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July 15, 2008

Cadel's Challenge

2667128922_c2e8403f47 Cadel's Yellow Jersey is definitely an achievement and worthy of praise, but I'm not seeing him as a champion or the patron. Love or hate Lance he was the boss and as Paul Sherwen would say, "he smacked his hand on the table" to let everyone know it.

I don't expect much table smacking from Cadel and maybe it's the end of the patron era? If he's more like Indurain, he's got to hang on through the mountains and demolish his competitors in the time trial. That seems unlikely.

What do you think? Does Cadel have it? Can or will he attack? And does the Tour need a patron?

Photo credit: JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Cross-posted on Bike Hugger.

Posted by Byron on July 15, 2008 in 2008 Tour de France | Permalink


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Cadel hasn't shown any signs that he has what it takes to win the Tour. He was so overwhelmed with gaining the Yellow Jersey that he lost it emotionally on the victory dias and forgot to shake the hands of the dignitaries on either side. It was quite an embarassing moment. He seems to lack the social skills and confidence that a tour professional needs to have. He also races very defensively, reacting to other riders attacks rather than taking the initiative himself. He also seems to have an inferior team who drop off the moment things get tough. Cadel seems to be the only true climber in his team. Silence Lotto just doesn't have the required goods.

Posted by: Mike at Jul 16, 2008 8:21:48 AM

Look at the post-war history of the tour. There's always been periods of dominance followed by periods of scramble: 4yrs between Anquetil's last and Merckx's first; 4yrs after Merckx's last win, Hinault; 6yrs between Hinault and Indurain; 4yrs between Indurain and Armstrong. Another dominant patron will come along in a few years.

Posted by: andy at Jul 16, 2008 12:29:58 PM

ok, so my Aussie bias is coming out here but I guess last year's tour seems to have been rather forgotten here - Cadel hung tough on all those mountain stages -sure he couldn't go with Rasmussen and Contador one day, but no one else could either - and look how that one turned out. Second in Paris, and never finished outside the top 10 - this is a guy who is defined by hanging tough.

He's not shown himself to be the attacking rider great champions often have been - his is a war of attrition - couple with the mental and physical ace of the ITT - everyone knows that to beat him from here, they'll need to gain minutes on him in the Alps. Sure, a bad day will do that for any rider - but Evans doesn't have too many bad days - the day he after a bad fall was the other's chance to crack him when he was down. Instead, he took yellow.

"he's got to hang on through the mountains and demolish his competitors in the time trial"

That seems to me to almost define Evans. Despite him being in yellow, it seems that the ball is in the other riders (team CSC's and Menchov's?) court. If they let Evans hang in there in the Alps, then this is exactly what he'll do.

Posted by: John Allsopp at Jul 16, 2008 7:25:13 PM

I have nothing bad to say about Cadel and if he ushers in a new era and style of champion, cool with me. It's worth noting and maybe even the skeptic would say, he's riding in the other peloton speed. Meaning, a peloton that isn't powered by dope requires a different type of champion.

Posted by: DL Byron at Jul 16, 2008 7:37:55 PM

To win a tour you need to be consistent. the characteristics that define a Tour de France winner are great ci9mbing abilities and time trial abilities. Cadel Evans has both of these as well as guts. He doesn't have a bad day. to beat a rider like this you need to have lots of good days and then rely on him to have a bad one.

His time trialling is a great strength and the tail wind in last years time trial made it easier for other riders to post great times.

Cadel's only weakness it the strength of his team, but if he uses his head he will be able to overcome this because there are a number of competitors close to him who will all want to protect their positions and take the lead.

He can use this to his advantage and protect his lead by using them if his team is not there.

Frank Schleck is one possible threat. If he can take time on two or three more mountain stages then Cadel may have trouble bridging the gap in the time trial.

Whatever happens here Tours with close competitions always make for interesting viewing

Posted by: Paul OConnor at Jul 17, 2008 2:17:52 AM

It is interesting to also note since Lance Armstrong was winning the tour almost all his team riders have tested positive to dope.

This taints his wins,

It is refreshing to see what appears to be a close contest and at this level it should not be so different. If one excels in an element such as the time trial or the mountains it is an advantage.

I believe it is better to excel in the time trial and be a very good climber who can keep contact with the field and not lose much time.

Cadel certainly has these credentials and climbs exceptionally well especially when the mountain climbs are steep gradients.

He does not win stages but can be there all the time.

If he wins this tour it will be from his defence in the mountains limiting time loss and taking time in the time trial.

Posted by: Paul OConnor at Jul 17, 2008 2:30:12 AM

Sure, there's something mathematical about the way that Cadel rides, he seeks to limit threats at all times, and is seeking to win the tour without massive physical assets, or drug assistance, or both.

There was a mountain stage he rode 2 years ago on the day that Australian cyclist Amy gillet was killed by a learner driver in Germany that was sheer power. He's got the ability when the inspiration occurs.

Agree with most above, it's a new era, if he wins it in a methodical fashion, so be it. If Schleck wins it, CSC have well deserved the win for being a great team over the distance with minimal drug enhancement.

Good tour so far.

Posted by: via collins at Jul 17, 2008 8:06:22 AM

I've been watching since and have high hopes that just like in the first race, Valverde will make some more of what he had done in the 1st race. I really liked his performance back there but since he lost the yellow jersey, it seems that he never got back the glory.

Will it be Ricoh?

Posted by: the challenge is full of fun at Jul 17, 2008 10:48:02 AM