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(Spoiler)(24 posts)

Jul 18, 2002 6:57 AM
Should LA have let Heras take the stage?
Nice spoiler, man.scottfree
Jul 18, 2002 6:59 AM
Yes, but, (spoiler)TJeanloz
Jul 18, 2002 7:01 AM
He should have let him take the stage, but it wasn't feasible. The scenario was that had Armstrong not taken it, Beloki would have. Definitely better off with Armstrong taking it.

Had it been the two of them solo, I'm 100% sure that Heras would have gotten the stage.
Yes, but, (spoiler)big_wave_dave
Jul 18, 2002 7:06 AM
When Lance took off, he pulled Beloki with him, right? I think LA could have done something different.
Yes, but, no (spoiler)Jekyll
Jul 18, 2002 7:11 AM
Different, like maybe ride Beloki into the barriers or better yet off the side of the mountain? Would you have gone into the last 50 meters with Beloki on your back wheel or in front of you, hoping that he would not take Heras at the line and put yourself in third place? Armstrong did exactly the right thing: They isolated Beloki between themselves and then Armstrong attacked him making sure he did not get the stage win and time bonus. Stages are nice - winning the tour is a little nicer.
What I though would play out,TJeanloz
Jul 18, 2002 7:24 AM
For a brief moment, you had Heras on the front, Beloki on his wheel, and Lance in the wind to the right of them. What I thought was going on was that they were going to box Beloki in, with the barriers on one side, Lance on the other (half over-lapping Beloki, half over-lapping Heras), and Heras in front. They would have forced Beloki into third, unless he tried to duck out and around Armstrong, which never would have worked. It would have worked nicely if they had been a tiny bit closer to the end.
is that legal?DougSloan
Jul 18, 2002 7:30 AM
Is boxing in and blocking legal in the pros? Is it "anything goes"? Or, do you just need to be subtle about it. I don't have a clue.

Jul 18, 2002 7:38 AM
Positioning is all part of the game. It's not legal to use your arms to push a guy or hold him back, and it's not legal to throw your bike into him or swing it unnecessarily into his path. Riding alongside and in front of a guy who is along the barriers is totally legal. It's his fault for letting himself get boxed in, and it's not like he can't easily get out. All he has to do is slow down!
Jul 18, 2002 8:37 AM
You couldn't actually change you line to box him in, but he put himself in that position- perfectly legal.
I'm with T (spoiler)Jekyll
Jul 18, 2002 7:07 AM
Beloki seemed to have the legs to take Heras after all of the work Heras did (which by the way was marvelous - that truly was the Ride of the Day). Riders are awarded time bonuses for finishing positions. If Armstrong would have let Beloki get the stage he would have given him an 8 second gift.
I too think that Armstrong would have given a well deserved stage win to Heras had Beloki not been there. He's always been gracious about that kind of thing - remember the ingrate Narko Pantani?
I thought ride of the day belonged to Beloki.RoyGBiv
Jul 18, 2002 7:28 AM
Wasn't he at the back of the pack for a time half way through because of mechanical problems?
All in all a great race to watch and a rivetting ending.
no names, pleasemr_spin
Jul 18, 2002 7:33 AM
He did have problems earlier but was in good shape when the speed wound up. I give him credit for keeping up with Lance and Heras until the end. It cannot be fun to find yourself alone against two really strong guys. USPS was merciful, though. Lance could have easily dropped Beloki earlier, but I think they wanted to save the effort for later stages.
Seems to be the likely caseJSchneb
Jul 18, 2002 7:41 AM
It was obvious that LA wasn't out to stop today. From the looks of it, he's saving himself for the Ventoux. He probably figured that he could accomplish his goals today without going too hard.
Yes, but, (spoiler)t-bill
Jul 18, 2002 8:09 AM
I'm with TJeanloz. I think he was waiting for Heras to take off so he could help him fend off Beloki, but he just never wnet. He probably didn't have enough gas in the tank after pulling for the last 10k. LA did what he has to do... and he waited til the last 100 meters or so.
He tried...mr_spin
Jul 18, 2002 7:13 AM
The important thing was to gain time on his rivals and stop all the ludicrous suggestions that Lance could be beat. That meant going hard until the end. As long as Beloki was hanging on, Armstrong had to try and shake him and get the 20 second time bonus for winning. If he had a couple of minutes on Beloki, he would have slowed down and let Heras go. It's a lot easier to be generous when you have a lot to give. As a grand tour winner, Heras understands.

I'm sure the team plan was to get Heras the win and Lance the yellow. They tried last year in the last mountain stage, but it didn't work out. They are getting much better at it!
re: (Spoiler)rufus
Jul 18, 2002 7:41 AM
hadn't beloki come by heras, or at least pulled even? it looked like he made the little attack to take the stage, heras was falling back, so lance had no choice but to blow by him.

it was kinda fun seeing dopehead virenque sprinting for points on the aubisque, but cracking before they hit the line, and then getting dropped on the tourmalet.
LA's Comments on Today's StageJSchneb
Jul 18, 2002 8:04 AM
Following the stage Lance said "I wanted to have a good day, and to be in Yellow. But I was average at best - Roberto was the champ, he deserved to win today. The other guys were stellar as well. While I wanted Roberto to win, I had to go for the stage because I didn't want to lose 8 seconds to Beloki by letting him take the win and time bonus."
LA's Comments... There's the answerbig_wave_dave
Jul 18, 2002 8:12 AM
LA's Comments on Today's StageWannabe
Jul 18, 2002 8:48 AM
I don't buy the average at best bit. But I guess I'll have to wait until I see the tape tonight. Seemed to me that he worked only as hard as he had to and didn't really put forth any extra effort so as to save something for the rest of the mountain stages. Maybe he was average today because that was all he needed.

You can kill me if you disagree,shirt
Jul 18, 2002 11:06 AM
but I think Lance looked pretty whipped at the end today. His victory punch barely cleared his shoulder. I don't think it was another theatrical performance, I think it was an athletic one...

I would agree to a point...Slowclimber
Jul 18, 2002 11:30 AM
He did look tired at the end of the stage today, however I think it had more to do with him sprinting the last 200 meters on a 7%-10% grade than it did with him being tired with the overall stage.

Watching him during the climb he didn't look all that labored. He was talking to his team manager over the radio (4 or 5 times), which in it's self tells me that he wasn't all that tired. If he can talk to others on a climb like that, he isn't that tired.

I also think he was bummed at the fact that he wanted Heras to take the stage since he had worked so hard for him.

Beloki however looked very tired at the end and looked thankful that he was able to stay with Lance to the top of the climb.

Anyway just my thoughts.
Jul 18, 2002 11:51 AM
Wouldn't want to do that, you're a good poster!

I have not seen the pictures, so maybe he was spent. Then again, maybe it was an act? After his performance on Alp d'huez last year, we can second guess ourselves until Paris! Either way, the stage turned out perfectly for him and his team.

Ok your deadcyclejim
Jul 18, 2002 8:06 PM
I believe he was just trying to be respectful to Roberto. He knew Roberto deserved the stage win but things didnt work out that way. He was not whipped in my opinion...didnt you see him yapping away with Bruyneel while Beloki was sucking air?
re: (Spoiler)Duane Gran
Jul 18, 2002 2:57 PM
I think they did the right thing, given where they were in the last 200 meters. However, I was suprised that Heras didn't attack around the 1-2km zone when it was pretty clear that no one was advancing on them. This might have forced Beloki to chase and Armstrong could have sat on his wheel. They had Boloki outnumbered but they didn't really work him over from what I can tell.

Of course, I don't claim to be a master of tactics, but I'm surprised they didn't shake it up until the very end.