Monday, November 14, 2011

Tough choices for GC contenders: Which race is winnable?

Are the GC Contenders finally getting it?  For years I have wondered why certain riders continue to chase the dream of winning the Tour, instead of focusing on winning the Giro or the Vuelta.  I know the Tour is THE RACE for almost every young cyclist in the world, but that also makes it an unrealistic goal for 99%  of them.  
The Vuelta in particular looks to be the race that is the most wide open.  So should riders like Wiggo, 

Nabali, Leipheimer, or Horner make this race their primary goal for 2012?  Sounds like Igor Anton has already made this decision. Don't forget everyone's favorite Op Puerto character, Valpitti, is also back in 2012.  
What about the Giro?  It can be argued this is the toughest course year in, year out, but the TDF contenders often skip this race. So this race could be won by some of those that are consistently in the top 5 of the TDF.  Van den Broeck, Gesink, and Vande Velde.  Sounds like Ivan Basso has finally decided to give up his TDF dream and is looking to win his 3rd Giro. 
In the end, it has to be a mix of chasing a dream and being realistic.  Some riders are rewarded with their persistence, take Cadel for example, and others never quite get there, like Poulidor.  So what about Andy Schleck?  Should he take a closer look at these 3 races and figure out which one he is most suited for?  After seeing the TDF route and the amount of TT kilometers, he will be very lucky to get SCHLECKnd (we make this tee so we are pulling for him on this one!) or even SCHLird this year.  I think for many fans of these riders, a pink or red jersey on the wall is better than a yellow one in a dream.  

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