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Lance's "the look" myth(19 posts)

Lance's "the look" mythDougSloan
Jul 4, 2002 1:34 PM
Sorry if this is old news to some, but I just saw this today.

Everyone knows about "the look," when Armstrong turned and stared at Ullrich before blasting away last year. The myth, started by Ligget, I think, was that Lance was challenging Ullrich, in effect saying "let's go", "whatcha got?" or trying to intimidate.

I was watching a replay on OLN with Lance commenting. When asked about "the look," he said he was merely looking to see who was there and what Ullrich's condition was, as he was getting ready to jump. He said he was just looking around, that's all, and it took a while to see everything he wanted to see.

He also said he waited for Ullrich after his endo because he thought he might have been seriously hurt, and he had enough time on him that he didn't need to take advantage of the crash. (Leaving me to think, "what if Lance had been behind at that point?)

He also said he had no idea what the handshake was about, whether a "thank you" for letting him get the time bonus, or what. He said he just thought it was mutual respect after a hard stage.

Maybe we read more into these things than is there. Nice to hear it from the source.

or maybe it's convenient self-revisionism (nm)ET
Jul 4, 2002 1:53 PM
near-death experiencenova
Jul 4, 2002 2:11 PM
I don't know Armstrong, but I know the guy was really on the cusp of being a decaying corpse, his body ravaged by disease, while in his mid-20's.

Think about it:

He had brain surgery
He lost a testicle
He he was coughing up blood
He saw xrays of his own lungs peppered with large tumors

He wasn't gonna live. Does everyone REALLY think he is walking around with a huge chip on his shoulder, thinking that he is God's gift to humanity? Or is he just thankful to be alive, and savoring every moment?

I think it is the latter... and that he just has healthy self-esteem... but I don't know for sure. Who does? His wife maybe. Kristin, you out there?
I would agree,rwbadley
Jul 4, 2002 3:15 PM
Without knowing Lance personally, he does strike me as being straight about this. I would think he may have a pretty good grasp of life as a 'bigger picture'.

At one time it may have been different for him, but now it appears that he has a pretty good grasp of our human frailty.

I would guess his concern for Ullrich was real, not posed, and he may have stopped for him even if behind on time. The look was just that, a look. Though it sure was great screenplay. We know he is not averse to playing 'games' a bit with the competition. He is definitely dealing from a position of strength.

I am really looking forward to see how the Tour plays out. It really looks that much of the competition has suffered losses that would make the Posties look like an odds on favorite.

let's remember, the Look was immediately followed by...ET
Jul 4, 2002 7:15 PM
Lance's blasting off up the mountain (not really the best strategy from a scientific perspective), and lends credence (although not proof, of course) to the intentions of the Look. Even if it was intended to intimidate Ulrich, it's not so terrible anyway, maybe just not something to boast about after the fact, whether immediately after the stage or right before the next year's Tour.
nope this IS old news... lance said all of this a long time agoEpicX
Jul 4, 2002 4:30 PM
some of it even DURING the tour in press conferences.
Doug is right on point, our sideline observations...Djudd
Jul 4, 2002 3:01 PM
are just that, OUR own interpretations. I remember thinking what a great sporting moment the Ullrich/ Aramstrong handshake was. To hear Lance say he had no idea what the hand was extended for put me right in my place. The seem for Lance not attacking Ullrich after his crash. Lance commenting was pretty non-chalant about the entire incident. (Ullrich sure didn't hesitate to attack LA later on that very stage).
Maybe the TdF is too grueling for there to be too many ulterior motives. The main strategy is survival, anything after that is icing.
re: Lance's "the look" mythAkirasho
Jul 4, 2002 3:09 PM
... I've always thought that general conversation was at best, a 50 50 chance at being completely understood...

Even a relatively benign statement like "It's a nice day" is dependent on several other "assumed" factors, that by itself... it's meaningless.

That's one of the reasons I get amazed at some of the tirades on boards like this... without all those other subtle clues that we take for granted when having a one on one conversation, some folks read in far too much... and perhaps that's true of "the look".

There were interviews after the tour where Armstrong stated about as much... saying that he was looking not only at Ullrich, but down the road as well... from the camera's perspective... it seemed to most of us that is was a protracted stare merely at Jan.

As far as the shake... who knows... how many times in our own lives have we reacted one way (waving at someone... only to have another person in the foreground "receive" the wave) only to have it misread. Looked like honest respect from two champions to me...

At any rate, it was a great tour (I've been watching '00 all afternoon and will probably pop in '01 this evening) and a great display of riding skills and power by both... as well as 'pert near anyone who can actually finish a tour!

We abide.

Remain In Light.

BTW, Jan's other look...
to the victor... nmDougSloan
Jul 4, 2002 8:29 PM
Ginseng Up??? eomspyderman
Jul 4, 2002 10:47 PM
Now this explains it...amflyer
Jul 5, 2002 6:34 AM
Send this picture to LeBlanc, and he won't be asking "Why would anyone NEED to take drugs...etc."

Maybe this was the Amsterdam criterium podium?


I love it all!Spoke Wrench
Jul 4, 2002 3:46 PM
I think that it's cool to be living in a time when an ordinary guy can witness stuff like this and speculate about the motivations of the participants.

It hasn't been all that long ago when TDF television coverage was limited to a few 15 minute segments on "Wide World of Sports" that were narrated by some auto racing clown who obviously didn't have the slightest clue what he was talking about.
re: waited for Ullrichcyclopathic
Jul 4, 2002 6:34 PM
I always thought it was a calculated tactical decision. Lance did it to save the effort and minimize risk. Ullrich, Livingston and Lance worked together to finish; Ullrich wasn't in the form to challenge Lance, esp after such hard crash. On other hand riding alone would force him to work harder and he would risk bonk and get eventually passed.
re: Lance's "the look" mythbic
Jul 4, 2002 8:16 PM
Would not a look to see what condition your rival is not also be a way to intimidate them before you drop them like a brick. He almost always gives a look before he hammers on every climb. Lance is the best at understating anything. He learned, as does almost anyone, when having faced death. That there are no promises in life. You get what you try to take. And you humbly enjoy when your blessed, work hard, and are gifted enough, to recieve them! Not the brash Texan he was before cancer!

Perhaps not quite a challenge, but not just a look!
Ligget's style...spyderman
Jul 4, 2002 11:05 PM
I thought it was a nice piece of embellishment by Ligget. He is the best announcer there is in cycling. He's seen almost everything there is...

Everyone looks... LA is smart enough not to create a monster by saying something like "Yeah, I dropped the gauntlet and Jan couldn't keep up..."

It was a very long "look" with many meanings, including psychological. I liked Ligget's read most.
re: Lance's "the look" mythNJRoad
Jul 5, 2002 4:02 AM
If I'm not mistaken the fact that he waited for him is a little piece of Tour tradition, you don't attack when your main contention has flatted or crashed.

This is along the lines of allowing someone who's home town your going to ride through breakaway so that he can ride through alone and maybe stop to kiss his momma.
Public personaDCP
Jul 5, 2002 6:33 AM
Undoubtedly there is some truth to the "I was just looking around to see whether it was time to attack" statement, I think that LA is putting a mild spin on his actions so as not to appear to be the brash LA of his youth. His thinking is probably that he doesn't really need the animosity generated by arrogant statements. Remember him saying that he let Pantani win and the resulting ruckus? Why put himself through that and piss off Ullrich and others. He now views himself in historical perspective (and rightly so) and wants to do good for the sport. In my opinion, the look was a challenge. Nothing wrong with that and totally appropriate.

And kudos to LA for suggesting that had he not had a lead over Jan, he might not have waited. Honesty.
i like a good rivalry...ColnagoFE
Jul 5, 2002 6:47 AM
next you're gonna tell me that hinault and lemond were best buddies.
i like a good rivalry...nyvram
Jul 5, 2002 8:01 AM
Actaully I got a different meaning from that exchange between Liggit & Armstrong. Liggit made a comment at the end afte LA 'explained' the look which sounded something like the following: "oh well there you go, Lance has clarified that the look was ONLY to guage where the competition was and nothing else." which sounds as if it was dripping with sarcasm to me. (I know I'm paraphrasing and you had to hear his tone of voice and see his facial expression to draw your own conclusions.)