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Does Lance really win or is it just that...(32 posts)

Does Lance really win or is it just that...GrassyAss
Aug 15, 2002 6:15 PM
he has a really good team to help him through most of the stages?
Again, a bit of a newbie question. But whilst watching some of the Tour, I couldn't help but notice that LA wasn't ever in front to help this team. i.e. he was always drafting.
So the question is, does LA only win due to the good graces of his team?
The answer to ALL of your questions is.....Ahimsa
Aug 15, 2002 6:20 PM

The answer to ALL of your questions is.....weiwentg
Aug 15, 2002 7:20 PM
Ahimsa is correct. he owes much to his team ... but then again, even had he been on FDJeux, he would (probably) have won. the margin, of course, would be closer.
Try drafting someone up a mountain....Tom C
Aug 15, 2002 7:01 PM
you can be paced but that's about it. Armstrong would have won on the basis of his individual time trial performances and his hill climbing even with a sh%tty team. What he might not have had was as easy a time of it and would have won by perhaps a slightly smaller margin.
If there is any doubt.......nealrab
Aug 15, 2002 7:30 PM
about his dominance, you can see for yourself by getting a tape of the 2001 TdF. Check out the faces on everyone else as he decides to "run" on Alpe D'Huez. No one even close, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, however long he decides to ride. It's all Lance all the time whenever wherever whoever. I am out.
Aug 15, 2002 7:42 PM
Lance would really have hard time, and he could loose it. Even the best rider can't do a squad w/o good team. who is fetching food and water? Who is controlling peloton? Who is holding off the attacks? railing escapees in?

If you remember there was a 35min break last year. If one of the escapees was '96 edition Ullrich, or even anyone who placed in top 10 this year Lance would be dead. No way he could overcome 35min defficit to Beloki, Rumsas, Gonzales or even Levy Leipheimer. This year Postal did great job there were no surprises.

Second if his opponent goes on attack and his team can't pull him back he has little choice but go alone. In '00 he blew up chasing Pantani (Postal had no good climbers then) and he almost lost tour. Luckly he had enough time and Bruyneel talked him into not giving up. With 10-15 potential threats even the best legs would be cooked by the final climb. Tour is long and you can loose it in one stage.

This is what makes Lance winning tour:
1) Lance
2) Bruyneel
3) team
4) lack of competition

take any one out and you have a problem, TdF size

there's only one rider who could win tour alone, and his name isn't Lance it's Eddy 8-P
It's mostly about Lance... lets get real here!cyclejim
Aug 15, 2002 8:48 PM
Lack of competition one of the reasons Lance wins the tour? Well hes done it 4 times in a row, and he has had plenty of competition in that time.

I understand that once you are on top everyone wants to knock you off and to lessen your accomplishments, especially those who don't really like you. It totally bugs me when people say, well if this had happened or that had happened then Lance wouldn't have won. What does that prove? NOTHING! He still won didn't he? It's a race, he did what he need to do and he won.

It also cannot be denied that Lance is the most dominant rider in the TDF over the past 4 years, and will most likely win a 5th and a 6th barring any unforseen accidents.
re: no team no Lancecyclopathic
Aug 16, 2002 3:38 AM
given Mercatone Uno for team yeah sure Lance would win maybe once or twice. Not four. He does not measure up to Eddy Merckx or '86 edition LeMond who could and did win w/o team face it.

With respect to "knock you off" this is not the case, get real. Lance races once a year, other riders race full season. Who can afford to prepare for one race only with good chance to loose it? the only time Lance had real competition was in '00 and finishing stage 16 2 1/2 min behind Virengue and Ullrich was the biggest achievement of his career.

Most dominant rider? it is easy to dominate if noone challenges you, right? who was there this year? Simoni? Ullrich? who else?

And last even if Lance wins 8 tours he will never measure up to Eddy, who could and did win yellow, green and polkadot in one tour or could and did win 8 stages in one year.
re: ProblemsAjayM
Aug 16, 2002 5:23 AM
First LeMond in 86 did have some of the team helping him, the team was split between helping him and helping Hinault, so who knows the outcome if nobody was helping him (as opposed to 85 where LeMond basically gave up some 3-4 minutes waiting).

And you so happily point out '00 where Lance bonked on a climb, but who won that year? And who was more than 6 minutes behind? So that 2 minute loss isn't quite a big deal. Ullrich is washed up, I have no doubt he could be or could have been one of the big names in TdF history, but he lacks the dedication to get the job done.

And comparisons to Eddy are just wasted for a number of reasons, in this day and age it is considered bad form for the yellow jersey to win lots of stages, this wasn't the case back in Eddy's day. And if you threw Eddy when he was in his peak condition and form in today's cycling world, he wouldn't be able to win all of the other races like he used to either because the level of competition and the huge importance for a team to win the TdF would make him do what all the winners for the past decade do (which is to train so they peak in July).

Sure he'd still win some other races, just like Lance does now (who has won 2 other races this year, and placed in a few others), but that wouldn't be his sole focus.

re: Problemscyclopathic
Aug 16, 2002 6:03 AM
in a way LeMond's task was easier, 'cause he had one guy to watch. Same could be said of '98 Pantani. Telecom dominated that year, so all Marco needed to do is to put some time on Jan, and he did it on one stage. After that Marco and Jan were working together against the same threat Cofidis and Julrich. If you remember that stage they were up to 8 min and only dedicated work of entire team helped Julrich to pull it back to 2:30. No, it wasn't enough and he lost second to Jan.

with respect to '00 according to Lance when he bonked he punic and was ready to quit, just as he did in Paris-Nice in his first come back try. Bruyneel talked and nursed him through, if someone else would be in the car I doubt he'd make it.

your argument against Eddy is laughable, don't you think 25 years later same will be said about Lance? Eddy stands out, he won every 3rd race he entered and he raced alot. He was two heads above everyone else, and you can't say the same thing about Lance, who is merely first of equals; probably the most dedicated one.
re: ProblemsAjayM
Aug 16, 2002 7:07 AM
In '00 Lance wasn't ready to quit when he bonked, I don't know where you read that (or maybe you're taking comments out of context), he had a 6+ minute lead over Jan at the beginning of the stage and lost a whopping 1:37 on that climb. People don't quit the TdF when they hold the yellow jersey, now if he would have lost some 10+ minutes maybe things would have been different.

As to Eddy, I am not saying anything against him, he was the best man of his day and is certainly legendary and deservedly so. All I'm saying is that in todays time I doubt that Eddy would be winning every 3rd race he entered. Cycling has become way to commercialized, and the top event being so important to sponsors and teams, that will change how people ride and train. That is evident by looking at things like average speed for the tour these days and in the early 70's, there's about a 5kph difference that shows us that the competition is a lot different these days than in the past.

Comparisons are nice, but they aren't very fair. Times change, almost everything about the sport has changed.

re: Eddy isn't just the best man of his daycyclopathic
Aug 16, 2002 8:15 AM
he is best ever, a legend. There's noone like him, and unfortunately there won't be like him for quite some time. He was really gifted.

Surely times changed, bikes got better, scientific training, more drugs etc etc etc. Don't you think some of that 5kph can be contributed to it? It took 2 years of dedicated preparation for Broadman to beat 1hr record on '70s bike, similar to one Merckx used to set up a record w/o much of the preparation.

Consider this, did Eddy have the benefits of "scientific" training? altitude tents? EPO? Would it be fair to compare someone riding 21st century technology with '60s?
re: Eddy isn't just the best man of his dayAjayM
Aug 16, 2002 8:49 AM
That's the point, it isn't fair to compare a riders of the 60's and 70's to those of today.

Would he still enter every race he could, despite the fact that his team and sponsors are mostly interested in the TdF, therefore tell him not to enter all early season races because the risk of injury is to great. He didn't have to deal with that pressure. He also didn't subject his body to the type of training these guys do who are mostly concerned with the big race, there is a difference between optimizing your training for one event so you can be at top level for 3 weeks, than to train to be at a level that wins all year around.

You people are nuts...hycobob
Aug 16, 2002 6:11 AM
Can anyone ever be as good as someone who raced 20 years ago??? Who knows, but if the Le Tour were to follow your logic then they should get rid of all of the teams and only have individual entries. Should they also penalize riders for drafting and expell entire groups for defying the rules and forming pacelines? Maybe the riders should be made to supply their own food/water too. Can you imagine a rider like Rumsas or Beloki lugging a 150oz. CamelBak up Alpe du Huez? Maybe even having to stop at a bakery in some alpine village because the rains ruined your food? And we can go back to the days when everyone had to carry their own tools and tires too...where do we stop?
For as long as I've ridden and followed racing I've seen teams working together. Its the nature of the sport. Not all riders are good climbers or sprinters; some are just good and strong. Whatever their strengths are; they are a part of the team. As in football, would Emmitt Smith have done so well if he wasn't helped out by his team...I don't think so. Bash Lance if it makes you feel superior in some small way, but all it does is show the rest of us you're really made of...insecurity. If we were to put Eddy, Gregg, Coppi, Jan and Lance together in a multi-stage race today it would be neat, but as we can't, its all academic as to who would arrive victorious at the finish line.
re: insecurity?cyclopathic
Aug 16, 2002 6:28 AM
are you trying to say you penis is too small? 8-O
oh man, that is terrible!

noone is bashing Lance and noone has any desire to rewrite the rules of the game, you're fighting windmills wake up. When you do, please reread my post carefully. Please keep in mind there's no need to jump to conclusions too quick.

re: Yes to insecurity?hycobob
Aug 16, 2002 7:02 AM
The comment "you" was meant as a broad generalization of the bashers of anyone/thing that is currently successful, IE Lance, Litespeed, etc... As to your comment on penis size, most of the posters that didn't think of you as a moron before, can't help but see it now.
And yes I realize that I am fighting a windbag, er windmill...maybe you should read your own posts sometime, they're lame.
since you start calling names firstcyclopathic
Aug 16, 2002 8:18 AM
I except your appology. Take mine in return. Let's be more careful choosing words next time, o'k?

ride hard
Aug 16, 2002 9:49 AM
Bob you got me LMAO hard on that one. He asked for it, nice return.
Aug 16, 2002 10:26 AM
yeah he asked for it.. guess what he has some insecurities in return, talk about morons
You can't compare riders of the past Tours with present
Aug 16, 2002 7:19 AM
There was a good article on BBC recently about breaking the world records:

Training/nutrition/medical knowledge of today allows developing one's athletic abilities to fullest extent. How would you know how LA would have done without wind tunnel testing, superlight CF bikes and scientifically devised diet/training schedule? The answer is: WE DON'T KNOW. Therefore saying that "He does not measure up to Eddy Merckx" makes little sense. Also, don't forget that domestiques of Merckx and LeMond days have also been different. Perhaps they have been so poorly trained, that LeMond could race better without them!
one can only compare to the fieldcyclopathic
Aug 16, 2002 9:05 AM
and assume we haven't changed much genetically and at given time most had similar access to what was then "cutting edge" training and technology. Then "does not measure up to Eddy Merckx" would make a bit more sense. Eddy was 2 heads above crowd, Lance isn't. Otherwise it is apples and orages, we don't know agree.


PS speaking of LeMond he still holds TdF 10km record time. LA wasn't able to beat it despite wind tunnel testing, superlight CF bikes and scientifically devised diet/training schedule. Still apples and oranges, but at least they're same size.
What about ITT's? No team help there. Also,tz
Aug 16, 2002 5:49 AM
nobody planning to win the TDF would allow a rider such as Beloki a 35 min breakaway. Those "35-minute" escapees were not GC contenders, that is why they got away with it.
there's always a riskcyclopathic
Aug 16, 2002 6:13 AM
that some "nobody" will turn up a great rider. In '96 Jan was 21, it was his first year pro and he was certainly not a GC. Who was Big Mig before '91? nobody, just a guy who barely finished in first 130 for about 7 years.

with respect to ITT Jan won ITTs '98, but did he win the tour?
I agree, there is a risk, buttz
Aug 16, 2002 6:58 AM
USPS can't chase every breakaway just to eliminate the risk of Ullrich-like riders. There will always be unexpected young stars, but some assumptions about potential leaders have to be made.
Jan's ITT performance didn't help him, but what about Indurain? Didn't he earn his yellow jerseys in Time Trials? I am not arguing that time trials are keys to victories, just trying to say that Armstrong's ITT performance proves that he is a phenomenally strong rider even without team USPS.
Aug 16, 2002 8:41 AM
Lance is exceptionally strong rider, no equal in TdF (at least last 2 years). Unfortunately it isn't enough to guarantee win, even the best can loose. Put it this way USPS cannot win tour for Lance but it can help to loose it.

Yes Idurain earned his tours in TT, but he lost last one in mountains to team Telecom. In '96 Riis wasn't even viewed as challenger, main contender was Giro winner Berzin (who btw was not able to compete with team Telecom too). W/o adequate team they endd up riding upfront and lost
I think that Lance's team does more to insure he doesn't lose.js5280
Aug 15, 2002 7:30 PM
They protect him from other cyclists running into him. They carry him forward if a front runner tries a breakaway or reels that rider back in. Any rider can draft during the Tour, you don't need a team for that. They do provide extra help in a tactical sense which you may or may not receive from a competitor. What sets Lance apart is that he appears to be the most physically capable of any rider out there AND the best tactician in the race as well. He also works ass off to insure this happens for the past 4 years. Could Lance win if he were completely by himself? I would say there's a damn good chance he could. I'd bet money on it. Could anyone else win totally by themselves, "NO." Lance is just that good.
sorta my point...GrassyAss
Aug 15, 2002 11:36 PM
Yes, I agree that LA is superman. But with out the help of his team, it's an awful long race to go by himself.
It's because of his team tha LA has the reserves when he needs it, be it to sprint, climb etc. and his team helps him counter any attack by a competitor. I can't imagine anyone having enough strength and stamina to counter every attack.
Drafting... isn't that what the team is for? They move when you want them to move and because the drag is shared between a number of riders, it makes it easier the draftees to ride.
If you had to rely on a competitor, you'd have to be on the ball all the time. And it would mean that you need the up and go when he/she tries to drop you.
I don't mean to cast a shadow over LA's achievements but everybody has up and down cycles, even LA. He can't be ready to fire all the time over such a long period.
I think the TDF has changed a lot over the years, much like any other sport, so it's difficult to compare winners today with winners of yesteryear. Today, the corporate world sponsors many teams, and the team is required to perform as it's leader requires. Whereas, back in the old days, it was like every man for himself and you had to ride the whole race by yourself.
It's like doing a 24hr endurance race. If you ride in team, you're more likely to do more laps than a rider who rides alone.
sorta my point...PhatMatt
Aug 18, 2002 11:10 AM
my interpertation of your poset would mean that all the other riders are riding as a team. I think that if all were left alone LA would still win for all the reasons you stated. He would be the most prepared. I do not think anyone can be as focused as he is.
re: Does Lance really win or is it just that...GregJ
Aug 15, 2002 11:18 PM
I have followed many tours. Lance has a great team, no doubt. Telekom has a great team and so does ONCE. And the other teams ain't half bad either. I did not think I would see a rider dominate the Tour as Indurain did for many years from now. Boy was I wrong, it happened much faster than I would have guessed. Lance rules the Tour. When Lance had his guys on the front during the mountain stages, they were setting a wicked pace. I could not beleive how fast guys were getting shelled. Big name riders, climbers and former mountain stage winners. Lance did not get gapped even once on the climbs. And always he had something left to get some time at the top. All those other guys were trying to sit in the slipstream as well, they just couldn't do it.
Aug 16, 2002 5:08 AM
Your kdding yourself if you think the peloton don't peak for the TDF. They do, and most of them are just hoping to get to ride it every year. Yes Eddy is and wa great. But,racing is very different now. The peloton races harder,faster, and more tactical man to man and team to team. Now maybe this makes it easier or maybe harder than when Eddy raced. It certainly deserves thought since there is more information available. Face it, team cars,access to food/drink all the time, radios,car TVs, year round knowledge of competitors performances etc. Lance races all year he just builds a peak bigger than his other peak forthe TDF. He races from March to September. He won 3 MAJOR races this year. Last year he won the TDSwiss too. He did alright in the spring classics for a stage racer. Jan does not race much more than Lance if at all. I think he has maybe 3 more raecs or so. Lance can do something other riders cant, he can aim for an event and have 90% chance of winning it. Look at Mapie and the Giro or Domo, they have a great team but that did not help the riders to much on that team. why? cause the dont have their stuff together. Or how about Telekom this year in the TDF, they did not help zabel too much or as much as they should have. No Lance has better preperation and hi performance demonstrates more thoughtfullness when targeting an event.
he wonColnagoFE
Aug 16, 2002 7:26 AM
the team helps a lot, but other riders have good teams too.
Seems to me USPS wasn't the ONLY team therebrider
Aug 16, 2002 8:03 AM
Sure Lance has a good team. So do a lot of others. If it was USPS against a bunch of individuals, then you'd have a point. The fact is that Lance outpaced all the other team leaders when it counted.