Re: Stage 16 TDF - Wednesday, July 25: Orthez - Gourette - Col d’Aubisque, 218.5km
Andrew - nicely put. There are many forum members who seem to believe that to win a race or Tour you have to prove your credentials by leading from the front and/or attacking. Nonsense. Most attacks are meaningless and are done for the 5 mins of free TV publicity the team sponsors get. Most attackers are sucked up and blown out the back of the peloton - anyone remember Bradley Wiggin´s noble effort? Did anyone benefit from that other than his sponsor?
Many TdF winners rode conservatively and won by having the ability to time trial fast and be good at damage limitation in the mountains. Now that Vino has been removed from the equation, doesn´t that mirror Cadel Evans' race so far? He won the ITT and should beat Contador and Ras in the next one too.
No question, he is not the complete cyclist but not being able to match the pure climbing speed of Ras or Contador does not make him a wheelsucker. If the best you can do in those situations is hang on then that´s what you do - that´s good tactics. Launching a suicide attack is naive in the extreme when you know you can´t win.
The other point to consider is of course who, or what, he is up against. If, as suspected, Ras and Contador are running on chemically enhanced fuel while he is running on normal unleaded then that is probably the main reason he has to sit behind them. EPO, for example, is reputed to give the individual rider anywhere between a 7-12 % improvement. It allows the rider to ride harder and faster without feeling the distress that he normally would and also allows him to recover faster. Evans is like a great road-production car - fast and reliable. But put him in a race against souped-up, customised, nitrogen fuel powered dragsters and, well, the result is a formality.
Originally Posted by Andrew76
I agree that neither Cadel or Levi have the killer instinct or the ability to launch big attacks. That is why they wont win the Tour, this year or probably any other.
But, I think if we are going to metion those guys, there are plenty of other so-called "wheelsuckers".
The guys doing the real work have been guys like Boogerd and Popo, whilst the entire top 10 "wheelsucked" behind them.
Ras, apart from one breakaway and trying to chase Contador has "wheelsucked". Soler, apart from one breakaway has "wheelsucked". At the times of their breakways, no one thought Ras or Soler were GC threats, so did not chase them, hence they could get away with it. Anyone else (inc Levi and Cadel) would not be allowed to get away as they are seen as contenders, so apart from launching late and devastating attacks, they are limited in what they can do.
Sastre, Kloden, Valverde, Vino (before he lost time) and Menchov have not been sighted on the front of the group any more or any less than Cadel and Levi. At various times, Cadel has led the group - over the Peyresourde, up the last hill on the stage that Soler won etc.
If all the wheelsucking brigade are hanging their hats on is the stage when Moreau attacked, then again why would any of the other riders help a guy who attacked them six times in the first 3km of the climb?
The only true "non-wheelsucker" (according to the definition being used loosely in this forum) in the group is Contador as he has been the only real attacking rider when he has had other GC contenders around him. But when he is not attacking, I have bad news for you folks - he is wheelsucking too!