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Heras sore loser?(29 posts)

Heras sore loser?I Love Shimano
Oct 1, 2001 11:41 PM
When USPS took Heras on board, Lance had nothing but praises for the guy. Lance said that Heras had no attitude, was not cocky, etc. etc. Now, I'm hearing that Heras has not spoken to Leipheimer since the Vuelta. I read it in a Levi interview. So is Heras not fit to be in the team given that he is a sore loser? I kinda feel sorry for him, but he should not take it against Levi for taking third.
LEVI a poor team member?nestorl
Oct 2, 2001 3:42 AM
I do agree that during the TT levi's job was to do his best. If this resulted in displacing heras, so be it. Heras should NOT be pissed about this. HOWEVER, the problem is that, unless the T manager changed plans, Levi's sole role and job during the entire race was to get Heras to the podium. I think Heras feel that Levi was thinking more about himself during other stages than about what his job was. During several stages Levi abandoned Heras to improve his own standing. In Heras' eyes THAT WAS NOT LEVI's JOB and levi should not have done so!!!. He was supposed to stay back and pace Heras back to the front. Who knows what would have happened if Levi had done his job and spent the vuelta taking care of the team leader...Hmm I am sure that Heras would not have lost those crucial 5 minutes if Levi had been with him whe he (heras) was in difficulty -- helping him get too the finish as fast as possible...Where was levi/ he was gone thinking about himself. Remember all team leaders have bad days/weeks, and team members are paid to help the team leader during those difficult stages. The truth is the Levi was a horrible team mate during the entire race. It showed how little experience he had as a member of a TEAM. That is the main problem! TOP pro cycling is a TEAM sport and each team member has a role. Levi sucked at his role.

ALL riders of all teams could do much better than they do if they do not do their jobs. But doing their best at the General C. is not their job!!!!... Do you remember Heras going full force at the mountains with lance right behind KNOWING that he was going to bonk and lose tons of time! HE did so because that was his job...'go as fast as you can for as long as you can so that Lance can eventually win' It does not matter if he finished last during those stages, he had to forfeit his general standing for Lance -- and he did. I would be pissed too if I felt that Levi did not work for me and did not forfeit himself just like I did when I was not the team leader. Do you think that Rubiara and Hugo Pena would have done much much better at the GC if they had been as selfish as Levi... They could have simply try to do thei best during all stages and I am sure they would ve done much better... but they dod not get paid to do that, so instead they did their jobs.

SO the real question is : IS heras a sore loser or is Levi a poor teammate? I do not know if I would want him on my team if I were Lance...Can Lance really trust him to be a selfless as Heras? NOT>
Maybe Heras needs to ride faster [nm]davidl
Oct 2, 2001 4:26 AM
YOU Missed the point. Lance said it himself...nestorl
Oct 2, 2001 5:00 AM
He would not have won the tour had not been for the expected yet truly selfless efforts of his teammates. He would have lost it if he had teammates that had other plans in mind (like doing well in the GC). LAnce won because of HERAS and RUBIERA. Ulrich got second BECAUSE of the efforts of his team mates... The point is that there are specific jobs for each member of the team. I am sure that Heras is not pissed at Levi for the last day, but because of Levi's inability to do his job during the rest of the race.

People need to get it. LEVI's JOB WAS NOT TO WIN THE race! it was to be next to heras at all times and help him get the best time possible during all stages!!!. LIKE IT OR NOT, THAT WAS HIS JOB and HE SUCKED!

IF the team manager had changed leaders during the race and had place Levi as the leader, you would have seen Heras riding FOR levi every day, and forfiting his own performance for Levi's success. IF Heras had not done so, I would be here bashing Heras for being a poor teammate.

Multi-stage pro cycling is a team sport...
Wait a second...Wannabe
Oct 2, 2001 8:18 AM
Who was it on the first mountain stage that stayed back and paced Heras? It was LEVI! I wonder where Levi would have finished if he had been allowed to go with the leaders on that first day?

Those of you who don't think Levi was doing his job are wrong. Levi's instructions at the start of the tour were clear, help Heras, which he did, until it was clear that Heras was not strong at the start of the tour. After that, it is equally clear that Levi was told to ride for himself. If you followed Levi's journal on, he says later on in the tour that Bruyneel told him to ride for himself, ie, try to stay with the leaders as long as possible.

And what about the last day? There was Levi taking a long pull at the front at the base of the last climb setting up an attack for Heras. Did you miss that? Heras just couldn't make it stick. That's not Levi's fault. If Levi was solely trying to ride strategically for himself on that last mountain day, he would not have been at the front of that group pacing it up the last climb. And Levi NEVER attacked in the mountains. Maybe he was not able to? We may never know. What we DO know is that Heras, even at the end of the Vuelta was not strong enough to take the necessary time out of the leaders.

For USPS, there was Heras, Rubiera and Leipheimer, but the REAL question I have is where was everyone else?

Andy - Wannabe
Wait a second...aet
Oct 2, 2001 8:46 AM
didn't rubiera drop back from heras one of those times when heras was doing fine and pace levi all the way to the line, as well?
Wait a second...Wannabe
Oct 2, 2001 8:54 AM
Yes he did. And Levi was very vocal about the fact that Rubiera did drop back saying that if Rubiera had not, that he would have lost more time than he did.

Andy - Wannabe
Wait a second...Ray
Oct 2, 2001 9:16 AM
Right, and Rubiera wouldn't have done that (left Heras to wait and pace Levi the rest of the way up the climb) if he hadn't been under team orders to do so. So maybe we shouldn't be blaming the riders for doing or not doing their jobs - I'm guessing they were doing what they were being told to do. After the first week, when Heras looked terrible and Levi looked strong, the director probably told the team to watch out for Levi also because they wanted to keep him close on GC in case Heras continued to falter.

YOU Missed the point. Lance said it himself...Bro
Oct 2, 2001 9:02 AM
Isn't it the job of the team manager to instruct riders of their roles? If Levi didn't support Heras isn't it the job of the manager direct him to follow the plan? Assuming Levi disobeyed orders to support Heras, sure he needs to be bashed. However, the team manager should also be bashed for losing control of his team.

So was LeMond ...pmf1
Oct 2, 2001 4:50 AM
I get the feeling that when you ride for USPS, you work for Lance and then scramble for any crumbs that are left. I feel bad for Heras. He did his job in the Tour and got screwed in the Vuelta. Its his home country tour, he should have been given better support. He paid his freight this year. It appears that Levi was doing well and was told "go for it". Its not all Levi's fault -- if you were in his shoes and got the green light, you'd go for it too. Not too many racers get a shot of standing on the podium on a grand tour. I doubt Heras would have heard that on the Tour if he was doing well and Lance was having a few bad days. I think we'll be seeing more disillusioned riders leave that team in the future.
Oct 2, 2001 5:04 AM
It may have not beed Levi's fault...but it sure someone screwed up. If the team manager told Levi to go for it and abandon Heras, they HE (the manager) sucked and screwed Heras. If that is what happened and I were Heras, I would leave the team as soon as my contract expired.

I agree Heras did his job in the tour and was expecting others to do their in la vuelta..they did not. Specially Levi.
In defense of LeviPaulCL
Oct 2, 2001 5:14 AM
As noted, their director gave Levi the go ahead to ride for himself. Any blame or accusations should be directed at Bruynell (sp?).
You can't blame Levi for going for the podium. Chances of a podium spot in a grand tour don't come around very often.
A note...Levi was given the go ahead, but where were the other five team members of Postal?? Where were they when Heras needed help?? Afterall, it wasn't the Heras and Levi show, was it??
Again AGREEnestorl
Oct 2, 2001 5:19 AM
If Levi was given the green light then it was management's fault. And about the other team mates...only rubiara has the power to stay with Heras in the mountains...and he was there with him all the time.
Screwed up?Mothhunter
Oct 2, 2001 7:29 AM
Three riders in the top ten, one on the podium? Second overall in the team competition? I hope all my screw-ups are that bad. This was a great Vuelta for USPS.
Herras didn't have it.Largo
Oct 2, 2001 7:20 AM
In my opinion, Levi did the job asked of him.
He was there working for Herras, but he is not the climber Herras is, so Herras should have been able to go with the big breaks in the mountains, but he couldn't.
Herras can't TT, Leipheimer can.
Maybe Herras was still tired from the TDF?
This team was formed around a Herras that was supposed to defend his Veulta win from the previous year.
Herras didn't have it.
Bruyneel was simply doing damage control.
Its all about the team, and if getting a podium finish means bruising some ego's, so be it.
Herras should be selfless enough to realise it.
I don't think this was the case.Largo
Oct 2, 2001 5:08 AM
On one of the early Vuelta stages, there was a report that Bruyneel was allowing Levi to have some free reign, when it was appearing that he was riding stronger than Herras.
Bruyneel keeps a tight hand on that team, and there is no way Levi would be doing his own thing, contrary to what Johan wanted him to be doing.
I think that while USPS went there to support Herras, that changed when it became apparent that Leipheimer was riding so well.
Bottom line is that Bruyneel wants results, and a podium finish, and he will do what it takes.
and Herras is nor Armstrong, the absolute team leader.
I think Herras is just a poor loser.
He should be congratulating the stronger man.
That is one way to make sure your team falls apartnestorl
Oct 2, 2001 5:17 AM
Go by the day and change leaders as you see fit... "Oh today so and so is riding whay don't you abandon teh leader and go for it". Oh Today it is someone else who is strong..I guess we have to change the leader again"

PLEASE!! Read the history of the pro tour.. there are many articles that describe WHY festina never (until la vuelta) Got a stage race... EVERYONE agrees, the tendency from Festina's management to change leaders during races destroyed the moral of the team, and ensured that they will never win a race... How would you feel as A festina team leader knowning that if you have a bad day, your support will be taken from you!.

Festina SUCKED on stage races Because of these type of management techniques.

Bryneel got short term results...but let's see how this affects the overal cohesion of the team in the future.
That is one way to make sure your team falls apartspincity
Oct 2, 2001 5:38 AM
Sorry guys I don't agree with you on this one. For starters there was no way Heras was going to win the Vuelta this year. He lost way too much time in the time trials and didn't have good enough form to take it back in the mountains. Even if he had Lance in top form riding for him on just the mountain stages it wouldn't have changed a thing, he just couldn't stick with the pace Sevilla and Cascero during the early mountain stages. Basically you either make up time in the mountains or you make it in the time trials and Heras could do neither this year. I don't care how great and helpfull the team is, there is just no way he was going to make up the time he lost in the time trials.
For starters there was no way Heras was going to win the VueltaBirddog
Oct 2, 2001 6:54 AM
I agree, and don't forget that Bruyneel has a rather large obligation to the sponsor to get results. In this case it necessitated giving Levi the green light.
You didn't see the same race I didmr_spin
Oct 2, 2001 7:30 AM
Levi was a horrible teammate? Surely you weren't actually watching the coverage, or even following the race, because you would have seen Levi working his ass off for Heras. Reading your post, you really seem to have some serious issues with Levi. Where is your criticism of the other members of the team, like Rubiera and the anonymous Chann McRae? Levi was a stellar teammate!

Because I was amazed how far off reality you are, I went back and looked and the results and found that on only one non-TT stage did Levi gain time on Heras.

Go back and look at stage 5, where Levi drove himself into the ground pulling back breaks for Heras. He finished 2:00 down on Heras that day. How incredibly selfish. The thing is, if that is selfish, what would you call Rubiera, who finished ahead of Heras?

Now, go to stage 11, where Levi lost 0:45 to Heras. Then stage 15, where he lost 2:10. On all other non-TT stages except for stage 8, Levi and Heras had the same time. That means they effectively finished side by side, or with Heras ahead through most of the race.

So how does Levi end up on the podium? The same reason Casero won the race on the last day (quite selfish, you might add). Heras can't time trial. Levi can. Levi can't do anything for Heras in time trials except cheer him on. What's he supposed to do, tank it to make Heras happy?

Having three guys in the top 10 provides a great edge for race strategy. Instead of one danger man, now you have three, which means other teams have to do more work to minimize the damage. The job of Levi and Rubiera was not only to work for Heras, but also to keep themselves high in the standings. Both did that magnificently. The only time USPS had to work at the front of the race was when they chose to--the ideal way to race. Except you have to have a guy who can win the race. Heras was hurt this year, and didn't have the form. Better luck next year.

When it became clear to everyone that Heras wasn't going to win the race, the team focus changed to winning a stage. That means Dean gets into a break on the flats, Rubiera and Heras go for it in the mountains, and Levi goes for in the time trials.

The focus also changes to finishing as many guys as they can as high as they can, because that translates directly into prize winnings ($$$$) and UCI points. I'm sure you didn't notice, but the 1309 points won by USPS moved them firmly into the top 10 ranked teams. Every team is trying to make the top 10 at the end of the year because of the new superleague format, which guarantees selection to events like the Tour de France.

Is Heras a sore loser? Perhaps. But you don't get to this level without being highly competitive, and highly competitive people tend to take losing hard. He'll get over it. And if he's smart, he'll keep Levi and Lance happy, since they might be able to teach him a few things about time trialing.
You didn't see the same race I didPave
Oct 2, 2001 7:47 AM
Wow- now that was some close analysis. Nice work. As others have also said, I don't think this was changing leaders. I think (based on what I've read- didn't get to see the coverage) that Levi was given a free hand by Bruyneel, not elected/appointed the new leader.

As I recall, La Vie Claire had some luck in bagging grand Tours with a similar look. Though we all know about the controversy/power struggles in that team, look at how it worked out from a racing standpoint. Hinault, at least in theory, was always the leader, but LeMond was super-strong, had/took a free hand, and rode like hell in the hills. As a result, other teams had 2 threats on one team to watch out for, a duo that could give you a 1-2 punch on any terrain. If Hinault had a bad day, the rest of the team could babysit, and other teams still had to try to bring back Lemond, so they had to keep working. If Hinault didn't recover from a bad day, the team wasn't totally in the hole for the entire race(of course Postal's results weren't as good, but, though Roberto and Levi are fast as hell, Hinault and Lemond?, c'mon...:-)

Some folks seem to want to reduce this to the one day that Heras was dragging and lost 5 minutes, and Levi apparently wasn't with him. My thought would be- good move by Postal. Why take BOTH of your high GC guys and have them BOTH lose 5 minutes? If Heras was getting shot out the back, McRae, Rubiera, Pena, et al. should be able slog it out with him as well as Levi, who I believe was better placed on GC. Sometimes even great leaders just can't follow the wheels of their domestiques. Being surrounded by a cloud of Mercatone Uno could only help Pantani so much.

If Levi could get the team some camera time, keep a GC hope alive in the team (just in case Heras didn't recover), and not hurt Heras' chances, why not let him go? I don't think everyone on Postal flipped a switch, threw Heras to the roadside, and started riding hell bent for leather for Levi, did they? What if Heras never recovered from that day, a la Beloki? Then we'd have an entire team another 5 minutes down because they were guarding the wrong guy. And that would be a bad management decision.

To get back to the original question, I'd wonder if Heras isn't just extremely disappointed in his performance, wondering about his current market value, and doesn't want to talk to anyone.
WELL SAID!!!!Wannabe
Oct 2, 2001 8:27 AM
Well said.

Andy - Wannabe
Look at ONCEazdave
Oct 2, 2001 8:27 AM
ONCE did have everyone sacrifice for Beloki on the stage that he blew up on, and it cost ONCE any chance at a podium. All (or most) of ONCE fell back to pace up Beloki, only to find out he couldn't do it (probably due to illness).

I will conceed that maybe Levi should of worked harder for Heras on some of the climbs. If you are truely sacrificing for your team leader, you will finish more than a minute or two down. For example, Gomez killed himself pacing Sevilla on the early part of the climbs, and I am sure he lost a lot more time than Levi did.
Look at ONCEjschrotz
Oct 2, 2001 11:06 AM
I don't buy the idea that if Levi was really working hard for Heras that he would have finished further down like Gomez did for Kelme. Heras wasn't nearly as strong as Sevilla and Levi is a stronger rider than Gomez as well. Gomez wasn't a viable GC contender and could be sacrificed without too much worry. Heras was weak in the early mountain stages and Postal saw that Levi could be a good back-up plan on GC and therefore didn't ride him into the ground like Kelme did with Gomez. Besides, if they had sent Levi to the front to bury himself, Heras probably would have cracked earlier in the stage(s) and would have lost even more time. Bruyneel has proven himself to be a pretty good tactician over the past two years and I think he called it right again.
Blame (or credit) Johan BruyneelElefantino
Oct 2, 2001 7:12 AM
He made the decision early on (after the first five days) not to have Levi work FOR Heras, but work alongside him. Remember, going into the Vuelta Heras complained that his knee was still sore (tendonitis from the TdF fall) and Bruyneel, wanting a podium spot, made the decision after Heras' poor first week to play the odds and see which one of his men could make the podium. He wasn't willing to commit to Heras as the race went on.
Had his decision been otherwise, you would have seen a long train of Posties out front, Levi included, pulling Heras up the hills and then pulling off as each of them bonked. But I didn't see Levi do one lead-out, and that's the call of the director.
Remember '85, when LeMond was clearly the superior rider but the DS of La Vie Claire (Roger Legay?) held him back and made him work for Hinault. If Bruyneel thought Heras had a similar chance, Leipheimer would have been a domestique, too.
Blame (or credit) Johan BruyneelJon
Oct 2, 2001 8:06 AM
I agree with the last two posts. Coming off the TdF Heras simply didn't have the form needed to pull
it off in the Vuelta, so team strategy changed. Heras could not go with the big boys this time on the
climbs. Placing three riders in the top ten, though, was a real accomplishment and great team
strategy. I can understand Heras' disappointment, especially after he fought through nagging
injuries in the TdF, but that doesn't make Leipheimer the bad guy or Bruyneel a thoughtless and
uncaring DS. He made the right calls for the team, in my opinion.
Cyril Guimard, director of La Vie Claire. (NM)JS
Oct 2, 2001 8:21 AM
Merci (nm)Elefantino
Oct 2, 2001 6:30 PM
"Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!" -NMTig
Oct 2, 2001 9:47 AM