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Winning a major cobbled classic and a GT in one year?

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I think when they do it like that it’s usually the minor classics, like GW, E3 and Dwars, rather than the monuments.

Id love to see Fuglsang ride Roubaix, after all when Nibali dropped all the cobble experts on the pavé in 2014, he did it on Jakob’s wheel.

I really would like to see GT riders at Roubaix more, but wasn’t Wiggins the first TdF winner in 20 years or so to even take the start line in 2014?
Don't forget that Lars Boom won that stage, and by a decent margin. He was good on the cobbles at the time, but certainly not top tier and had Sep Vanmarcke working with him until he punctured. Meanwhile Sagan and Cancellara were marking each other out of the race and the other specialists were looking after team leads.

That situation really only came about because Nibali handled the muddy cobbles better than any of the other GC contenders,
 
When I watch a rerun of a cobbled classic in the 80s I'm often surprised to see LeMond or Fignon play along in the final. In 1985 LeMond was 7th in Vlaanderen and 4th in Roubaix. After his comeback he was criticized for not doing the classics anymore. Fignon was third in PR '88.
Yep, in those days GT riders were built differently, both Lemond and Fignon were 67-68 kg, maybe even heavier, like maybe Gilbert today. They could've handle cobbles much better than today's skinny GT specialists.
 
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Thomas is the only recent rider with both a GT and a significant cobbled race on his palmares. It’s hard to see any of the rest current crop managing that by the end of their careers, never mind an actual cobbled monument and a GT in one year. Of the GT winners, Dumoulin and Roglic seem like they might have the physical capability to compete seriously for a cobbled monument, but why would they devote the kind of training time it would take to ride the cobbles like a specialist to trying it? They’d have to peak for the cobbles , messing with their season, they’d risk injury and they probably wouldn’t win anyway. It’s just a bad bet for a GT winner.

I’d love to see Thomas concentrating on the cobbles again though. He already knows what he’s doing on them and it seems like he doesn’t want another GT enough to live like a monk.
 
Most talented on the cobbles, besides Thomas, would probably mean Fuglsang. He has the talent and the MTb background to do well on the cobbles. He'd have to put on size and work more on his TT-skills, like in 2011, but the lack of a sprint would always be a big problem for him and frankly I also don't see him winning a gt. Nibali has the instinct and can handle the distance, for him Roubaix would probably be better than the RVV, he just lacks the explosive kick.
 
When you see how supremely easy Bernal looked bossing it in the crosswinds in Paris-Nice this year I do find it possible, even at his weight and size, to envisage him winning a big cobbled classic as long as the run in was not too long after the final muur.
 
Why the big fuss over needing guys to be heavy to win in Flanders? Just last year we had Phinney saying he was too heavy to help too much over the bergs, but we’re saying at the same time that Bernal or Nibali, or even Roglic or Dumoulin, are too light? Bettiol won this year at 69kgs, so not exactly a beast. What size was Bugno when he won?

I know Flanders winners have tended to be heavier than Grand Tour winners, but are we mixing up cause and effect here? They don’t add 5kg so they can win in Flanders, they ride Flanders because they can win it even if they’re 5kg heavier than the guy who wins Catalunya.
 
Why the big fuss over needing guys to be heavy to win in Flanders? Just last year we had Phinney saying he was too heavy to help too much over the bergs, but we’re saying at the same time that Bernal or Nibali, or even Roglic or Dumoulin, are too light? Bettiol won this year at 69kgs, so not exactly a beast. What size was Bugno when he won?

I know Flanders winners have tended to be heavier than Grand Tour winners, but are we mixing up cause and effect here? They don’t add 5kg so they can win in Flanders, they ride Flanders because they can win it even if they’re 5kg heavier than the guy who wins Catalunya.

Possibly because Valverde has actually said he'd have to put weight on to race those races and did put on (if I remember correctly) 2kg to race Flanders, then lost that plus a few more kg for the GTs in the second half of the season. He's also said he'd need to put on 5 to 10kg to be able to race Roubiax just so he wouldn't get thrown around by the cobblestones. Valverde's typical race weight is 63kg for reference. Also remember when Valverde raced and finished just outside the top 10 at Dwars the cobbled specialists he was racing with at first were wondering and asking on their radios who's the Movistar rider, who's the skinny climber still here. Granted they said once they were told or figured out it was Valverde they then weren't surprised.
 
I think several climbers/GC-riders could win the Ronde, in especially Roglic and Fuglsang. But I don't think they will waste their other season goals just to risk to be good in RVV.
 
When you see how supremely easy Bernal looked bossing it in the crosswinds in Paris-Nice this year I do find it possible, even at his weight and size, to envisage him winning a big cobbled classic as long as the run in was not too long after the final muur.
I do find it more possible that he won't end up top 10 in big cobbled classic in his entire career!
 
Why the big fuss over needing guys to be heavy to win in Flanders? Just last year we had Phinney saying he was too heavy to help too much over the bergs, but we’re saying at the same time that Bernal or Nibali, or even Roglic or Dumoulin, are too light? Bettiol won this year at 69kgs, so not exactly a beast. What size was Bugno when he won?

I know Flanders winners have tended to be heavier than Grand Tour winners, but are we mixing up cause and effect here? They don’t add 5kg so they can win in Flanders, they ride Flanders because they can win it even if they’re 5kg heavier than the guy who wins Catalunya.
Bugno was pretty heavy compared to modern GT riders from what I remember. Pretty sure he was over 70kg.

69kg isn't that heavy, but when you consider Big Tam is 5cm taller and listed around the same weight (I'm sure he's lighter in GTs) then you see it is on the heavier side for GT riders. BMI is likely a better guide than raw weight. People like Bettiol, Ballan, Gilbert, Nuyens etc. have shown you don't need to be Boonen/Cancellara sized to win Flanders, but the results do point to needing to hit that slightly higher weight than you might want in a GT.
 
I personally believe explosiveness is an overrated factor in a race like Flanders. It's more similar to Roubaix than people think. Sure you need a kick but it's still mostly about power and endurance. Otherwise pure rouleurs like Terpstra and Devolder wouldn't have won the race. On rough cobbles and climbs like Qude Kwartemont, having more muscle and even a bit of fat is a good thing.

There is no way light-weight type like Purito or Woods could score a top 10 in such a race because they have a nice acceleration.
 
I personally believe explosiveness is an overrated factor in a race like Flanders. It's more similar to Roubaix than people think. Sure you need a kick but it's still mostly about power and endurance. Otherwise pure rouleurs like Terpstra and Devolder wouldn't have won the race. On rough cobbles and climbs like Qude Kwartemont, having more muscle and even a bit of fat is a good thing.

There is no way light-weight type like Purito or Woods could score a top 10 in such a race because they have a nice acceleration.
Explosiveness is definitely an advantage in Flanders. You just have to look at Terpstra’s 2nd place in 2015; Thomas didn’t have the acceleration to follow Terpstra and Kristoff as they attacked, so the gap opened up. Then Terpstra didn’t have the strength or speed to drop Kristoff in the remaining climbs, so Kristoff just torched him in the sprint.

The usual way to win Flanders is to drop your opponents on the bergs. By their nature, that usually takes an explosive acceleration. If you can’t do that, you will have to outsprint them at the finish.

Devolder and Terpstra are exceptions in that they escaped the peloton, and then had the strongest team in the race blocking for them behind (see also Gilbert). You don’t see Sepp Vanmarcke winning like that; instead you see him working to set up Bettiol, who is more explosive.
 
The issue is that we are in the age of specialisation. A GT guy could definitely win Paris Roubaix, but the risk of a bad crash ruining GT participation is usually too great for the team to even contemplate it.
 
The issue is that we are in the age of specialisation. A GT guy could definitely win Paris Roubaix, but the risk of a bad crash ruining GT participation is usually too great for the team to even contemplate it.
Sorry I can't see any GT guy winning Roubaix these days... If someone is genuine contender for a race like Roubaix, it certainly worth a shot.
 
Sorry I can't see any GT guy winning Roubaix these days... If someone is genuine contender for a race like Roubaix, it certainly worth a shot.
I think that’s the point. There are a few gc contenders around right now (Dumoulin, Roglic, Thomas) who could, theoretically, win Paris Roubaix. If they trained specifically for it, rode it a few seasons in a row to gain experience, and were willing to accept that, after all that work and all that training and all the time spent, they could be the strongest in the race, and still only finish in the lower top 10 or lower.

That’s a lot less likely to happen in a GT where, generally, in recent memory, the strongest rider over the course of 3 weeks, if he has made it to Paris (or Madrid/Rome/Milan/wherever) has at least been on the podium or close to it, barring a massive force majeur late implosion or multi-team ambush. You certainly don’t get surprise out-of-the-blue winners like vanSummeren or Hayman to spoil the plans. It’s a lot more predictable, so if you are/have on your team a rider capable of winning a GT, the sensible call is to send him to the GT, not Roubaix.
 
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I think that’s the point. There are a few gc contenders around right now (Dumoulin, Roglic, Thomas) who could, theoretically, win Paris Roubaix. If they trained specifically for it, rode it a few seasons in a row to gain experience, and were willing to accept that, after all that work and all that training and all the time spent, they could be the strongest in the race, and still only finish in the lower top 10 or lower.

That’s a lot less likely to happen in a GT where, generally, in recent memory, the strongest rider over the course of 3 weeks, if he has made it to Paris (or Madrid/Rome/Milan/wherever) has at least been on the podium or close to it, barring a massive force majeur late implosion or multi-team ambush. You certainly don’t get surprise out-of-the-blue winners like vanSummeren or Hayman to spoil the plans. It’s a lot more predictable, so if you are/have on your team a rider capable of winning a GT, the sensible call is to send him to the GT, not Roubaix.
And add to that, the fact that GTs are a lot more lucrative for a rider - a rider finishing 7th in a GT not only gets the same number of UCI points as 3rd place in P-R/Flanders, but will also command a much higher salary because of it...so any rider that can get a decent placing in a GT, would be a fool to risk that for an outside shot at a cobbled classic.
 
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And add to that, the fact that GTs are a lot more lucrative for a rider - a rider finishing 7th in a GT not only gets the same number of UCI points as 3rd place in P-R/Flanders, but will also command a much higher salary because of it...so any rider that can get a decent placing in a GT, would be a fool to risk that for an outside shot at a cobbled classic.
Is that even true? You'd have to compare the salary of, say Sep Vanmarcke, a cobbled specialist but not a winner, to .. I don't know, someone like Rafał Majka, Bauke Mollema, Dan Martin..? Decent placing but not winners/podium either. Is there a big difference between their paycheck? I honestly don't know.

The issue is that we are in the age of specialisation. A GT guy could definitely win Paris Roubaix, but the risk of a bad crash ruining GT participation is usually too great for the team to even contemplate it.
You underestimate the skill set needed to win Paris Roubaix, or Flanders. Like so many do.
Even though Valverde has been doing quite well in for example Dwars door Vlaanderen, he has been far from contending for the win. Same for Nibali in Flanders who got easily dropped by Terpstra and stated he had never seen anything like Flanders.
Any GT contender in recent years that has participated in one of the cobbled classics has come to the conclusion it's really not that easy to win.
There's only really Geraint Thomas who used to be somewhat good in the cobbled classics and then all of a sudden became a GT winner...
 
Is that even true? You'd have to compare the salary of, say Sep Vanmarcke, a cobbled specialist but not a winner, to .. I don't know, someone like Rafał Majka, Bauke Mollema, Dan Martin..? Decent placing but not winners/podium either. Is there a big difference between their paycheck? I honestly don't know.



You underestimate the skill set needed to win Paris Roubaix, or Flanders. Like so many do.
Even though Valverde has been doing quite well in for example Dwars door Vlaanderen, he has been far from contending for the win. Same for Nibali in Flanders who got easily dropped by Terpstra and stated he had never seen anything like Flanders.
Any GT contender in recent years that has participated in one of the cobbled classics has come to the conclusion it's really not that easy to win.
There's only really Geraint Thomas who used to be somewhat good in the cobbled classics and then all of a sudden became a GT winner...
Valverde raced Rhonde more because he wanted to try it and because many kept telling him he needed to experience it. It's unlikely we'll see him race Rhonde again. He got his top 10 there and proved he is capable of racing on the cobbles. Not sure there's more he really can accomplish there. Nibali didn't even do that well in his attempt. Paris-Roubiax is harder/harsher. In general the risk of racing the cobbles isn't worth it for GC riders. With Nibali and Valverde we've had unique cases of two GC riders wanting to basically try something new/different and prove something to themselves closer to the end of their careers than anything else.
 
Valverde raced Rhonde more because he wanted to try it and because many kept telling him he needed to experience it. It's unlikely we'll see him race Rhonde again. He got his top 10 there and proved he is capable of racing on the cobbles. Not sure there's more he really can accomplish there. Nibali didn't even do that well in his attempt. Paris-Roubiax is harder/harsher. In general the risk of racing the cobbles isn't worth it for GC riders. With Nibali and Valverde we've had unique cases of two GC riders wanting to basically try something new/different and prove something to themselves closer to the end of their careers than anything else.
You just perfectly lined out the difference between valverde and Nibali. One went to Flandern, saw he is actually good at riding cobbles, got a top ten and is happy. The other went there ended up getting destroyed by the eventual winner but actually went all in for the win and casually initiated the winning move.
Also btw, flanders last year was one of those editions where you basically just wait for the kwaremont and whoever is strongest from there onwards will win. That's exactly the kind of racing that would suit a lightweight climber on cobbles and valverde in particular.
 
You just perfectly lined out the difference between valverde and Nibali. One went to Flandern, saw he is actually good at riding cobbles, got a top ten and is happy. The other went there ended up getting destroyed by the eventual winner but actually went all in for the win and casually initiated the winning move.
Also btw, flanders last year was one of those editions where you basically just wait for the kwaremont and whoever is strongest from there onwards will win. That's exactly the kind of racing that would suit a lightweight climber on cobbles and valverde in particular.
And you of course came to conclusion that Nibali's performance was much more impressive, no? :rolleyes:
 

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