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Who's the better decender: Armstrong or "Il Falco"?!?!?!(3 posts)

Who's the better decender: Armstrong or "Il Falco"?!?!?!Cima Coppi
Jun 3, 2002 5:09 AM
Actually, this is a rhetorical question, because no one should care about the answer anyway. But it begs to open up the never-ending discussion of team selection and politics in professional cycle racing.

We are always criticizing JM Leblanc about his decisions for wild card teams in the TdF, saying he plays favorites with the French team. Well, now Saeco has been ousted from the Tour, and replaced with Jean Delatour ( Is this fair given he never even considered the team of the Giro champion, Index-Alexia? What is the difference anyway, an American team is going to come away with the victory.

When one looks at the start list for the Giro, there was not a single French team present, and a suite of Italian teams. So, maybe Leblanc has a somewhat legitimate excuse for French team favoritism. I never once saw anyone criticize the team selection for the Giro on this forum.

Let me finish up by saying, as I said last year, the Giro is my favorite of the Grand tours. Its venue of mountain stages in the last week makes for a very exciting race, and this year's was no different. I was on the edge of my seat cheering for Tyler Hamilton in the time trial, and watching in awe as the greatest descender in the game was CLIMBING away from everyone to victory in the Dolomites. Just as in last years Vuelta, no one could say who the winner was going to be until the very end. This is what stage racing is all about.

Sorry, that should have read "descender". Bad spelling!! (nm)Cima Coppi
Jun 3, 2002 5:11 AM
Quite a leap...mr_spin
Jun 3, 2002 7:28 AM
What was the question again?

Giro team selection isn't controversial for several reasons. First of all, it is done fairly early in the season, so in many ways, it is based more on last year's results than this year.

Second, there are more slots. As the first grand Tour, many teams with automatic slots opt out because they don't have the depth or it doesn't fit into their plans. US Postal, for instance, doesn't bother. Domo-Farm Frites was in but changed its mind.

Third, Giro television coverage in Europe is less than the Tour. This year was especially bad, as RAI (Italian TV) asked supposedly extraordinary fees. It wasn't shown in Spain as a result, so the Spanish teams (ONCE, etc.) pulled out. More slots available.

Finally, the Giro isn't the Tour. There isn't quite the same demand to get into it.