|*** SPOILER *** TTT aftermath||SLB|
Jul 10, 2002 8:31 AM
|Ok now that the TTT pretty much shook out the way everyone expected, what's gonna happen now?
Is ONCE going to defend the yellow this week? I am guessing no, they will just shadow Armstrong and let most of the breaks go.
Contenders who fell: Sevilla, Botero, Leipheimer all sitting at (cue Paul Sherwen) around about 2 and a half minutes. Are their podium hopes over? I say yes.
Tyler Hamilton may just be in the perfect spot to sneak in and grab another podium spot. While it's doubtful he will blow anyone away in the mountains, he will use the tactic he perfected in the Giro and sneak up on everyone.
I think this tour is going to be the hardest yet for Armstrong. ONCE was built with the sole purpose of defeating LA. And now Kelme has nothing to lose and they will be attacking in the mountains every chance they get. It's going to be a tough tour for USPS especially Heras, Rubiera and Landis. And if they lose anyone, all bets are off.
My prediction (subject to change at any time :)
2. de Galdeano
Jul 10, 2002 9:24 AM
|ONCE will defend. USPS isn't going to try to take it until the ITT, so that leaves Jalabert at 0:37 as the closest threat. He's obviously on great form, so I don't think ONCE will let him get down the road. If I were USPS, I'd look the other way if he does, just to make ONCE suffer. Lance can easily take back time on Jaja in the mountains.
Some of the other CSC guys are real threats, so I'm sure they'll try to get into some breaks. Not Tyler, though. He's not a road stage guy. Expect Sørensen to have a go.
So that leaves the next closest threat as Gontchar at 1:36 and Millar at 1:40. These are mainly TT guys, but Millar won a road stage in the Vuelta. Next up are Basso and Ivanov, both of whom are the real breakaway threats. Ivanov has TDF stage wins from prior years that he got on breaks. Expect to see him have a go, but expect ONCE to shut it down.
|It's going to be a rough one.||Pack Meat|
Jul 10, 2002 10:54 AM
|There definitely isn't one person (Ullrich) and team that Lance has to watch out for there's 10. Who said Jaja can't climb? Who got the spotted jersey last year? Once is going to have defend just to stay in the position they're in. There are to many good climber/tt guys in striking distance, if any of them get in a break Once and maybe even USPS will have to be on it.
People to watch:
That's a lot of guys from a lot of different teams within 3 minutes to watch and keep track of. There will be no free time for the peloton.
|I see it a little differently. 3 minutes is a lot.||Sintesi|
Jul 10, 2002 11:24 AM
|He's got a two minute pad right now on everyone except Once and CSC I believe. After the ITT it should increase substantially. When he hits the big mountains even more. He'll light that first one up and win it like always does. LA belives in saving early.
So that means Lance will have a substantial margin in the beginning of the mountains. Other teams often give up at that point and cut each other's throats trying for a podium spot.
That's how I see it anyway.
|What I'm saying is||Pack Meat|
Jul 10, 2002 1:46 PM
|unlike in previous years when the peloton would let 10 guys get a 10 or 20 minute lead there are a lot more guys that can do well in the tt and hang with Lance, or at least limit their losses in the mtns. If teams start attacks on the flats and Once leaves it to USPS to chase them down, because it's Lances Tour to lose it could be close, or at least closer. Postal just can't cover that many guys on their own. At this point it depends on how Once defends the jersey.|
|You're right, it's a long ways to the mountains.||Sintesi|
Jul 11, 2002 4:43 AM
|US Postal will have their work cut out for sure and Once would be smart to let the yellow go for now. How difficult it gets for Postal depends on other teams willing to risk working together, possibly letting their own podium chances go, in a gamble to wear Armstrong down. My read is they won't at least not enough to make it work. Plus the real climbers don't have the strength to get in a decent breakaway. Someone like Botero or Kivilev might but we all saw what happened to Kivilev's breakaway lead last year, and that guy can climb pretty good.
In a way I hope your right, it would be great to see LA severely challenged to the end. We will see.
At any rate, so far so good. :)
|I see it a little differently. 3 minutes is a lot.||Folkert|
Jul 11, 2002 1:18 AM
|I'm not sure about this: take in mind that Lance hasn't won a ITT this year, except the first stage. But a prologue can't be compared with a 60+km timt trial. Levi Leipheimer will be back in the top 10 after the TT. Lance hasn't won this one yet......|
|Big winner of the TTT...||Wayne|
Jul 11, 2002 3:29 AM
|was USPS. Only losing seconds instead of minutes like last year was a major coup. Banesto and Kelme also did alot better than in previous years.
I think ONCE will defend the jersey by attacking. They should try to send either Olano, Serrano, Jaksche, or Azevedo into a break (each one of which is pretty good TTist/climber). All could be potential threats to Armstrong if given a Kiveliv like lead before the TT/mountains. Unfortunately, USPS will have two strong allies in Lotto and Telekom who will want sprint finishes. And I think Armstrong and USPS are pretty scared of ONCE anyway and will probably react immediately if they send any of the above guys in a break. But you got to try and weaken Postal somehow. Tactically I think it would be pretty dumb for ONCE to defend the jersey in Postal fashion, just riding Tempo until the sprinter's teams take over at the end of the day.
Jul 11, 2002 9:48 AM
|you discount what Postal did today, sending Ekimov & Landis out on two seperate breaks early. Both of them are within a minute of the lead & both breaks forced ONCE to defend. As long as Postal keeps doing that (& in both cases they went with other people & didn't work the break hard) Once is the tem that will end up working.
|I didn't discount it...||Wayne|
Jul 11, 2002 10:20 AM
|I was only looking at it from the ONCE perspective. USPS definitely had the tactical advantage today. What was ONCE doing? They had Pradera cover the Landis move, which makes no sense since he flatted early yesterday and is way off the pace and not even a long-shot GC threat anyway (unlike Serrano, Jaksche, Olano or Azevedo). They led the chasedown of the Ekimov group and then the Landis group, when they got within seconds of Landis-group they should have tried to send Olano and one of the others across, which would have immediately shut down the chase until Postal service got organized (and there would have been a whole bluffing game going on between Sainz and Bruyneel). I hope they're just bidding their time, I think it's a big mistake if they try to wait until the mountains to hit Armstrong/USPS.|
|Good points.||Len J|
Jul 11, 2002 11:39 AM
|It really does come down to how strong the (Once) GC contenders feel relative to how strong they think Postal & Lance are.
It seems like (at least so far) that they are waiting for Postal or Lance to make a mistake. They may be saving their Domestiques to assist in the Mountains. It certainly is making for an interesting tour.
As much as I would like Lance to win, the scenario that would make for the least interesting tour would be for Lance to put time into Gonzales de Galdeano & Beloki in the TT and then win the first Moutain stage, crushing all comers.
I hope they try your strategy. It will make for some interesting watching. It really is a tactical cat & mouse game.
Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall in both Teams meetings.
|re: *** SPOILER *** TTT aftermath||dough|
Jul 11, 2002 4:34 PM
|All this analysis makes for some interesting reading but the way I see it is that Lance will crush the rest of the field in the mountains. Unless he has an illness or a crash or something he will blow them all away.|
|That's pretty much how everybody sees it..||Wayne|
Jul 12, 2002 4:04 AM
|that's why ONCE needs to do something tactically. You never know but, 95+% likely scenario is Lance puts several minutes into all of his rivals in the TT. It will probably be a moral victory if anyone loses less than a minute to him. And then everyone is scared/unsure of their climbing legs and waits to attack until the final climb on stage 11, setting it up perfectly for Armstrong to again put several minutes into his rivals and ending the fight for 1st on stage 11. Armstrong appears as strong as ever, Beloki and/or GdG will have to have increased their fitness to ride on par with Lance which isn't an impossibility but at least is unlikely. And all the other GC men will have to outride Lance to take back the time they've loss which is of course even more unlikely!|| |