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Menchov vs Contador in the TT.

Nov 17, 2009
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Simple question... I know Menchov is a good ITT rider. And I know Contador is a good ITT rider.

Does the last TT in the Tour this year favor Menchov or Contador's "style". Right now Menchov is 9 seconds down on Contador... if he keeps that margin somehow... is he capable of getting that back on the last ride? Could he wheel-suck to victory?

He didn't show much in the Prologue... but I'm not sure how indicative that was.
 
Definitely favors Menchov if he's on form. I frankly expect Andy to recognize that it is in his interest to work with AC to put distance into guys like Menchov, Wiggins and Leipheimer, who are better TT'ers than he (and on the final TT course, better than AC).
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Publicus said:
Definitely favors Menchov if he's on form. I frankly expect Andy to recognize that it is in his interest to work with AC to put distance into guys like Menchov, Wiggins and Leipheimer, who are better TT'ers than he (and on the final TT course, better than AC).

Menchov has Gesink to help and is likely to suffer in the background better than Wiggins, Leipheimer and Evans. It could get down to who does the least amount of attacking and he's good at that, particularly if Evans gets agro...I don't expect Levi to do anything and Wiggins was looking like he went overlimit yesterday.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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kurtinsc said:
Simple question... I know Menchov is a good ITT rider. And I know Contador is a good ITT rider.

Does the last TT in the Tour this year favor Menchov or Contador's "style". Right now Menchov is 9 seconds down on Contador... if he keeps that margin somehow... is he capable of getting that back on the last ride? Could he wheel-suck to victory?

He didn't show much in the Prologue... but I'm not sure how indicative that was.
as premature as the question is, it's actually a good one.

firstly, i don't believe menchov will have the luxury of only 9 seconds. he's likely to lose minutes once the pyrenees loom.

secondly, i suspect berto was keeping some of his cards close to his chest when he skipped the spanish itt nc.

thirdly, in their last manoman long itt at the dauphine (june, 49km), denis beat berto by 51 seconds. that's not so huge and i assume berto is going to keep the zeal.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Publicus said:
Definitely favors Menchov if he's on form. I frankly expect Andy to recognize that it is in his interest to work with AC to put distance into guys like Menchov, Wiggins and Leipheimer, who are better TT'ers than he (and on the final TT course, better than AC).

That would seem like... an odd strategy.

Yes, Contador might need a little time... but Schleck needs another minute or two on Contador as well as the others.

Schleck is going to work to get away from Contador. If the two are alone ahead of the rest, I fully expect Schleck to ride Contador's wheel for a while, then attack him if he starts to weaken. There's no reason for him to help Contador win the tour.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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kurtinsc said:
That would seem like... an odd strategy.

Yes, Contador might need a little time... but Schleck needs another minute or two on Contador as well as the others.

Schleck is going to work to get away from Contador. If the two are alone ahead of the rest, I fully expect Schleck to ride Contador's wheel for a while, then attack him if he starts to weaken. There's no reason for him to help Contador win the tour.


Which is what he tried to do last year. Conta had some program benefits that he can't use this year and Andy may be able to crack him with help from a frisky Gesink or Kreusinger (sp?). He may not have to do it alone.
 
python said:
as premature as the question is, it's actually a good one.

firstly, i don't believe menchov will have the luxury of only 9 seconds. he's likely to lose minutes once the pyrenees loom.

secondly, i suspect berto was keeping some of his cards close to his chest when he skipped the spanish itt nc.

thirdly, in their last manoman long itt at the dauphine (june, 49km), denis beat berto by 51 seconds. that's not so huge and i assume berto is going to keep the zeal.
Menchov was probably even further away from his top form than Contador in the Dauphine, and more importantly: that wasn't a flat TT. Nevertheless, this already gave an indication of Contador's relative weakness in longer TTs. Although I think Menchov will probably lose more time in the mountains than he can make up in the TT, however long it is.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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python said:
as premature as the question is, it's actually a good one.

firstly, i don't believe menchov will have the luxury of only 9 seconds. he's likely to lose minutes once the pyrenees loom.

secondly, i suspect berto was keeping some of his cards close to his chest when he skipped the spanish itt nc.

thirdly, in their last manoman long itt at the dauphine (june, 49km), denis beat berto by 51 seconds. that's not so huge and i assume berto is going to keep the zeal.

When Denis is on, he's capable of climbing with the best. He was pulling back the best attacks DiLuca had over and over in the 2009 Giro. His big issue is when he falls off the bike.

If he stays upright... I wouldn't be totally shocked if after the mountains are done, his total deficit to Contador is less then a minute.
 
kurtinsc said:
That would seem like... an odd strategy.

Yes, Contador might need a little time... but Schleck needs another minute or two on Contador as well as the others.

Schleck is going to work to get away from Contador. If the two are alone ahead of the rest, I fully expect Schleck to ride Contador's wheel for a while, then attack him if he starts to weaken. There's no reason for him to help Contador win the tour.

It seems like an odd strategy, but it's the only one he's got at this point. His weakness is against the clock, especially on a flat course like the one on stage 19. AC has a similar weakness, but not quite so pronounced. The gap he needs over someone like AC is less than he will need over a guy like Wiggins or Menchov.

As for tactics going forward, I expect Astana to NOT go to the front and for AC to ride Andy's wheel. AC has to keep that gap between the two manageable, while getting maximum time on the other GC candidates who can TT. Yesterday he made life easier for Andy because it was in his interest to drive the group (significantly narrowed the top contenders group). He has no interest to drive the group tomorrow unless Andy gets into trouble.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Oldman said:
[/B]

Which is what he tried to do last year. Conta had some program benefits that he can't use this year and Andy may be able to crack him with help from a frisky Gesink or Kreusinger (sp?). He may not have to do it alone.

Not really the same situation as last year.

The only time Contador really attacked last year were on Arcalis and Verbier. (well... and that one little attack on Grand Bornand that dropped Kloden). The rest of the time he was following attacks... he was the one riding wheels, not pushing the pace once he got his lead. Yes, he countered some moves and surged ahead... but once a group came together he wasn't at the front.

This year, Contador needs to widen some gaps to the time trialists. Not by a ton... but by a little. Andy doesn't gain quite as much if he gets 4 minutes to Menchov but nothing to Contador as he would if he gained a minute and a half on each. To me... that would make me think Andy would be riding Contador's wheel in a small break and letting him push up the mountain... which might leave him more open to an attack.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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kurtinsc said:
Not really the same situation as last year.

The only time Contador really attacked last year were on Arcalis and Verbier. (well... and that one little attack on Grand Bornand that dropped Kloden). The rest of the time he was following attacks... he was the one riding wheels, not pushing the pace once he got his lead. Yes, he countered some moves and surged ahead... but once a group came together he wasn't at the front.

This year, Contador needs to widen some gaps to the time trialists. Not by a ton... but by a little. Andy doesn't gain quite as much if he gets 4 minutes to Menchov but nothing to Contador as he would if he gained a minute and a half on each. To me... that would make me think Andy would be riding Contador's wheel in a small break and letting him push up the mountain... which might leave him more open to an attack.

I agree with you and didn't explain more clearly. The difference in preparation and the likely aggression on multiple fronts will give Andy an opportunity to gain time. If Contador is smart, he'll let him get the jersey and keep him relatively close as his real problem will come from any other good TT rider making it the last week.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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kurtinsc said:
When Denis is on, he's capable of climbing with the best. He was pulling back the best attacks DiLuca had over and over in the 2009 Giro. His big issue is when he falls off the bike.

If he stays upright... I wouldn't be totally shocked if after the mountains are done, his total deficit to Contador is less then a minute.
all good points however menchov's 'uprightness' is a bit exaggerated.

his biggest issues are mental and traditionally lack of good showing when he has to compete for supremacy on his own team (the chicken in 2007 vs gesink now).

his strongest assets are a true all-rounder and very hard to read and thus impenetrable to gaming. like for example yesterday, you can not find anywhere anything about how he felt yesterday but you'll find everyone else's comments (of the 12 left before andy's attack)
 
Oldman said:
I agree with you and didn't explain more clearly. The difference in preparation and the likely aggression on multiple fronts will give Andy an opportunity to gain time. If Contador is smart, he'll let him get the jersey and keep him relatively close as his real problem will come from any other good TT rider making it the last week.

Honestly, I think AC just rides Andy's wheel.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Publicus said:
It seems like an odd strategy, but it's the only one he's got at this point. His weakness is against the clock, especially on a flat course like the one on stage 19. AC has a similar weakness, but not quite so pronounced. The gap he needs over someone like AC is less than he will need over a guy like Wiggins or Menchov.

As for tactics going forward, I expect Astana to NOT go to the front and for AC to ride Andy's wheel. AC has to keep that gap between the two manageable, while getting maximum time on the other GC candidates who can TT. Yesterday he made life easier for Andy because it was in his interest to drive the group (significantly narrowed the top contenders group). He has no interest to drive the group tomorrow unless Andy gets into trouble.

I think Andy would be perfectly happy sitting in the group today. I think he's going to look to 14 and 17 to try to get another 2 minutes on Contador.

I don't know if he'll be able to... but I don't think he's going to attempt an attack with a long downhill... even if he got 30-45 seconds at the top of the climb, he wouldn't be able to hold it until the finish.

All I'm saying is that if circumstances put him and contador alone in a break on a climb, ahead of the rest of the GC guys, I'm not sure Andy's going to work. I think he'd rather wait and attack later in a climb solo to get 30-45 seconds on everyone then work with Contador and have them both get 2-3 minutes.

He might risk losing 2nd if he did the former, but he'd have no chance at winning if he did the latter. Contador would then get to ride completely defensively.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Publicus said:
Honestly, I think AC just rides Andy's wheel.

It's what he should do but I'd give him a few seconds if it saved energy you'd need later. The wild card is what Gesink can do for/to Menchov's chances. If Menchov is eliminated by aggression Contador's job gets a little easier.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Publicus said:
Honestly, I think AC just rides Andy's wheel.

Then if Andy doesn't attack... Contador potentially loses the tour to Menchov, Evans or (if he somehow holds on through the climbs) Leipheimer.

I think Andy is going to focus totally on losing Contador... if he doesn't, he's not going to help Contador get time on anyone else. I simply disagree with the idea that he's going to work with Contador at all in this year's tour... not unless he gets at least another minute on him... more probably two.

Maybe on the Tourmalet if Andy hasn't been able to drop Contador... maybe then he'd work with him to secure second. Not until then I think.
 
kurtinsc said:
I think Andy would be perfectly happy sitting in the group today. I think he's going to look to 14 and 17 to try to get another 2 minutes on Contador.

I don't know if he'll be able to... but I don't think he's going to attempt an attack with a long downhill... even if he got 30-45 seconds at the top of the climb, he wouldn't be able to hold it until the finish.

All I'm saying is that if circumstances put him and contador alone in a break on a climb, ahead of the rest of the GC guys, I'm not sure Andy's going to work. I think he'd rather wait and attack later in a climb solo to get 30-45 seconds on everyone then work with Contador and have them both get 2-3 minutes.

He might risk losing 2nd if he did the former, but he'd have no chance at winning if he did the latter. Contador would then get to ride completely defensively.

Well he's supremely confident that AC was in trouble yesterday. Frankly, I don't think Andy reads a race or his competitors very well, but that's me.

Before I have not seen him in difficulty yet, and I think yesterday he was,” Schleck said.

“I was surprised he couldn’t follow, to be honest, because the day before I had a really strong impression of him,” he said. “The fact that he couldn’t follow me means maybe the next days, hopefully, can be the same.”

http://sports.yahoo.com/sc/news;_ylt=AutqWGUPkpNla.ZAhqr.Pup.grcF?slug=ap-tourdefrance-schleck

As for him not working if they are in a break together, that's rather idiotic if he refuses to do so. You have to take time where you can on your rivals. He was smart to take the 10 seconds yesterday. If he can't shake AC, then he SHOULD work with him to get time. Allowing things to come back together only increases the likelihood of someone who is a better time trialist to beat him on the penultimate stage. I can't see him working with Gesink or Basso, since those two would have to be working against their teammates interest as well. Levi is a possibility, but I don't think he can really keep up with Andy in the mountains. He needs MAJOR time into Cuddles. Sastre really isn't an option either since they don't seem to be very fond of each other.

But I think he is misreading things a bit about yesterday. I don't think AC is as weak as everyone seems to think (it's not like he blew up and struggled to the line). Obviously that may just be me being a bit of a fanboy, but on the steeper stuff AC didn't look like he was struggling one bit.
 
kurtinsc said:
Then if Andy doesn't attack... Contador potentially loses the tour to Menchov, Evans or (if he somehow holds on through the climbs) Leipheimer.

I think Andy is going to focus totally on losing Contador... if he doesn't, he's not going to help Contador get time on anyone else. I simply disagree with the idea that he's going to work with Contador at all in this year's tour... not unless he gets at least another minute on him... more probably two.

Maybe on the Tourmalet if Andy hasn't been able to drop Contador... maybe then he'd work with him to secure second. Not until then I think.

Let me cut through the fog a bit. Who do you think needs to gain time on the other GC time trialist, AC or AS? My opinion it's AS.
 
Jun 4, 2010
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python said:
all good points however menchov's 'uprightness' is a bit exaggerated.

his biggest issues are mental and traditionally lack of good showing when he has to compete for supremacy on his own team (the chicken in 2007 vs gesink now).

his strongest assets are a true all-rounder and very hard to read and thus impenetrable to gaming. like for example yesterday, you can not find anywhere anything about how he felt yesterday but you'll find everyone else's comments (of the 12 left before andy's attack)

that's Denis. he's always so quiet, and this is ****ing me off :)
i'm sure, Denis will have to gain much more in the ITT than 9 secs. yes, when he's in top form, he can defend extremely well. but this is Contador we are talking about, i'm sure Bertie will drop Denis. my predict - it's gonna be around 1.5-2 mins between then before the time trial. but who knows. we've never seen top form Conta against a top form Menchov. Tour 2007 - Denis was not in form. 2008 Giro - Conta was going for a win, Denis was preparing for The Tour. 2009 Tour - Denis was out of form after The Giro. so maybe that's the time, where we can see, what is Denis capable of, when he's against the top riders like Andy and Alberto. as a Denis fan i'm excited and nervous :)
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Publicus said:
Let me cut through the fog a bit. Who do you think needs to gain time on the other GC time trialist, AC or AS? My opinion it's AS.

AS needs to gain time on EVERYONE. He's the worst TT rider of the top 10.

The difference is, I think he'd rather gain 45 seconds on the whole group then work with contador and gain 4 minutes on everyone else. If he breaks away and Contador goes with him early in a climb... I think he relaxes and lets the group come back... then tries it again later. The goal is to be ahead solo (or with a rider he thinks he can easily gain more time on later in the race).

He's still riding for 1st at this point... and towing Contador to a big lead over everyone else doesn't accomplish that. Contador will then ride defensively, only react to Schleck... and win like he did last year. Yes, he'd lock 2nd place up... but I don't think that's what's on his mind at this point.

As I said... maybe on Tourmalet if he still needs time... then he'll ride for 2nd and work with Contador. Not until then though.
 
kurtinsc said:
AS needs to gain time on EVERYONE. He's the worst TT rider of the top 10.

The difference is, I think he'd rather gain 45 seconds on the whole group then work with contador and gain 4 minutes on everyone else. If he breaks away and Contador goes with him early in a climb... I think he relaxes and lets the group come back... then tries it again later. The goal is to be ahead solo (or with a rider he thinks he can easily gain more time on later in the race).

He's still riding for 1st at this point... and towing Contador to a big lead over everyone else doesn't accomplish that. Contador will then ride defensively, only react to Schleck... and win like he did last year. Yes, he'd lock 2nd place up... but I don't think that's what's on his mind at this point.

As I said... maybe on Tourmalet if he still needs time... then he'll ride for 2nd and work with Contador. Not until then though.

I see your point, but what stops AC from riding his wheel for the initial gap and when Andy stops pushing launch and leave? Frankly he would FORCE Andy to keep up since Andy doesn't want to lose his cushion (whatever it is) to AC.

And it's not like it is in anyone's interest to shut down attacks on Andy. He doesn't have his brother around this year to help in that department, and so far Saxo Bank hasn't been up to the task. He can be isolated. Better to push on with AC to have to cover a flurry of attacks and burn up in the process.
 
Publicus said:
Well he's supremely confident that AC was in trouble yesterday. Frankly, I don't think Andy reads a race or his competitors very well, but that's me.

But I think he is misreading things a bit about yesterday. I don't think AC is as weak as everyone seems to think (it's not like he blew up and struggled to the line). Obviously that may just be me being a bit of a fanboy, but on the steeper stuff AC didn't look like he was struggling one bit.

Well, you were the one who *predicted* after stage 7 that Schleck was going to be shelled on stage 8 so , yes it's just you.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Publicus said:
I see your point, but what stops AC from riding his wheel for the initial gap and when Andy stops pushing launch and leave? Frankly he would FORCE Andy to keep up since Andy doesn't want to lose his cushion (whatever it is) to AC.

I'm not saying Alberto won't be able to drop Andy. I'm saying Andy won't HELP Contador.

I still think Contador wins the race... I simply can't see an Andy/Alberto team working together to gap the pack. Andy's not going to pull in that scenario... and if Alberto doesn't either, then the others will rejoin (like happened repeatedly last year on Ventoux).
 
Sep 25, 2009
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i believe there is some validity to some observations that ac looked a bit less dominant and brilliant during the 1st week of this tour compared to the last year's tour 1st week.

we will find out more tomorrow.

i strongly suspect it can be explained by marti's deliberate plan to have berto peak in the third week.

if true, i wont be surprised if basso and evans fade away from overracing and the podium will be decided between berto, andy and denis.

than, the itt will be supremely important.
 

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