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Tour ----> Vuelta. Can a Rider Win or Even Be Competitive In Both?

Vuelta-sm_mediumConsider this a pre-GC prediction post. We need to see if a certain scenario-riding well in both the Tour then the Vuelta-is possible these days. We've been talking all year about this GC issue. Can a rider win the Giro than the Tour? Can they even be competitive in both? We didn't see it work out this year with some very good GC riders.  Can Contador seriously attempt a calendar year Grand Tour treble? How about if you throw the Vuelta in the mix. Is a Tour/Vuelta double possible? 

Let's deal with this Tour--->Vuelta issue now. 

There are several highly placed Tour riders this year who are looking at riding the Vuelta too. Both Schlecks, Menchov, Sastre, Roche, Lulu, Le Mevel, Vande Velde, Zabriskie, Kreuziger, Lofkvist, and probably a couple more. Are these guys just plain nuts? Are they riding with a couple of screws loose? 

So this morning I looked at a couple of things. First I checked to see if anyone has won both the Vuelta and Tour in the same year since 95, the year the Vuelta moved to September. Then I checked to see if anyone has podiumed at both since then. Finally I took the last five years (2005-2009) and saw a) what the top 20 of the Tour did in each year focusing on if they rode the Vuelta and how well they did, and b) I did the opposite: took the top 20 of the Vuelta to see if those guys rode the Tour and how well they did.  Confusing? It will get clearer on the break.


Question 1: Has anyone done the Tour/Vuelta since 95? Most of you know this answer: no one has. We are only talking about 15 years though and since Armstrong won seven Tours in that time and then coasted the rest of the year (and Contador did the same with his two wins) I don't feel like we have a truly fair sample size. But there you have it: no one has won both in the same year.

Question 2: Has anyone podiumed at both in the same year? Okay there's been no double winners: has anyone gotten close? Yes! But only three times by two riders:


  • 2002 saw Beloki finish 2nd at the Tour and 3rd at the Vuelta.
  • 2006 saw Sastre finish 3rd at both races.
  • 2008 saw Sastre win the Tour and finish 3rd at the Vuelta.
Their have been a couple of close calls too though I don;t have a definitive list of those. But here's a couple:
  • 2007 saw Evans and Sastre (again) get close. Evans scored 2nd at the Tour and 4th in the Vuelta while Sastre did the opposite: 4th at the Tour and 2nd at the Vuelta.
  • 2005 saw Mancebo place 4th at the Tour and 3rd at the Vuelta.
I'm sure there are more but I stopped there. Interesting that we don't see Menchov on here.   But on to...

Question 3: What have the last five years shown us? Is there a pattern of riders doing well in one but not both races? Or do some riders excel in both? And how many riders are we talking about?

You'll see that there is a pattern. I'll show you what I got but there's one thing I need to say first:


Carlos knows how to do this double. He's done it successfully several times. I'm clueless on what he does but he can do it better than any other rider in the peloton. Of course he's working on all three GT's this year.  Anyways, let's take it year by year starting with 2009. There will be two lists after each year and then some commentary.

Top 20 Tour riders who then rode the Vuelta.  The number before the rider's name is they're placing in the Tour.
2. A Schleck-------------------> DNF stage 8 of the Vuelta
5. F Schleck-------------------> DNS stage 11
9. Kreuziger-------------------> 61st place
11. Casar-----------------------> DNF stage 14
13. Nocentini-----------------> DNF stage 13
20. Knees----------------------> 43rd place

So 6 of the Tour's top 20 last year rode the Vuelta with really bad results. None of them were competitive at any point in the Vuelta. Notice no Spanish riders are listed and keep that in the back of your mind. Now let's look at the Vuelta top 20:

3. Evans<-------------------- 29th place in the Tour
6. Gesink<------------------- DNS stage 6
14. Zubeldia<--------------- 26th place 

So 3 of the Vuelta top 20 had ridden the Tour and as you see they were non-competitive at the Tour.  

It seems, just from 2009, its very hard to be competitive at both races. Is this generally true? To answer that we have to look at more years.


Tour-------------------->Vuelta results
1. Sastre-------------->3rd at the Vuelta
8. Valverde----------->5th
13. Casar------------->19th
14. Moinard---------->18th
15. Astarloza--------->28th
19. Goubert----------> 13th

Huh. That's different from 2009. Much better. Still just 6 out of 20 Tour top 20 entered the Vuelta but they did better. Only one of them, Astarloza, couldn't keep his Tour form in the Vuelta.  Unlike 09, we are looking at all Spanish or French riders here.

8. Moncoutie<-------39th at the Tour
9. E Martinez<-------47th
10. Bruseghin<------24th
17. Arroyo<-----------27th

So, like 09, also-rans at the Tour improved at the Vuelta.Only Bruze breaks the Spanish/French monopoly (and this was the year he rode all three Grand Tours finishing 3rd at the Giro).  But unlike in 09 Sastre and Valverde prove here that you can ride well at both. 


Tour-------------------->Vuelta results
2. Evans--------------->4th at Vuelta
4. Sastre-------------->2nd 
5. Zubeldia----------->44th 
10. Pereiro----------->DNF stage 9
14. Karpets-----------> 7th
15. Horner------------>36th
17. Beltran------------>9th
20. Garate------------->30th

Eight riders in this list. Mixed results here. Evans, Sastre, Karpets, and Beltran had strong races both times, particularly the first two. 

Now the opposite

Vuelta<--------------Tour results
1. Menchov<----------DNF stage 17 (What if Chicken had never ridden the Tour?)
8. Anton<--------------DNF stage 11
10. Barredo<---------41st
13. Goubert<---------26th
16. Syl Chavanel<--DNS stage 17
20. Turpin<-----------43rd

Again, regardless of the likes of Sastre or Evans, etc., the Vuelta top 20 is dominated by rider who either didn't ride the Tour or who finished way back-if they finished at all.  The trick is figuring out which good Tour riders-if any-will do well in th Vuelta as most won't. 


Tour-------------------->Vuelta results
1. Pereiro------------->49th
3. Sastre-------------->3rd
5. Menchov----------> DNS stage 11
6. Dessel-------------> DNS stage 16
8. Zubeldia----------->34th
13. Boogerd--------> DNS stage 16
14. M Fothen-------> DNF stage 12
15. Caucchioli-------> 37th
17. Chicken----------> DNF stage 17
20. Arroyo------------>19th

Wow. Its like after the Tour someone said, "Let's do this again in Spain!" as 10 of the Tour's top 20 rode the Vuelta. And , as we see, they rode the Vuelta to bad results. Except for Carlos.  4 of the 10 are not Spanish or French and all did bad in Spain.

Vuelta<----------------------------Tour results
3. Sastre<--------------------------3rd
5. Gomez Marchante<---------- DNF stage 17
8. Karpets<------------------------ 29th
12. E Martinez<------------------ 41st
19. Arroyo<------------------------20th
20. Horner<----------------------- 63rd

And once again we see that poor Tour results for GC types can lead to good Vueltas. Again though, there's the Spanish thing as naturally Spanish riders give a bit more for their national Grand Tour. Remember, Karpets in the table was on Caisse d'Epargne. Only Horner , barely on this list doesn't have a Spanish tie. 


Tour-------------------->Vuelta results
4. Mancebo-----------> 3rd
10. Pereiro------------> 25th
18. Sevilla-------------> 6th

And the year before hardly anyone even tried the Tour/Vuelta double.  Mancebo did well.

Vuelta<--------------Tour results
1. Menchov<---------- 85th
2. Sastre<-------------- 21st
15. Aerts<------------- 112th
18. Serrano<--------- 40th

And so on.


You want to do well in the Vuelta after scoring high in the Tour? Be Spanish or maybe French. Better yet, be Carlos Sastre. So looking at that list of Tour riders looking at a Vuelta start:

Schlecks, Menchov, Sastre, Roche, Lulu, Le Mevel,  Vande Velde, Zabriskie, Kreuziger, Lofkvist

Put your money on Sastre for a double top 20. Look at Vandevelde and Frank Schleck to score high. Maybe Le Mevel to make the Vuelta top 20. Maybe Zabriskie too though I have him on my VDS team so he'll probably fall off a cliff or something. Andy Schleck? Nope, his chances are slim to none. His brother Frank looks a lot better. Roche? Nah. Kreuziger? Nope. Menchov? Meh. Lofkvist? Hard to see it. 

Anyway, I will put this info in my GC prediction math. You see anything different here worth noting?