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So how does it feel? - the Valverde thread
« on: October 01, 2018, 20:19 »
*es Alejandro Valverde just won the World Championship. He is a rider that have been involved with doping in the past, but all evidence suggests that's a while ago already. He was suspended, but never showed any regret. In the past few years, he has been the regular near the top of the list with a good number of good wins, but maybe not so many great wins. He has featured in many kinds of races, but now I guess we can conclude forever that his real home turf is one-day races with lots of up and down.

There are those that argue at his age he must still have some secret potion to keep him going but I don't really buy into that. From other endurance sports I am used to seeing even older athletes performing at an even higher level in their sport, and we all remember Chris Horner.

One difference between Horner and the Valverde of the past few years is that Valverde has been good, but his "unbeatable" nickname (imbatible) always rung hollow to me. He always find a way to screw up a grand tour and it usually involves Valverde being physically inferior to opponents. It is seldom a tactical screw up, although TdF 2013 perhaps could count as the exception. More often I have seen Valverde winning a race by tactically managing the race to his advantage, this often involves wheelsucking and a sprint although there are others that have followed even more wheels and done even less before the sprint that have avoided the same words as innuendos thrown at them.

In many ways, the Innsbruck win was nothing but a seasoned racer in his niche, outmanouvering a younger, stronger climber and a rather inexperienced (by comparison) former track runner, plus one big champion totally out of gas at the point of decision. I don't feel this win needs any secret potion or NASA/MI7-grade secret engine powered by a miniature nuclear reactor to be explained. I don't see a reason to believe the world champion cheated his way to victory yesterday.

Yet despite not feeling any internet rage burning within me at his win, I can't help feeling not that exited about it either. It was much easier to celebrate *sk Peter Sagan's third championship last year, even if he beat my personal favorite by inches. (See you next year about that ;) And his second, even if there wasn't anyone there to witness it  :P And his first - no, actully the first and the second was worst because both involved major tactical screw-up from the *no team. Rui Costa possibly falls into the same category as Valverde but at the time when he won, I didn't have a preconception about him (I didn't follow cycling so eagerly back then).

Anyway, I think I am going to fell like almost nothing when I see the #rainbow next year. Valverde may have deserved the win, but he doesn't really deserve or get my admiration in the same way as any of the others that tried to sprint would do. And that bothers me. I am not naive, I know that some cheaters will slip through the net of anti-doping controls and regulations, but I am also against a society where unsupported allegations are lobbed at everyone having success at just about anything. I also believe that after all sports are hardly the most important thing on the planet and that rule-breakers should go free and not be burdened by their past after the sentence is served.

Yet I don't really feel enthousiasm at the thought of Valverde in #rainbow. It won't look good on him. The very minimum they can do, is give him a black one!   :D Anyway, what d'ya all feel about Valverde as the world champ?
 
1) yes, finally! it is his turn now, can't wait for the auographed #rainbows I pre-ordered in 2008  2) meh 3) the spanish cheater needs to burn in hell immediately 4)just too much wheelsucking no burn in hell 5) just too much doping and it was höll not hell
As always I appreciate your explanations, more than just a vote, so this isn't a poll!

EDIT: https://dopeology.org/people/Alejandro_Valverde/ for those that need more details
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  • « Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 10:26 by LukasCPH, Reason: clarified thread title »

    LukasCPH

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #1 on: October 01, 2018, 22:56 »
    Michael Woods won bronze! :win
    That makes me happy. :)

    As for the rest ... :-x
    I guess "2) meh" fits it best.
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    Francois the Postman

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #2 on: October 02, 2018, 01:47 »
    You know, I am totally fine with it. Pleased even, tbh. Not on an elation level that would have been triggered by Flecha winning Paris-Roubaix (‘my’ one that got away), but chuffed enough. 

    Given his career to date, which included 121 wins including 6 (six!) WC silver and bronze podium places, his racing style which does rely on his sprint prowess, but also included all or nothing gambles from further out when it seemed the more fruitful approach, the long and obvious emotional and physical commitment to add this particular medal to his 121 wins (on pretty much the last chance he will get), and glancing over the names which are on the WC winners list already… not seeing the name Valverde at least once would have left an unfixable gap, for me. And that is 122 wins and counting after getting slapped with a well-deserved 2-year doping ban.

    He’s one of cycling's grand masters. The name Valverde ought to feature in every list that names the best classic riders of all time. And he's quite a GC rider too, usually bringing more entertainment to the progression of whatever Grand Tour he is ridoig than can be squeezed out of the "pure" GT-only riders. I always enjoy seeing his name on a starting list, and I will certainly miss him when he retires. If his retirment had come without ever having worn a WC jersey, for a rider of his class, it would be nothing short of criminal.

    I actually have to remind myself frequently he has only been around since the early 2000s. Valverde is a rider who I associate with another era altogether. I would have loved to see him race in the 70s and early 80s. Likewise with Contador. Riders born with a love for the sport and its history, but also born at the wrong point in our sport’s development curve. I suspect he has 122 wins despite team radios and power meters, not because of them. Unlike some. And think of the entertainment he couldn't unleash because technology is far too effective at stopping his more intuitive but untamed spirit. But it won't stop him trying. One of the few who consistently takes on Sky regardless of what the power meters say.

    I am well aware of Valverde’s doping history, and his unapologetic attitude. Given where cycling has been, and the depth and spread of the rot, I can actually stomach that stance far better than the pious and sanctimonious drivel from far too many riders/teams/organisations who all went through it before him, with him, and/or after him. Just like I judge transgressions by those who preach family values harsher than lapses by people who embrace the more live-and-let-live world, or remain mute on the subject. I have never had much time for loud pretenders and preachers who far too often reveal issues requiring better answers than they are willing to give after even the thinnest of surface scratches.

    On top, after a few years of daring to dream, recent behaviour from WADA and the UCI have put me firmly back in the “test whatever you deem testable and test-worthy to a half-decent extent to make the worst transgressors work hard(er) to be exposed as the cheats they are, in the meantime I am just gonna enjoy cycling for what it is” camp. It got me through the nineties and the noughties. It will do it once again. Life is too short.

    I have long given up on any hope that top sport will ever become doping free, or that the key organisations are really giving it their all in an attempt to make it so.  Money and politics, money and politics, money and politics. In a world where Russia is welcomed back to the Olympics already, existing explicit limits on the books are suddenly ignored because 'Froome', I am having exactly zero trouble enjoying a victory by someone who has entertained me for years on end, across the classics and grand tours alike, riding with the sort of tech-averse panache that is hard to find in the modern peloton.

    I also think of the WC as the Oscars of Cycling, with its medals coveted accolades that should be earned in a final showdown by only a special few. Those in or near the twilight of outstanding careers. Winning the Worlds ought to be reserved for riders who have earned their stripes and left plenty skin on the road over the years, so to speak. I don’t like it when young riders win it. It feels out of place. Let them ride in support for a bit and prove themselves worthy over years!

    Of all the people who could have walked away with that jersey on their shoulders this time, Valverde, to me, is one of the more welcome ones. You will struggle to find someone who will wear it with more pride than him. I have no doubt he will try his darnedest to do it justice (and make sure Movistar keeps their grubby designer hands well away from it).

    I look forward to next season, and see the jersey shine on the back of a rider who is always willing to race a race to win it, or fail miserably trying.

    As an exception, this time, I would have enjoyed a Danish win too. For a veloroomie, no other reason than that! For the same reason that Cadel Evans put a smile on my face for weeks when he won the TdF. I could not care less about Cadel if I tried. But simply because there was one guy on one cycling website who had faced the condescending hordes for years, never gave in (or up), and finally saw his dream come true against all odds, That he got one over on the 'expert' bunch, including myself, was just the cherry on a sweet cake. You know, that still makes me smile.
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  • « Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 02:46 by Francois the Postman »

    AG

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #3 on: October 02, 2018, 12:35 »
    I am actually ok with it too.

    I was actually happy when he won it.  While I would have liked Dumoulin to win it, I am well satisfied with Valverde in rainbows for a year - and for many of the reasons that FTP explained already.

    Does he have darkside issues?  yes, absolutely.  But so does everyone else at that level pretty much ... I have absolutely no faith whatsoever in WADA or the UCI to even assist in keeping a clean sport these days.

    Valverde races, he races hard all season long.  He doesnt just focus on the Tour and then finish his season - he rides from MSR in the spring until Lombardia in the fall ... and tries to win them all.

    This was something he desperately wanted with every fibre of his being .. its not just another acolade.  Not something secondary to winning the Tour or something - its everything to him.

    And I agree with FTP too that the WC should be restricted to those who have earned the right.  Being a 1 day race, sometimes you can get that fluke winner who has a great ride and all the cards fall his way on that 1 day ... and he wears rainbows forever.  It diminishes the value of the WC ... so its always that lottery in whether or not you will get a deserving champion.  With Valverde - he is deserving.

    So - How does it feel having Valverde as our world champion?   to me it feels right.
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  • Kiwirider

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #4 on: October 02, 2018, 23:45 »
    For me it has to be 2) Meh ...

    That's based basically on the fact that, as someone living close to Ottawa, I know people who are friends of Mike Woods and some of their enthusiasm for him has worn off on me!!    :cool :cool :cool

    But even that enthusiasm is part support for Woods himself ... and partly based on wishing that someone who represents the new, "cleaner" generation had picked up the title.

    (NOTE: That reference to "cleaner" isn't a dig at Woods - who, by all accounts, can take the moral high ground on that topic. Rather it's because I definitely believe that there is as much of a depth of dirtiness and darkness in the new generation as in the old ... it's just done better/smarter/more secretively ... )

    That said, I do like the way that Valverde races ... his passion, commitment and the effort that he puts in still makes him a worthy winner ...
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  • « Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 01:49 by Kiwirider »

    M Gee

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #5 on: October 03, 2018, 03:36 »
    WHAT are you doing?!?! Posting a Worlds champ thread with a thread title no-one would suspect is about the worlds????

    Ok - it's Dark Side. But if I wasn't looking at what has been posted recently, I would not have seen the thread at all.

    All right, kvetch done. Did you get my message? Do I need to explain myself? I hope not.

    Valverde was as shocked by his win as we all were. When he crossed the line, the look on his face? Utter OMG.


    He never poked his nose into the wind until the final 10-15 km to go. Kirby noticed the same - not often that Kirby gets it right - but this time he did. Then he took charge. The last km he ruled.

    Is he doing a Horner? IDK, but I don't think so. It's not like the EPO days any more.

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  • . . .He had the bit between his teeth, and he loiked the taste, mate . . .

    L'arri

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #6 on: October 03, 2018, 13:35 »
    I think the #rainbow palmares lacked his name. Valverde's name appears on almost everything else, after all, and frequently more than once.

    I don't like the bloke. It's the inevitability of him, the irresistibility, the same old same old, the stifling of broad possibility and the chance flicker of a slightly different sporting narrative. Sometimes, when they want to describe someone winning, the French use the verb s'imposer. He imposes himself. It's a testament to Valverde's singularity, longevity and talent that my principal objection to him is romantic rather than moral.

    Let someone else have a go.

    Valverde is a pro cyclist who has always used all the means necessary, on and off the bike, to get results. He sucks wheels, hides in plain sight, depends on a strong team, stalls legal processes and denies, denies, denies. It's all part of the game and whatever else I may think, he's been the consummate competitor. None of this makes any reference to his extraordinary physical abilities and mental strength but there he has also made the most of everything.

    Let someone else have a go.

    Valverde is someone for whom I struggle to think of an alternative career, a life after the bike, but it's coming and, odd as it may sound, I think this result brings it properly within sight at last. Despite the persistent hype, he has not been a serious three-week contender for some years and now, with a Giro or Tour title almost certainly beyond his reach, there's only an Olympic title left and if he's still a serious contender by then, I will probably just laugh.
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  • « Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 13:48 by L'arri »
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    M Gee

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #7 on: October 03, 2018, 15:04 »
    . . .

    Valverde is someone for whom I struggle to think of an alternative career, a life after the bike, but it's coming and, odd as it may sound, I think this result brings it properly within sight at last. Despite the persistent hype, he has not been a serious three-week contender for some years and now, with a Giro or Tour title almost certainly beyond his reach, there's only an Olympic title left and if he's still a serious contender by then, I will probably just laugh.

    This year's Vuelta was as close as I've seen him get to the GT top step in a long time. If he had done it, it would definitely have felt like a Horner. As it was, he was human enough, and not alien, and that actually increased my trust that he is either not cheating, or is doing so at a sufficiently small level so as not to get caught. Which is not "ok", but given that there are more important things in life, and bigger cheaters and liers, is ok with me.

    Tactically, Valverde played this one right. People will complain about his tactics, but other people complain about Sagan's tactics, etc, etc, etc.

    I can certainly understand not trusting him. Like you say, he's never "come clean". And people say he wheel sucks, but he also attacks when he thinks he can make it stick. And he hasn't always made it stick. So I end up actually cheering for him, some.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #8 on: October 03, 2018, 19:35 »
    How does it feel to be without a home, a complete unknown like a rolling stone. :playlist  :P

    Joke aside, I've distanced myself from top pro cycling and fortunately I've missed it. So it doesn't affect me that much. However I cannot say it's a great thing for the sport of cycling and I guess the current state of the sport is hopeless by now. That Spanish rider is a doper and has been convicted for it. So it doesn't help the credibility of the sport he "wins" a major race. Many riders seem to be dopers because their performances look suspicious but in his case we have FACTS! He doped, he blood transfused, with a high paid doctor and mocked justice for several months. Some would say he has a right to a second chance but that would be in society, not in cycling. Blood transfusion is to serious a doping method for so much laxism. So would say he has natural talent anyway but I would then reply that it's even less easy to forgive as natural talents have always had opportunity to make a good career with the help of that talent and hard work while untalented riders could not, so it's partly understandable though not legitimate that they might gamble on some extra methods. In my opinion anytime that rider "wins" it just means there's an X next to 1.

    "An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules." (2 Timothy 2.5)
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  • "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

    M Gee

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #9 on: October 04, 2018, 20:14 »
    Another footnote to the Valverde Worlds: Joop Zoetemelk's 1985 win was the last time a rider of Valverde's age won. He finished ahead of Lemond (2nd place). Now, I find this interesting, because this was pre-EPO, and LeMond can be assumed to have been clean. Zoetemelk, on the other hand, can not. He was popped a few times for doping, but I can't find what sort of positive he was caught at. It could have been steroids - they had come into use by then. Wikipedia mentions "blood doping" - which should mean transfusions - but I don't think that was a method in use back then.

    Anyway, a little bit of trivia - Valverde is not alone in his age group for a win at the Worlds. Not sure if that tells us anything or not!  :D
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  • Echoes

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #10 on: October 04, 2018, 20:40 »
    Joop Zoetemelk got a treatment based on blood transfusion following a heavy crash at the 1974 Midi libre. It seems to have been blood transfusion for therapeutic use, the way I understand it.
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  • M Gee

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #11 on: October 06, 2018, 01:00 »
    Joop Zoetemelk got a treatment based on blood transfusion following a heavy crash at the 1974 Midi libre. It seems to have been blood transfusion for therapeutic use, the way I understand it.
    Thanks, Echoes!
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  • riding too slowly

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #12 on: October 07, 2018, 13:26 »
    .... Many riders seem to be dopers because their performances look suspicious ......................

    .........but in his case we have FACTS! He doped, he blood transfused, with a high paid doctor and mocked justice for several months. Some would say he has a right to a second chance but that would be in society, not in cycling. Blood transfusion is to serious a doping method for so much laxism......................

    Great post, thank you. 
    It is where pro sport is truly messed up and the pathetic individuals at the high level are so weak that the legislation they enact does not reflect those which wider society has discovered it needs to enforce if unethical behaviour is to be negated.

    The burden of proof is way beyond that used elsewhere.  The bank might be empty and the door broken open, and you are carrying a case of cash, walking away from the bank but unless we have an entry and exit ticket stamped with your name on it you can come up with any old story about how the money got into your case and regardless of the other cirumstantial evidence we will give you a pass. 

    And your next point is super as well, and barely appreciated.  The level of mendacity to get the blood bags stored and preped ready for later use makes a complete mockery of a 2 year suspension from competition. No fine !  I can park on a yellow line for 5 minutes and society can stick me a £130 fine without batting an eyelid. I don't need to go before any magistrate or jury, just a local authority employee handing it out with the smarties.   "Oh so I can't do any pro races for 2 years and now I just have to live on all the prize money I have stolen by cheating".    One hell of a tough message that.  Scares the sh1t out of the dopers I am sure !

    The mendacity of doing all that stuff should result in something worthwhile but no, Valverde can return and become World Champion and put two fingers up to everyone. 

    Vicky Pryce was on the radio this week blathering on.  She took her Minister husband's speeding fine to protect him and so she lied and said she was driving the car. When he had an affair with his younger PR advisor and threatened to leave her, she started spilling the beans to her mates.  Only one her her mates put the story (well it is quite a good one isn't it?) into the public domain and the authorities found out and for falsifying the speeding ticket claim she went to jail for 8 months.   

    Valverde gets to swan around and sign autographs, hell, they might even name a sports stadium after him. 
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  • riding too slowly

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #13 on: October 07, 2018, 13:30 »
    Well as the chief doom-monger on the forum you know what to expect.  No “quick fix” or “tinkering” is going to sort out the mess that is this sport right now.  I am with Floyd - Burn the whole house down !     Only when it has been exposed that the sham is virtually across every result at the top level, will people stop and think what they need to put it right is a complete rebuild.  Until then we will be fed more and more c**p – because those in the sport and those who report on the sport, think the fans are dumbasses who don’t deserve to be treated like anything other than fools. 

    You could not know how much in those closing KM I wanted Valverde to win.  If my brain waves could have helped him in that sprint, I was worth two yards !   And, just as much,  I wanted van der Breggen to put ever more time into the rest of the riders.  3 minutes 42 – superb, truly superb.  Zinadia Starhuskia eat your heart out!  Both of these 2018 results were wonders beyond anything that was physically possible and were superb examples to show where the sport is right now and how f**ked up it is. 

    I was feeling hopeful after Remco Evenepoel outdid Jeanson’s exploits.  Is there any race where virtually the whole field leaves the start line with each rider having multiple scenarios impressed into their brains on how to make the winning move ?  [That’s why the junior men neutralise each other and it often comes down to a fluky series of chance events with the principle reason the winner won being that happenstance meant that he was in the right position at the right time.  It’s like winning the lottery where ability and dedication just got you a ticket – after that.......]   Minutes down to minutes ahead.  Loving it, truly loving it. 

    Cycling is so pro wrestling on wheels.

    And then after such joy – how could anyone sane believe in that little lot - there was more to come, some icing for the cake !  St David had sensed the wind had changed direction and needed to justify (aka – cover) his moves of recent years and #millarmind came out with an epistle that gave me a higher number of belly laughs per word than anything I have read for the last 5 years.  Look at his twitter feed.  It is hard to believe so many swallow his tripe.  Talk about a selling snake oil, he would have needed to have driven around the wild west on top of a 40 ton truck of the stuff to keep up with sales. 

    And finally, to close out the week and the circle, two more absolute gems.  Floyd of Leaderville launches a team and Shane Sutton trumps him with announcing his Chinese based team will be going for the Tour de France. 

    Valverde and van der Breggen, I take a toast to you.  Enjoy your time wearing the jersey.  With Cooksons or Lapartients in control why shouldn’t your like win, just as they have done before.
    Am I happy that Valverde won ?  Does doping pay ?  Only one answer to that. 
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  • « Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 16:04 by riding too slowly »

    M Gee

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #14 on: October 07, 2018, 20:03 »
    One thing is certain - Valverde is proud of his new jersey!
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/valverde-unveils-new-world-champions-kit
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  • M Gee

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #15 on: October 10, 2018, 03:22 »
    Oh, listen. I LOVE IT!!! CHECK THIS OUT!!!!

    More rainbows than the Castro!!!!![1] :lol :lol :lol I didn't think that was possible! :lol

    Valverde. Proud, and loud.

    https://twitter.com/faustocoppi60/status/1049648745317584898
     1. BTW, many of you may not know about the Castro district, near the Castro / Divisadero junction, in San Francisco. It was famously gay 40 or more years ago! You want rainbows? That's your destination.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: So how does it feel?
    « Reply #16 on: October 23, 2018, 14:47 »
    You know, I am totally fine with it. Pleased even, tbh. Not on an elation level that would have been triggered by Flecha winning Paris-Roubaix (‘my’ one that got away), but chuffed enough.
    You took the 1000+ words right out of my mouth.  :P

    My position on Valverde has always been: If he's allowed to race, he's allowed to win.
    It's laughable sometimes, but if he's at the start line, then there's little to say when he crosses the finish.


    Quote
    I actually have to remind myself frequently he has only been around since the early 2000s. Valverde is a rider who I associate with another era altogether. I would have loved to see him race in the 70s and early 80s.
    Valverde has always looked older than his years to me, so I tend to think of him as having been around for decades. But at first glance I thought you were suggesting that you wanted see him race into his 70s or 80s, which, with just a  little bit of patience, you may very well get to see.
     :D


    I watched the race live on TV, and I didn't expect him to overcome that final climb so well. He's usually up there with the stronger climbers, but rarely does he prove himself to be the strongest on such an extreme incline. But he was forced to prove his strength in the finale, and he did just that. And I agree that as history looks back, if anyone's name should appear on the winners list, he's as deserving as any—given the depth of his career—and more than most.
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  • « Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 20:02 by Drummer Boy »

     

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