Geraint Thomas, the next british hope

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It accounts entirely for the lack of GT success at age 22. Which is why a comparison with pure road cyclists at that age is pointless.

It wouldn't be surprising that cyclists swapping between disciplines may broadly stick with the training that worked for them previously, and therefore no surprise that a pursuiter like Wiggins would focus, initially, on TT. It's pretty clear though, that he trained his climbing pretty ferociously from '08, and that different teams will have pushed and helped him in certain directions.

That isnt to discount all the stuff that we know went on at Sky with regards to fat-stripping with steroids, and the likelihood that the steroids were not the sole pharmaceutical aid, but I reject the notion that other skills cannot be trained, or that a cyclist's trajectory is set in stone. We can see it now in front of our eyes with the possibility of Alaphilippe being a future GC rider.

Thomas? Well, he's been lucky...his biggest rival rides for the same team, and last year turned up knackered, and this year hasn't turned up at all. Other rivals rode the Giro because they assumed Froome would focus on the Tour. Lucky old Geraint, he is no Froome, but he's got Froome's luxury Tour team riding for him currently.
 
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macbindle said:
The Hegelian said:
Say what you will, that Thomas is the best climber in the world '18-'19 is just impossible for me to believe.

It's in the same category as Jalabert and Armstrong. Just*impossible*to*believe.
Statements like that deserve careful attention because it sounds like a possible strawman. What are your criteria for judging the 'best climber in the world' and what has Thomas done to fulfil these?

Judging by Thursday's TdF stage, Alaphilippe is the best climber in the world, which, of course, is impossible to believe ;)
How is that a strawman? The best climbers come to the tour at 100%, and the best one wins. That's 2018 covered.

This year there has been one summit finish. Thomas was clearly the strongest climber. May not stay that way, but thus far.....
 
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The Hegelian said:
macbindle said:
The Hegelian said:
Say what you will, that Thomas is the best climber in the world '18-'19 is just impossible for me to believe.

It's in the same category as Jalabert and Armstrong. Just*impossible*to*believe.
Statements like that deserve careful attention because it sounds like a possible strawman. What are your criteria for judging the 'best climber in the world' and what has Thomas done to fulfil these?

Judging by Thursday's TdF stage, Alaphilippe is the best climber in the world, which, of course, is impossible to believe ;)
How is that a strawman? The best climbers come to the tour at 100%, and the best one wins. That's 2018 covered.

This year there has been one summit finish. Thomas was clearly the strongest climber. May not stay that way, but thus far.....
"Best climber" is always going to be subjective unless you can come up with a Mont Ventoux ITT. Thomas might not win that one against Bernal or even Landa/Lopez.

Climbing in GTs has so much to do with how you save and manage energy, how your team performs etc.

Based on results, it's not a stretch to say that Thomas is indeed the best climber in the world right now. He was clearly the best in the mountains in the TdF last year. I haven't seen any dropoff yet, based on one stage...
 
Although, as you say, you have to factor in the difference between Thomas's team and those of his rivals.

I watched last year's tour with only one eye open so somebody who paid more attention will be able to inform, but on key climbs how many team riders did Thomas have with him and for how long compared to rivals? It's worth also pointing out that Thomas had Froome as a domestique to some extent, and Froome is arguably one of the best climbers.

Again, Thomas was very lucky last year, and this, in terms of rivals. Under 'normal' circumstances with everybody turning up in shape and not knackered from Il Giro he wouldn't be winning.
 
Thomas was only lucky with Froome's doping problems and him riding the Giro last year. And he is only lucky with Froome's crash this year.

You're making it sound like Sky was extremely lucky in the last 2 years, while they are winning because they are the strongest, not because of luck. Roglic and Nibali were behind Thomas in last years Tour before Nibali's crash and Roglic finished a good 3+ minutes behind Thomas. Landa finished minutes behind Thomas last year, and the list can go on. The reality is that Thomas was the strongest in the Tour last year.
 
After enough instances the idea of "luck" seems less plausible. I mean, LA won (er, finished first in...) 7 TdFs and managed to avoid crashing out, illness, even testing positive. That's not luck, it's preparation and attentiveness. Froome crashed b/c he was trying to blow his nose doing 60 km/h in a paceline. And Froome's AAF could have been prevented with better ... medical management...

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that luck is highly overrated. You still have to be in a position to take advantage.
 
I take your general point, but....from Thomas's perspective only it was luck....unless of course you think Froome's absence was part of a deliberate plan (and the absence of Dumoulin etc)
 
Thomas was creaming everyone on every single MTF last year. He was comfortably the best climber in the race. Absolutely pointless to even try to argue the contrary. The results speak for themselves.
 
It's a team sport ;)

Ineos ride in strength and their dominance is majorly attributed to high tempo riding in the mountains which deter rival attacks. The high tempo ensures attrition of weaker teams, leaving their captains to fight it out alone towards the end of a stage.

This tactic would not have been possible if Ineos didn't have at least 3-4 riders capable of putting long stints of pace setting. For example, consider the position of Froome this year, who cracked at crucial times during the race. If one takes out Bernal and Kwiatkowski from Ineos, who then paces Froome back in a podium position? So any rider wishing to win the Tour and end Ineos's dominance will need to have an equally strong team around him.
 
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macbindle said:
It's a team sport ;)

Sky ride in strength and their dominance is majorly attributed to high tempo riding in the mountains which deter rival attacks. The high tempo ensures attrition of weaker teams, leaving their captains to fight it out alone towards the end of a stage.

This tactic would not have been possible if Sky didn't have at least 3-4 riders capable of putting long stints of pace setting. For example, consider the position of Froome this year, who cracked at crucial times during the race. If one takes out Bernal and Kwiatkowski from Sky, who then paces Froome back in a podium position? So any rider wishing to win the Tour and end Sky's dominance will need to have an equally strong team around him.
And then we're back to the financial problem. Because you need to be able to finance a strong enough leader to beat Ineos' leader (of which there are markedly few, if any) AND at least 3-4 riders who are strong enough to lead other teams but who are willing to subordinate their goals to domestique. And with the knowledge that your best and most successful tactic also plays into Ineos' hands because they intend to ride high tempo as their main tactic anyway. And even if you CAN finance that (which is unlikely), and can offer those riders more than Ineos can wave under their noses, you've still got to fight for that controlling position at the head of the péloton with Ineos anyway.

Which also leads to more tempo riding and attritional mountain stages, just with fewer teams involved and fewer riders with the freedom to try things, and even less chance of succeeding seeing as not one but at least two super-strong teams would be chasing them down. Sounds terrible for the spectacle.
 
It makes for a predictable outcome and a pretty boring race, unless of course one is an Ineos fan.
It's a bit like the days of Ferguson's Man United. Similar kind of supporter too.
 
whilst 'G' is no Froome...his 'transformation' raises different but similiarly themed issues..

the fact that we are discussing him as one of the 'best climbers' in the world throws into stark contrast what he started out doing (junior roubaix winner)

look who he beat at the E3 in 2015.....

2nd - Stybar
3rd - Trentin
4th - Kristoff
5th - Vanmarke

so...get back to me when quintana and bernal rip up a flat, windy belgian classic :D :lol: :D

or, indeed, when one of the aforementioned 'big guys' starts winning GTs :D

Sean Kelly...eat your heart out...'G' is the real deal
 
gillan1969 said:
whilst 'G' is no Froome...his 'transformation' raises different but similiarly themed issues..

the fact that we are discussing him as one of the 'best climbers' in the world throws into stark contrast what he started out doing (junior roubaix winner)

look who he beat at the E3 in 2015.....

2nd - Stybar
3rd - Trentin
4th - Kristoff
5th - Vanmarke

so...get back to me when quintana and bernal rip up a flat, windy belgian classic :D :lol: :D

or, indeed, when one of the aforementioned 'big guys' starts winning GTs :D

Sean Kelly...eat your heart out...'G' is the real deal
Throw in on top that the bloke was literally worse than domestique pack fodder for all but 3-4 stages of this year and magically he is the uber strongest in the tour over guys who have tested their form continuously since March.
 
Scarponi said:
gillan1969 said:
whilst 'G' is no Froome...his 'transformation' raises different but similiarly themed issues..

the fact that we are discussing him as one of the 'best climbers' in the world throws into stark contrast what he started out doing (junior roubaix winner)

look who he beat at the E3 in 2015.....

2nd - Stybar
3rd - Trentin
4th - Kristoff
5th - Vanmarke

so...get back to me when quintana and bernal rip up a flat, windy belgian classic :D :lol: :D

or, indeed, when one of the aforementioned 'big guys' starts winning GTs :D

Sean Kelly...eat your heart out...'G' is the real deal
Throw in on top that the bloke was literally worse than domestique pack fodder for all but 3-4 stages of this year and magically he is the uber strongest in the tour over guys who have tested their form continuously since March.
Yeah well you see, those other guys expended all their energy whilst G was saving it. :)
 
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macbindle said:
At 22-23 Thomas was winning Gold medals in the Olympics and World Championships....on the track.
That was his focus. Ditto Wiggins.

It's a bit dim to talk about their road race palmares at aged 22 when that is not what they had been doing.

Did talent show early? A rack of gold medals at the highest level says yes. They rose to the absolute pinnacle of what they were doing.
Both Thomas and Wiggins raced plenty on the road (not only in GTs) to showcase their talent. Thomas proved to be a strong allrounder with no particular talent for the high mountains, top 40 material at his best, while Wiggins proved to be a great prologuist, a good time-trialist (but far from one of the best), and absolutely dreadful in the mountains. That's what they showed even in non-Olympic years.
 
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macbindle said:
Not true. Their training was primarily dedicated to track, with results that demonstrate their dedication.
Agreed. Up until 2012 virtually everything they did on the road was supplementary to the Olympic programme.

We get everyone up in arms when sudden transformations occur....yet when dedicated track cyclists aren't able to suddenly switch from track to road with massive success during the brief interludes between olympic cycles then this is used to leverage the same argument about lack of natural talent :confused:
 
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macbindle said:
Not true. Their training was primarily dedicated to track, with results that demonstrate their dedication.
And yet, when Thomas focused on the track for the 2012 Olympics, it showed - he put on weight, improved his time-trialing and became crap at climbing. Clearly, before and after that season he was doing things differently, not focusing solely on the track.
 
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hrotha said:
macbindle said:
Not true. Their training was primarily dedicated to track, with results that demonstrate their dedication.
And yet, when Thomas focused on the track for the 2012 Olympics, it showed - he put on weight, improved his time-trialing and became crap at climbing. Clearly, before and after that season he was doing things differently, not focusing solely on the track.
Lol, sounds a lot like the "wiggins only ever did track until 2009" thing Brailsfraud invented in 2012.
Including the seasons where he didn't touch the track.
 
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Yo Hitch. Not seen you for a while. What you been up to?




The Hitch said:
hrotha said:
macbindle said:
Not true. Their training was primarily dedicated to track, with results that demonstrate their dedication.
And yet, when Thomas focused on the track for the 2012 Olympics, it showed - he put on weight, improved his time-trialing and became crap at climbing. Clearly, before and after that season he was doing things differently, not focusing solely on the track.
Lol, sounds a lot like the "wiggins only ever did track until 2009" thing Brailsfraud invented in 2012.
Including the seasons where he didn't touch the track.
No it doesn't. We all know who they rode for and what they were doing. We also know that they were absolutely not focussed on the road, unlike their peers in the peloton.
 
Re:

macbindle said:
At 22-23 Thomas was winning Gold medals in the Olympics and World Championships....on the track.
That was his focus. Ditto Wiggins.

It's a bit dim to talk about their road race palmares at aged 22 when that is not what they had been doing.

Did talent show early? A rack of gold medals at the highest level says yes. They rose to the absolute pinnacle of what they were doing.

Is anybody claiming that they are on the level of a Contador, a Merckx, or even a Nibali? No. Wiggins had one great year with a TdF course that suited him (and a stack of kenacort) Thomas had a year with key competitors not present in the form they perhaps could have been and the strongest GT team to support him.

Neither of these are 5 time tour winners, are they.
Just like the 22 year old TDF winner is a red herring, so is the comparison to Contador or Nibali. Most riders aren't five time winners. Evans and Sastre won the Tour once. Valverde has never won it, neither did Vino nor Basso. Schleck won it once by default. Dumo hasn't won it. Yes, nearly all these riders won some other GT, and podiumed in the Tour, but there's no reason to think Wiggins and Thomas couldn't have done the same, if they had spent as much time at it as these riders did. Neither of them was/is a one-off who just got very lucky one year, as you seem to imply. They clearly could have competed for Tour podiums and wins in other GTs.

You say Wiggins and Thomas were at the pinnacle of what they were doing. But what they were doing isn't that related to road racing. If they had talent for road racing, wouldn't they have gone in that direction? Given they had so much talent for track racing, don't you find it suprising that they also had the talent for road racing? It seems they were not only among the best track racers in the world, but could transform into among the best road racers in the world. Not capable of winning 4 or 5 Tours, but winning once or twice, something very few elite road racers ever accomplish.
 
Do I find it surprising that multi gold medal track winners would find success on the road when they turned their attention to it? No, I don't. I'd find it surprising if it happened over night, but it didnt. It took years of gradual change. Wiggins did compete, and podium in other grand tours. Maybe you forgot his 3rd place in 2009?

There are other things to consider too, such as the lottery funded track program which encouraged cycling talent into the velodrome and the lack of a road equivalent at the time.
 

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