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Lance-proofing the Tour?!?(16 posts)

Lance-proofing the Tour?!?gregg
Nov 28, 2001 11:03 AM
Hope this isn't old news, just got the email from my bro-in-law from a Yahoo Sports (AP) Headline. Seems a little unfair to me, but apparently the course was similar in 1989?

Tour De France is Shortened

By MICHAEL McDONOUGH, Associated Press Writer

PARIS (AP) - They're trying to ``Lance-proof'' the Tour de France.

Saying they wanted no repeat of this summer's runaway victory by American Lance Armstrong, Tour officials on Thursday unveiled the 2002 route that is the shortest in history and designed to keep the outcome in the balance until the final stages.

The route covers 2,034.8 miles in 21 stages. In 1989, the shortest Tour totaled 2,036.7 miles. This year's race was 2,141.5 miles long.

Four of the six key mountain stages are scheduled for the last eight days next year, meaning there probably won't be a winner much before the cyclists finish in Paris on July 28.

Armstrong won this year with a week to go because of his domination in the mountains. It was his third straight victory in the world's premier cycling event.

``We were criticized because nothing happened in the final stages,'' said Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc. ``The suspense will be maintained as far as possible until the finish.''

The 2002 Tour starts July 6 in Luxembourg and takes riders through Germany, the flat plains of northern France, the Pyrenees mountains, the southeastern Provence region and the Alps. There is one more mountain leg than last year.

The race finishes with the traditional ride down the Champs-Elysees in Paris, three days after a grueling mountain stage between Aime and Cluses in the Alps.

Other difficulties include a 136.7-mile stretch through Provence that ends with an exceptionally difficult climb up Mont Ventoux, one of cycling's toughest challenges. Armstrong finished second there in 2000, taking a big step toward his second title.

Mont Ventoux comes after two mountain stages in the Pyrenees and before three back-to-back Alpine stages, with a rest day in between. A 110.98-mile leg between Les Deux-Alpes and La Plagne will be key to deciding the winner.

Armstrong was to attend the Tour news conference Thursday, but withdrew because of concern over terrorism, said Leblanc, who added that security for the Tour has not been reassessed.

``We will wait to see how the situation evolves,'' he said.

He said the competition next year was made shorter to help fight doping in what is one of the world's most demanding sports events. The endurance drug EPO was at the center of the doping scandal that nearly wrecked the 1998 edition.

``You can't say you're fighting doping and impose a heavier work load for the riders,'' he said.

Despite the changes, Leblanc expects an outcome similar to this year's.

``We will have the same leading riders as this year,'' he said.

re: Lance-proofing the Tour?!?firstrax
Nov 28, 2001 11:19 AM
He's still going to win. But if he does not I hope Ullrich does.
re: Lance-proofing the Tour?!?banzaibeast
Dec 2, 2001 7:03 PM
The strongest rider with the best head wins. My hero, Lance, will take it again using this strategy. The course is laid out already, showing all the teams where their tdf lead rider needs to be getting stronger. Trying to keep the suspense of the finish is a good marketing idea. It was a great race in 2001, I hope next year is even better. Some of the changes in personnel for 2002 should make for some surprises. What a race it will be, OLN rules.
re: Lance-proofing the Tour?!?Tig
Nov 28, 2001 11:22 AM
106 fewer miles spread out over 21 stages sure won't make it harder for LA to win. Maybe bunching up the mountains at the end will increase his chance of cracking, but I doubt it. IF he's in his usual peak form and doesn't get sick or crash bad, I doubt anyone can beat him. "IF" is the middle word in "lIFe" though.
Headline misleadingscottfree
Nov 28, 2001 11:29 AM
If you read the body of the story carefully, you'll see the intent is to prevent Lance from wrapping it up early and cruising to Paris, not to keep him from winning. Preventing a 'runaway victory' in this context means setting it up so he can't win, for all intents and purposes, with a boring week of flats left to go.
Not in the sense some people think!Wayne
Nov 28, 2001 11:32 AM
They're not trying to Lance-proof it in the sense of stopping him from winning but in the sense of keeping him from running away with it early and turning it into a laugher like some think it was last year. They've just moved the hard stuff to the end in the hope of keeping it close until then.
Right, and I for one agree with the concept.RhodyRider
Nov 28, 2001 12:04 PM
Why not keep it suspenseful? It should be a more competitive TdF, maybe better than we've seen for a while.
J-M LeBlanc is looking at the success of the Vuelta..Djudd
Nov 28, 2001 12:41 PM
and trying to incorporate some of those very elements into the TdF. The shorter stages and competitive stages in the last week are direct takes from the Vuelta. I would imagine these new wrinkles would mean nothing to LA, certainly not causing him to lose the tour or any sleep.
LeMond-Fignon TT last stage. Suspense enough? nmBrooks
Nov 28, 2001 1:25 PM
Armstrong to ride in several World Cup racesTig
Nov 28, 2001 4:47 PM
Armstrong to ride in several World Cup races

November 28, 2001

PARIS (AP) -- Lance Armstrong will change strategy and ride in several World Cup races in Europe leading to the 2002 Tour de France.

The three-time champion plans to ride in the Milan-San Remo race and the Tour of Flanders, U.S. Postal Service team spokesman Dan Osipow said. Armstrong also is considering the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race.

``They're prestigious races and it's always an honor to be at the starting line,'' Armstrong told L'Equipe, the French sports newspaper.

The Amstel Gold Race was Armstrong's only appearance in the 2001 World Cup season. Osipow said Armstrong most likely will turn to stage races in the weeks leading to next year's Tour.

``I've learned to love the Tour, it motivates me ... like nothing else,'' Armstrong said. ``The tour is and will always be my main objective.''
re :Armstrong to ride in several World Cup races, question?Djudd
Nov 28, 2001 5:29 PM
Does anyone remember when the general consensus in the pro cycling world was that Lance would be the first truly great American classics rider? Will the U.S. ever have a great classics or one-day rider like Museeuw or van Hooydonck? As a sidebar, doesn't Hincapie resemble van Hooydonck in body type?
re :Armstrong to ride in several World Cup races, question?Daniel H.
Nov 28, 2001 6:09 PM
If you were watching this years Paris-Roubaix(a hard fought fourth) and Gent Wevelgem(winner), it was easy to see that he was one of the best riders there and perhaps we will see him placing well in more in the future?
re :Armstrong to ride in several World Cup races, question?Wayne
Nov 29, 2001 5:28 AM
Hincapie seems to have the talent but, IMHO, he needs to stop wasting his time riding tempo in July, and focus on the end of season classics and world cup, as well as the early season one-day races. I'm sure it's a thrill being on the winning TdF team and all, but he needs to be more selfish if he's going to make a mark. But he's still relatively young (esp. for a classics rider) and if Armstrong goes the way of the recent TdF specialists, he'll lose in the next couple of years and call it quits and Hincapie won't have the temptation of riding the Tour (or at least he would be riding for stage wins himself).
Must have been 1993mr_spin
Nov 29, 2001 2:23 PM
In 1993, he was US National Champion, won a Tour stage, and won the World Championship. That came after a 2nd in the Championship of Zurich in 1992. That's a pretty good run on major one-day races (he wasn't riding for GC in the Tour).

In 1996, he almost pulled the double, winning Fleche Wallone and getting 2nd in LBL a few days later. He was having an awesome year in 1996 until they discovered cancer.

The US will never have a classics rider that can rival any Belgian. Just like an American will never win the Tour. :)
re: Lance-proofing the Tour?!?Bobo
Nov 29, 2001 7:24 AM
That's actually good - keeping the mountain stages near the end means Postal doesn't have to defend the Yellow Jersey as long.
Not truemr_spin
Nov 29, 2001 2:30 PM
To win, USPS will have to control the race even if they aren't in yellow. That's the price of being the defending champion and probable winner. USPS will be expected to do more work than anyone else throughout the race.

Remember the stage last year where the break got 30 minutes on the peloton? That happened because USPS basically said they were tired of doing all the work. The other teams tried to call their bluff, and when they realized USPS wasn't joking, it was too late. It was raining and very cold that day. Must have been a miserable day to be in the peloton!