I was able to watch the stage today, #18, into Hautacam. Many are commenting that he has not really been stretched in the climbs this year; perhaps this was the only time he has gone ‘full gas’ on a climb.
If you look at the charts from the link above, you can see that almost every stage evaluated, Nibali was just a little ahead of the other podium contenders. If you compare Nibali this year vs. Froome last year, you see he is a little below some of those performances. At the same time, tactics dictate the level necessary (hopefully you can do that when called upon, but that’s racing).
I suppose this just shows the level Nibali was trying to reach. If Froome and Contidor had made it to this point we would be posting different charts. It would have been different, not more or less entertaining, just different. Certainly it has raised the profile of some French riders. They are fighting for a step on the podium vs. 5th place. And the Vuelta a España should be very exciting with folks trying to salvage their seasons!