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  • Andy B

    I cant help but feel froome came in to the tour underdone in the hope of doing the double.. my pick for sure

    • Michele

      Unfortunately you are correct.

      At least we had the Giro; great, unpredictable. chaotic, disorganised racing.

      • Bruso

        With such a great field and this terrain this Vuelta has everything to be unpredictable. I can’t believe sky will have the number to control so many stages.
        And another good thing, the main rival of Froome isnt Quintana and his manager lack of ambition. You have Contador, Nibali and Aru (all 3 are attacking riders). Even Chaves can play a card in this race because of is poor time trial he will have to gain time on the mountains. And remember that Froome wasn’t so great on the mountains at this year Tour de France.
        I bet this is going to be the best GT of the year.

        • CyclingCraze

          I hope Zakarin cracks the top 3.
          With a 40K TT, its Froome’s race to lose.

          • Yeah, that’s how I feel too. I reckon the big GC contenders are all pretty close when it comes to climbing ability, but there’s a reasonably sizeable gap from Froome to the others in the TT.

          • rocktheboat

            Zakarin?! Really? A banned doping cheat for steroids. How would that be good?

    • xrt15fzd

      That’s what they said about Quintana after the Giro.

      The reality is that Froome is 32 and past his physical prime. He’s still the clear favourite though. This Vuelta features a lot of igc strength in depth, but no genuine rivals for Froome. He’s facing veterans and relatively young gc riders.

      The age group that should be challenging him, 28-31 year olds, hasn’t produced any grand tour winners. We’ve gone from Contador, Froome and Nibali, straight to Quintana, Aru and Dumoulin.

      • Webbovich

        Agree with Quintana sentiment – he was stale and flat post Giro. Much like all recent attempts to do the giro-tour double. Since the Vuelta is close to the Tour, it would seem that a similar problem exists for riders, with the saviour being a lesser quality field for the second race, when legs are heavy from the first race.

        The heavy legs makes me rule out Yates, Contador and Aru. Froome (at his physical prime and stated he changed training to attempt the double) has previously shown heavy legs on his way to three 3nd places, much like Cadels attempts at the Vuelta. Yes, one was more to do with a noticeable absence of neutral support… Chaves also rode le tour, but for fitness, which is much different. This will work in his favour.

        Those riders coming to the Vuelta without le tour in the legs will be at an advantage. Of that group, Nibali has excellent heritage and years left. Yates, the other, has a 4th at le tour, so can ride.

        So, Nibali for the win, Chaves second and Froome third. Yates fourth.

      • Steve S

        With respect, I don’t think Froome is past his prime. World’s most boring team, yes, but with sports science at the level it is and athletes living cleanly all their lives I think athletes in other sports have proved that reaching your early thirties is no longer a problem.

        • xrt15fzd

          His riding this year, and last year, is not a shade on his riding in 2013, when he was 28. That was an impressive victory and his strongest year in general.

          Since then his victories have become less and less about his strength, and more and more about team strength, experience, and a lack of credible rivals produced by the yearly cohorts after his.

          There’s been no grand tour winner produced by the birth years between 1985 (Nibali and Froome) and 1990 (Quintana, Aru, and Dumoulin). But with those riders nearing their physical prime, it would be pretty dubious for Froome to stay competitive.

          Edit: actually Nibali was born in 1984.

          • Steve

            the caveat i’d say to everyone saying froome is past his prime….. he started later (pro at 22) this may delay the inevitable

  • ninja

    TVG with GC ambitions again… (shakes head)

    Hope he does himself a favor and aims for stages.

    Keen to see how Lachie Morton goes, and fingers crossed Hansen makes it to Madrid!

    • I really do hope TVG is more focused on stage wins. I think he could win a couple this year if he really wants to focus his effort.

    • Big J

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Sean

      TJVG has shown a lot of promise over the years, the kid has matured into one of the finest GC riders of his generation. If he gets enough support from his team, he could pull off the win.

      • I think that is the point. Some people including readers here, feel he hasn’t matured post circa 2011, in a way required to be legit grand tour contender.

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