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Lets play what if. . .(7 posts)

Lets play what if. . .SLB
Aug 22, 2002 1:44 PM
Just for fun, What if Lance had not come back to competitive racing?

- What would the European peloton look like?
- Who would've won the last 4 tours?
- Would US Postal still be around even?
- Or even on a larger scale, would OLN be broadcasting road cycling, or would we be stuck with half an hour of Adrian Karsten each night during the tour?
- Would you still see 50 OCLVs on every ride?
This is easyTJeanloz
Aug 22, 2002 1:54 PM
1. The same, except that Lance wouldn't be there. The man rides effectively one race a year (I know, there are more, but you get my drift). The peloton exists through the whole season. There would still be stars.

2. Ullrich would have won at least two of the four. Other than that, it's hard to say, as Armstrong has changed the race dynamic so much.

3. U.S. Postal would be around. They were committed to the sport before Armstrong rode for them.

4. OLN was broadcasting road cycling pre-Armstrong, and still would be. Remember, they didn't even show the Tour until last year- their biggest events were the Giro and Vuelta, which Lance did not race.

5. You would still see 50 OCLV's on every ride. They might not be Postal colored, but that was a damn popular bike before Armstrong, and he only made it moreso. The OCLV really is probably the best popular bike in terms of quality divided by units sold.
This is easySLB
Aug 22, 2002 2:20 PM
You are hitting on my point in that Armstrong has changed the race dynamic so much. I wonder how many riders really believe they have a chance to win the tour now. How much would that change with the absence of Armstrong?

I agree Ullrich definitely would have won probably two tours. But in a world where he's top dog, would he get complacent and eat his way out of shape, or simply dominate by sheer skill?

Would Tyler Hamilton ever have become a gc threat without riding for Armstrong?
The Ullrich question was answered...TJeanloz
Aug 23, 2002 4:31 AM
Ullrich answered the question of whether or not he would dominate in 1998, when Pantani beat him. After 1997, he looked like the next Indurain, but 1998 proved that he was not disciplined enough to be. So, of the four, I give Ullrich two- because he has been talented enough to motivate on occassion.

Here's the rub with Hamilton, and Leipheimer for that matter, without Armstrong, they would have gone unnoticed. Tyler would have been a flash in the pan, who won a tour time trial (Metz, in 1999, I believe). But lots of guys can win Tour TTs. He's just getting to the point where he is capable of being a contender- and he may well contend in the future, but without Armstrong, he would probably still be a domestique at USPS. Same with Levi, whose breakout performance was enabled by Heras' collapse in the Vuelta. Without Lance, Postal doesn't have Heras, doesn't care about the Vuelta, Levi never breaks out on the big stage.

It's impossible to say who would have won, because Armstrong is in a class by himself right now- behind him, things are relatively equal. And he won't lose the Tour until somebody in his class arrives.
How about age?DCP
Aug 23, 2002 5:41 AM
TJ: I have seen this "Armstrong will win as long as he wants to" notion in several places. How about his age? Perhaps it is not that someone comes into his league as much as it will be that he will fall back into theirs?

I have not been following racing very long. How long do racers typically stay competitive?
IndurainTJeanloz
Aug 23, 2002 6:07 AM
Indurain, who is the modern standard by which Tour riders must be measured, won his last Tour at age 31. Armstrong will be 31 next month.

It's hard to say how much longer he can keep this up, but I don't think two more years is an impossibility. Particularly if it is his own goal to win six tours. If we have learned anything from Armstrong, it's that he will do whatever he sets out to. I'm confident that if he wanted to win the Tour at age 40, he could do it. The man is driven to achieve his goals like nobody I have ever known. If six tours is his goal, it is attainable. The trouble is that we just don't know what is really motivating him at this point.

Riders can stay competitive through their 30s, but I suspect Armstrong will retire before that.
LA is uncharted territory, no one...Djudd
Aug 23, 2002 8:03 AM
has yet been so dedicated to the TdF...pointing everything to those three weeks. Armstrong will likely be unstoppable in the tour for at least three more years (barring an unlikely unknown talent coming from nowhere). Ullrich, I have to say, has cracked, outside the race, from whatever pressures he has applied to himself. He needs to save his talent for the Vuelta or the Giro.