Well, your final judgement was influenced by leaving some of those settings at default. The overall contrast of the Lightroom rendering was, to my eye, flat. I think you prolly should have optimized the tone curve either before the Color>B&W or at least after.
My word, you do meet some wonderfully talented people on this forum! Incidentally, I just got back from Barnes and Noble in Jacksonville where I actually found (and purchased) a copy of John's 2007 book 'Advanced Digital Black and White Photography' which I could not get in the UK. I'm also plodding my way through your excellent 'Real World Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw etc' on Kindle on the iPad.
Actually, per your comment above, that is exactly how I felt about it too, but I did not alter contrast on the other two exercises either. I felt I wanted to see what each application would produce without additionally enhancing contrast or adding differing amounts of sharpening in each case, although I realise that by using the colour sliders to alter the tonal balance I am to some degree altering the balance of contrasting tones anyway. I agree, the Lightroom example IS 'flatter' by comparison. I also have no doubt whatever that more could be made of the image in every one of the environments, particularly by artists more talented than I.
That is also why I invited anyone to repeat the exercise, with the same file, in their chosen application and see what they could make of it - 'going all out' as it were. I'm sure many of us would like to see what the experts could make of it. They, of course already know the answers to these questions. I do hope people take me up on the offer.
In any event, and it's easier for me to say this because I did the work, step by step, with the actual image in each environment; the result I managed to achieve did surprise me. I gained a greater respect for Lightroom Version 3
and, to my surprise, felt that Silver Efex Pro was not the default winner as I expected it would be. Capture One was entirely new to me, so I had to work hard to understand a new set of tools and workflow. But, I was very impressed with my final version from that software. Maybe that isn't entirely supported by relatively small Jpegs in a blog post but, it seems to me that C1 Pro 6 has a great deal going for it - even if it does have further to go in catching up with competitive 'features'.