The BBC coverage of the men's road race is available on the iPlayer for 28 days. I thought it was a good finish and that final climb looked a right beast. I'm not convinced the result wasn't a bit too good to be true though.
> I'm not convinced the result wasn't a bit too good to be true though.
I am lost in my love for and admiration of that man.
Good summaries (as ever) from Cosmo
The women's race was rather boring but had a very worthwhile winner, whilst the men's race was very exciting but.....
The problem is that I don't believe in life bans and it is now 12 years since Puerto and 8 since he was banned. OK he has never confessed, but he has served his time and lets face it, he was racing in an era when you might as well retire if you didn't dope. And if he's allowed to race, he's allowed to win
The women’s race was exciting until about 40km to go. Anniemiek van Vleuten broke her knee is a fairly early crash and still came 7th. She’s superhuman. van der Breggen was imperious.
The men’s race was brilliant. Really exciting. Moscon nearly had to unclip on the Hell Climb. Would Bardet drop them on the descent? Could Dumoulin catch them? If he did, could he blow straight past? Would it be hundredth time lucky for Valverde? What could Woods do?
Not sure about the result for the image of the sport though. Good 38 year olds shouldn’t beat good 20-somethings. You have to wonder about the afterglow of years of doped training.
Brutal course!!! Not keen on Valverde... but that is based on his history....although I have some respect for him as I saw him at the TDF a few years ago signing loads of autographs and spending proper time with some fans before that days stage started....it was above and beyond all the other riders there!
A win for Valverde is a loss for cycling.
He seems a decent guy and a great, exciting racer.
A good 38 year old will nearly always beat his(or her?) 20 year old self. Cycling isn't running or other sports with high body wear and fatigue injury issues.
Look at previous results... cyclists peak in their mid to late 30s in most cases (obviously there are exceptions)
I get your insinuation though... I've never liked the way AV seems to be always on form - that is exceptional but s others have said if he's allowed to race then he's allowed to win
> He seems a decent guy and a great, exciting racer.
Seems to me like an utterly unrepentant doper and a throwback to an era we'd all like to see the back of.
Dumoulin and Bardet are 27, Woods about 29 I think. None are under-developed youths.
And a nice guy and an exciting racer. I’d have preferred one of the other 3 to win though.
I suspect there is a long-term effect from doping.
> I suspect there is a long-term effect from doping.
I suspect he's still reaping the short term effects too.
Yes, you're quite right, there's no hard evidence he's still doping. For me though, his history, current performances and my lack of faith in the system has turned me against him.
Oddly, and probably a bit inconsistently I didn't feel the same about Contador. Mainly because although he was similarly unrepentant his performances post-ban were much more erratic and believable than Valverde's and his own pre-ban.
I don’t think it’s possible to watch bike racing over a number of years and remain consistent. I think I just watch and accept it's legit until I see proof or strong suspicion to the contrary. I’m a bit on the fence with Valverde, because I like him and his style of racing while seeing cause for suspicion, and of course being aware of his history.
That's pretty much where I'm at. Apart from the 'on the fence with Valverde' bit!
And they'll come in to their own in about 5 years (maybe less). But that's kind of my point, in athletics for example the peak seems younger. Although in many sports we are seeing ages creep up - presumably due to better injury advice/recovery rates, better understanding of wider health, mental and nutritional factors and the like (plus a little doping here and there)
I’d have been far more suspicious had he won the Vuelta, but yet again he weakened as soon as the altitude approached 2000m. Now given how important that race is to him, and to his team, and given the suspicions that lurk over Spanish testing, if he was able to play the system, then that’s where he would do it.
Now i’m not saying that that he didn’t also crave the worlds, and that anti-doping isn’t impossible to evade, but he didn’t exactly hide in the Vuelta, and was on the podium collecting one jersey or another on pretty much every day. And that means being tested every day
For me its the constant year round appearances on the front of races and podiums etc that makes me concerned. (even tho it means more tests.... remind me how many Lance passed?)
Froome concerns me less as he has periods when he is recuperating and/or clearly out of form. I'm suspicious of year round form though, and I'd have been surprised if he had been able to win the tdf this year.
Yes but the Vuelta's an old mans race, Chris Horner was nearly 42 wasn't he when he won in 2013.
> The women’s race was exciting until about 40km to go. Anniemiek van Vleuten broke her knee is a fairly early crash and still came 7th. She’s superhuman. van der Breggen was imperious.
I watched it via BBC iPlayer in the evening, but almost as soon as live coverage started, AVB went clear and it was pretty obvious that that was that. In fact the only question was whether van Dijk and van Vleuten would complete the podium, but the crashes put paid to that. No disrespect to the riders, but it does show the lack of depth in the women’s peloton
for all the calls that women should race the same course as the men, this year seems to indicate that far more investment is required in the women’s side first.
> Yes but the Vuelta's an old mans race, Chris Horner was nearly 42 wasn't he when he won in 2013.
Nothing suspicious about that performance at all. ;)
> Dumoulin and Bardet are 27, Woods about 29 I think. None are under-developed youths.
I certainly don’t think Woods has reached his peak yet, he’s only been in sport for a few years. Dumoulin did incredibly well given the season he’s had and where his speciality lies. And as for Bardet, well he’s French and wasn’t even their best bet.
but this does appear to be one of the hardest one-day races in recent years, the distance of MSR, the climbing of LBL and the gradients of RVV, so there was a considerable degree of the unknown about it.
And let’s not forget Fausto Coppi
”Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill”
I think AvV would have won if she hadn’t crashed and broke her knee. I saw her a couple of weeks ago in the Swiss Alps absolutely flying uphill on her TT bike.
It’s a tricky one regarding the course - I think the voices calling vociferously for the same course, same length etc either have an equality at all costs agenda, or would be best suited by it. The more moderate voices don’t get the airtime. Christine Majerus wrote a good piece on it recently. I think the sport probably needs to evolve gradually to that position.
> I think the voices calling vociferously for the same course, same length etc either have an equality at all costs agenda
But what would be the costs? Being less of a spectacle because of the dominance of a few individuals would be less exciting to watch, but that's effectively punishing them for everyone else not being as good
I’m talking more broadly than just the world champs course, and courses in general. I’m referring to say, the women’s TDF being the same as the men’s, same pay and prize money etc. I guess the costs would be more neutralised racing, fewer riders in contention, teams going bust, races not being put on. It’s complicated. Rochelle Gilmore is interesting to listen to on the subject, Christine Majerus wrote an interesting piece that a lot of the riders re-tweeted and supported, including Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who I think is a wise head. I see your point though, and the aim should be parity, I just think for several reasons it needs to evolve to that point.
On a specific point, being less exciting to watch is a big issue for a sport, which as a whole, has lack of exposure as the biggest problem. Women’s cycling has unique qualities compared to men’s, which risk being neutralised by being simply a female version of the more established men’s sport.
The comment I've heard a few times is "We need equality. Women don't run shorter marathons, so why should they ride shorter races"
To me this is well-intentioned but mis-guided. I believe Cookson ensured equal prize money at the worlds, but there is still one category missing (u-23) for women, which should be addressed. However of far greater importance is to use this as an opportunity to showcase that women's cycling can be every bit as exciting as the mens, on one of the few occasions in the year when they will get equal coverage.
Now the irony is that women's racing is often more exciting - shorter stages, less predictable, less of a big bunch leading to a sprint - but such races rarely get seen.
So rather than trying to bring about parity between the courses, which will either be too selective for the women or not selective enough for the men, they should focus on simply making both as exciting as possible.
Although the winner will still be in orange...
Agree on all counts.
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