Teams & Riders Nairo Quintana discussion thread

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I can't see how Quintana can blame a rider. By being shy on Stage 19, Movistar put all its eggs in Stage 20's basket. When all the Sky doms get dropped on CdF, Movistar (Unzue) should have nailed the coffin, make sure that they never come back. It would have been 2 on 1.

On AdH Valverde's attack and subsequent relay took more than 45 seconds on Pinot and 20 on Froome. Anacona's relay was very long, but not fast enough. Gaps remained the same. Ryder and Pinot were attacking each other, they should have lost time by not cooperating. They didn't. The Sky boys had a bad day, they were up for the taking, but Unzue and/or Quintana failed to capitalize. Once Nairo took off, he got himself a minute on Froome.

So is he blaming Anacona? Because Valverde, no way. In the end, Quintana was no Contador, he stayed behind his team-mate instead of taking a small relay and going all out. The rider he's talking about is the rider he sees when shaving himself in the morning.
 
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So, again, riders aren't little machines that can put out X watts for Y duration at any point. Their courage in attacking does not beget them favor and energy from the heavens. A better-recovered rider can have more left in the tank at the end of a Grand Tour. But they still pay for their efforts on the day.
Between 1:00:00 and 1:04:00, with about 60 km left, Astana and Movistar raise the pace. Tibopino and GeraintTooFast get dropped. Valverde attacks, only LRP paces Dawg.

1:07:20, the pace is slow, Poels and Roche have made it to the front, GT and TP are back in the main field, Valverde has a 40-second advantage. 1:08:22, Quintana attacks. 1:09:20, only one Sky rider left with Froome (Porte). 1:10:28, Quintana catches Valverde. 1:14:34, Valverde hurts, Quintana waits. Mistake?
Nope, in no way this is a mistake. Quintana has there are 20km of flat roads before Alpe d'Huez. A 56kg Quintana alone gets absolutely nowhere.
Porte, Froome, and Nibali are chasing, 1:15:07, Shark attack, Porte explodes. 1:15:57, the two Movistar have slowed down and crest La Croix de Fer, Froome and NIbali are only 5 or so seconds behind, Pinot and Contador another 30 seconds back. Conservative riding in the descent and at 1:22:00, Pinot is back with seven other riders including Bertie, Purito, and Porte. Seconds later, in the uphill section located towards the bottom of the CdF descent, Ryder attacks, Pinot, Plaza and Anacona follow, the favorites free-wheel, another group is catching up, Froome now has four team-mates. Mistake?
So I need to see the tape (geo-blocked, couldn't find it elsewhere). But IIRC by the time Anacona gets there, Porte and I think Poels is still there. Valverde's biggest help would've been earlier when there were just four guys on the valley road, since Froome and Nibali caught up on the descent. Then probably there would've been shattered groups all over the road a la Froome after Finestre. With Anacona (and Valverde?) pulling any Sky riders drafting save 30-40% of their effort. They are resting anyway.

1:51:35, the favorite group is under the 25km to go, a minute and a half down on Pinot. The gap is at two minutes at the Bourg-d'Oisans intermediate sprint banner and almost two and a half minutes as the yellow jersey group hits the climb. Sky riders are "rested". Mistake?
Again, not at all. Once an equally rested Quintana went on the first slopes only Porte and Poels were capable of doing anything for Froome. The other Sky men are a non-factor on this stage.
2:05:44, karma strikes Nibali: mechanical, no one waits. He soon catches up the struggling Bertie. 2:07:50, Herrada sets a very fast pace, Porte and Poels are still with Froome just behind him and Quintana surges, Porte closes the gap, Froome struggles. Quintana stops his effort, suges again at 2:10:02. Poels catches him, Porte brings Froome back. Quintana stops his effort. Sky's tempo is conservative, at 2:16:20 Valverde attacks. 2:19:30, Quintana surges and catches Valverde. Almost two minutes ahead, Pinot catches Geniez. 2:23:00, Valverde cracks but Anacona is there to pace Quintana. 7km to go, Pinot's lead over Quintana is one minute. Quintana's lead over Poels, Porte, and Froome is 26s. 2:27:47 Pinot places the winning attack with 6.2km to go. Gaps are unchanged. 4.7km to go, gaps are the same, Quintana drops Winner, Wout is done. 3km to go, Quintana is 35s behind Pinot, still has the same 90+s gap on Froome. 2:43:25, the kite, Pinot leads Quintana by 21" and Froome by 1'44". On the line, 18 and 1'38"

Bottom line: maybe some Movistar mistakes early, but what strikes me the most is that Pinot matched Sky, so Froome wasn't at his best, and the fact that time gaps indicate that Quintana stayed with Anacona for wayyyyy too long. Once on his own, be gained a lot of time on everybody. Too little, too late.
That's just so silly. Quintana was saving energy on Anacona's wheel. It was his third big attack that day. One he got caught on the descent, the other he got pulled back by sky, and that one stuck. He's a human being. Getting a pull isn't a sign of laziness or lack of conviction, it's what allows him to rest and to accelerate afterward. He went up Alpe d'Huez at 21kph. Drafting matters at that speed. He stayed with him for all of 2km before he set out on his own.

Again, small detail: Froome went in fifth, third among the GC men that day. He took two minutes out of Contador, Nibali and Majka. The only GC man who had the strength to hang on and pipped him (only just, at the line):

Alejandro Valverde
 
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Quintana's mistake was to attack too late in stage 19.
So, again, he tried to go from long and short on the previous two stages and got nothing out of it. On that stage (not geo-blocked, for some reason) Movistar sent Valverde up the road.

And again, to be fair to Valverde, he did do a lot of work for Quintana that Tour. To force him to work on an absolute hail mary after they had failed again to gap Froome from long again on the Croix-de-Fer was a very hard call.

He goes at 2:27:14. Exactly five minutes later, he gets pulled back by Poels. One minute and ten seconds later, Froome gets mechanical. Nibali goes, Valverde follows for a bit and then he eases off. If you see the profile of that stage, there's a really flat bit couple of KMs near the top of the Croix Fer (see the climbbybike profile: https://www.climbbybike.com/cycling_tour.asp?Tourname=Col-du-Mollard---Col-de-la-Croix-de-Fer&TourID=3146) That's the spot to go, that's where Valverde went and got nowhere. Quintana's best shot was to go when Nibali went, regardless of whether or not Froome crashed. (or earlier, had Valverde managed to stay away). Coming after all of the flack he caught after the Giro win, I really understand him waiting.

See it for yourself, Valverde goes at 2:27:14 (not geoblocked for me for some reason, thanks YouTube for that at least).

 
@carton I think he should have gone with Nibali. He was more than 3 minutes behind, and his podium was secure as well by that point. Plus, Poels was done by that point, Froome was literally isolated. Also: Went long and short at previous two stages? Quintana's attacks throughout the Tour were generally too late.
 
Valverde could not have done more for Quintana that what he did on that stage. He's not a pure climber and on those types of climbs can't climb them the same way pure climbers can. Valverde is an all rounder and more of a puncheur than anything else. Punchuers by their nature don't make for the best of super domestiques in the first place. He did what he could for Quintana and if Quintana is referring to Valverde, whom it appears he is, it's obvious he doesn't understand what a puncheur is. Valverde has said he did put his podium at risk to help Quintana on that final stage. Trying to ask him to be something he's not is unfair to him. Asking him or anyone to do more than they are capable of is also unfair.
 
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@carton Went long and short at previous two stages? Quintana's attacks throughout the Tour were generally too late.
Then, I'm sorry, but you weren't paying attention. On stage 17 he tried to go from 100km out but he went nowhere. He then went on Pra Loup and also got nowhere quicker and more often. On Stage 18 he went with Nibali from 39km out hard (he had Anacona out front) and Thomas closed him down. If anything, he might've pulled it off had Movistar focused more narrowly on those last two stages. At the end of the day, those were the only two stages where he was stronger than Froome.
Valverde could not have done more for Quintana that what he did on that stage. He's not a pure climber and on those types of climbs can't climb them the same way pure climbers can. Valverde is an all rounder and more of a puncheur than anything else. Punchuers by their nature don't make for the best of super domestiques in the first place. He did what he could for Quintana and if Quintana is referring to Valverde, whom it appears he is, it's obvious he doesn't understand what a puncheur is. Valverde has said he did put his podium at risk to help Quintana on that final stage. Trying to ask him to be something he's not is unfair to him. Asking him or anyone to do more than they are capable of is also unfair.
In any case, Froome was stronger than Quintana that Tour. And Sky had a stronger team. Whatever else, I really don't think there was all that much more to be done. Quintana could've attacked with Nibali on La Toussuire and risked another asterisk and a bit more animus from the peloton. He might've needed to save himself more for those last two days, particularly on La Pierre Saint Martin. Movistar could've been more selective with their attacks and with resting the rest of their riders. That's really at the margins kinda stuff. Maybe it would've added up.

And yes, had Valverde kept the gas down the Croix-de-Fer, I believe Froome would've been completely isolated at Alpe d'Huez. But we'll never know what would've happened, and I don't think Quintana was blaming Valverde for that.
 
In any case, Froome was stronger than Quintana that Tour. And Sky had a stronger team. Whatever else, I really don't think there was all that much more to be done. Quintana could've attacked with Nibali on La Toussuire and risked another asterisk and a bit more animus from the peloton. He might've needed to save himself more for those last two days, particularly on La Pierre Saint Martin. Movistar could've been more selective with their attacks and with resting the rest of their riders. That's really at the margins kinda stuff. Maybe it would've added up.

And yes, had Valverde kept the gas down the Croix-de-Fer, I believe Froome would've been completely isolated at Alpe d'Huez. But we'll never know what would've happened, and I don't think Quintana was blaming Valverde for that.
That leads back to questioning tactics, which with this team is fairly easy to do and understandable to do.

I guess that's the question. What exactly is Quintana blaming Valverde for exactly because there really isn't much more he could have done on that specific stage. It almost feels like Quintana was expecting a rider to be able to do things he's just not capable of doing.
 
Then, I'm sorry, but you weren't paying attention. On stage 17 he tried to go from 100km out but he went nowhere. He then went on Pra Loup and also got nowhere quicker and more often. On Stage 18 he went with Nibali from 39km out hard (he had Anacona out front) and Thomas closed him down. If anything, he might've pulled it off had Movistar focused more narrowly on those last two stages. At the end of the day, those were the only two stages where he was stronger than Froome.
Wait, were you talking about Valverde? I was talking about Quintana all the time.
 
If I remember the make up of that team correctly, it was likely the most complete team they sent to the Tour. Had to go look up that particular team roster and it was the most complete team they sent to the Tour. The roster: Quintana, Anacona, Castroviejo, Dowsett, Erviti, Jose Herrada, Gorka Izagiurre, Malori, Valverde. It was likely the best team they have sent to a Tour to deal with crosswinds and TTTs. However, this roster was never going to be that strong in the mountains.
I never thought he really fit in with that team and thus thought he'd have been better off looking for a new team around that time instead of signing the contract extension. 2016 is where things started to really go wrong between him and Movistar. Valverde was never going to be a sole leader at the Tour. Vuelta yes and was supposed to be in 2017, but we all know what happened there.
most complete roster but never a team.
 
That leads back to questioning tactics, which with this team is fairly easy to do and understandable to do.

I guess that's the question. What exactly is Quintana blaming Valverde for exactly because there really isn't much more he could have done on that specific stage. It almost feels like Quintana was expecting a rider to be able to do things he's just not capable of doing.
Honestly, the more I think about it the more I feel I might be wrong about it being Valverde. He did step up for Quintana and initiated the action several times, and I think he gets along really well with Nairo, so it's harsh from Quintana.

But the only five things I can imagine Movi could've done that might've actually won them the Tour:
  • Not attacking so much, particularly on La Pierre Saint Martin (this one's 100% on Unzue and Quintana)
  • Getting it right on the crosswinds (seems like it was on Quintana, but maybe someone else messed something up we don't know about)
  • Following Nibali's Stage 19 Croix-de-Fer attack (also no teammates involved)
  • Having someone stay with Geniez up Croix-de-Fer (namely Anacona, this seems like an out-and-out impossible ask)
  • Eusebio asking Alejandro, who Nairo had been waiting on on Croix-de-Fer, to (presumably follow the plan and) go all out on the descent and the flat tow the Quintana/Nibali/Froome group to the base of Alpe d'Huez
Again, given he was talking about leadership and the lack of clear priorities at Movistar, I believe he was referring to the last one. At the point, Valverde didn't act like a domestique emptying himself for a clear shot at the yellow jersey for his team leader but as someone who wanted to help as much as possible, but also, hold on to his podium spot. But maybe someone forgot to get bottles on that crosswind stage or something.
 
So, again, he tried to go from long and short on the previous two stages and got nothing out of it.
Of course he got nothing of it when he attacked 1000-500 m from the summit! He goes 500 m from the summit of Allos, on Pra Loup he waits till the last km. . He doesn't go on Glandon when Valverde catches Nibali with only Quintana and Froome (isolated!!!) on his wheel, yet he goes (again near the top of the climb!) when Froome has Porte and Thomas by his side. On Croix de Fer, stage 19, he doesn't go when Valverde goes to make him a springboard (and rewatch that stage to see how many times Valverde looks back and talks to team car in that moments). He doesn't go when Nibali goes also (God knows why?!). He did managed to broke free from Froome on La Toussuire, but as Tonton said it's too little, too late... And on Croix de Fer he again waits till the very end (although he dropped Froome previous day, and knows he has a chance against him). Only climb he attacked all-out, from the bottom, was Alpe d'Huez, and what a surprise he gain most time there! I think it's pretty obvious what he should have done on previous big climbs. And for God's sake he's blaming teammate now, five years later!? Ridiculous!
So to conclude, he attacked alright, but those attacks either were weak or very poorly timed (mostly latter). If you want to see what attacking all-out is, and how to crack very strong rival, go look Vuelta 2012.
 
Honestly, the more I think about it the more I feel I might be wrong about it being Valverde. He did step up for Quintana and initiated the action several times, and I think he gets along really well with Nairo, so it's harsh from Quintana.

But the only five things I can imagine Movi could've done that might've actually won them the Tour:
  • Not attacking so much, particularly on La Pierre Saint Martin (this one's 100% on Unzue and Quintana)
  • Getting it right on the crosswinds (seems like it was on Quintana, but maybe someone else messed something up we don't know about)
  • Following Nibali's Stage 19 Croix-de-Fer attack (also no teammates involved)
  • Having someone stay with Geniez up Croix-de-Fer (namely Anacona, this seems like an out-and-out impossible ask)
  • Eusebio asking Alejandro, who Nairo had been waiting on on Croix-de-Fer, to (presumably follow the plan and) go all out on the descent and the flat tow the Quintana/Nibali/Froome group to the base of Alpe d'Huez
Again, given he was talking about leadership and the lack of clear priorities at Movistar, I believe he was referring to the last one. At the point, Valverde didn't act like a domestique emptying himself for a clear shot at the yellow jersey for his team leader but as someone who wanted to help as much as possible, but also, hold on to his podium spot. But maybe someone forgot to get bottles on that crosswind stage or something.

Valverde appears to get along with virtually everyone. Quintana was one of the first riders to congratulation Valverde when he won the Worlds.
Here's the thing with the crosswinds stage. If they don't lose the time there the entire race plays out differently. I think that was more a matter of bad positioning than anything else.
I think it's safe to say Anacona is not who is being referred to.
I would hope Nairo would have known by that point that Alejandro won't ride into the red for himself and will find his limit and ride there but not past that. If he won't do that win a race, he's going to ride past his limit to help someone else. Also Froome is a better time trialist than Valverde. Valverde in other races (where riding for himself) if he knows he doesn't have enough of a gap on a descent with a long flat before a climb or a finish he'll sit up and wait for the person(s) behind him to catch him and go to the finish or climb together.

I hate the blaming game. At least not until you write a book or something when you retire.

Having said that there were some speculation that it could be Gorka Izagiurre who arrived with the Grupetto that day.
Also after Gorka and Ion leave Movistar they say part of their reason for leaving was Quintana. So in hindsight we know Gorka did not get along with Quintana.


Of course he got nothing of it when he attacked 1000-500 m from the summit! He goes 500 m from the summit of Allos, on Pra Loup he waits till the last km. . He doesn't go on Glandon when Valverde catches Nibali with only Quintana and Froome (isolated!!!) on his wheel, yet he goes (again near the top of the climb!) when Froome has Porte and Thomas by his side. On Croix de Fer, stage 19, he doesn't go when Valverde goes to make him a springboard (and rewatch that stage to see how many times Valverde looks back and talks to team car in that moments). He doesn't go when Nibali goes also (God knows why?!). He did managed to broke free from Froome on La Toussuire, but as Tonton said it's too little, too late... And on Croix de Fer he again waits till the very end (although he dropped Froome previous day, and knows he has a chance against him). Only climb he attacked all-out, from the bottom, was Alpe d'Huez, and what a surprise he gain most time there! I think it's pretty obvious what he should have done on previous big climbs. And for God's sake he's blaming teammate now, five years later!? Ridiculous!
So to conclude, he attacked alright, but those attacks either were weak or very poorly timed (mostly latter). If you want to see what attacking all-out is, and how to crack very strong rival, go look Vuelta 2012.

On stage 19 I remember Valverde attacking several times and you're right about the number of times he's on the radio with the team car. It appeared like he was getting frustrated.

The 2012 Vuelta is in my opinion one of the all time great bike races. I wish I had that one on DVD or DVR or something instead of having to look for stages on Youtube.
 
Of course he got nothing of it when he attacked 1000-500 m from the summit! He goes 500 m from the summit of Allos, on Pra Loup he waits till the last km.
Wrong. So much wrongness. On Allos he attacked about a km from the summit, Porte drops back and easily paces Froome back up. On Pra Loup he goes first from the 2km kite and then again within the last km. Again, got nowhere with both attacks. Had he gotten away, sure, maybe you can say he should've gone earlier. But even though he waited until the tough part of both climbs he got nowhere. At Pra Loup Movi did it by the book, pushing the pace into the climb. Quintana went after a long day and a saddle and 3km into a 5km climb. Went hard twice. Couldn't get a gap. Got countered by Froome. How would going earlier have possibly gone any better?
He doesn't go on Glandon when Valverde catches Nibali with only Quintana and Froome (isolated!!!) on his wheel, yet he goes (again near the top of the climb!) when Froome has Porte and Thomas by his side.
He went literally 400m after that "(isolated!!! :D)",closer to 2km to the summit. He had a teammate out front and he kept doing standing up accelerations all the way to the top. But just could not get a gap.
On Croix de Fer, stage 19, he doesn't go when Valverde goes to make him a springboard (and rewatch that stage to see how many times Valverde looks back and talks to team car in that moments).
Valverde couldn't escape and got pulled back within five minutes. There was no point. He really didn't want Valverde on Croix de Fer, particularly a Valverde, he wanted him up ahead on Mollard with its super gentle slopes after a bit of a rest downhill.
He doesn't go when Nibali goes also (God knows why?!).
God and the rest of us.
He did managed to broke free from Froome on La Toussuire, but as Tonton said it's too little, too late... And on Croix de Fer he again waits till the very end (although he dropped Froome previous day, and knows he has a chance against him).
There are 20km of flat roads ahead of the Alpe and he weighs 56kg. He needed a bridge. This is obvious. Have you ridden a bike? Do you know what drafting is? Have you heard of power-to-weight? Aerodynamics?
Only climb he attacked all-out, from the bottom, was Alpe d'Huez, and what a surprise he gain most time there! I think it's pretty obvious what he should have done on previous big climbs.
What climbs. When? At La Toussuire before the almost 2km false flat? Maybe. It seems very unlikely he would have been faster than his record time with no draft at all but, sure, maybe that's how this all works.
And for God's sake he's blaming teammate now, five years later!? Ridiculous!
So to conclude, he attacked alright, but those attacks either were weak or very poorly timed (mostly latter). If you want to see what attacking all-out is, and how to crack very strong rival, go look Vuelta 2012.
No, that's what happens when you focus all your efforts on one savvy attack and, more importantly, when you have two teammates up the road to help you. Drafting again. It's a thing. Also, when you gain a minute of your 1'37" final advantage against the clock.

And no I won't watch it again. I'm still bummed that Purito lost. Maybe on the 10-year anniversary.
 
So on Allos, 15 km climb he waited until the tough part, till the last km, even though the tough part is couple of km's earlier, ok then...:rolleyes:. He needed to try earlier there.
Pra Loup is ridiculous place to get a serious gap, but ok, cudos for trying.
Glandon is a big cimb, and he needed to go earlier there. He had Anacona up front, that was a good situation to try to crack Froome.
Croix de Fer is also a big climb. Valverde went, he waited... Nibali went, he waited... He wanted Valverde up ahead on Mollard you say, like in the video game, nice:D. He needed to at least try here...
La Toussuire, ok, he gained what he could there...
Croix de Fer again, it was complicated... Didn't have a man up front, tried with Valverde, connected, then Froome came right over the top on the beginning of the descent. He tried, but didn't succeed.
Alpe d'Huez, that's the script what he should've done on Glandon and Croix de Fer.
To sum it up, as Tonton said, too little, too late...

Oh, and I almost forgot:
I understand why you won't watch Vuelta 2012 if you rooted for Purito, but it is a manual how to crack equally strong or even stronger rider. Attack, attack and attack, and you hope for a bad day from your opponent. And when that day comes, you murder him.
 
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Again, even after waiting further up those climbs, which might be a worse moment to gain a chunk of time but a much better moment to gain at least a little time, Quintana got nowhere. There's almost no chance in which going earlier would've yielded better results in any of the earlier climbs. Froome and Sky were stronger, full stop.

Bar, of course, on Croix-de-Fer (both times). But again, that first time waiting for Valverde to try to get the gap was the right move, and waiting for Froome to get back was an understandable move. And the second time riding with Valverde into 20kms of flats was the only sensible move.

The only way Quintana was taking time off Froome before the Croix-de-Fer was catching him napping. Not something Sky or Froome have done much of at the Tour. But nevertheless, Movi persisted.

Also, the Vuelta is the Vuelta and the Tour is the Tour. Two of the Top-10 riders of the Vuelta in 2013 were Sky mountain domestiques in 2015. In fact, they weren't even in the Top-3 of Sky's mountain domestiques. A slight improvement, perhaps, over Xavier Florencio and Alberto Losada.
 
Again, even after waiting further up those climbs, which might be a worse moment to gain a chunk of time but a much better moment to gain at least a little time, Quintana got nowhere. There's almost no chance in which going earlier would've yielded better results in any of the earlier climbs. Froome and Sky were stronger, full stop.

Bar, of course, on Croix-de-Fer (both times). But again, that first time waiting for Valverde to try to get the gap was the right move, and waiting for Froome to get back was an understandable move. And the second time riding with Valverde into 20kms of flats was the only sensible move.

The only way Quintana was taking time off Froome before the Croix-de-Fer was catching him napping. Not something Sky or Froome have done much of at the Tour. But nevertheless, Movi persisted.

Also, the Vuelta is the Vuelta and the Tour is the Tour. Two of the Top-10 riders of the Vuelta in 2013 were Sky mountain domestiques in 2015. In fact, they weren't even in the Top-3 of Sky's mountain domestiques. A slight improvement, perhaps, over Xavier Florencio and Alberto Losada.
Moreno was the strongest domestique of Purito in 2012 Vuelta, and he himself finished 5th overall.
Froome was isolated on Croix-de Fer, following Nibali or attacking himself could have brought Quintana the Tour. ( Stage 19 )
 
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This article is in Spanish and it's Rory Sutherland talking about his experience working for Quintana:
 
Here's a more thorough article about Rory Sutherland's comments about Quintana. Again it is in Spanish. This is a very interesting article and perception from Sutherland who has worked with many leaders through his long career.
 
Here's a more thorough article about Rory Sutherland's comments about Quintana. Again it is in Spanish. This is a very interesting article and perception from Sutherland who has worked with many leaders through his long career.
That article is more the perception/analysis made by the author (Oscar Trujillo) regarding Rory Sutherland's original comments. I think its misleading to attribute that to Sunderland.
 

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