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It seems Armstrong will have no competition in 2002....(30 posts)

It seems Armstrong will have no competition in 2002....Bruno S
Mar 28, 2002 9:40 PM
Ulrich, Simoni and Dekker (the only one to beat Lance in 2001) are all injured and not training. In the mean time Lance is riding 6hr races as a domestique and finishing in high places. If things continue like this, the 2002 TdF will be an easy win. I just would like to see some excitement.
If the organizer makes some changes....longfellow68
Mar 29, 2002 3:44 AM
Heres what I would do to make the Tour de France better.

Get rid of these teams:
Lampre Dakin, Big Mat

And fill with these teams:
Aqua Sapone, Saeco
Then put Team Coast where Festina was.

I can't stand not having Cipo there to give Zabel some competition early.
All this takes into account that Mario survives Paris Roubaix and Simoni heals up.
I would like to see the Mercury team make it in.Attila the Hun
Mar 29, 2002 8:33 AM
re: It seems Armstrong will have no competition in 2002....Elefantino
Mar 29, 2002 5:00 AM
Oh, there will be competition. Lance will be the favorite, certainly, but don't hand him the yellow jersey in Paris just yet. (In 2000, remember, Lance was injured before the tour and briefly stopped training, while Pantani was riding domestique to Stefano Garzelli in the Giro, and, well...)

But anyway, Ullrich and Simoni will be back, Dekker is never a factor in the GC, and watch out for:

• Oscar Sevilla, Kelme: He returns with the entire team
• Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole: With a new team and is out to prove he's not a quitter. This may be his last shot
• Angel Casero, Coast: Assuming Coast gets in, but it is pointing for the Tour. He is a sudden star after the Vuelta
• Joseba Beloki, Once: A great climber and time trialer, third each of the last two years
• Andreas Kloden, Team Telekom: If Ullrich IS injured, watch this guy in the GC (sorry, Kevin)
• David Millar, Cofidis: If he EVER learns how to climb ... never mind. Forget him.

Anyway, it is going to be fun to watch. There are always unexpected things.

Beloki seems to have the best chance.look271
Mar 31, 2002 7:58 AM
Sevilla can't TT. Moreau? Can't climb. Maybe Tyler Hamilton w/CSC online? Who knows. Lance could crash. Get sick. As they said after the Superbowl this year;"that's why they play the game!"
what about Zabel?mlbd
Mar 29, 2002 6:10 AM
I keep reading in various places that Zabel is THE man but he still rides under the shadow of Ulrich. i read rumors that he would jump ship and join another team, but he hasnt't right. why can't he get the nod and lead a team. is what i read about him being so good not really true?
what about Zabel?TJeanloz
Mar 29, 2002 6:15 AM
Zabel is a pure sprinter. He cannot possibly contend for an overall GC spot because he doesn't climb. He may want to jump ship to a team that will support him 100% instead of supporting Ullrich 70% and him 30%.
70% vs. 30%?Wannabe
Mar 29, 2002 7:03 AM
Try more like 85%/15% or even 90%/10%... Telekom could at least send one rider whoes main purpose is to lead Zabel out. This idividual would also be helpful to JU for the flat stages so still an overall benefit to the team. Pretty harsh how they left him alone last year even though they still tried to lead him out on a couple of stages.

Mar 29, 2002 7:07 AM
I'll give you 85% or 90% if the Tour is the only race in the world- but the team rides strictly for Zabel at the sprints in Paris-Nice, and in the classics like MSR. Unlike Hincapie, who tends to get no love anywhere.
Mar 29, 2002 7:11 AM
Good point, silly me, I thought we were talking only about the tour! Yes, I would say for the rest of the year they work very well for Zabel. He had an amazing number of victories last year. Like 19 or 20 or was it even more? Plus those 6-day races after the rest of the peloton was putting pastries in their faces! In a word, Zabel is awesome!

Mar 29, 2002 10:04 AM
I believe it was 28 wins last year.
what about Zabel?Elefantino
Mar 29, 2002 7:08 AM
Zabel is one of the highest-paid cyclists in the world and has won 143 races in his 10-year career with Telekom, had 6 GT stage wins last year, and has won the Green Jersey five times.

I don't think he feels abandoned. He had a quasi-snit last year when his sprint mates were left off Telekom's Tour team, but the younger replacements were just as good, if not better.

Deker (the only one to beat Lance in 2001)?Wayne
Mar 29, 2002 7:05 AM
Not sure exactly what your referring to, I assume the Amstel Gold Race? Lance got beat plenty of times last year, including time trials in small stage races before the tour. The guy is not unbeatable, he's just the best at peaking for the tour, and when he's at his peak there are very few riders in his class, maybe none. But I agree, he's looking by far the best of the tour hopefuls at this point, he may actually add something significant to his palmares this year other than TdF. I think his biggest threat comes from the whole Telekom team, if they get Ullrich there in tip top shape and Vinokourov (who was near the top-10 last year even after doing massive work for Ullrich and already has won Paris-Nice this year) and if Kloden ever finds his form again, they could really give Postal a working over. They tried last year, but didn't really have riders high enough in the GC to force postal to chase and were reduced to trying to blow them out from the front. Throw Simoni in there to cause some problems in the mountains and I'm sure that Armstrong will have his hands full. The tour is still a long way off, plenty of time for everyone to get in shape!
Too bad....Wannabe
Mar 29, 2002 7:15 AM
....his team will never be invited, but with all the lip service Pantani is giving, I would love to see him there in July too. Alas, I guess Big Mat gets to go instead.

In the early 90s, didn't they split an invitation amongst two teams once? They should do this again for a couple of the weak French teams if thay want to give invites to them all...

Deker (the only one to beat Lance in 2001)?Bruno
Mar 29, 2002 7:48 AM
Winning Amstel Gold was one of his goals for the year. The only one he couldn't accomplish. He wanted to win the TdF, Alp d'Huez and the mountain time trial. No problems there. He did all that plus he won the Tour de Swiss that was really a training race for the TdF. During Amstel Gold he was attacking on the hills in a similar way he did in the Tour but Dekker responded every single time and finally beat him in the sprint. I'm sure Armstrong would have liked to beat him this year.
Well then...Wayne
Mar 29, 2002 8:54 AM
I see what your saying and agree with you 100%. It really is a shame that Armstrong, being one of the very best cyclists in the world, maybe the best Time Trialist, certainly one of the top stage racers, and with a proven track record as a One-day man pre-cancer only rides to win 2 races a year (Amstel and TdF). The fact that he won Switzerland last year without a 100% effort speaks of his immense talent. It seems to me he has the potential of a Hinault but we'll probably never know if his almost exclusive focus on the TdF continues. But then again maybe it's just an illusion, if he tried more in other races maybe he couldn't win the tour with such apparent ease if at all? Two years ago when he prolonged his season after the tour, Ullrich smacked him around at the Zurich world cup and bested him at the Olympic TT. I would be a much bigger fan of Armstrong if he raced to win alot more often. Maybe his form will allow him to try at Criterium International this weekend and start changing my opinion of him. CI is a perfect example of a race that most of the recent greats of cycling have won or at least tried to.
re: It seems Armstrong will have no competition in 2002....jaybird
Mar 29, 2002 7:43 AM
Tyler H. is gunna spank him in the mountains...

There needs to be at least another american team in the TDF. How about Prime Aliance, Saturn, Navigators, or Mercury.
Tell me you're kidding,TJeanloz
Mar 29, 2002 7:54 AM
Another American team in the Tour? That would be even less fair than including the half-assed french teams. USPS is the only US division 1 team. Navigators is the only D2 team- and they bring a whopping 27 UCI points to the table. Mercury/Viatel had a chance to be invited to the dance last year- but they had real talent last year, something they lack this year. Furthermore, all of the American talent that isn't on USPS (Rodriguez, Hamilton, Livingston) ride on foreign teams.

And what D1 team do you propose excluding so that another American team can enter?
Tell me you're kidding,jaybird
Mar 29, 2002 10:49 AM
yes and no...

I think there are a couple of American D2 teams that could compete very well... Just like the french teams last year. Didn't one of the Frnch teams finish with all but one of their riders? I know that it is a pipe dream but I would like to see it none the less...

lets get those pink Telekom pansies otta there and bring in Team Jelly Belly. Better yet, lets bring back 7-11 complete with Bobke, Hampsten, Phinney and Boyer.

TJ, are you in New England?

keep the rubber side down,
It would be interesting..TJeanloz
Mar 29, 2002 11:05 AM
I admit that it would be interesting to see teams like 7-Up or Jelly Belly competing, but interesting in a sick sort of way (how much time can he lose today?). Division 1 euro racing is on a different level than American pro racing. It would just get ugly. And it isn't all a talent gap- I think there are a lot of guys on American teams who could ride in the field- but because they aren't as well supported (financially and otherwise) they couldn't make any noise.

And yes, I am in downtown Boston.
Where do you ride?jaybird
Mar 29, 2002 11:23 AM
I live in Franklin and work in Canton... You work at a shop don't you?
Simple; I don't, it's all a fantasy...TJeanloz
Mar 29, 2002 12:28 PM
Actually, my parents live in Franklin County, so I tend to go home on the weekends and ride there. But my days of shop employment are (sadly, and recently) over. I'm currently an investment banker, so I can afford all the bikes I always wanted- just not the time to ride them.
Mar 29, 2002 7:59 AM
I think you are over simplifying the situation. Ullrich looked kind of pathetic at points during the Giro, but he hit the Tour with all guns flying. If not for Lance, Ullrich would have dominated the Tour.

As far as competition, few people outside USPS expected Lance to do anything in 1999, and he totally dominated the event. There's always room for a surprise. Kivilev emerged from the crowd last year and made some noise. If he were to target the Tour this year, perhaps he could reach the podium. Unfortunately for him, I think Millar will get the nod as leader for Cofidis. Tyler Hamilton could give Lance some trouble on a few stages, although I don't think the overall is within his grasp. And don't forget Levi Leipheimer. Isn't it amazing to be talking seriously about American riders at the top level? These aren't pipe dreams--these guys are for real.

If they eliminate a few of the weak teams from last year (Big Mat especially) and bring in some potentially stronger teams (i.e., Coast), someone may again emerge from the crowd. Lance is an awesome rider, but he isn't invincible. Frankly, I think Lance is so strong and so dominant, many riders don't even try to challenge him. As great as Ullrich is, he doesn't quite have the same "take no prisoners" intensity, so he attracts more challengers. Funny how the battle last year was for third place!
Mar 29, 2002 8:34 AM
"Kivilev emerged from the crowd last year and made some noise."

Just imagine what the Tour would have been like if Kivilev (and the entire Cofidis team) had not lost some 18 minutes on one stage. How far behind Lance was Kivilev in the final GC? 9'53"! The race would have been completely different!

Maybe, but...mr_spin
Mar 29, 2002 9:10 AM
Remember why Cofidis lost all that time? USPS and ONCE combined to shred the peloton on that stage. In the final standings, who gained the most? USPS and ONCE.

I'm sure it was just an opportunistic move, but perhaps they knew something.

As far as the race being different, I doubt it. Kivilev still couldn't keep up with Lance or Ullrich on the climbs, and Ullrich caught and passed him in the long TT. Kivilev shows promise, but he has some work to do. I hope this year Cofidis allows him to do that work, so the Tour will have another player.
Oh, I agree...Wannabe
Mar 29, 2002 9:19 AM
...I am just saying things would have been different. Afterall, one must assume that if he had not lost all that time and was in that big break, USPS would have chased it down at least some. USPS was well aware of Kivilev's ability in the mountains.

Though Kivilev did show his inexperience. Notice how he always tried to follow LA and JU and always blew up and would be passed on a climb by others previousl dropped?

What about Oscar Sevilla?Len J
Mar 29, 2002 10:20 AM
He's a young rider with nothing but upside. I think he's ready.

My dream won't come true this year... buttempeteKerouak
Mar 29, 2002 9:48 AM

Just go and review this year's team.

Just wait for Mapei's new era. It's coming; hat full of sparks,

CADEL EVANS, with all the help he can get from the machines in there. Don't believe me? Me neither I don't believe myself. Until he will jump on the first climb...
thay's only assumingcyclopathic
Mar 29, 2002 3:57 PM
he is in much better shape then Martinez. After all he isn't french and Mapei would play it safe. Either way this is promising team ;)
let Frigo fly...schimanski
Mar 29, 2002 12:04 PM
I'm hoping for too much obviously, but I'd love to have Dario Frigo there to see what he can actually do amongst the big boys. Though it's very unlikely he'll be in top shape since Giro d'Italia obviously is his main goal.

Also it'll be a shame if Cipo is left out again because of some small french team or whatever.