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Van Velde leaving Postal?(13 posts)

Van Velde leaving Postal?Dave Hickey
Jan 7, 2004 4:54 AM
What's going on at USPS?

American pro Christian Vande Velde confirmed Tuesday that he is close to reaching an agreement with Roberto Heras's Liberty Seguros team.

The U.S. Postal team rider told VeloNews that he has been negotiating with the Liberty squad with since late last year and that the two parties are close to finalizing a deal, "although nothing has been signed at this point."

Vande Velde, who spends much of his season based in Gerona, Spain, said that he still has a year remaining on his current contract, "and some of those details need to be worked out," before he can formally make the switch to the team now headed by his former Postal teammate Heras.

"We've always had a good rapport," Vande Velde said of Heras. "I've ridden with him at the Tour, at the Vuelta a España and at the Vuelta a Cataluyna."

Vande Velde's reputation as a selfless lieutenant was enhanced at the 2002 Vuelta a España, riding exceptionally well in the mountains in support of Heras, who eventually finished second that year.

Vande Velde, who is currently at his home in Colorado, said he expects to remain in the U.S. for "another two weeks or so."

The 27-year-old American has been a member of U.S. Postal since 1998 "and it's pretty much all I've known for my career."

"But really, I don't think my life will change all that much, well, except for the jersey," he said. "I'll be in the same town, have same friends, same riding partners... I just hope that I don't drift back to the wrong team car next year."
A Dynasty is hard to keep togetherbigrider
Jan 7, 2004 5:05 AM
I think that the TEAM has been so strong that other teams are attacking trying to recruit both leaders and domestiques.

It does make you wonder if the Boss of the team is not treating his team the way they want to be treated or if they just want more bucks or a shot at the prize.
A Dynasty is hard to keep togetherteoteoteo
Jan 7, 2004 6:01 AM
We have a mutual friend and I have been told Christian is a stand-up guy. At Postal he has been injured alot but showed Roberto he was a valuable part of the Tour squad in addition to what he did in the Vuelta. He'd lost weight and focused on climbing before that stellar Vuelta performance and if Roberto had a hand in bringing him over he's a smart man. With his injuries he'd not made the squads for the grand tours--he was sort of lost in the Postal shuffle but a valuable guy to have becuase he can TT and climb a bit now too. In my mind he now fills that roll that Georgie fills as a the guy that can handle some duties in the flats and early mountain duties.
Agree- its a chance for a promotionCoolhand
Jan 7, 2004 6:09 AM
Same thing with Heras- it's a chance to move up in a team's importance and nothing personal. Postal has a very deep team and the loss of some of their riders is to be expected, especially older riders with a limited window of opportunity. If anything, the classy manner in which this has been handled will continue the easy path Postal has had in attacting top notch riders like Hamilton, Heras and Beltran.

No worries- when your on top people will poach some of your team. It's part of winning.

And, the reality is...one_speed
Jan 7, 2004 7:20 AM
that if you ride for postal, you ride for Lance. He demands a lot of his riders and let's you know where you stand. I think a lot of the guys need to get out from under that and can only take it for so long. Don't get me wrong, they train hard and learn a lot. And, they're part of a winning team. But they still only play a certain role. They've certainly had their share of talent.

So now on one hand, you have T-Mobile with too many chiefs, destined for failure in a big tour. And then there's Postal, with a strong leader, but one who's losing all his support. Could be an interesting year.
That's a misconceptionTJeanloz
Jan 7, 2004 7:31 AM
If you ride for USPS in the Tour de France, you ride for Lance. Christian has only ridden in two Tours (1999, 2001). Considering that he crashed out of 2001 early, he's really only ridden in 1 Tour. The Tour hasn't even been on his program for the last couple of years - Floyd Landis sort of usurped his spot. But Christian was a good second teir support rider for the Vuelta and the classics. He didn't do a lot of work for Armstrong, primarily because they were rarely in the same races.

I think in this case, it's a question of getting a shot, and Christian had sort of overstayed his welcome at USPS. It's really good for everybody - he wasn't going to get another shot at riding in the Tour with Postal, let alone doing something great for them. With his new team, he'll at least have the opportunity to show what he can do.

This doesn't really effect USPS at the Tour - consider that Christian hasn't ridden in a Tour since Armstrong won his first.
2000 Spider biteteoteoteo
Jan 7, 2004 7:42 AM
If I remember right he was on the 2000 squad as well and had to miss because of a spider bite on his backside that wouldn't go well with sitting on a bike seat for three weeks.
Jan 7, 2004 7:50 AM
The spider bite was part of his downfall. At that level, little things can make the difference. The spider bite kept him out of the Tour in 2000, which made his selection for the 2001 Tour team less solid. After crashing out early in 2001 (Stage 7), he (probably wrongly) had developed a reputation for being inconsistent at the Tour [much like Vaughters]. It was really unfortunate how things compounded, but not riding well in the Tour in 2000 and 2001 meant that he had a lot to prove to get on future Tour teams, and he was never really able to get back over the hump onto the Postal 'A' team.
Man, you guys know your stuff!jtferraro
Jan 7, 2004 8:26 AM
Interesting about his spider bite! I know he caused the crash in the TTT in the '01 Tour, is that the crash you're referring to or did he have another?

Man, you guys know your stuff!TJeanloz
Jan 7, 2004 8:39 AM
Christian was caught up in a major crash in stage three - in which he broke his arm. He gutted it out through the TTT, which was sort of his specialty, and abandoned the race before the mountains.
Man, you guys know your stuff!teoteoteo
Jan 7, 2004 11:30 AM
Now if I could just remember to take out the trash and stuff that would keep my girlfriend happy...

I was bummed on the spider deal becuase my travel partner in 2000 is tight with CVV and a few others. The less people we knew the less hooked-up we got so in the end it was purely selfish (laughs)
re: Van Velde leaving Postal?Spoiler
Jan 7, 2004 7:46 AM
Vandevelde didn't have much of a future for himself at Postal. He was low man on the totem pole behind George, Lance, Manuel, Chechu, Floyd, Victor,Eki, Pavel, Max, and probably now Robbie Ventura and Azevedo. The problem for him now is that he might be the only American on a foreign team.
I agree, well, except for that Ventura bit... nmAsiago
Jan 7, 2004 8:23 AM