Consider 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.
- 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.