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How strong is ONCE? (spoiler)(20 posts)

How strong is ONCE? (spoiler)AllisonHayes
Jul 11, 2002 6:56 AM
They have 7 riders in the top ten after Stage 5. What are their weaknesses and what stages will other teams show their strengths?

1 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski
2 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.04
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 0.07
4 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) ONCE-Eroski 0.12
5 Abraham Olano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.22
6 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service 0.25
7 Isidro Nozal (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.27
8 José Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski 0.28
9 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service
10 Marcos A.Serrano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.30
They're real strong...Wayne
Jul 11, 2002 7:16 AM
but they probably don't have the single strongest rider (LA)and it all comes down to mano a mano during the TT's and mountain top finishes. That being said either Gonzalez de Galdeano or Beloki could outclimb/TT Armstrong if they have an exceptional day and he has a bad one. Jaksche, Olano, Azevedo and Serrano are all pretty good climbers and TTist but they would have to get a lead on a flat stage (or go away early on a mountain stage) to somehow threaten Armstrong. As much lip service as is given to a having a strong team, blah, blah, it still comes down to the strongest guy winning in GT's almost without exception. You need a moderately strong team to defend the jersey but it's tactically almost impossible even with the strongest team to crack another rider who is even moderately supported.
They're real strong...Dave Hickey
Jul 11, 2002 7:24 AM
I was trying to find the results from last year after stage 5. Wasn't Lance way behind in the GC? If I remember correctly, there was a big breakaway with the lead riders gaining 15 to 20 minutes on the peloton. My only point is, I think Lance is in a better position this year than last year.
They're real strong...AllisonHayes
Jul 11, 2002 7:39 AM
I agree, he does seem to be better positioned than in prior years. If what Wayne says is correct that a moderately capable team can support a single strong rider, then the USPS team is more than capable of supporting Lance barring injury or accident.

On the other hand, how often does one team have 7 riders in the top ten? Can ONCE continue that throughout, and, if so, wouldn't they be in a position to have a rider take the TDF?
They're real strong...Len J
Jul 11, 2002 7:43 AM
"On the other hand, how often does one team have 7 riders in the top ten? Can ONCE continue that throughout, and, if so, wouldn't they be in a position to have a rider take the TDF?"

The winner of the TTT always has several riders in the top 10 because of it's placement in the tour. It's always early, so most if not all teams have a full complement of riders. Being early, most of the preceeding stages are flat & end up being field sprints. No big time gaps are usually created, therefore whichever team wins the TTT ends up well represented in the top 10.

Not to worry.

no worry mate, it's just fascinatingAllisonHayes
Jul 11, 2002 7:58 AM
to watch this unfold and how each stage brings different challenges and requires different strategy as well as capabilities. It really is an incredible sporting event in the truest sense: drama, skill, luck, strategy, team effort, individual strength, support, etc. Clearly it is much more exciting that the World Series, the World Cup or the Superbowl.

It is too bad the TDF (and other races) is not more mainstream. It seems that most people aren't able to understand nor appreciate what is one of sports greatest spectacles.
Because Lance is a Texas boy............Dave Hickey
Jul 11, 2002 8:06 AM
We're getting great local media coverage. The both the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram have a special TDF section every day. The local TV news is also giving daily updates.
They're real strong...mr_spin
Jul 11, 2002 7:49 AM
It's very common after a TTT to see a lot of riders from the winning team in the top 10. Don't read too much into it. Most of those guys will be lucky to finish in the top 50. The only two that matter are Beloki and Galdeano. I also think Azevedo will one day be a star.

Here's the GC after the 2001 team time trial.

1 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 20.54.21
2 Jens Voigt (Ger) Credit Agricole 0.26
3 Bobby Julich (USA) Credit Agricole 0.27
4 Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.57
5 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 1.07
6 Carlos Sastre (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 1.08
7 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) ONCE-Eroski 1.12
8 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina 1.17
9 Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 1.20
10 Marcos Serrano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 1.23

Only three of these guys (Beloki, Galdeano, and Serrano) made the top 10 in the final GC.
Where did you find the 2001 stage results? nm..Dave Hickey
Jul 11, 2002 7:54 AM
Jul 11, 2002 7:56 AM
Mucho Gracias nmDave Hickey
Jul 11, 2002 7:58 AM
You may be right... (slight spoiler)Wayne
Jul 11, 2002 7:57 AM
but I think all 4 of the ones I named have finished in the top 10 in a Grand Tour, hell Olano even won one and was second at the Giro last year. Jaksche and Azevedo are both young up and comers. The point is they are all potential threats that can't be allowed to gain lots of time on Armstrong esp. before the mountains when their climbing form can be assessed. That's were the potential tactical danger lies to Armstrong, but it's slim and can be guarded against. Christ, today, USPS had Ekimov and Landis in early breaks and ONCE had to chase the first and covered the second with Pradera, which make no sense since he flatted early yesterday and is way out of the GC running and wouldn't be a threat anyway. To gain a tactical advantage ONCE needs to get one of those four riders into a breakaway and force Postal to chase on these flat stages!
7 riders in the top tengregario
Jul 11, 2002 8:00 AM
they have 7 riders in the top ten because they won the Team Time Trial, silly!
7 riders in the top tenAllisonHayes
Jul 11, 2002 1:09 PM
The TTT was Stage 4. These standings are through Stage 5. What are you saying? Does having won a single stage suddenly give them this status. Or, are you saying that it takes time (stages) for things to sort themselves out before we have a true picture of team strength?

And I resent being called silly.
Much better position...Wayne
Jul 11, 2002 7:45 AM
he lost a couple of minutes to the ONCE guys last year in the TTT. That breakaway only got as much as it did because no one in it had any potential, although Kivilev surprised everyone!
...consider their successes so farJS Haiku Shop
Jul 11, 2002 7:32 AM
part of the reason they have so many in the top 18-20 is their team time trial win. most teams/riders (aside from rote domestiques) were fairly close in time over the first few stages, aside from differences in the prologue. the fact that these guys finished first in the TTT (and postal second) makes high standings in the top 20 a logical result. there have been no ITTs (aside from the prologue) or mountain stages yet, and no major breaks on the flats.
The real question is............Len J
Jul 11, 2002 7:39 AM
How much stronger Igor & Joseba this year compared to last & how much weaker is Lance. This question won't be answered until they get into the mountains. If you remember last year, Beloki was ahead of lance by more than 3 seconds going into the mountains & lost several minutes in the mountains. & then more time in the TT.

Both the mountains & TT pit Man against Man ultimatly.

If Lance is in the same form as last year then the only way he gets beat is if someone else is appreciably stronger than last year, Lance Bonks, has an accident or has a series of mechanicals at the most inappropriate time.

Jul 11, 2002 8:13 AM
From the postal camp and Chris Carmicael I have herad that Lance is supposidly in the best shape he ahs ever been in.
But only time will tell.
Jul 11, 2002 8:25 AM
I'm not going to disagree, but they say that EVERY year!!! What else are they going to say?

The funny thing is, after Lance's bluff last year, no one would believe it if they announced that he was in the poorest shape he's ever been in (excluding his cancer period). Even if it were TRUE! Lance could be falling off his bike, weaving all over the road, calling for his mom, vomiting every 5K, and everyone would still think it was just another bluff! Yeah, sure Lance. You look terrible, but you won't fool us this time!
Good PointMe Dot Org
Jul 11, 2002 8:43 AM
Lance's "pain" in the Alps last year makes any future displays of pain suspect. But that could conceivably work to Lance's advantage, if he is in real pain. Someone might me more reticent to attack this year, thinking Lance is just pulling their chain...

That's one of the fascinating things about cycling, so many mind games...