Yeah, I wasn't talking about 2012, but about his 2011 triple. Padded out his palmares nicely against sub par opposition there.El Pistolero said:Valverde was present when Gilbert won the WC, he finished third. Gilbert also won stage 9 and 19 in the Vuelta that year, where Valverde finished 6th and 2nd respectively.Bardamu said:Gilbert being Mr. Cauberg would have won that WC anyway.DFA123 said:Fair enough, but I think there can be room for a more nuanced view. Quality of opposition should certainly have a bearing when rating the best riders. There is no way that Cavendish's WC is equal to Rui Costa's for example - sprinting was so weak at that time that it was basically a walkover.Red Rick said:WC is WC. I think it should be treated as one, otherwise everything gets so biased by how much we liked the way the race was won it takes away the whole point of discussing different races altogether. Then you're close to arguing Vuelta 2012>Tour 2012, etc.
I'm not stopping you from having more fond memories of watching one or the other.
Likewise, Gilbert's 2011 has always been slighlty diminished for me, as the two best Ardennes specialists of his generation were both absent.
I think you can diminish almost every big victory because of other great riders being absent or out of shape. Is Boonens WC victory diminished because Freire was injured?