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Vuelta a España - Stage 4 Málaga - Valdepeñas de Jaén 183.8km

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Nov 17, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
But you already told me to take out the one-day results since they're a different matter. Otherwise I'd have repeated my mention of Antón's Classics season this year.

Just pointing toward the "saved the season" comment. From a climbing perspective you're probably right... but to be honest I'm not sure how many pure climbing stages were in the other races.

The thing is, Brajkovic has some very good results over one-week races. So does Antón. But Brajkovic is lacking the results at the business end of a GT, while Antón is not. Hence why some are willing to say that they think Antón is an élite climber, but not yet give that title to Brajkovic. It's all very well climbing like Contador in the first set of mountains, but if you lose 5 minutes a day in the second you'll never win a GT; damn, last year Jakob Fuglsang was climbing like a superstar in the Dauphiné, but he was well out of it in the Vuelta. Iban Mayo would always look like a star in the Dauphiné, but never follow that up in the Tour. Brajko could be another Mayo, or it could be that he just hasn't had the chances to work for himself. Whatever happens, at the moment he has comparable results to Antón's (probably a bit better thanks to his TT skills and Dauphiné win) over one week, but Antón's results over 3 weeks are better.

I personally think a part of that is due to the team Brajkovic has ridden for. Bruyneel's squads are usually about everyone riding for a single leader... they aren't big on letting others chase results. From what I understand, helpers are encouraged to "save energy" once their leader goes up the road.

In the GT's you have:

Brajkovic: 18th 2009 G, 30th in 2006 V, 43rd 2010 T, DNF 2007 V.

Anton: 8th 2007 V, 15th 2006 V, 33rd 2009 V, 66th 2009 T, 83rd 2005 G, DNF 2007 T, DNF 2008 V.

Yes, Anton's results are better, mainly due to the 2007 Vuelta for Anton. But really that one race (and the fact he's ridden GT's 3 more times) is the only difference.

A top 10 is a big difference... don't get me wrong. But that one result really is the only difference in their GT palmares.
 
If you say Brajkovic is as good a climber as Anton then you also say he's as strong as Menchov, Mosquera and other. In fact, Anton proved numerous times he can beat anyone. Brajkovic won the Dauphiné. That's not enough for a big talent like him, but that also means he is not on the same page as the top climbers.
 
kurtinsc said:
Yes, Anton's results are better, mainly due to the 2007 Vuelta for Anton. But really that one race (and the fact he's ridden GT's 3 more times) is the only difference.

A top 10 is a big difference... don't get me wrong. But that one result really is the only difference in their GT palmares.

That ignores the big difference, which is the DNFs - Brajko was languishing well down the order having been right near the bottom in mountain stages despite the team having no fixed leader (its best mountain performer that year was Stijn Devolder) and having had a good showing at the race the year before, but he pulled out early in week 2. Antón's Vuelta DNF in 2008 came when he was right up near the top of the leaderboard, had proven himself the only rider in the race able to go with Contador and Valverde when they accelerated, and had a teammate in the maillot oro, but crashed badly and had to pull out with injury at the end of the second week. To just compare the end results, yes, the big difference is only that 8th in 2007. But if you watch the races, Antón has always been visible in week 3. Janez has never been visible in week 3 except when he was dragging Lance around in the '09 Giro. Maybe he does have something to offer in week 3, but as you say, riding for Bruyneel teams means we simply do not know. But how are you ever to create new stars when you never give a rider the freedom to try a GT for themselves? It seems that this year's Vuelta was to be Jani's chance, at least that's what Bruyneel says. But there's always a good chance Levi or Horner would be ahead and then Brajko is sacrificing himself again.

Basically, if Jani was going to be a GT contender, bearing in mind he's older than Nibali, Kreuziger, Andy Schleck, Gesink and others who've yet to really show in the GC like Urán, you'd have wanted him to have shown something further than 10 days into a GT by this point in his career. It might be that Bruyneel's management has restricted him and hindered his development, the same as it has done for many a talented rider who's now just rolling around happy to earn a paycheck (hello, Yaroslav Popovych). Or it might be that Jani just doesn't have the endurance to pull it out. We won't know until he's given the chance to do it. Antón has already shown us that he can mix it with pretty much anybody at the elite end of a GC, in the key mountain stages of the final weeks of a GT. You do that, you're an elite climber. Jani has mixed it with the best, but never at the business end of a GT before.
 
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Arnout said:
If you say Brajkovic is as good a climber as Anton then you also say he's as strong as Menchov, Mosquera and other. In fact, Anton proved numerous times he can beat anyone. Brajkovic won the Dauphiné. That's not enough for a big talent like him, but that also means he is not on the same page as the top climbers.

If you say so. Prior to this thread I would never have considered Anton in the same class as Menchov or Mosquera in the mountains. If I was mistaken, I apologize. I considered him a second tier climber... similar to Chris Horner rather then Sammy Sanchez.

I hope he proves me wrong... the more talented riders out there, the better.
 
theyoungest said:
That was me. And no I don't think he will take too much time on Fränk Schleck in a 45 k TT. I actually think he'd take more time if it were 20 k. The longer the TT, the worse Nibali does (not exactly bad, just not great).

I suppose you might have a point. especially now that i remember that frank can tt a bit (tds). Then again, that was also a short tt and not a 45k one.

I may be basing part of my "nibali is a great tter" theory on the fact that he is a great descender, and there is some sort of corelation with being a good descender and a tter.

I still think he is on another level compared to the climbers though.
 
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Libertine Seguros said:
That ignores the big difference, which is the DNFs - Brajko was languishing well down the order having been right near the bottom in mountain stages despite the team having no fixed leader (its best mountain performer that year was Stijn Devolder) and having had a good showing at the race the year before, but he pulled out early in week 2. Antón's Vuelta DNF in 2008 came when he was right up near the top of the leaderboard, had proven himself the only rider in the race able to go with Contador and Valverde when they accelerated, and had a teammate in the maillot oro, but crashed badly and had to pull out with injury at the end of the second week. To just compare the end results, yes, the big difference is only that 8th in 2007. But if you watch the races, Antón has always been visible in week 3. Janez has never been visible in week 3 except when he was dragging Lance around in the '09 Giro. Maybe he does have something to offer in week 3, but as you say, riding for Bruyneel teams means we simply do not know. But how are you ever to create new stars when you never give a rider the freedom to try a GT for themselves? It seems that this year's Vuelta was to be Jani's chance, at least that's what Bruyneel says. But there's always a good chance Levi or Horner would be ahead and then Brajko is sacrificing himself again.

Basically, if Jani was going to be a GT contender, bearing in mind he's older than Nibali, Kreuziger, Andy Schleck, Gesink and others who've yet to really show in the GC like Urán, you'd have wanted him to have shown something further than 10 days into a GT by this point in his career. It might be that Bruyneel's management has restricted him and hindered his development, the same as it has done for many a talented rider who's now just rolling around happy to earn a paycheck (hello, Yaroslav Popovych). Or it might be that Jani just doesn't have the endurance to pull it out. We won't know until he's given the chance to do it. Antón has already shown us that he can mix it with pretty much anybody at the elite end of a GC, in the key mountain stages of the final weeks of a GT. You do that, you're an elite climber. Jani has mixed it with the best, but never at the business end of a GT before.

And you may be right. But he's ridden 4 GT's... opportunity does play a role. While he hasn't shown much in week 3's... he has worn the leader's jersey at a GT after 2 mountain stages.

But again... we weren't really talking about GT ability (I thought). We were talking about climbing ability. Recovery is very important in a GT... but a guy who can climb great early on or in 1-week races may actually be a better climber then one who only shines at the end of longer races... he just can't recover. Lovkvist certainly has a bit of that (not that he's a superb climber). I'd say Mayo had some of that. Maybe even Cadel Evans.

If a guy can climb with the best in 1-week races... he's still a top flight climber. He just might not be a GT contender. I think there is a difference.
 
search said:
just watched the replay and german Eurosport keeps quite impressive in recognizing the stage winner with Chavanel, Gilbert and Txurruka - 1 out of 3 so far ;)

Psss. At least thats an honest mistake, and when they get the winner wrong, you will find out quite soon,who the real winner was. The worst is when the commentators randomly say crap without any evidence. Like "Freire is out the back" and when i eagerly inform others on the forum that Freire is out the back, everyone gangs up to tell me they just saw Freire at the front.;)

Or Harmon infamously at the top of his voice " Schleck and Contador have just thrown away the tour" as Denis menchov gains 10 seconds on them.:rolleyes:
 
May 28, 2010
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The Hitch said:
I suppose you might have a point. especially now that i remember that frank can tt a bit (tds). Then again, that was also a short tt and not a 45k one.

I may be basing part of my "nibali is a great tter" theory on the fact that he is a great descender, and there is some sort of corelation with being a good descender and a tter.

I still think he is on another level compared to the climbers though.

I have to agree with those who are saying Nibali won't take out much time on Schleck in the TT. Here are some recent results in (somewhat) comparable TTs:

2008 Tour de France, Stage 20: 53km
1 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Shimano - Memory Corp 01:03:50
50 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 0:05:28
54 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank at 0:05:38

2009 Tour de France, Stage 18: 41km
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:48:31
26 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 2:05
35 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank at 0:02:34

2009 Tour of California, Stage 6: 24 km
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 30.41 mins
27 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank @ 1.42 mins
28 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas @ 1.43 mins

Goes to show they are more similar in most TTs than you might think.
Even in the shorter TT in California, they basically had the same time. Unfortunately, I could not find any races they have both ridden this year as Nibali focused on the Giro/Vuelta while Shleck planned for the Tour...
 
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thanks for those stats royalpig, Nibali's TTing does seem to be a bit over-rated (in this thread at least).

Instead, let's just concentrate on the fact that Frank Schleck was blown away at the end today.

And who can blame him? That was a ridiculously hard and fast finish, but massive fun to watch :D

I wonder if the jersey contenders who were at the front at the end today will suffer later in the race? That kind of effort must tear so many muscles, although tomorrow and the days after do look like 'easy' stages ;)
 
royalpig180 said:
I have to agree with those who are saying Nibali won't take out much time on Schleck in the TT. Here are some recent results in (somewhat) comparable TTs:

2008 Tour de France, Stage 20: 53km
1 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Shimano - Memory Corp 01:03:50
50 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 0:05:28
54 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank at 0:05:38

2009 Tour de France, Stage 18: 41km
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:48:31
26 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 2:05
35 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank at 0:02:34

2009 Tour of California, Stage 6: 24 km
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 30.41 mins
27 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank @ 1.42 mins
28 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas @ 1.43 mins

Goes to show they are more similar in most TTs than you might think.
Even in the shorter TT in California, they basically had the same time. Unfortunately, I could not find any races they have both ridden this year as Nibali focused on the Giro/Vuelta while Shleck planned for the Tour...

But in none of those was Nibali a big gc favourite like he suddenly is these days. He has made a big jump.

People make improvements. Contador lost 2 minutes 18 in the tour tt 2007. 2 years later he beat everyone.

Given his performance in the giro, Nibali has improved a lot over the last year. Now if his links with a certain dr ferrari, might have something to do with this, can be discussed in the clinic. But he has nonetheless made a huge jump, and i think his tting, and not just his climbing are effected by this.
 
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The Hitch said:
But in none of those was Nibali a big gc favourite like he suddenly is these days. He has made a big jump.

People make improvements. Contador lost 2 minutes 18 in the tour tt 2007. 2 years later he beat everyone.

Given his performance in the giro, Nibali has improved a lot over the last year. Now if his links with a certain dr ferrari, might have something to do with this, can be discussed in the clinic. But he has nonetheless made a huge jump, and i think his tting, and not just his climbing are effected by this.

I totally agree with you that Nibali has improved a lot in general this year, including his TTing but we must also remember that F. Shleck has vastly improved his TTing as well. Just look at the final stage of the Tour de Suisse... I'd still bet on Nibali picking up a little time, but wouldn't count on more than 30-45 seconds.
 
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The Hitch said:
But in none of those was Nibali a big gc favourite like he suddenly is these days. He has made a big jump.

People make improvements. Contador lost 2 minutes 18 in the tour tt 2007. 2 years later he beat everyone.

Given his performance in the giro, Nibali has improved a lot over the last year. Now if his links with a certain dr ferrari, might have something to do with this, can be discussed in the clinic. But he has nonetheless made a huge jump, and i think his tting, and not just his climbing are effected by this.

I am prepared to give the benefit of the doubt that this is an improvement due to self-belief as a result of his 2009 TdF performance. He was rated before that, and hadn't come from nowhere, and i always though of him as more of a climber than anything else. So it doesnt surprise me that he does well on hard courses, given an injection of self-belief. And he's a bit older and wiser.

Plus Leakygas have clearly focussed on these races relative to the other teams. So, self-belief * strong team + lead rider = good in Vuelta/Giro.

He only beat Gilbert by a couple of bike lengths today, and if Gilbert ever gets busted I will sell my bike, er, ok, my brother's bike.
 
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Grzdylu said:
And What about Cholet I.T.T. TdF 2008

9. Nibali + 29"
44. F. Schleck + 1'56"

That's a good point, though it is a little bit shorter than this year's Vuelta TT. It does prove the earlier mentioned point that Nibali is better suited to shorter TTs. I guess it will come down to how much Nibali has improved this year relative to Shleck's improvement.

To be honest though, I doubt Shleck will be Nibali's main GC rival by the time the TT comes around. I think Anton, Rodriguez (who he'd easily get 2 mins on in the TT) and maybe Menchov will be the contenders. Menchov is obviously the best TTer in the group by a sizable margin.