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Now what for Lance (partial spoiler)(23 posts)

Now what for Lance (partial spoiler)funknuggets
Jul 15, 2002 9:32 AM
Ok, now what? The standings look dramatically different than they did for the past two years. Now, there is an entire pack of decent climbers who are in spitting distance of the overall. With so many good climbers near the top, how in the hell is Lance going to cover so many attacks in the mtns? Do you think the other Posties took it relatively easy today? With Landis, Pena, Rubiera, and Heras already 5 minutes plus behind the leader, do you think they are adequately going to be able to cover for Lance or do you think that if he wins this one, he will have to do it by himself???
Well it didn't go entirely according to plan.Sintesi
Jul 15, 2002 9:47 AM
The tangle with Heras' bike and a close 2nd on todays TT killed a bit of Lance's cushion. He is going to have to get a huge win on the first stage to push all these attacks you foresee out of contention.

But if history means anything at all, Lance will be able to shrug off the attackers by riding them all off his wheel. He's done it with ease I don't see why he can't do it again.
re: Now what for Lance (partial spoiler)JSchneb
Jul 15, 2002 9:49 AM
I think that if Lance has the same form in the mountains as he did last year, it won't matter. There may be alot of good climbers in the tour this year, but none of them can match Lance's accelerations nor his speed.

I think that the best predictor may be the Dauphine. I think that the TT results were the same as today (LA 2nd to Botaero):

From the Dauphine:
1. Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca 52.30 (46.85 km/h)

2. Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 0.42

3. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1.49

4. Bradley McGee (Aus) La Francaise Des Jeux 2.12

5. Didier Rous (Fra) Bonjour 2.23

6. David Millar (GBr) Cofidis 2.30

7. Jonathan Vaughters (USA) Credit Agricole 2.39

8. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) 2.42

9. Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole 2.44

10. Victor-Hugo Pena (Col) US Postal Service 2.50

Lance stomped them all in the Mtns.
How to win a TdF...TJeanloz
Jul 15, 2002 9:55 AM
Not that I have any personal knowledge on how one wins the Tour, but from where the standings sit today, this is a quick analysis of the situation, stage by stage:

10. Flat; a day for the sprinters or a try at a long break by some French nobody.

11. 1 HC climb at the half-way point, the contenders will all stay together on the climb, because the descent is long enough to catch anybody. Lance's MO is to attack on the last climb of the first mountain day- which is the Cat 1 finishing climb of stage 11.

12. Another mountain top finish, at PLATEAU-DE-BEILLE, but it's preceded by 4 cat 1 or 2 climbs; the postal team will have to work to keep Lance in the front group prior to the last climb. But ONCE will also have to work to keep their man (Beloki or Galdeano) in front.

13. Worthless, flatter than a pancake, the field will finish together.

14. Finish at Ventoux. The Tour will be won or lost on the Ventoux. This is, without a doubt, the most important stage in the race.

15. Series of small climbs, maybe a minute to be gained on the final climb- no real damage can be done.

16. An absolute epic, three HC climbs in succession. Contenders will almost certainly stay together over the Galibier and Madeline, with fast and furious attacks on La Plagne. 2nd most important, after Ventoux.

17. A tough day, but the pre-finish descent will neutralize time gains on the climbs.

18. Nothing serious, Amstel Gold type up-and-down course.

19. TT, with a good climb, advantage to Armstrong.

20. Game over. If you haven't won by now, you aren't winning.

So, to recap, all these 'we can send so-and-so up the road' claims really only applies to stages 12 and 17; the rest don't have serious enough mid-stage climbs to exact damage. Can Heras et. al. hold things together for two stages? I think so. Can Armstrong be beaten? Maybe.
Nice analysisAllisonHayes
Jul 15, 2002 10:00 AM
I appreciate that very much.

Let's boil it downMel Erickson
Jul 15, 2002 11:15 AM
to the basics. Lance is closer to the lead going into the mountains than last year. There aren't any more "good" climbers in this years tour than last year. Lance is in as good or better form than he was last year. Barring sickness or accident Lance should blow the field away and win by a large margin again.

It's mano e mano in the mountains. Teams help a little but in a GT it's always the fittest that wins because of the attrition factor. Lance is the fittest.
You've boiled it all down..Wayne
Jul 15, 2002 11:42 AM
but you've assumed the answer two days ahead of time. We'll find out at the end of stage 11 if indeed he is the fittest this year. After that it still may be an open race, since all the closely mountain stages are also going to test everyones recovery more so in years past. His 1st time trial performance this year wasn't as good as last year, judging by the time differences. Or maybe Botero, GdG, Honchar, etc. are a little better this year. Rumsas is a sleeper still hanging around the top. I just hope it stays interesting and some riders have the balls to attack before the mountain top finish!
you forget there's no Telekomcyclopathic
Jul 15, 2002 7:39 PM
this year. Last year they did great job controlling pack. This time USPS has to work harder to answer attacks (if anything first team place is a good indication) which can come from anywhere.

Lance maybe closer to the top, but there're more climbers at the top this year, and way less spread. It is not Lance vs what-is-his-name race as it was in '00 and '01 it's Lance vs it-can-be-anybody. One bad day is enough to loose tour. I wish I could share your optimism.
i love your confidence butpukka
Jul 15, 2002 11:32 AM
know one knows for fact Lance is the fittest,"Lance trains hardest",we have all seen Lances training schedule has anybody seen any of his rivals schedules to compare? this might not be his year but then again it might
re: What do you mean when you say...cyclejim
Jul 15, 2002 7:25 PM
"Do you think the other Posties took it relatively easy today? With Landis, Pena, Rubiera, and Heras already 5 minutes plus behind the leader, do you think they are adequately going to be able to cover for Lance or do you think that if he wins this one, he will have to do it by himself???"

Are you saying that because the other posties are 5 minutes down, then they must not be riding that well and wont be able to cover for Lance?
Check out Landis' diary at cyclingnewstheBreeze
Jul 16, 2002 4:48 AM
"In the time trial today, Johan told Chechu, Eki, Roberto and me to go 90 percent so we could go in the breaks in the mountains."

and even at 90% Ekimov placed 11th and Landis 15th. Pretty good support I'd say.

I think it's Saiz, director for ONCE, who really has it in for Armstrong and is playing some real mind games.
On there's an interview w/ Armstrong in which he states, "US Postal has proven that we can keep the same level for three weeks before. And I wonder why ONCE lets Beloki ride himself into destruction, to keep that Yellow Jersey in the first week. I'm not so sure that Saiz is applying the right tactics you know."

Is Saiz so determined to beat Lance that he will burnout his riders in the effort? Postal has been in the cat bird seat NOT having to defend the yellow jersey so far. And we all know that Armstrong is pretty good at the mind games now too.
Thought this was interesting (and a little arrogant)...JSchneb
Jul 16, 2002 6:26 AM
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE, Maillot Jaune) Igor Gonzalez

"Things are changing at the Tour - we can see that Armstrong isn't as strong in the time trial as before. Either we got better or Armstrong got worse. Perhaps the generation of riders born around 1973 is coming through. That said, Armstrong is still number one and could give us all a hiding in the Pyrenees."

"Our team is in good shape and Beloki did a good time trial so we are confident. We've had an excellent first part of the race and now we're ready to go to war and fight for the Tour de France."
Come on...Wayne
Jul 16, 2002 7:28 AM
a little arrogant? Is no one but Armstrong able to assess his rivals or his own abilities? He praises Armstrong and clearly the numbers don't lie, he wasn't as dominant in the first TT this year. Of course, that could be a one-time deal not a trend. That's about as accurate an assessment based on the TT and tour to date as you're going to get! The only thing he left out is that perhaps Armstrong had a bad day but even he concedes that they could all still have real whipping coming at the hands of Armstrong over the next two weeks.
Give me a break...JSchneb
Jul 16, 2002 8:58 AM
You don't think that saying something like "Things are changing at the Tour - we can see that Armstrong isn't as strong in the time trial as before." is being a little arrogant? The guy's sepnt a few days in Yellow and now he's the Tour expert? Let's see how long he can keep it after the mountains. Besides, if it wasn't for his crash LA would be in yellow!

What justification has been given as to why things changing? Because Lance didnt Destroy everyone in the TT? Maybe LA just had less than a perfect day! It's too soon to say how strong he is. I don't think one can make a judgement regarding LA's strenght in the TT until all of the Tour's TT's have been run. After all, LA did win the Prologue... seems pretty strong to me...

We won't know if things are changing or not until after the first few Mtn. stages...
He may be wrong...Wayne
Jul 16, 2002 9:09 AM
but I don't think his statements are arrogant. He knows the kind of time he's loss to him in the past. More than anything his statements probably reflect a change in the moral of the ONCE contenders. I think after last year most top guys figured Armstrong was untouchable, now they think otherwise. Of course a good "hiding" on thursday may change their minds.
I don't think that he's wrong...JSchneb
Jul 16, 2002 9:19 AM
All I'm saying is that it's too soon for these guys to count LA out. I know the YJ can ispire some people, but the race is far from over.

We can all speculate, but no one really knows why Lance didn't dominate yesterday. After all, I read in Floyd Landis' diary that Brunyeel instructed the rest of Postal to ride at 90% and save themselves for the Mtns., and they all still finished pretty well. Maybe Lance was doing the same... Maybe he thinks that this Tour will be won in the mountains (after all, they start on Thursday and run all the way to the end), and he want's to be able to be at 100%...

He wouldn't exactly come out and say this publicly of course...

On the othe hand, Botero did beat LA in the Dauphine TT (and then LA put 18 minutes on him in the mountains)!
I hardly think anyone...Wayne
Jul 16, 2002 10:20 AM
especially the other riders are in any way, shape, or form counting Armstrong out of it! But I think many of them took heart from the results of the TT.
I agree...JSchneb
Jul 17, 2002 6:35 AM
I just think that there was more to LA not Destroying everyone in the first ITT than meets the eye.

I think that he does well in the mtns. he will look to stamp his authority in the last ITT.

All that aside, it's still shaping up to be the most interesting TdF in years!
Here's what LA himself has to say on the matter...JSchneb
Jul 17, 2002 7:44 AM
Armstrong said he was surprised at the media buzz surrounding Gonzalez Galdeano. At the end of last year's tour, the Spaniard was 13:28 behind Armstrong.

"I was reading all of this stuff, (how) this is such a big war between Armstrong and Galdeano, and I thought, 'I've got to look at the tour last year,''' Armstrong said.

He consulted the 2001 stage results, and saw he finished 4 minutes ahead of Gonzalez Galdeano at L'Alpe d'Huez, and 2 1/2 minutes ahead at Chamrousse, also in the Alps.

"These are big chunks of time,'' Armstrong said. "I never feel safe, but I wonder sometimes where such confidence comes from, when there's been no precedent — or rather where the buzz comes from.

"There has to be a buzz about something, so let's have a buzz.''
I wonder if he consulted the results of the TT...Wayne
Jul 17, 2002 8:09 AM
from last year. I think that is where the riders (and media) are taking their confidence. How much time did he put into GdG last year compared to the this year or Botero or Beloki, etc. at the TTs? I know I saw a quote from Beloki to the effect that "Armstrong put 2:30 into me last year, this year only 1:30 so I feel good, etc."
This will all become irrelevant tomorrow anyway when we see how they're all climbing. I suspect Armstrong will crush most of them and be on his way to winning the tour, but the TT was the first big indicator of form and unlike last year it at least looks like there's a chance that we could see a three week race!
big day tomorrow? (Thursday)DougSloan
Jul 17, 2002 9:06 AM
Well, how much time is Lance going to put on them tomorrow? Definitely yellow?

My bet is 2 minutes lead in GC.

big day tomorrow? (Thursday)JSchneb
Jul 17, 2002 9:17 AM
Great discussion, guys!

I think that Lance has to stamp his authority on the race in the next 2 days (and I think that he will).

I would probably have to think around 2 minutes or so in the GC.

Lance also mentioned, however, that he thinks his main rivals in this TdF are in better shape than Ulrich was last year... so this could get very interesting!
Jul 16, 2002 9:42 AM
I have read several threads regarding this and actually read one message that indicated that once Ullrich had dropped, Lance shifted some of his focus away from the TT as they saw the greatest challenges coming in the mtns.

So, perhaps shifting a bit of focus off the TT to improve in the mts will pay off. The whole losing 10 seconds here to gain 20 seconds here mentality...