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Beloki, Lance's biggest challenge?(9 posts)

Beloki, Lance's biggest challenge?vram
Jun 29, 2001 11:07 AM
The media is too preoccupied with the Ulrich-Armstrong match-up to pay attention to Lance's real challenger at the Tour--Joseba Beloki.

Beloki showed great form by winning the Tour catalania. In many ways, his victory was similar to Lance's victory at the Swiss Tour. He came from behind to take the overall by winning the TT. This guys has all the ingredients to be a Tour winner--he is a great climber, a good time-trialer, Once is a great team for TT, and he has tasted blood by getting a podium spot at the last Tour. I think based on his form and his abilities, I think Beloki is the most serious threat to Lance.
Try comparing...Cima Coppi
Jun 29, 2001 11:14 AM
Beloki's average speed in a TT vs. LA's or Ulrich's. This will be the tell tail sign if he can challenge them for the overall victory. I looked at the ONCE roster, and I do not think they will fair well in the TTT. Your prediction may be more difficult than you think. We'll have to wait and see, but I love speculation!!!
ONCE had the best team TT in the last tour...vram
Jun 29, 2001 11:52 AM
They beat Postal to take the win. They may or may not be able to repeat a victory, but they will lose little time to the US postal team. US postal team nearly disintegrated on the St Nazaire bridge last year. And Ekimov in a recent interview expressed concern about US postal team TT--one the main reason why he is in the team.

On current form, The ONCE team looks very strong. They swept the podium at the recently concluded Tour of Catalana. They rode creditably at the Giro where Olano got a podium finish and Azevedo and Hruska rode very well and finished high in the GC.

This year, ONCE teams goal is the Tour de France. They've not made a lot of noise about it, but that's their goal. They have changed their programme dramatically and riding less races to focus on the Tour. Their previous motto used to be "no race is too small for us." That has changed. Beloki is very happy in the change in the program, and thinks this new approach reflects their possibilities of winning the Tour: "It is good for me, because I know what suits my body, and at the same time I think this way the ONCE 'curse' in the Tour is going to come to an end." Referring to ONCE not having a rider in the podium since 1995.

Comparing different TT courses may not be a good idea. Although the TT at the Tour of Calatana and Swiss were both uphill, they were very different. The uphill TT at the Swiss tour was considerably longer.
ONCE is tough, but Postal is the toughest...Only300
Jul 1, 2001 3:17 PM
ONCE does not have the super-talented Laurent Jalabert anymore which does hurt them a bit. The Postal squad lost Livingston but picked up Heras, one of the best cyclists in the world. Look for the Postal team to set the tone.
Yep, last year was just a glimpse of his talentJ.S.
Jun 29, 2001 11:17 AM
and with that awesome ONCE squad working for him he may well move up the podium. Also ONCE's team is stacked for the team time trial, I would be suprised if they didn't put at least a minute into everybody else.
Lurking ThoughtsJon Billheimer
Jun 29, 2001 12:54 PM
I've been having these same lurking thoughts for some time. I don't think in the end Beloki's going to beat Armstrong, but I think he has at least as good a chance, if not better, than Ullrich for two reasons: 1)his form is better, 2)he's got better all round team support, as the previous post notes. Good call. Beloki for 2nd on the podium. Talk is cheap though.
His biggest challenge is where to hold the victory party...nmmr_spin
Jun 29, 2001 2:08 PM
Not a challenge at all...Cima Coppi
Jun 29, 2001 3:37 PM
At the White House with fellow Texan GW!!!
I would love to see Beloki give LA a run for his money, but....Largo
Jun 29, 2001 2:23 PM
I don't think he is in the same rarified league as LA.
MAYBE JU is hiding his form, and will pull something out of the hat (HAH!) but this TDF is LA's to lose.
I hope i am way off base on this, because it could be a tad boreing.