Landa could have been third in the TdF if he'd wanted to be hated by the French for all eternity. The stage where he dragged up the whole GC like a machine and left Froome behind was pretty spooky to watch. So yeah, at the end, the real competitors need to be able to haul themselves up. I almost wish every stage was an ITT.
I remember Hincapie. It's hard to judge riders who are in the half-hour to hour back range, since they're allowed to ride free when they aren't needed, but they don't usually, so they could probably do a lot better if they wanted/were allowed.
My favorite from Sky is Geraint. I'm bummed he crashed out of two GTs this year.
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There's a certain amount of freedom involved in cycling: you're self-propelled and decide exactly where to go. If you see something that catches your eye to the left, you can veer off there, which isn't so easy in a car, and you can't cover as much ground walking.