Here is a question I have pondered recently, having only really come to cycling in the last year as a hobby proper.
The big tour events seem to be a team effort now, and individual talents like Merckx and (insert name) come along rarely. That being the case, I cant help but wonder if the TDF and other major tours were genuine 'every man for himself' events, would the same characters triumph ?
I understand the equation between flat land speed and not losing too much time in the mountains, but I see that the big talents get massive support from their domestiques and it begs the question, if the race was a free for all, are the Schlecks and Contadors really the strongest individuals, or just the best compromises for a team to carry ?
Forgive my ignorance, this isnt a forum troll question, its just something that plays on my mind when classics are won by strong riders who dont seem to have the same success in tours..