2006 Road Race Season : Reflections

Discussion in 'Professional Cycling' started by limerickman, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Now that the 2006 Protour has concluded with the Bettini winning the Giro di Lombardia : what are the impressions of fans here as regards this season?

    Some of the performances this season by a select group of riders were very impressive.
    Tom Boonen's Paris Roubaix and Tour of Flanders results were super performances.
    Similiarly, Alejandro Valverde's results at Fleche and LBL bettered that of Boonen.
    Fabian Cancellara's P-R win - it too was superb.
    Paolo Bettini's world road race title and his win at Lombardia capped another memorable season for the Italian.

    Basso's performance at the Giro - where he won by over 9 minutes - is tempered by the accusations levelled through OP.

    The fallout from the TDF and Landis positive test result seriously damaged the sports credibility.

    A difficult season to sum up in many ways : some superb performances but as a fan Ifeel short changed given OP and the TDF scandal.
     
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  2. JRMDC

    JRMDC New Member

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    Putting aside doping issues - how much more can be written, even in summary? - to me the most notable dimension was the emergence of new names, or rather their rising to the highest level. I suppose there are such every year, but to me it's Sanchez and Schleck and the like that made the season interesting and special.
     
  3. jonjungel

    jonjungel New Member

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    A couple of things come to mind...

    This years Vuelta was quite memorable, IMO. It was an exciting race in itself, but I really remember it as Astana's coming out party. It's been a long time since a team had two podium places in a grand tour. I'm not counting Simoni and Cunego as they weren't exactly cooperating :).

    If it hadn't been for Puerto, we would still have had flaming discussions over the train incident in P-R...

    A positive surprise that remnants of a breakaway won Paris-Tours. It made the race worth watching, instead of just the final kilometers.
    If only it had been Arvesen! :mad:

    I think stage 13 in the tour where Pereiro took the yellow jersey, has been burnt into the memory of many a DS, especially those in T-Mobile and CSC. Without doubt this years worst tactical error.
     
  4. cyclingheroes

    cyclingheroes New Member

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    I am glad that the season is over, for the first time since i start to follow cycling as a kid.

    Highlights of the season Kashechin, Fränk Schleck and Sanchez. But there was always this shadow..

    I feel cheated on the Tour and hope that McQuaid and Verbruggen will soon be history.
     
  5. wolfix

    wolfix New Member

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    Boonen represented the rainbow jersey with class.
    Bettini will make a great world champion in 2007.
    Cycling is a disjointed sport with no steering leadership.
    WADA's intent is good, poor leadership.
    Giro may be emerging as the premier Grand Tour.
    Chris Horner fell short of my expectations.
    I fell short of my expectations.
    My interest in cycling is waning because of the chaos.
     
  6. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    I agree with all of the views expressed.
    I should have included Sanchez and Schleck's names too.
    They had a superb season also.
     
  7. Capt.Injury

    Capt.Injury New Member

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    The emergence of the youth I think has to be the highlight of the season. NOt only the names mentioned, but also dont forget:

    Gilbert's brilliant win in Het Volk,

    Ballan's emergence as a contender in the classics (I beleive he finished Top 12 in MSR, RVV, Paris Roubaix, and one of the Ardennes classics)

    Vladimir Gusev has made several strides for Discovery.

    Valverde's breakthrough with the Ardennes double. I know we have talked about Valverde for a while, but all of his major successses had been in the Grand Tours until now.


    Also, some of the older riders had a fantastic years:

    Zabel showed he had it still with 2 Vuelta victories, a 2nd in the World's, and eventhough he didn't win any stages, in the Tour of Qatar, he finished 2nd in I believe all 5 stages, 4 of them to A completely on fire at the time Tom Boonen.

    Jens Voigt with his dominance in the Tour of Germany, and other races in the motnh after the TDF.

    Levi Leipheimer, eventhough despite the disappointment in the TDF, had a solid TDG, and he also won Dauphine LIbre, which is a nice addition to ones palmares.
     
  8. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Agreed.

    LL had a storming season, I think.
    The guy has performed consistently and is a credit to US cycling, in my opinion.
    M
     
  9. save_ferris

    save_ferris New Member

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    Carlos Sastre was one of the men of the season for me, having rode and completed all 3 GT's, placing 4th in 2 of them - that's no mean feat.

    Also, Vino's first GT win at La Vuelta was pretty damn good.
     
  10. guncha

    guncha New Member

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    Good thing- Basso and Jan out of TDF. Great Vuelta by Vino and Astana.
    Bad thing- Landis got caught. Boring Giro because of overdoped Basso.
     
  11. kiwivelo

    kiwivelo New Member

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    Good thing: They way the organisers of the Giro and Vuelta set out there routes. They are prepared to think outside the square to spice the race up, unlike the ASO who roll out predictable courses year after year. Lets hope the announcement for the 2007 course offers something special.

    Zabel:proving age is no barrier.

    Vino: Winning the Vuelta in style.

    Landis: Winning the tour in style......(but awaiting drugs verdict).

    Greg Henderson:Signing to T-Mobile! Maybe the first NZ "protected rider" on the pro tour circuit?.

    Bad Thing: Bad press on the drug problem when other sports who have a well entrenched and probably worse drug culture slip under the radar.
     
  12. rule62

    rule62 New Member

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    Sure thought McEwen put together a nice year.
     
  13. helmutRoole2

    helmutRoole2 New Member

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    Hendi is the real deal. I'd be surprised if he doesn't deliver the goods in Europe. I saw him race in Oregon this year at the Hood Cycling Classic and did he ever look strong. A real pro rider.
     
  14. lwedge

    lwedge New Member

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    Boy, I hate getting to the Forum late. There is no thunder left in the thunder rack. :D


    Well, put. I would add Robbie McEwen's performance this year as well.


    And from a local perspective - I would like to add the kick off of the Tour of California. I hope this event sticks and stays.

    lw
     
  15. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    By all accounts the ToC was deemed to be a great success : it's place in the cycling calendar makes it a very attractive event.
    And I agree - it's a good story in what has been a turbulent 06.
     
  16. Eagle of Toledo

    Eagle of Toledo New Member

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    For me Bettini's Lombardy win was very poignant, moving in fact.

    Vinos gutsy ride in my mother country's GT was exciting viewing. Naturally enough I was hoping Alejandro would win but I have to admit Vino was the better man on this occasion. It was a good Vuelta, I may ask my bro living there to send me the DVD.

    Landis' hauling back that huge deficit in the TDF was amazing, but as someone else said before I'm also reserving my judgement until the matter is resolved completely.

    Zabel's 2nd place at the world's, well what can you say, just true class.
     
  17. Catabolic_Jones

    Catabolic_Jones New Member

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    Emergence of Schleck, Kasheshkin (sp?) and Sanchez stirred me. Loved seeing Vino's first GT win; he may be the odds-on for the Tour next year if Ullrich and Basso are not riding. Pereiro's Tour was wonderful. I do not expect a repeat for him, however.

    Boonen and Bettini were, as expected, brilliant. Valverde, most of all, surprised me. I thought perhaps the buzz was unjustified; I was proved wrong. I am still not convinced of his 3-week strength, however.

    The overwhelming feeling from the season, though, is one of disappointment. I am not sure cycling can go lower. I hope for some permanent change; and, given the ubiquity of the problem, I am firmly resolved that severe interference with rider's privacy is the only way to solve this problem; it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make as a fan.
     
  18. tcklyde

    tcklyde New Member

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    This season ended my interest in cycling as a sport.

    I had suspected for awhile that doping was prevalent. I foolishly ignored it. No more: This season made it obvious. We've yet to see a rider come forward and own up to the crisis the sport faces. The cyclists I admired have been exposed as cheats and liars and men of little integrity. I wouldn't want my family to be involved in this deeply cynical and corrupt sport.

    Why follow cycling? While some wins may in fact be accomplished clean, the fans will have no way to tell. No rider can be considered beyond reproach. No one is naming names.

    I'm still interested in cycling, but only as a tragic opera. The actual races are farces.
     
  19. helmutRoole2

    helmutRoole2 New Member

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    I agree to a point. On one hand, doping in cycling is prevalent, but it's impossible for me to ignore the athleticism displayed. Mastering a road bike is an athletic feat on par with gymnastics. The bicycle is an apparatus in motion, the rider guiding it. I'll always appreciate cycling as a sport from that perspective.

    The doping... on the surface you might not think that it increases athleticism. I used to think that, but I recently watched some race footage of Hamilton at the 1996 Fitchburg Classic in Pennsylvania, USA. The way he controlled his machine has vastly changed since then. I believe the PEDs created unnatural power outputs in his pedal stroke. Okay, there is a mental aspect of athleticism and yes he figured out how to harness that power, but it's as if he's working with tools that otherwise he never would have had access to. So, now maybe I'm convincing myself that the athleticism aspect is also a farce.

    Anyway, the UCI and WADA have turned cycling into a soap by cracking down on drug use. I don't think you can have one without the other. There's either going to be rampant drug use with athletes exercising no restraint or you're going to have what we currently have, which is athletes using drugs under the supervision of dirty doctors AND the dramatic drug busts that go along with a sport policing itself. I'll take the later and I think over time the fans will too.

    The drugs will never go away. They'll always be a part of the sport, always have. If you can't accept drug use in sport then you can't be a fan of sport on the professional level. And maybe that's okay. There's plenty of other things to do, watch and get involved with.
     
  20. wolfix

    wolfix New Member

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    Excellent post...... Looking back at my interest in the sport I found myself more of a fan of US cycling. Not that it was better, simply because there was more media coverage available to me. Plus I could identify better with the riders. But then Lemond exploded upon the Euro scene bringing more US coverage. After Lemond I again lost interest because of the boring Indurain years. Ullrich and Pantani brought me back into the sport and Armstrong about the fourth year continued it.

    Now that we have excellent coverage of the European sport through the internet I have become more of a fan of Euro racing...... This year though, with the doping antics of all involved, I may be losing interest again.

    A sports fan is a sports fan..... I can watch other sports and enjoy them too... I even enjoy the last 10 minutes of a Nascar race. Competition is competition.....
     
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