Compare photos to riders in the 1990s to Movistar's Alejandro Valverde, who tips the scales at 135 pounds.
The difference is striking.
In the elite of the sport, weight is the key difference between being competitive in grand tours and simply being close.
Irishman Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) produces competitive power, but he's
carrying too much weight.
The team roughly calculated if he
shed nine pounds, he
could be fighting for a Tour de France podium.
Coming into this Vuelta with less than two weeks of racing in his legs put him at an advantage against riders such as Nibali or Valverde
, who peaked for the Giro and Tour, respectively.