Over- and underachievers during the last 20 years

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Menchov got all his major victories after Rabobank fired Rasmussen and got a Carte blanche! He's a crystal clear overachiever and probably never was more than a mediocre rider in first instance.

Leipheimer his predessor at Rabobank on the other hand might be a huge underarchiver. Entered both the 2006 Tour de France & 2009 Giro d'Italia as main-favorite on paper. Won the 2008 Vuelta a Espana based on mere racing time. He never believed in his own strength. Riding extremely conservative and becoming a notorious wheelsucker. He was a gifted climber actually and even had the ability to make attacks. His test balloons for Contador at that Vuelta all were pretty shaky. It seems he just never knew when to make his move when racing in Europe. That's what has been so frustrating about him: He didn't dare to attack while he perfectly could have done so.
I'll be honest, I have never noticed Leipheimer in races before Burgos 2001.

If Menchov was mediocre, then Leipheimer was abysmal.
 
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Menchov got all his major victories after Rabobank fired Rasmussen and got a Carte blanche! He's a crystal clear overachiever and probably never was more than a mediocre rider in first instance.

Leipheimer his predessor at Rabobank on the other hand might be a huge underarchiver. Entered both the 2006 Tour de France & 2009 Giro d'Italia as main-favorite on paper. Won the 2008 Vuelta a Espana based on mere racing time. He never believed in his own strength. Riding extremely conservative and becoming a notorious wheelsucker. He was a gifted climber actually and even had the ability to make attacks. His test balloons for Contador at that Vuelta all were pretty shaky. It seems he just never knew when to make his move when racing in Europe. That's what has been so frustrating about him: He didn't dare to attack while he perfectly could have done so.
Here, you earned it!

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4vbAz3-jvs


Rasmussen was Menchov domestique in the first place. The danish was a stage hunter for all his career, while Menchov was the rider for the GC in Rabobank. He only got the team leadership in 2007 TDF thanks to a breakaway, which was his trademark style. He always took advantage of breakaways for achieving high GC places because he was awful in TT and flat stages.

Denis was 2nd in 2005 Vuelta, 5th in 2006 Tour (with Rasmussen working for him) and 1st in 2007 Vuelta (again nothing to do with Rasmussen).

Other notable results before the Rasmussen DSQ inlcude best young rider in 2002?/2003? TDF finishing 11th overall, winning Itzulia, stages in TDF, Vuelta, Dauphine winning atop Ventoux.
 
Rasmussen was Menchov domestique in the first place. The danish was a stage hunter for all his career, while Menchov was the rider for the GC in Rabobank. He only got the team leadership in 2007 TDF thanks to a breakaway, which was his trademark style. He always took advantage of breakaways for achieving high GC places because he was awful in TT and flat stages.

Denis was 2nd in 2005 Vuelta, 5th in 2006 Tour (with Rasmussen working for him) and 1st in 2007 Vuelta (again nothing to do with Rasmussen).

Other notable results before the Rasmussen DSQ inlcude best young rider in 2002?/2003? TDF finishing 11th overall, winning Itzulia, stages in TDF, Vuelta, Dauphine winning atop Ventoux.
Rasmussen won stages in the Tour in 2005 and 2006. He finished 7th overall in 2005. Was 3rd prior to the last TT. He crashed twice and lost nearly 8 minutes. Not saying that Rasmussen was the better rider but he had some GT success prior to 2007 as well.
Overall I think Menchov clearly is an overachiever or to be more precise he made smart decisions and avoided superior opponents. I think Leipheimer was on a similar level. I have Evans and Klöden clearly above both.
 
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I'd actually argue Evans likely didn't make the most of his abilities, he just did a very good job in his twilight years of making up for the lost time he spent underachieving before Mendrisio and, much like the Tour he won, the fact that he was so successful late in his career means we sometimes overlook how long he took to get over that psychological hurdle and start to achieve to the appropriate level.
That is so true! There's before and after Mendrisio, and he did underachieve early on. Riders were playing accordion, half attacks and watching each other. He accelerated, turned around, there was a gap, he kept going. Maybe he didn't believe his luck, watching the race it felt that way. Cuddles won and he got the belief that he was a true Champion. And he is.
 
That is so true! There's before and after Mendrisio, and he did underachieve early on. Riders were playing accordion, half attacks and watching each other. He accelerated, turned around, there was a gap, he kept going. Maybe he didn't believe his luck, watching the race it felt that way. Cuddles won and he got the belief that he was a true Champion. And he is.
That tour where Contador and Rasmussen were going ham really went against Cadel too. Watching highlights of Evans sprinting as hard as he could to catch back up several times went against his type of riding style. Probably wins easy if it was only Evans vs Contador the whole race.
 
Here's the circumstances that Evans needed to win the Tour.

  • Contador going to the Giro pending a Clinic case
  • Gaining a minute and a half on Contador due to a crash
  • Schleck waiting around the entirety of the Pyrenees
  • Climbing times being by far the worst that year
  • Contador inititiating a Col de Manse blowup resulting in Schleck losing over a minute
  • Contador breaking on exactly the right stage.
  • Contador attacking the Telegraphe, dragging Schleck with him
  • Having a mechanical while in a pointless attack that got brought back later anyway
  • Voeckler blowing up trying to follow Schleck and Contador
None of these things he initiated himself. Now if you compare 2011 Evans to all the other tour winners this century, he's probably only decidedly better than Pereiro and the only other one he might arguably beat is Bernal juust maybe.

The big elephant in the room for Evans is that he literally never was among the best in the mountains. Never won a mountain stage in a GT. Wasn't a GT prodigy early on, and even when he got 2nd in the Tour he got destroyed in the mountains so badly. The more I think about it, the more I think he overperformed tremendously in GTs and probably slihgly underperformed in one day races overall but then he won the WCRR in the only chance he had.
Evans would rack up 20 TDF stages if he rode them now, he would outsprint Roglic from 700m out everyday of the week, Evans just rode in a stronger era where everyone attacked hard and for long peroids.
 
2008 Vuelta had pretty much only the Angliru as a climb over 6%.
Yes but that was way over 6% maybe one of the hardest climbs used in the grand tours. There seems to be a view that best climbers are the most talented riders. I disagree. You need more than climbing ability and Andy’s failures are the perfect example why. Btw Evans was neo pro when he cracked wearing pink in the 2002 Giro on the final mountain. That in itself should tell you something about his talent.
 
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Evans would rack up 20 TDF stages if he rode them now, he would outsprint Roglic from 700m out everyday of the week, Evans just rode in a stronger era where everyone attacked hard and for long peroids.
Evans was an okay finisher but Roglic' 3 minutes efforts are so much better it's not even close. Roglic' climbing is better as well. Evans uphill GT attacks are limited to one attack on Passo Tonale and mostly praying to not get dropped.

If you adjust for the fields Evans actually faced, I don't think Evans rode in a stronger era either. You can cherry pick and say races are more boring but that doens't really matter. Peyresourde 2007 had Contador waiting for less than 2km under the top. There has been long range action the last few years, etc.
 
That tour where Contador and Rasmussen were going ham really went against Cadel too. Watching highlights of Evans sprinting as hard as he could to catch back up several times went against his type of riding style. Probably wins easy if it was only Evans vs Contador the whole race.
Evans learned from 2007 TdF (PdB stage) where he lost the Tour trying to hang onto those attacks, blowing and losing 2 minutes. Meanwhile Levi finished only 60 secs down on the same stage. Evans eventually lost the Tour by just 23 secs. But the penny didn’t drop until after 2010 Giro where he also got himself in trouble trying to follow Basso on Zoncolon. Also great he finally got away from Lotto to a more supportive team which suited his personality.
 
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Rasmussen won stages in the Tour in 2005 and 2006. He finished 7th overall in 2005. Was 3rd prior to the last TT. He crashed twice and lost nearly 8 minutes. Not saying that Rasmussen was the better rider but he had some GT success prior to 2007 as well.
Overall I think Menchov clearly is an overachiever or to be more precise he made smart decisions and avoided superior opponents. I think Leipheimer was on a similar level. I have Evans and Klöden clearly above both.
For you, a mere hug might not suffice.
 
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Evans was an okay finisher but Roglic' 3 minutes efforts are so much better it's not even close. Roglic' climbing is better as well. Evans uphill GT attacks are limited to one attack on Passo Tonale and mostly praying to not get dropped.

If you adjust for the fields Evans actually faced, I don't think Evans rode in a stronger era either. You can cherry pick and say races are more boring but that doens't really matter. Peyresourde 2007 had Contador waiting for less than 2km under the top. There has been long range action the last few years, etc.
Evans has won the ultimate 3 minute effort puncheur's trophy, though.
 
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If you adjust for the fields Evans actually faced, I don't think Evans rode in a stronger era either. You can cherry pick and say races are more boring but that doens't really matter. Peyresourde 2007 had Contador waiting for less than 2km under the top. There has been long range action the last few years, etc.
You just cherry picked. I can cherry pick too: The day before on Plateau de Beille Contador and Rasmussen finally dropped Evans 5km from the MTF and that was after several vicious attacks and counter attacks that Evans alone attempted to follow to his eventual detriment.

Plus Roglic has probably the strongest team behind him now. In the mountains Evans was one man against stronger teams. Lotto was hopeless. Neither good on paper support nor a supportive environment for Evans personality. That is what changed at BMC. Also remember Chris Horner was mediocre support for Evans and barely able to hold Cadel's wheel. For some reason that reversed when Horner left for Astana ;). Liberty earlier in this thread as a non Cadel fan does a fair job of rating Evans ability and as mentioned by someone else physiologically Evans was a beast. Do you think Roglic is capable of doing what Evans did on stage 18 up the Galibier in 2011 TdF? Evans crushed a 8km test that day - pulled back over 2 minutes on Andy with no help. I like Roglic but this remains to be seen. With Roglic's strong team we may never find out.
 
You just cherry picked. I can cherry pick too: The day before on Plateau de Beille Contador and Rasmussen finally dropped Evans 5km from the MTF and that was after several vicious attacks and counter attacks that Evans alone attempted to follow to his eventual detriment.

Plus Roglic has probably the strongest team behind him now. In the mountains Evans was one man against stronger teams. Lotto was hopeless. Neither good on paper support nor a supportive environment for Evans personality. That is what changed at BMC. Also remember Chris Horner was mediocre support for Evans and barely able to hold Cadel's wheel. For some reason that reversed when Horner left for Astana ;). Liberty earlier in this thread as a non Cadel fan does a fair job of rating Evans ability and as mentioned by someone else physiologically Evans was a beast. Do you think Roglic is capable of doing what Evans did on stage 18 up the Galibier in 2011 TdF? Evans crushed a 8km test that day - pulled back over 2 minutes on Andy with no help. I like Roglic but this remains to be seen. With Roglic's strong team we may never find out.
Galibier 2011 is probably Evans' only top level climbing performance. I said he had better endurance than Roglic, but in a fresh <40 minute effort I think Roglic wrecks him.

Also have to add that Evans was way fresher than Schleck, having done the Izoard over 2 minutes slower, and there was a headwind on a non steep climb favoring the better rouleur there.

Evans was expected to beat climbers on a Tour route with 120km of ITTs and didn't cause he literally got dropped on every MTF and some descent finishes as well. Roglic is supposed to beat the best climbers with a 35km with a cat 1 MTF and then gets criticized for not destroying his opposition.
 
Red Rick: I'd honestly say Evans was probably just short of being an absolutely elite finisher for that kind of threshold uphill sprint effort. Remember that he came up against the absolute peak years of Valverde, di Luca and Cunego MkI, then once he broke out of his shell it was the peak years of Gilbert and Purito.
Plus Roglic has probably the strongest team behind him now. In the mountains Evans was one man against stronger teams. Lotto was hopeless. Neither good on paper support nor a supportive environment for Evans personality. That is what changed at BMC. Also remember Chris Horner was mediocre support for Evans and barely able to hold Cadel's wheel. For some reason that reversed when Horner left for Astana ;). Liberty earlier in this thread as a non Cadel fan does a fair job of rating Evans ability and as mentioned by someone else physiologically Evans was a beast. Do you think Roglic is capable of doing what Evans did on stage 18 up the Galibier in 2011 TdF? Evans crushed a 8km test that day - pulled back over 2 minutes on Andy with no help. I like Roglic but this remains to be seen. With Roglic's strong team we may never find out.
Actually, it's hard to really agree with the first and last bit of the bolded. I think BMC was an environment that Cuddles thrived more in, but realistically the change was in him himself.

Lotto actually worked hard to help Evans, but because they were also committed to Hoste in the Classics, and would always want to fall back on stages with McEwen so brought him a helper or two too, they never gave him the 100% all-about-winning-the-GC team, I guess. But also, one of Lotto's biggest problems with helping Evans was a faulty crystal ball. They signed Horner... he killed himself for Evans but he wasn't good enough at the time, as a mere 36-year-old espoir. They signed Popovych and his running buddy Bileka. First Popovych perceived Evans as having slighted him and refused to work for him in Paris-Nice, meaning his motivation to help Cadel wasn't great, and then Bileka popped positive and suddenly Popovych was useless too (interesting that). They signed Thomas Dekker, but he was taken off the road and then suspended following a backdated positive. They swung for the fences and signed Bernhard Kohl to be option 1B and prime lieutenant for Evans after he finished 3rd in the Tour and won the polka dots... only he was a fraud too. By the time they signed Dani Moreno to back him up, Evans had had enough and moved on.

Now, the 2011-13 BMC teams might be pretty good, but let's be clear: that 2010 BMC team was worse than any team Evans had had with Lotto. A few of them have gone on to be pretty good riders in time - Brent Bookwalter, Mathias Fränk, Alexander Kristoff - but at the time, it was effectively a mediocre ProConti team that had only had a couple of WT wildcards the previous year due to not having many riders of sufficient prominence in a strong ProConti crop at the time, but with Evans and Ballan grafted on top. By 2011 they were a bigger, stronger team adding the likes of Phinney, van Avermaet and with some of the younger guys getting better, but the 2010 Evans, riding for a worse team than he ever had at Lotto, was every bit as prominent as he was in previous years. Maybe his top end GC results suffered (he was only 5th in the Giro, he'd had a podium in each of the last three seasons, two at the Tour and one at the Vuelta) but he was getting more wins, and he was more prominent in races, like a man rejuvenated. He was carrying the rainbow jersey and he won Flèche Wallonne (after having been the strongest two years earlier but getting the timing wrong, he learned from his mistakes in 2010) and he won that Giro stage.

To me personally, it felt like at Lotto he was the leader, but he didn't really feel at ease in that role, he always seemed to want constant affirmation that he was the leader (and he also made himself unpopular with his domestiques by criticising them publicly, at least implicitly) and would fire off the excuse cannon as soon as things went wrong and retreating into his shell (such as the 2009 Vuelta, where he got some misfortune, but then just sad by idly and didn't even try to attack Valverde at any point after that). At BMC, if things blew up in his face, he took action. It may have been the coaching / management style there, or it may have been his own psychology, but I think that the team support in terms of the riders they surrounded him with is a minimal factor there. Hell, it might even have been him suddenly realising that he was running out of chances to amass the palmarès that his talent suggested he should have, and the fact he succeeded in Mendrisio by taking a risk when he'd historically always been risk-averse emboldened him to go out and get those results proactively. I mean, I thought he'd blown his best chance to be a Tour winner in 2008. It would have been oh so easy for him to have missed out likewise in 2011. 2008 Evans was probably stronger than 2011 Evans, but 2011 Evans wasn't going to settle for being a bridesmaid anymore.
 
Evans was expected to beat climbers on a Tour route with 120km of ITTs and didn't cause he literally got dropped on every MTF and some descent finishes as well. Roglic is supposed to beat the best climbers with a 35km with a cat 1 MTF and then gets criticized for not destroying his opposition.
Actually Cadel was not expected to beat Contador and Rasmussen that year. Every rider was dropped by Contador and Rasmussen on MTFs that year, not just Evans. As I wrote I like Roglic but he rides behind a far stronger team. Let Roglic do it all on his own and see how he goes.
 
Actually Cadel was not expected to beat Contador and Rasmussen that year. Every rider was dropped by Contador and Rasmussen on MTFs that year, not just Evans. As I wrote I like Roglic but he rides behind a far stronger team. Let Roglic do it all on his own and see how he goes.
Won the Vuelta against stronger teams and quite easily so despite crashing in the TTT and losing his best climbing teammate super early.
 
Liberty I mostly agree but why is it in 2008 everyone forgets about Cadel's crash on stage 9 and how those injuries effected his energy, recovery and eventual performance not just in his forlorn chase of Sastre but in the final TT? Other teams praised Evans strength on the stage where he got yellow.
 
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Galibier 2011 is probably Evans' only top level climbing performance. I said he had better endurance than Roglic, but in a fresh <40 minute effort I think Roglic wrecks him.

Also have to add that Evans was way fresher than Schleck, having done the Izoard over 2 minutes slower, and there was a headwind on a non steep climb favoring the better rouleur there.

Evans was expected to beat climbers on a Tour route with 120km of ITTs and didn't cause he literally got dropped on every MTF and some descent finishes as well. Roglic is supposed to beat the best climbers with a 35km with a cat 1 MTF and then gets criticized for not destroying his opposition.
I think it depends on what level you need to reach to determine it to be a "top level climbing performance". I am not looking through the history books, nor do I have any w/kg figures, but I'll have a quick think about Evans in GT's. He did well in the 2006 Tour. I know that La Touissouire is not a tough climb, but the stage itself was, and he finished with the heads of state (yeah I know, that included Oscar), dropping many other decent riders.

Anyway, I've gotta run, I'll come back to this later.
 
I think it depends on what level you need to reach to determine it to be a "top level climbing performance". I am not looking through the history books, nor do I have any w/kg figures, but I'll have a quick think about Evans in GT's. He did well in the 2006 Tour. I know that La Touissouire is not a tough climb, but the stage itself was, and he finished with the heads of state (yeah I know, that included Oscar), dropping many other decent riders.

Anyway, I've gotta run, I'll come back to this later.
Not talking about W/kg cause then the entirety of the 2011 can just be ignored.
 

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