Paris-Nice losing prestige?

Mar 7, 2009
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So - I sent a letter in to the staff at cyclingnews.com, and Greg informed me of the new forum, and I thought I would post the same here and see what people thought: Basically what I wrote in the letter:

I'm looking forward to following Paris-Nice starting this weekend. I was perusing the start list on Cyclingnews.com, and it seems to me that, while still committing quality riders to the event, that Paris-Nice does not have the "firepower" as far as team strength and "big name" riders that was lined up in California for the Amgen Tour of California. True, there are still some awfully big guns at this race - some of them competed in California and names like Contador, Schleck, Flecha or Quick Step's Chavanel can't be dismissed, but overall I was surprised that this big event did not seem to have the depth of talent that I have seen in year's past. Is this because of injuries, Paris-Nice not being as prestigious as in previous years, or is there some other political positioning on the team's part? Perhaps a little retribution to the organizers of some French events for their willingness to operate outside the Protour rules?

It'd be interesting to hear thoughts!
 
Mar 7, 2009
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Paris-Nice start list

It boils down to more events and globalisation of Pro cycling. You just have to look at the results section of this website.
If you look down the Paris-Nice start list and the Euopean events that overlap in Belgium, Spain, and Italy, then I think in these circumstances the start list is pretty good.
It would be useful to know what financial inducements the Tour of California and Paris nice often the top teams.
 
Mar 9, 2009
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And the season is getting longer and longer :) - which makes it for even more interesting viewing for us - however - I wonder - how will this impact the World Championships? There are less and less "solid" and untouchable events - possibly - sooner or later the whole schedule would have to be reshuffled; add ASO and UCI rumble (plus WADA and even more political issues - re: how many athletes implicated in the Fuentes affair that are outside cycling have been sanctioned?) and it can get really confusing...
 
Mar 10, 2009
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And I think part of it is placement on the calandar with overlap with Tirreno....Italian teams and riders, ie, will probably focus their energies there.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I think the budget of P-N is much less than other races and the UCI vs French Cycling thing has to have some factor as well.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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a combination...

Armstrong, and to a lesser extent Indurian, set the TdF as the preeminent bicycle race. If one fancies their chances at a podium finish, all other races are really training. Years ago, the Dauphine set itself up as THE TdF tune-up. I think ASO, mistakenly, thinks the PN sets up well as a set-up for the big stage races. So early in the year, and with so many great roads available, it should be a set-up for the classics. Run it through Central Massif and take out the quasi-haute Alp routes. Set it up so that the super-domestiques compete for the overall.

Times change; a Merckx style cyclist is damn near impossible in the 21st century - set up races to profile today's superstars, antagonists, and up-comers.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Contador

Yeah he has. Then again he made a helluva statement last year about being prevented from defending his 2007 TdF title. I said a Merckx style is damn near impossible these days. Contador may prove the exception.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Not to be that guy, but I've learned that most of the time when a ride seemed too good to be true it was in fact not true. Contador winning substantially, against strong specialists, in a relatively short, flat TT; well it was a great ride, a really, really great ride....
 
Mar 7, 2009
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Contador's ride was amazing. He is likely the "real deal" - and I really would hate to hear that he is ever caught doing anything to "augment" his performance. My shop was the technical support for Montgomery Securities back around 1990. Eddie B. said back then when he hired Lance that he "is going to do great things". He ended up doing some great things. A few years back, Lance said Contador would be one of the next great riders. He is now appearing to live up to that label. I wonder if Lance still is in contact with Eddie and how much, if any of his premonition ability rubbed off?

Yes - there are a ton of races, all over the world, and the Pro Tour has only so many riders and so many days that each of them can race and expect to do well. "The Race to the Sun" was always such a big event (as I seem to recall) that it seems strange that it is somewhat diluted - again, I wonder if the UCI-ASO tiff had anything to do with it, or other things, but overall it still looks like some damn good racing is going on.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I personally like Paris-Nice as it is the first really big stage race that attracts many of the European favourites. It also gives lesser riders a chance for success, while the champions build up for May or July.

As far as Contador goes, David Millar put it best when he said "You don't win three Grand Tours if you don't have something special". Perhaps what Millar was really thinking was "if you're not on something special".

It probably isn't a coincidence that Contador's timetrialling has improved dramatically since Armstrong and Bruyneel have been in his life. Remember once upon a time Armstrong was also a poor timetriallist (losing 5mins to Indurain in 1994 or 1995 tour). Then all of a sudden comes back from cancer and rides faster than Indurain ever did. Now Contador is nearly riding as fast as Armstrong in March!! Not even in top form yet!! As a true cycling hero put it "There's no miracles in cycling" (Greg Lemond)
 
Mar 10, 2009
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You maybe shoud recall that Contador won spanish national U-23 TT championship or that his first pro victory was Poland TT during his 1st pro year so it's not that he became a timetrialist since he is with Bruynell/Armstrong
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I wouldn't have put Contador down as a TT rider at all. The truth is, that the stunning TT performances we see int he last few yrs from a number of riders is down to them riding on JB run teams. I expected Alberto Contador to do well but not win the thing.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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As with many other sports the global nature of competition and the sponsor wanting value for money leads to tough decisions having to be made about who appears where. The sponsors are very strong these days and can make huge demands on teams that are not always in the best interest of the team from a competition point of view but is in the best interest of the sponsor from a marketing or PR point of view. Look down the list of upcoming races on the front page and it is populated like never before. Add to this the competition between Road, Mountain, Cyclocross, Track and so on. Its a feast for the viewer but is it too much of a good thing?
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Indurain said:
It probably isn't a coincidence that Contador's timetrialling has improved dramatically since Armstrong and Bruyneel have been in his life. Remember once upon a time Armstrong was also a poor timetriallist (losing 5mins to Indurain in 1994 or 1995 tour). Then all of a sudden comes back from cancer and rides faster than Indurain ever did. Now Contador is nearly riding as fast as Armstrong in March!! Not even in top form yet!! As a true cycling hero put it "There's no miracles in cycling" (Greg Lemond)
when Armstrong and Bruyneel appear in rider's life it changes dramatically. 'cause they knowledge about training and riding well is absolute. also, Contador is immensely eager to succeed, so he's a good material to shape. Bruyneel likes this kind of mix of talent, eagerness and strength.

Contador is naturally built to win great cycling races. he is Iban Mayo-size in mountains, but his power and ability to endure is greater than Mayo's, so he can compete in TT as well as Armstrong.

if he doesnt involve in any doping scandal throughout the years, he is going to fulfill Spanish dreams, as Valverde and for instance Sevilla never did.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Clayton said:
As with many other sports the global nature of competition and the sponsor wanting value for money leads to tough decisions having to be made about who appears where. The sponsors are very strong these days and can make huge demands on teams that are not always in the best interest of the team from a competition point of view but is in the best interest of the sponsor from a marketing or PR point of view. Look down the list of upcoming races on the front page and it is populated like never before. Add to this the competition between Road, Mountain, Cyclocross, Track and so on. Its a feast for the viewer but is it too much of a good thing?
What on earth are you carrying on about? Do you have any actual knowledge of what happens inside a professional managed cycling team?

I don't think I am being unreasonable in suggesting that this is a ridiculous post.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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livestrong girl. said:
when Armstrong and Bruyneel appear in rider's life it changes dramatically. 'cause they knowledge about training and riding well is absolute. also, Contador is immensely eager to succeed, so he's a good material to shape. Bruyneel likes this kind of mix of talent, eagerness and strength.

Contador is naturally built to win great cycling races. he is Iban Mayo-size in mountains, but his power and ability to endure is greater than Mayo's, so he can compete in TT as well as Armstrong.

if he doesnt involve in any doping scandal throughout the years, he is going to fulfill Spanish dreams, as Valverde and for instance Sevilla never did.
Then we have this post. Completely unrelated to both the thread topic and the quoted text. That's quite an achievement.

I almost do not need to comment on the tender grasp of basic grammar in the post to illuminate the absurdity of its substance. I use the term 'substance' loosely as there appears to be little of it.

For your own sense of self worth I do sincerely hope that English is your second language.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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And the first troll in the new forums has been born.

Where exactly did you state your opinion on the topic, instead of slanting the users who've tried to express theirs?

Anyway, I don't see Paris-Nice loosing prestige. We still have quite a few of the top TDF contenders in this race, comparing against eachother, and we have some interesting youngsters. As always, we'll get some answers in P-N, but most likely have more questions than when it started. P-N is a fantastic race, and I must say, that i enjoy every single stage
 
Mar 10, 2009
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elumgurd said:
Then we have this post. Completely unrelated to both the thread topic and the quoted text. That's quite an achievement.

I almost do not need to comment on the tender grasp of basic grammar in the post to illuminate the absurdity of its substance. I use the term 'substance' loosely as there appears to be little of it.

For your own sense of self worth I do sincerely hope that English is your second language.
Hi there Mr. negativity!!

Thanks for contributing and gracing us with your presence.

Please don't let the door hit you on the way out...I'm sure you've already made yourself immensely popular with your two posts here,

K? Thx, bye! :wave:
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I don't think that it is really loosing prestige. Many young riders are at the start line, so maybe it is becoming a race that would create future champions (like Contador).
 
Mar 10, 2009
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benpounder said:
Yeah he has. Then again he made a helluva statement last year about being prevented from defending his 2007 TdF title. I said a Merckx style is damn near impossible these days. Contador may prove the exception.
Contador is one of my favorite riders (easy bandwagon pick, I know) however his dominant win in the prologue had me raise my eyebrows. Yes he has always been decent in TTs, but is it really conceivable that he beat a guy like Wiggins (who is built for huge power output over smaller distances) by 7 seconds on a flat course? Perhaps the weather conditions were more favorable when Contador took the road? I really hope that its all legit, if not my "pro-cycling manager 2008" career will be a farce!
 
Mar 10, 2009
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That was a great TT by Contador for sure. I find it unlikely that a Grand Tour Champion, who is obviously the best Grand Tour rider at the moment would resort to augmenting his performance. It is more plausable that he may be peaking too early. He looks VERY fit judging from the pics I've seen taken after the Paris-Nice TT.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I'm not sure he will be left peak too early, like it or not Astana will have to keep this guy in top form for the tour whether its himself or Lance lead the team. Personally I reckon it will be Contador lead the team.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Kid Contador

You know, I watch a lot of cycling, have followed it for over a decade and am still surprised when doping allegations are made. I suppose it's my American roots (innocent until proven guilty). I realize we're talking about cycling and the track record isn't exactly spotless, but still, I guess I like to think that progress has been made.

To imply Contador's win was maybe too good. . . an event he has done VERY well in on other occasions is simply unfair. Who knows what the conditions were like on the road when he rode. How windy was it? Did the wind shift during his ride?

In addition, a lot of the truly great time trialists weren't even there: Cancellara, Leipheimer, Zabriskie.

Yea, it was good, but not that good.

I know, I know, 7 seconds over 9km is a lot. But who'd he beat? Wiggins. That's it. The rest are good, but not great.
 

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