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Well, the Tour Organizer's strategy seems to have worked:(9 posts)

Well, the Tour Organizer's strategy seems to have worked:LAIrish
Jul 15, 2002 10:22 AM
After last year's tour, the consensus was Lance looked to be unbeatable.

So, the organizers shortened and revamped the course, moving the mountain stages later, so the race would remain interesting (because Lance has won the tour by absolutley stomping the competition in the mountains).

Now, we're basically half way through the race, and the mountain stages are just about to start. Lance is actually closer to the leaders than he was last year. And everyone is saying the race seems to have become wide open, with lots of "decent" climbers to challenge Lance, and all sorts of team strategies and psychological pressures (both positive and negative) coming to bear.

But, in his "tune up" races this year (Dauphine, Tour de Suisse), hasn't Lance has looked stronger in the mountains than he did last year? Are these "decent" climbers the as good as, or better than, Ullrich, who everyone thought would be Lance's biggest competitor (until he withdrew) and who Lance just blew away last year?

I stil think this is Lance's race. But the tour organizers sure got what they wanted.
better (partial spoiler)DougSloan
Jul 15, 2002 10:31 AM
I'd say that Lance will be in yellow and keep it after the first mountain stage. He would have last year, too, if not for the goofy 30 minute breakaway.

He's be in yellow now if not for the incident yesterday when he lost 27 seconds (he's 26 seconds out now), right?

Yes, at least there is a little drama. The incidents help, too. It's never "in the bag" until close of business in Paris.

Doug
best (partial spoiler)scottfree
Jul 15, 2002 10:49 AM
After struggling in the mountains, Lance overcomes an incredible 51-second deficit in the final time trial to finally take the yellow jersey and the win on the next-to-last day. Talk about drama! (Then we cut to Greg Lemond explaining that he made up 50 seconds in a MUCH SHORTER TT.)
I'm glad you mentioned Lemond...GK
Jul 15, 2002 11:21 AM
because I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks Lemond's public statements in the last couple of years have sounded a little ingracious.

The remarks about the Dr. Ferrari relationship aside, I've seen or read a couple of interviews with him, including the special they ran on OLN right before the TOur where the tone of Lemond's remarks was akin to "yeah but I could have won 5." and "I did this first and made it possible for you to do what you're doing."

These are by no means direct quotes. I'm merely paraphrasing the gist of Lemond's remarks. Anyone else get the same idea?

GK
Lemond's recent statements betray bitterness, sad to say...Djudd
Jul 15, 2002 11:49 AM
He was a great rider and probably could have won five tours.
He didn't though and that is that. It is sad for me because he was the hero of my generation of cyclists. Many don't remember, but an American rider winning the tour was deemed an impossibility before his 1986 win. Also sad because his win was the culmination of events and riders before him: John Allis, George Mount, Jock Boyer.
Greg, let Lance have his time.
French?DougSloan
Jul 15, 2002 11:58 AM
Maybe Lemond acts (speaks) consistently with his French name...
I'm glad you mentioned Lemond...peter1
Jul 15, 2002 11:55 AM
Yep, LeMond has been less than gentlemanly, kind of like what Jack Nicklaus has been saying about Tiger Woods lately. (grumble-grumble-he's-good-but-so-was-i-etc.)

For Lemond's part, though...I think that these guys are so competitive (which is what made them the best in the first place) that they can never just "let it go." Also, Lemond and 7-11 laid the foundation for Lance and the USPS juggernaut, and he may be feeling just a bit neglected.

LeMond's win over Fignon (and a few Friday nights at the Trexlertown velodrome) got me into cycling, so I've always had a soft spot for him. In many ways, his "comeback" was no less heroic than Lance's...had he been shot by a street thug instead of a relative, it would have been even more inspiring. But that's the nature of myths and legends, I guess.

Cheers
Pete
As LA stands on Lemond's shoulders...Djudd
Jul 15, 2002 12:11 PM
Lemond stood on the shoulders of the riders before him. The riders before Lemond were not at all well-known. The point of competitiveness is very cogent but Lemond needs to calm down.
As LA stands on Lemond's shoulders...JSchneb
Jul 16, 2002 6:53 AM
LA's accomplishments in no way detract from Lemond's; Lemond needs to realize this. His recent comments over the last couple of years have been disappointing. Not the remarks of a true champion.

I read recently that he considers himself having won 4 TdF anyway (including the year when he waited up for Hinault). To me, it sounds like sour grapes and a continuation of GL's downward spiral. He was never happy w/the way he went out, and he's still bitter about it.