How would he perform and what would be the likely scenario at the forthcoming Tour de France given Christopher Froome’s ambitions?
That contest was resolved off the field, with Wiggins’ poor performance in the Giro pivotal.
Nibali dominated the Giro and in the prime of his career, this was expected. He would be on the podium, it was just a matter of which step.
Likewise for the Vuelta, he came into the race as a favourite, his career on path for a second Grand Tour win.
Age versus experience
It must have been difficult for him to lose and to lose to Chris Horner. The 41-year-old was gaining strength as the remaining contenders were slowly burying themselves.
Horner comes from the Discovery/US Postal team – he was a teammate of Lance and even he cannot dispute that the shadow of that connection will shroud his performance. But he is entitled to a defence and is doing so.
Horner’s performance was awesome, his win unexpected. Nibali was a little arrogant in the early stages and in the end powerless to peg Horner back.
I think it’s great that the old man of the peleton can come back after a career of setbacks and show an entire field a clean set of wheels.
This is the stuff dreams are made of.
I remember so well my own Tour de France. Young, and blazing a stellar career path with a yellow jersey on my back while the old badgers waited in the wings, tactics in place and ready to pounce. Bernard Hinault won that tour by more than six minutes.
Always a little controversy
I can understand the general reticence to review Horner’s performance as, I guess, untainted.
Horner is 41, I retired at 34 and was one of the oldest in the peleton at that time.
Racing has changed considerably and the riders are getting older but a Grand Tour win is, well, amazing.
If Horner was a decade or two younger, then there wouldn’t be a shadow of a doubt about the results.
Cycling, fighting to reinvent the wheel, would be promoting the emergence of fresh young talent in a new era.
Unfortunately we have all been scarred by the findings of the USADA report and we must all bea little sceptical.
That aside, the question must be asked: is such a rider now earning the results he deserved as the remnant peleton cleans up?
Horner has had some stellar results during his career. The bulk of his career fell in the shadow of the Lance era – he was a stalwart professional, his results not questioned until now.
Perhaps when there is unilateral retrospective testing applied to all results we can all sleep easy again with the knowledge that the race was won amazingly by a 41-year-old.
After a slow start to his career the investment in Michael Matthews appears to have paid off for Orica-GreenEDGE with not just one but two stage wins in this year’s Vuelta.
Still very young, he has a good future and could become one of the peleton’s fast finishers.
Let’s consider. Matthews is clearly talented and he has made it all the way to the end of the Vuelta and snatched a win.
Orica-GreenEDGE have proved they excel in setting up their sprinter in the final kilometres without wasting energy.
Let’s hope Orica-GreenEDGE don’t make the mistake of limiting this kid to a future as a sprint king. He may have more to offer.
This Sunday’s UCI Road World Championships men’s road race in Innsbruck-Tirol, Austria, promises to be a tough race on a beautiful but gruelling course. At 258.5 kilometres with nearly 5000 metres of leg-burning elevation gain, it will be a test of endurance and climbing ability.
After three weeks of racing, the Tour de France has finally made it to Paris, where the victors will be crowned. As the race heads to its conclusion at the iconic Champs-Elysees, join The Roar for live coverage of Stage 21 from 11:30pm (AEST) onwards.
The final yellow jersey of the 2018 Tour de France will be decided during a challenging individual time trial on Stage 20, with Geraint Thomas looking the favourite to hold onto his lead. Join The Roar for live coverage from 10:45pm (AEST).
So, after 18 stages and almost 3000km of racing, today is the last chance for the climbers to make their mark. As the Tour de France bids a final, dramatic farewell to the Pyrenees, join The Roar for live coverage of Stage 19 from 9pm (AEST) onwards.
The final transition day of the 2018 Tour de France is upon us, with it appearing almost certain a breakaway will succeed on Stage 18. Join The Roar for live coverage of the 171-kilometre trek to Pau from 10pm (AEST).
The peloton embark on one of the most explosive stages in Tour de France history, with three huge climbs across just 65 kilometres. Join The Roar for live race updates and coverage from 11:15pm (AEST).