Are the days of specialists over?

phreak
phreak Posts: 2,925
Given that Pogacar seems dominant on all terrain, has the era of the specialist that we've seen since perhaps 1999 come to an end?

Comments

  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    certainly at the TdF... as they insist with these cobbles stages, which certainly don't suit a pure climber. Equally, time trials are no longer 50 km along a dual carriageway, so you need to be good at everything to succeed... which is probably a good thing
    left the forum March 2023
  • andyrac
    andyrac Posts: 1,140
    Hopefully yes; I want to see riders good at lots of different aspects of the sport. In fact I'd like to see it encouraged more by teams. Obviously, a lightweight climber isn't likely to be a cobbles specialist, but even they should try to be more rounded.
    All Road/ Gravel: tbcWinter: tbcMTB: tbcRoad: tbc"Look at the time...." "he's fallen like an old lady on a cruise ship..."
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    andyrac said:

    Hopefully yes; I want to see riders good at lots of different aspects of the sport. In fact I'd like to see it encouraged more by teams. Obviously, a lightweight climber isn't likely to be a cobbles specialist, but even they should try to be more rounded.

    If you are 9 stones, there is not a lot you can do in order to be an all rounder
    left the forum March 2023
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,925

    andyrac said:

    Hopefully yes; I want to see riders good at lots of different aspects of the sport. In fact I'd like to see it encouraged more by teams. Obviously, a lightweight climber isn't likely to be a cobbles specialist, but even they should try to be more rounded.

    If you are 9 stones, there is not a lot you can do in order to be an all rounder
    I suppose in response to that you have someone like Pidcock who seems to be decent on the cobbles, while Remco seems a more than handy time triallist, despite being similarly diminutive.
  • No_Ta_Doctor
    No_Ta_Doctor Posts: 13,557

    andyrac said:

    Hopefully yes; I want to see riders good at lots of different aspects of the sport. In fact I'd like to see it encouraged more by teams. Obviously, a lightweight climber isn't likely to be a cobbles specialist, but even they should try to be more rounded.

    If you are 9 stones, there is not a lot you can do in order to be an all rounder
    Not if by all rounder you mean competitive on all terrains and in all situations.

    But you can't win the Tour by tt or climbing alone now, you need to be very good at both.

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  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,179
    edited July 2022
    No. Pogacar is the exception that proves the rule.
    We will see how WvA does in the mountains from the other perspective.
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  • No_Ta_Doctor
    No_Ta_Doctor Posts: 13,557
    pblakeney said:

    No. Pogacar is the exception that proves the rule.
    We will see how WvA does in the mountains from the other perspective.

    A quick reminder that Nibali and Fuglsang took massive chunks out of their GC rivals on wet cobbles in 2014, only beaten by solo stage winner Lars Boom. Sagan was 4th, another minute back.

    Handling skills go a long way on the pavé, it's not just about raw power
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  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 26,767
    edited July 2022
    phreak said:

    Given that Pogacar seems dominant on all terrain, has the era of the specialist that we've seen since perhaps 1999 come to an end?

    How many terrains or race types would you say he is definitely the best in the world at?
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,440
    Spoiler for Today

    WvA being allowed to go in the break whilst in the yellow jersey is certainly suggesting that attitudes may be changing...


    I suspect however that the reality will be that really good riders can "specialise less" but the rest of them will still have to maximise their strengths
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,925

    phreak said:

    Given that Pogacar seems dominant on all terrain, has the era of the specialist that we've seen since perhaps 1999 come to an end?

    How many terrains or race types would you say he is definitely the best in the world at?
    Well he's won a couple of hilly classics, which only Nibali has done in the past 20 odd years (I'm discounting Valverde as a serious GC contender). He's won TTs in the Tour as well as mountain top finishes. He's been 4th in Flanders at his first go (probably losing as much due to a lack of experience as anything else), and has also been 5th in MSR. He's also won Strada Bianchi so seems decent on gravel.

    Bar perhaps a sprint stage it's hard to think of any race he could compete in that he wouldn't be one of the favourites.
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,925
    Maybe add sprints to that as well.
  • zest28
    zest28 Posts: 403
    edited July 2022
    Van Aert and MvdP can beat Pogacar in 1-day races.

    Van Aert and Ganna can certaintly beat Pogacar also in ITT.

    The big question is, why do teams like Ineos so much money, while 1 rider beats their entire team all by himself.
  • mididoctors
    mididoctors Posts: 17,647
    No is the simple answer.


    Milan Dan remo 2022 ... Downhill specialists
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    it's a pleasure to watch these guys... a far cry from the days of taking zero risks to finish the race in Paris in 7th place and collect the cheque. You can see that WvA and Pogacar are true competitors, they enjoy the race more than they enjoy the fame
    left the forum March 2023
  • kingstongraham
    kingstongraham Posts: 26,767
    phreak said:

    phreak said:

    Given that Pogacar seems dominant on all terrain, has the era of the specialist that we've seen since perhaps 1999 come to an end?

    How many terrains or race types would you say he is definitely the best in the world at?
    Well he's won a couple of hilly classics, which only Nibali has done in the past 20 odd years (I'm discounting Valverde as a serious GC contender). He's won TTs in the Tour as well as mountain top finishes. He's been 4th in Flanders at his first go (probably losing as much due to a lack of experience as anything else), and has also been 5th in MSR. He's also won Strada Bianchi so seems decent on gravel.

    Bar perhaps a sprint stage it's hard to think of any race he could compete in that he wouldn't be one of the favourites.
    I think we have different definitions of dominant then.
  • Lanterne_Rogue
    Lanterne_Rogue Posts: 4,091
    Counter suggestion: maybe the "specialists" were the same riders as we're now seeing rip it up all over the place, but the belief in cycling was that you had to ride in a certain way to prepare for and to win grand tours. Once you start looking at doing things in a different - and funnily enough, quite a retro - manner then all sorts of doors open.

    The pure climbers are virtually extinct, sprinters a luxury of variable and debatable value, but GC riders were always able to TT and climb pretty well, and plenty of them didn't mind getting their elbows out. Froome at his peak could get pretty racy, for example - it just seemed to get regularly stamped on by the team because in their eyes the method worked (except for that mad Giro stage, which probably highlights what he could have done if he'd been let off the leash a little more often).
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,925

    phreak said:

    phreak said:

    Given that Pogacar seems dominant on all terrain, has the era of the specialist that we've seen since perhaps 1999 come to an end?

    How many terrains or race types would you say he is definitely the best in the world at?
    Well he's won a couple of hilly classics, which only Nibali has done in the past 20 odd years (I'm discounting Valverde as a serious GC contender). He's won TTs in the Tour as well as mountain top finishes. He's been 4th in Flanders at his first go (probably losing as much due to a lack of experience as anything else), and has also been 5th in MSR. He's also won Strada Bianchi so seems decent on gravel.

    Bar perhaps a sprint stage it's hard to think of any race he could compete in that he wouldn't be one of the favourites.
    I think we have different definitions of dominant then.
    We haven't seen people like Pogacar and WvA since the 80s. I mean Kelly and Hinault didn't win every kind of race they entered, but they won on all terrains in a way the likes of Ullrich, Pantani, Armstrong, Froome, Contador et al didn't.
  • TheBigBean
    TheBigBean Posts: 20,906
    Nibali has won on all types of terrain.
  • RichN95.
    RichN95. Posts: 27,188
    Ultimately for the GC riders, you have to consider if they have a sprint of any kind. Pogacar does so it is worthwhile doing one day races, just as it was for Valverde. For the likes of Froome and Contador, the previous dominant GC riders it would really be a waste of their time.
    It's also taken a long time for the sport to shake off a lot of structures of the EPO era and the received wisdom that a rider could only 'peak' (i.e. take enough drugs) once or twice a year. Now someone like Roglic seems to be about the same level most of the time, as long as he gets enough rest.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • phreak
    phreak Posts: 2,925
    RichN95. said:

    Ultimately for the GC riders, you have to consider if they have a sprint of any kind. Pogacar does so it is worthwhile doing one day races, just as it was for Valverde. For the likes of Froome and Contador, the previous dominant GC riders it would really be a waste of their time.
    It's also taken a long time for the sport to shake off a lot of structures of the EPO era and the received wisdom that a rider could only 'peak' (i.e. take enough drugs) once or twice a year. Now someone like Roglic seems to be about the same level most of the time, as long as he gets enough rest.

    It's not just the sprint though, is it? Cancellara wasn't much of a sprinter but was one of the finest classics riders of recent times. Van Baarle won Flanders without being able to really sprint (I know he won it "in" a sprint but few would say he has a good sprint). Pogacar was almost certainly the strongest rider at Flanders and won Strada Bianche solo from way out. To be able to do that and then also beat your Froome and Contador types in the mountains I can't recall seeing since Hinault.

    That WvA can also do pretty passable rides in the mountains (19th and 20th in the last two Tours) suggests he's more Moser than Cancellara, in that he could ride high if the route suited him (and a helicopter slowed down his rivals). Obviously Alaphalippe has already secured a high Tour finish as well as winning all kinds of classics.
  • andyp
    andyp Posts: 10,206
    phreak said:

    RichN95. said:

    Ultimately for the GC riders, you have to consider if they have a sprint of any kind. Pogacar does so it is worthwhile doing one day races, just as it was for Valverde. For the likes of Froome and Contador, the previous dominant GC riders it would really be a waste of their time.
    It's also taken a long time for the sport to shake off a lot of structures of the EPO era and the received wisdom that a rider could only 'peak' (i.e. take enough drugs) once or twice a year. Now someone like Roglic seems to be about the same level most of the time, as long as he gets enough rest.

    Van Baarle won Flanders without being able to really sprint (I know he won it "in" a sprint but few would say he has a good sprint).
    He didn't. And he hasn't.
  • RichN95.
    RichN95. Posts: 27,188
    edited July 2022
    phreak said:


    It's not just the sprint though, is it? Cancellara wasn't much of a sprinter but was one of the finest classics riders of recent times.


    Cancellara wasn't a GC rider though. And he could sprint pretty well when he needed to. He was 4th in the Worlds Cavendish won ahead of the likes of Sagan, EBH, Friere and Farrar.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • TheBigBean
    TheBigBean Posts: 20,906
    Cancellara could definitely sprint relative to Froome and Contador. Sprinting alsp helps in making the attack that allows someone to win solo.
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,787
    Obviously having a sprint helps - a lot - but Nibali has no sprint but he does have 2 monuments. Including one often won by sprinters.

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  • RichN95.
    RichN95. Posts: 27,188
    edited July 2022

    Obviously having a sprint helps - a lot - but Nibali has no sprint but he does have 2 monuments. Including one often won by sprinters.


    Yeah, but he's Italian so rode MSR and Lombardia. If was German I doubt he would have bothered. I think most GC riders could give the classics a good crack, but playing the percentages it's not the best use of their resources.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • davidof
    davidof Posts: 3,056
    edited July 2022
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