/ The Vuelta (spoilers)
So Nibles, Rodriguez, Martin or Valverde?
Lets take the straw poll.
Got to be nibles me thinks.
How sammy sanchez keeps his team leader status I have no idea. Every time I see him in a race he's going out the back of a group
Soooo....Chris Horner.....41 yrs old......wasn't on my list ;-)
Horner - Future Tour winner there. I don't know what all this Talansky, van Garderen stuff is about.
Late to the party but...
Nibali v Rodriguez v Moreno. Martin appears to have done a a lot of racing this year. I think Valverde will blow up at some point.
Psyched for Roche. Saxo-tinkoff look to be strong in support.
After beign tipped for a good performance in the Giro Pozzovivo has been disappointing.
> Horner - Future Tour winner there.
Good to see the vuelta organisers maintaining their record of inconsistent and haphazard decision making.
Yep. it was a tad steep.
Has Horner appealed or just accepted it?
He's not in Red so I guess he's just accepted it
Astonishing ride today from Tony Martin, 175K on his own to get caught 10m from the line.
> Astonishing ride today from Tony Martin, 175K on his own to get caught 10m from the line.
Really gutted for him. I guess it was inevitable but to lose it so close to the line must really sting.
I agree. I just wish he'd pulled it off. Especially where he was down to 3 seconds and then stretched it out again to something like 11.
I don't know. Enlighten me ;-)
> I don't know. Enlighten me ;-)
After being awarded it for similar heroics, 'I was given the most aggressive rider award, generally given to the most spectacular loser...'
Yes. Though I wish it wasn't so......
And I'm sure Tony wishes the same.
What a cracking race this Vuelta is turning out to be.
Yes. I haven't seen today's stage yet but so far it has been quite the contest.
Shame Dan Martin lost time today, he's looked good so far
I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that the Vuelta is a much more interesting race than the tour.
Another superb days racing.
"Just who is that rider coming up behind? It looks like Roche!"
I read 'In Search of Robert Millar' over the summer and it was his policy to never tell people his plans in case he didn't come up trumps. Chris Horner is clearly not of that school of thought!
Looked like he needed an oxygen mask a bit more than his old dad...
He went deep and that's what we want to see.
So how good a time trialist is Horner? He doesn't seem to rate himself but that might be a bit of gamesmanship.
Are we all believing in Horner?
Dunno. He's not a rider thats really on my radar.
Just because he's a yank who happens to be around the same age as LA....
Yep, it's a bit unbelievable, but it's clear the other riders have underestimated him because he is not considered a threat.
> Are we all believing in Horner?
Oh you mean from a doping point of view? My policy is to wait until there's something other than empty speculation and innuendo.
> My policy is to wait until there's something other than empty speculation and innuendo.
Until then I just enjoy the spectacle
I hope it's all good but he couldn't have set off any more alarms if he'd shopping in the Argyle arcade wearing a stocking over his head and carrying a shot gun.
> I hope it's all good but he couldn't have set off any more alarms if he'd shopping in the Argyle arcade wearing a stocking over his head and carrying a shot gun.
Yep. So is he possibly doing so well because the field is now more even? At 41 he certainly came through the doping era but he wasn't that good then which suggests he was clean.
Seen speculation that Leipheimer testified against him to USADA, but his name was redacted to rider 15. Rider 15 was injured at the start of 2005, but used EPO to make his comeback in that years Tour de Suisse, which would match Horner.
Whether he is still doping now is another matter - I'd have less faith in Basso or Valv for example, who don't have an unsullied reputation to protect.
Horner has had a really interesting history. Many consider him the greatest 'wasted talent' that ever straddled a bike. For the majority of his career he lived on bacon hamburgers, beer, cola, candy, you name it. He didn't manage his weight, he didn't adhere to a strict training plan. He just rode his bike damn smart and damn hard up hills. He left the EU racing scene in '99 and returned to the US, where he enjoyed even more beer and 'burgers, because racing here domestically required even less fitness, so his raw talent gave him 'burger margin' to work with. Basically he was a slacker blessed with insane bike skills.
At some point, somebody go through to him and he started watching his diet, training in earnest, and it paid off. He shed a ton of weight, had more energy, and started killing it in races. But by then he was already late 30's, well past his potential prime. But what he has left over still, is pretty damn good.
As for whether he's juiced or not, I have no idea. I'd like to say no, since he's 41 and a doping conviction would burn all his racing for the past 20yrs - no chance for redemption like Valv. Also, the guy just doesn't seem like somebody that id forced to play by anybody else's rules- specifically the EU peloton. There has been a lot written about why he left European racing in '99, and a lot of it centered on him not wanting to dope, and that without doping at that time he had no hope of keeping pace with the peloton.
He's been strong as a bull for the bast 3-4 years... but hasn't gotten the big results either because of horrendous wrecks (Tour concussion where he didn't know where he was at and Bruyneel let him keep riding, or the Giro), or he was a domestique and forced to ride for others.
Whatever the case, the time he put in on Monday was exceptional for anyone. Honestly, I attribute most of it to the pack underestimating Horner. Hell, even if he was doping he shouldn't have been able to put that amount of time into those guys. I suspect the team managers just told them to let him go, figuring he's old and doesn't have the recovery needed for a GT win. We'll see.
I honestly hope you are right. I have no desire to think that he is doping.
He's down on Nibbles after the time trial so we will see how the next couple of weeks play out.
War of attrition today.
Well chuffed for Ratto
Nibbles possibly sealed it?
Horner holding on.
Shame for Roche.
Valverde now out of contention?
Intresting post. Cheers.
The race still providing much intrest everyday.
Don't envy the poor sods if today is like yesterday.
The organisers must be under a bit of pressure to shorten the stage. I hope they don't.
> Horner holding on.
Doing more than holding on I think.
> Doing more than holding on I think.
Yea, I meant holding on to a realistic chance.
Well it's all still to play for.
Spiced up nicely today.... maybe he's suffering from a cold after that nasty weather on saturday. Could get rather tight over the next few days
Brilliant racing. So much more engaging than the tour.
Nibbles seems to cope with bad weather better than most - look at his performance in the giro - so I don't think he'll be unduly worried about today.
Nonetheless it is shaping up to be the most exciting grand tour of the year. And if nibbles does hold on, a pretty impressive double.
Now its got really interesting!
I think its the best GT I've seen. As they said yesterday Horner has the momentum. Thrilling racing every day.
It's difficult I know, but I also find it troubling that there such be such hostility and suspicion should be levelled when the only evidence is performance, or rather performance at that age. OK we all know the LA mantra of "never failed a test" doesn't hold water, and there is also the rider 15 stuff, but I'd still prefer some solid evidence against him. I guess the big question is how much out of comp testing was he subjected to earlier in the year (when he was out injured) or did he benefit from being such an unlikely contender.
And he gives hope to 40-something bike riders called Chris everywhere !
Anyway, back to the race, what a thriller ! Nibbles looks cooked and presumably is paying for his efforts earlier in the year. It would have been a remarkable double if he'd managed it, but the way things are going I could see him dropping out of the top three on the Angliru. Mind you Valv and Rodriguez are both suffering as well, lets not forget they were 8th and 3rd in the tour. Maybe that explains why Horner is doing so well.
BTW good to see Adam Hansen 3rd yesterday - on his way to finishing all 3 tours for the second year running.
> ...but I'd still prefer some solid evidence against him.
As would I. There's certainly no vitriol from me it's just hard to shake the doubts once they're there. It's not necessarily the riding away but the way he's recovering in a 3 week race and being on the sharp end day in day out. He hasn't had a bad five minutes yet, let alone a day. There's opinions on both sides as to whether not having races in your legs will mean you are fresher or not tuned up to the right level. Contador, Evans, Schleck have all had difficulty coming back after a long illness or injury lay off and being up there on the big climbs. However on the other side of the argument is fatigue from riding grand tours already this season. And then you have Hansen finishing third after six in a row. Comes back to needing hard evidence for sure.
Anyway! I don't want to bring this thread down, the next couple of days should be brilliant and I'm looking forward to the stages immensely. I want to put my doubts aside and enjoy the battle royale. Bring it on!
The case against http://velocast.cc/the-problem-with-chris-horner
Witness for the defence http://cyclingtips.com.au/2013/09/cam-wurfs-vuelta-diary-new-buddy-in-the-bunch/
It is possible that he has spent his entire (long) career riding clean and being beaten by cheats, and when he finally gets a level playing field and the chance to shine, no one believes him
Possible but unlikely
Thanks for posting, depressing as that first article is. Is there any info on how much has the peleton actually slowed down - times up climbs - compared to the years when Horner coudn't get near the front? (I know there must be, just don't have time now to find it...)
And whatever, the part of my brain that asks questions switches off when I'm watching the race.
> The case against http://velocast.cc/the-problem-with-chris-horner
Age is a / the main issue highlighted here. And it does seem to be a pretty basic point - could a 42 year old in a sport which draws on leading athletes from all over the world beat people in their physical prime of life? I know we have a 42 year old leading the UK sport climbing scene, but the UK is a small nation focused as much or more on trad and bouldering (stopping, or starting (?) a diversion there).
Anyway, to keep it on Horner, is there data on the 'expected' decline in cycling by age? In running there are those age calculator things that competitive oldies like. Over a short distance the decline is anything up to 10% in running by age 42, more like 5% for longer distances. If, for the sake of argument, the decline was 7% for the Vuelta (stamina combined with power up the hills) we'd need Horner to be bucking that which seems pretty unlikely given the talent pool. But then maybe cycling isn't like running?
We are in the year 2013, with gobs of information at our disposal. It should be fairly easy for these doubting websites to dig up enough data from Horner's past performances to make a concrete case that his current performance is an outlier. Without such data, their statements are just opinions... opinions coming from sources who benefit from page hits, views, links, etc.
The kicker is maybe they've already done the analysis and discovered that, wow, the peloton isn't hitting crazy speeds at this Vuelta. Whereas Nibali rode well above his historical mean performance at the Giro (but still within x standard deviations of his mean), in the later half of this Vuelta he is well below. Perhaps all the full-season racers are just at their mean, not in their upper tail, while a well rested Horner is. But that doesn't make for a good story in this day and age. Reporters and websites might groan at the PED epidemic, but I suspect they actually thrive on the controversy, and they hunger for the big scoop of uncovering someone's dirty laundry.
I can't say that Horner's clean, I can't say that he's dirty. But I can say that without data, these websites are just spouting stories.
Looking forward to tomorrow's stage. Hopefully it's straight up racing... no mechanicals, no fans punching riders, no wrecks.... just grit.
there is nothing to say anything other than clean so thats it as far as im concerned.
anyway,brilliant finish today
tomorrow will finish off anyone who is struggling.pity im on a 12 hour shift and we dont have sky
Riders just dont go through a grand tour without having one bad episode/day/mountain, its a little hard to believe its possible for a 42yr to fly in the face of that.
Really hope he is clean though
As a follow up, here are some numbers published in Velonews. I definitely believe Brailsford in saying that watts are hard to calculate without a meter, or a baseline for that specific rider... but wow...
> Riders just don't go through a grand tour without having one bad episode/day/mountain, its a little hard to believe its possible for a 42yr to fly in the face of that.
Armstrong certainly did. (but of course he wasn't 42)
> Armstrong certainly did.
Well yes,that's somewhat the point isn't it!
Well, if Obree can haul in another world record at his age.....
Looks time for a bit of maturity to shine trhough perhaps.
Was it my imagination or did Jensie have a wee tear in his eye?
A superb victory.
Perhaps not given his later comments about Elissonde.
Fantastic racing today, a lot more entertaining than TdF
The most dramatic grand tour for years, quite unbelievable....unfortunately
That was awesome. I really enjoyed it and I hope things stay this way to the finish.
> I hope things stay this way to the finish.
It wont change now. Last stage is procession.
Did anyone notice the Astana rider take a bottle from his soigneur, look at it and throw it away in disgust? Wondered what that was about. You can't imagine it was empty, so maybe the wrong type of liquid, but he didn't even take a swig.
I'm guessing there was a bit of comms breakdown, asked for a machiato, got an americano?
(I assume the bottles are coded in some way, w= water g= glucos etc.)
Didn't spot that! Obviously confused Horner for a tent peg:)
Yeah, the mist made it very atmospheric. Could almost been back in the 70's with wooly jumpers and steel frames. I half expected to see Eddy Merckx in among the top five...
Done and dusted now. Really pleased for the guy, I guess he didn't need Cancellara in the end.
Maybe not quite done and dusted. There's a report that Horner missed an unscheduled doping control in the hours after the end of the race. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/report-horner-misses-post-vuelta-anti-doping-test
I do hope there's nothing untoward regarding the missed test. It was a fabulous race this year, and Chapeau to a 'vet' for winning.
I guess in the hours following the race, with all the media and post race parties etc it's quite easy for him to have omitted to tell the authorities of any last minute change of whereabouts.
There's something really odd about this - par for the rest of the race
Team state that Horner did update his whereabouts (he wanted to spend the night with his wife !) and that testers used old info and went to the wrong hotel.
But why was Horner picked for an out-of-comp test by USADA on the first day after the vuelta ? Correct me if I'm wrong, but as race leader/winner he would have been tested on Sat and Sun. Is it that USADA don't trust Vuelta/UCI testing ? Or did they want to test Horner as soon as they could? Maybe they realise that they should have been target testing Horner a bit more than they have been ? Or maybe they have been ?
I really don't believe it is possible to dope effectively during a race if you are anywhere near the lead, but is it possible to get past the biological passport system if there is a lack of data? i.e. if you're such an outsider, and have hardly raced, that you haven't been tested much.
A beautiful notion, but seems unlikely to me to be true. I dare say the system has changed a bit, but it never seemed to stop LA.
Explanation given here http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/radioshack-leopard-publishes-horners-whereabouts-update-email
Seems like the Spanish authorities / media might have been trying to create a bit of a fuss to cover up their own ineptitude -- but surely that can't be the case!
Oh FFS John, stop harking back to LA, he was a completely different generation...oh hold on :)
Yes it's a pity we don't know all the tricks LA and others used, and it's a pity that we don't feel we can trust either the UCI or the Spanish authorities to deal with the past effectively. However I do believe there is far,far more testing now than previously, both in and out of competition, and that you can't simply avoid a test by hiding on the floor. New drugs will come along but long-term storage of samples is taken seriously. Yep there's still microdosing and blood doping, but again the bio passport and the no-needles policy are there to counteract that.
Meanwhile, did anyone notice the unexplained omission from Croatia's Davis Cup team at the weekend ?
Chris Horner has re-instated my belief in Father Christmas after Lance Armstrong destroyed it. Until I get hard evidence to the contrary then that's the way it will stay.
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