long - so hard to break the shackles.

if I was a DS for Movistar or Tinkoff, I'd be hatching something left field, possibly colluding with one or more other teams. What Sky have in top climbing talent + template for winning the tour, they give away in predictability. Where there is predictability, there is something to be exploited.
 
Re:

The Hegelian said:
Big question is: how do Contador and Quintana overcome the Sky train?

All things being equal, I'd go - 1. Quintana 2. Froome 3. Contador.

But all things are not equal. Even just psychologically/mentally, the other two know they have to beat off a whole train to make inroads. It always causes defensive tactics at the precise time when attacking tactics are necessary to win.

What can they do? i.e. when it's just the elite GC men left + 3 sky domestiques......

Is going long even possible - Chiapucci or Schleck style?

It's possible, but it would require everything to go absolutely perfect for someone to do that.

The best way is via an alliance, but we have seen in the past Movistar wont work with Contador, I'd say Astana are not likely too either. Perhaps if Froome shows weakness then something could happen, however this is very rare and he usually uses his strong team to get him out of trouble.
 
Jul 12, 2013
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Re: Re:

Valv.Piti said:
SeriousSam said:
Following just about every MTF, there is always talk about about how the characteristics of the climb played to a rider's strengths or weaknesses.

Thus far, I've seen those discussions as mostly post hoc rationalisations, but there's little doubt that there are differences across climbers in terms of what they're particularly good at, holding general climbing ability constant, even if they aren't all that large.

If you wanted to characterise and contrast the climbing strengths and weaknesses of the 3 protagonists of this thread as precisely as possible, what would be your take?

I think it comes down to the nature of the rest of the stage rather than the MTF. At least when speaking about Nairo and Froome.

Quintana seems to be at hist best the harder it gets beforehand. He is a natural climber, where as Froome really isn't, and thus probably spends a little less energy than Froome, while Quintana spends more energy than Froome on the flats. Froome has dominated 3 MTFs in the Tour - Ax-3, Ventoux and PSM. All 3 of the stage had 70-80% of flat roads before the final and the only case was as Ax-3 when you had climbs beforehand.

On Contador, I don't really think the nature of the stage beforehand matters much at all, but on the other hand, he seems to have problems on shallow gradients, >6,5%, especially when compared to Froome and to a lesser extent Nairo. In top form, I think he is marginally better at steep stuff at 3-5 kilometres in top shape) altho Vaujany proved otherwise compared to Nairo and Froome.

Froome prefers explosive one climb stages, whereas Quintana is more of a marathon man and gets better the harder it is. I'd say Contador is pretty neutral and it slightly worse on lesser gradients and slightly better on extremely steep stuff.

Overall, I think Nairo is the overall best climber.

I cant help but disagree with the bold for two reasons.
1- Technically a non explosive rider cannot have a better performance than an exolosive one in 3-5 km steep climb.
2- numbers and results
Allandas, vaujany, mende, arrate, la camperona, la zubia, monte castrove, etc.
The last three were part of the vuelta that Contador beat Froome fair and square.
AC is a very good rider in 3-5 km steep stuff when in form ( As he is in many categories) but I'm struggling to remember a single 3-5 km climb when he has finished ahead of Froome.
 
In the past the Sky train has only had to deal with weak attacks (Evans 2012, Contador, valverde last year) or minimal amount of stages in a row from Quintana. I think this year by the third week the train is going to be cooked, we already saw last year at times Froome only had one rider left and they did not attack as much as this year will with Contador, Aru and Quintana all together. Recovery is just as important for Froomes train seeing they are riding hard in the mountains most days.
 
Scarponi said:
In the past the Sky train has only had to deal with weak attacks (Evans 2012, Contador, valverde last year) or minimal amount of stages in a row from Quintana. I think this year by the third week the train is going to be cooked, we already saw last year at times Froome only had one rider left and they did not attack as much as this year will with Contador, Aru and Quintana all together. Recovery is just as important for Froomes train seeing they are riding hard in the mountains most days.
Froome will probably be isolated on St. Gervais - Le Bettex and Joux Plane, IMO. Unless Landa shows up in 2015 Giro form...
 
Re: Re:

Ataraxus said:
I cant help but disagree with the bold for two reasons.
1- Technically a non explosive rider cannot have a better performance than an exolosive one in 3-5 km steep climb.
2- numbers and results
Allandas, vaujany, mende, arrate, la camperona, la zubia, monte castrove, etc.
The last three were part of the vuelta that Contador beat Froome fair and square.
AC is a very good rider in 3-5 km steep stuff when in form ( As he is in many categories) but I'm struggling to remember a single 3-5 km climb when he has finished ahead of Froome.
I have to agree, I think Alberto - in top shape - is better on the really short steep stuff (1-2km) and on the "monster climb" type steep stuff that we find in the Giro and Vuelta, e.g. Zoncolan. On 3-5km steep hills I'd probably rate Froome and Contador almost equally, perhaps with a slight edge to Froome as it's perfect for his 5-minute raw power, but I think Contador at his best should be able to stay close. Quintana is a little less on those climbs I feel, but he makes up for it in other climbs.
Edit: Mont Chery was a 3-5km steep effort too, but of course Contador is just a beast in hilly and uphill TTs. He can pace himself really well (unless he gets blown up by an attack :p )
 
18-Valve. (pithy) said:
Scarponi said:
In the past the Sky train has only had to deal with weak attacks (Evans 2012, Contador, valverde last year) or minimal amount of stages in a row from Quintana. I think this year by the third week the train is going to be cooked, we already saw last year at times Froome only had one rider left and they did not attack as much as this year will with Contador, Aru and Quintana all together. Recovery is just as important for Froomes train seeing they are riding hard in the mountains most days.
Froome will probably be isolated on St. Gervais - Le Bettex and Joux Plane, IMO. Unless Landa shows up in 2015 Giro form...

Or Thomas shows similar improvement that he found in his 2015 climbing, where he was regularly amongst the best 6-7 climbers in the race until the final 3 stages
 
Yeah, it might be the case that in the third week the train is cooked. But it also might well be the case that the race is won by then. That's the template isn't it? Froome showed vulnerability in the 3rd week of both of his wins, but he already had plenty of buffer and could ride to defend.

If I was DS for Contador or Quintana, I'd be plotting an early assault. Easy on an internet forum of course, but the point is that something a bit risky early might be the right approach. Get the train chasing instead of burning off pretenders and launching Froome for early time gains. Engender a bit of panic; disrupt the template, generate some chaos and disorder. Might end up costing in the third week, but you've got to risk losing to win, especially in these circumstances.

Contador has the balls for it, no doubt. But probably needs some collusion with other contenders.
 
Re:

The Hegelian said:
Yeah, it might be the case that in the third week the train is cooked. But it also might well be the case that the race is won by then. That's the template isn't it? Froome showed vulnerability in the 3rd week of both of his wins, but he already had plenty of buffer and could ride to defend.

If I was DS for Contador or Quintana, I'd be plotting an early assault. Easy on an internet forum of course, but the point is that something a bit risky early might be the right approach. Get the train chasing instead of burning off pretenders and launching Froome for early time gains. Engender a bit of panic; disrupt the template, generate some chaos and disorder. Might end up costing in the third week, but you've got to risk losing to win, especially in these circumstances.

Contador has the balls for it, no doubt. But probably needs some collusion with other contenders.

I think the plan is the same this year... A week before Dauphine this year the whole Sky A team went to Andorra and have spent a couple of days there (they did the same last year at PSM). So the plan is obviously another Froome show up Arcalis - the climb is perfect for Sky train. The good thing is, that it is not the first mountain stage so Contador and Quintana may find their legs a little... But I have a fealing Froome might try sth already on stage 2. Quintana might lose some time there, note sure about Contador. If he is in the right shape then he won't lose time. If not, RIP the Tour...
 
Scarponi said:
In the past the Sky train has only had to deal with weak attacks (Evans 2012, Contador, valverde last year) or minimal amount of stages in a row from Quintana. I think this year by the third week the train is going to be cooked, we already saw last year at times Froome only had one rider left and they did not attack as much as this year will with Contador, Aru and Quintana all together. Recovery is just as important for Froomes train seeing they are riding hard in the mountains most days.
i think their method last year of not having the whole train working every day may have been specifically to counter this.
if you use up Landa and Henao one day, and Poels and G the next neither 'team' gets really tired and then can stay with him right up to the end.
 
Mar 31, 2010
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Singer01 said:
Scarponi said:
In the past the Sky train has only had to deal with weak attacks (Evans 2012, Contador, valverde last year) or minimal amount of stages in a row from Quintana. I think this year by the third week the train is going to be cooked, we already saw last year at times Froome only had one rider left and they did not attack as much as this year will with Contador, Aru and Quintana all together. Recovery is just as important for Froomes train seeing they are riding hard in the mountains most days.
i think their method last year of not having the whole train working every day may have been specifically to counter this.
if you use up Landa and Henao one day, and Poels and G the next neither 'team' gets really tired and then can stay with him right up to the end.
that method is as old as cycling. every leading gt team does that when they have a strong team.
 
Ryo Hazuki said:
Singer01 said:
Scarponi said:
In the past the Sky train has only had to deal with weak attacks (Evans 2012, Contador, valverde last year) or minimal amount of stages in a row from Quintana. I think this year by the third week the train is going to be cooked, we already saw last year at times Froome only had one rider left and they did not attack as much as this year will with Contador, Aru and Quintana all together. Recovery is just as important for Froomes train seeing they are riding hard in the mountains most days.
i think their method last year of not having the whole train working every day may have been specifically to counter this.
if you use up Landa and Henao one day, and Poels and G the next neither 'team' gets really tired and then can stay with him right up to the end.
that method is as old as cycling. every leading gt team does that when they have a strong team.
But it was a noticeable change for Sky from their 2012-2014 strategy. It was also relevant to the comment I highlighted which I was responding to.
 
the biggest problem is that while other big contenders try to derail the notorious train wasting lots of energy, froome will quietly sit in the tank, stare at stem and calculate his upcoming effort. however i expect nairo to completely dominate in the mountains this time, that's quite bold but something tells me it won't go according chronic sky train script.