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Has Sainz hurt ONCE's chances?(37 posts)

Has Sainz hurt ONCE's chances?yeah right
Jul 23, 2002 8:19 AM
Just wondering what people think about Manolo Sainz's job of running ONCE at the tour. My opinion: pretty poor job. I thought Armstrong was silly initially to say that they couldn't win a tour with Sainz managing, but it seems he really was right.

So here's the question: Considering that ONCE is leading and probably will win the team overall, and that Beloki will likely have a podium spot (probably third at this rate), could ONCE have done better, and should they have given up Igor GdG's yellow to stay fresh for the mountains?
Yes, but they shouldn't have waited...Wayne
Jul 23, 2002 8:40 AM
for the mountains. They had Jaksche, Serrano, Azevedo and Olano as potential threats once the mountains came plus the unknown Nozal. They shouldn't have defended the jersey but attacked with these riders in breaks to force postal to chase or risk giving a lead to a potentially dangerous rider. Instead they spent themselves riding tempo while Postal got the free ride. It might not have worked but at least they would have tried! Waiting to take Armstrong on on the final climbs on stage 11 & 12 was stupid as well.
Not reallymr_spin
Jul 23, 2002 9:05 AM
Realistically, they had no chance to beat Armstrong. They have maximized their opportunities otherwise. A stage win, a couple of days in yellow, second overall on GC, a couple more riders in the top 10, first in the team competition. They are second to USPS in prize money so far. That's a pretty good tour by any measure.

Pick on Manolo all you want but I'm sorry, the time they spent defending their yellow didn't impact them anywhere near what has been reported. That has been totally overanalyzed by various pundits who need something to talk about.

They "defended" the jersey on flat roads for only three days, and got help from various sources, including USPS. On the first mountain stage, USPS pulled the whole way with ONCE in yellow. The truth is, the jersey was never threatened, so no defense was needed. USPS didn't want it. CSC was too far back to take it. So what were they defending it against?

Just for argument, let's say they didn't get the yellow jersey after the TTT. Let's say CSC got it, since USPS would not try to keep it and CSC would. Somehow, ONCE takes yellow in the first mountain stage. Here's where it all starts to break down. If ONCE was so worn out after three days in yellow on flat roads, what makes anyone think they could defend the jersey in the mountains and beyond?
Well, at the time...Wayne
Jul 23, 2002 9:15 AM
no one including Armstrong knew if ONCE had a realistic chance at beating him. They played it conservatively rather than taking the race to Armstrong and Postal Service. It's not so much that ONCE was warn out as Postal wasn't potentially warn out, increasing the likelihood of isolating Armstrong before the final climb on one of these mountain stages. Chances are still small that it would have worked but that would have been preferable from a sporting perspective than just waiting until the final climbs on stage 11 and 12 and banking on your guys outclimbing probably the best, most consistent climber over the last 3 tours.
ONCE would need motorbikes to beat Lancepukka
Jul 23, 2002 9:26 AM
this year ,team tactics matter little when one man is clearly leaps and bounds above anybody else,and i wish it wasn't like this because mr armstrong really gets on my tits,
Why is that?Wayne
Jul 23, 2002 9:40 AM
He annoys me as well, I remember when he was an arrogant ass, and I think that's always tainted my view of him as well even given his post-cancer personality change. Plus I can't stand his singular focus on the tour, I feel like I'm being robbed of some great performances!
Seems like the vast majority of people fall into the "I love Lance" camp or the "he gets on my tits" camp. BTW the only person I know who personally knows him says he is a great guy so take that for what it's worth. Although I don't know how well he knows him and he didn't know him pre-cancer.
But what do I know, I loved Virenque's Paris-Tours win as well his Ventoux win and apparently most other Americans hate the guy!
because he still is an arrogant ass,pukka
Jul 23, 2002 10:16 AM
but he now has developed the skills to mask this ,I saw a fan at the tour with Lance for president painted on his back, that’s what he reminds me of ,a politician, i just hate his false modesty ,but hey what’s that saying nice guys finish second or last or tenth (you got my point) so what if pantani and virenque were taking kryptonite at least it made a race, the tdf is not an experiment its entertainment know its been said a million times before but he wont go down as a great if he only races 3 weeks a year and he cant keep saying that its arguably the most demanding sporting event in the world ,because it isn't if its not placed with the context of a whole season
He will go down as great...TJeanloz
Jul 23, 2002 10:23 AM
Let's be realistic, Armstrong will, if he keeps this up for one more year, be considered among the greats.

Certainly nobody can touch Merckx. Not in this day and age. But Indurain was no more than a Tour rider (granted, he did win the Giro twice, but Armstrong has other wins as well). And Indurain is certainly one of the greats.

But Armstrong, with 5 or 6 Tours, a world championship, classic victory, other highly regarded stage race victories, and possibly the hour record, will surely be in the top 10, and likely 5 riders in history.
Yes, even though I don't like him....Wayne
Jul 23, 2002 10:39 AM
gotta agree he will go down as one of the greats comparable to Indurain. He wins the biggest bike race even if he doesn't win much else (and remember for most cyclist even, the tour is the only race they follow). I think he's recognized this over the last couple of years that's why he tried and won the Dauphine (and I can't remember the other stage race he won this year) and he almost won Criterium International, certainly two stage races any "great" should have on their palmares. Tour de Suisse last year, although he really only took that one because Hamilton couldn't step up to the plate. I'd have a ton more respect for him though if he'd get out of his TdF "sure thing" and go for the hilly spring classics and the Giro and then have a go at the Tour, or make a run at the world cup. There's still time left for him to add important races to his palmares other than the TdF I hope he takes the chance one of these years.
Yes, even though I don't like him....flying
Jul 23, 2002 4:11 PM
But didn't Indurain do doubles like Giro + TDF ?
Im bummed we will probably never see triples anymore.
Like Roche doing the Giro, TDF & the Worlds in the same year.
So its not that Im bored with LA but I don't like that
train only for the tour deal.

No he will never compare to Merckx, or even Indurain & Roche IMO
Lance will never fly in Girocyclopathic
Jul 28, 2002 10:44 AM
nor he will ever try, face it.
Au contrairemoneyman
Jul 23, 2002 10:43 AM
His arrogance, if that's what you'd like to call it, can also be considered confidence in his abilities. His modesty is most definitely NOT false. I can personally attest to that. I have had the opportunity to meet, ride and chat with Lance several times over the last three years at the Ride for the Roses. While he is intensely competitive on the bike, he is a man of tremendous humility and integrity off the bike. You should look into the Lance Armstrong Foundation's Peloton Project so that you, too, can see what the man is like away from the TdF.

As far as your contention that "he only races 3 weeks a year," I am afraid you are quite mistaken. His focus is certainly on the TdF, and his racing is scheduled to lead up to that, but he races several classics in the spring, a couple of stage races, and then some domestic races in the US. In the past he has raced in the Olympics, the World Championships and various races around the world. Check out to get a real appreciation for what he has done in the world of bike racing.

Au contrairepukka
Jul 23, 2002 11:03 AM
everything before the tour is training and nothing else
Au contrairemr_spin
Jul 23, 2002 11:12 AM
As it is for almost all of the other grand tour riders. What has Beloki been doing all year? Where has Rumsas been?
I think alot of them are trying...Wayne
Jul 23, 2002 11:48 AM
Lance's training methodology now, thinking maybe that's why he's a notch above. A better question will be where are they a month or two or three from now? My bet is still competing whereas Lance's season will end with the tour although he'll "race" that crit in NY. Didn't Rumsas win Tour of Lombardy at the end of last year? Armstrong only has one classic and one world cup to his credit, that's pretty paltry if you're going to be called one of the greats. And again, it's not so much what he does or doesn't have as what he doesn't have in respect to what he could have! But then again maybe I'm giving his talent/training, whatever, more credit then it deserves and he is winning as much as he can?
Who are the greats?TJeanloz
Jul 23, 2002 12:04 PM
This is really fodder for an entire thread, but I pose the question: who are the greats and what made them so?

I think a real problem is that Merckx set the bar so impossibly high by winning everything that nobody else can measure up to his standard.

So, my question to you is, who do you think is great, and what race wins did it take for them to be great?
Jul 23, 2002 12:26 PM
Who among the riders today can meet whatever standard we can come up with? Answer: none.

So many people bitch about how Armstrong doesn't ride every race all year. Find me someone who races all year, races classics and stage races and the world's and seriously contests the GC at the grand tours. Not Zabel. Not Dekker. Not Jalabert. Not Museeuw. Not Ullrich. The best I can come up with is Casagrande, and few people will place his name among the greats. The last rider to do so was probably Jalabert, circa 1995. That was a long time ago.
Jul 23, 2002 4:19 PM
all those you mentioned except Museeuw & Ullrich race both classic & grand tours.
Im sure they feel they are *seriously contesting* them.
Jul 24, 2002 8:06 AM
Well, then you would have to rank Zabel and Dekker pretty low, because neither has won a grand tour. Lance, on the other hand, has won three and won classics, world championships, stage races, etc. That makes Lance far greater than Zabel, even though Zabel races year round, right? It would have to!

This is why the criteria some people use to rationalize their dislike for a rider is idiotic. It's apples and oranges.
Hinault measures up to Merckx...Wayne
Jul 24, 2002 3:06 AM
he was the last. An aspect of greatness, isn't what you've won, but what you've won in respect to your abilities. That's what makes Jalabert a great, he even has a GT to his credit, his natural abilities were as a sprinter and he molded himself into a classics man/TTist/stage race winner.
Museeuw is a great because of the limited opportunities his talents allow him each year, and the shear number of times he's delivered the goods or just about delivered them in the biggest one-day races in the world. I would say of current riders there are three all-time greats:
Museeuw, Armstrong, and Jalabert
maybe a couple of honorable mentions:
Zabel and Cipollini
Cipollini's problem is he never became a hardman and went for the classics which he could of won (just look at his Ghent-Wevelgem performance this year, first time in his upteen year career he was ever in a break!), he was too comfortable as a pure sprinter and we'll probably never know (nor will he) what he was capable of winning.
Zabel will probably keep rolling and add some classics and more world cups to his palmares.
Using what measurement?TJeanloz
Jul 24, 2002 5:01 AM
By what system of measurement does Hinault possibly measure up to Merckx?

Lifetime victories: Hinault 152, Merckx 445.
Tour de France: Hinault 5, Merckx 5.
Grand Tour Wins: Hinault 10, Merckx 11.
Grand Tour Stages: Hinault 40, Merckx 65.
World Championships: Hinault 1, Merckx 3.

Merckx is clearly in a class of his own.
Didn't mean to imply...Wayne
Jul 24, 2002 5:16 AM
he was anywhere near the same as Merckx, just that he was the last who's depth and breadth was Merckx-like.
Hinault measures up to Merckx...NOTatpjunkie
Jul 24, 2002 6:39 PM
no one measures up to Merckx. 5 Tours, Five Giro's and tons of classics. He also took more stages, more days in yellow by a weeks. He won about 33 percent of the races he entered. In a league by himself. Personally Hinault's behavior and full blown lie about "helping Lemond" the following year and then going for a 6th, showed lack of class. IMHO Hinault only has 4 TdF's as Lemond gave him his 5th. Loved that guy as a kid and then grew to hate him. Big up and the props to Johann. Cippo, yea doesn't try unless he's got a great chance of winning. Wasn't built for much else than sprinting though. Big w/ lots of fast twitch.
Just becaue you don't like the guy...Wayne
Jul 25, 2002 4:22 AM
doesn't take away from his victories. I didn't say he was equal to Merckx, only the last guy to have Merckx-like breadth and depth to his palmares. Cipo is big but so is Museeuw, his problem was he never liked the bad weather and cobbles, he could have probably been every bit the competitor Museeuw was in those events if he had the right attitude.
Just becaue you don't like the guy...atpjunkie
Jul 26, 2002 1:04 PM
yes you are right. It (personality) doesn't, Hinault truly was great, so forgive my scud. You forget big Mig though. Indurain has dominated since Hinault. Johann is one of my faves as well. Tough as nails, especially after his accident. Remember Mario is Italian and likes nice weather, he lacks the Flahute toughness of the Belgians and Dutch. Yes, he slacks and never puts in an effort unless he has the great opp. to win. He has the abilty (he took Milan San Remo and one of the Belgian Classics this year) so he has the talent but lacks the drive. He's agreat sprinter but I wouldn't put him in the pantheon of great champs either. So your assesment is true. Eddy though is still the MAN IMHO. Kicked butt in all forms.
Who are the greats?bartali
Jul 27, 2002 2:44 AM
"So, my question to you is, who do you think is great, and what race wins did it take for them to be great?"

No. Great cyclists become great because they dominate SEASONS and not just the month of July.

Using that as the definition, the answer to your question is Merckx, Coppi, Anquetil, Hinault, Indurain, Binda, Bartali and maybe even Bobet and Moser.

Armstrong has never dominated a season therefore he is not a great cyclist.
I think it's hard to argue over someone's personality...Wayne
Jul 23, 2002 11:06 AM
so I'll just leave that. But the guy doesn't race very much compared to almost any other pro-cyclist. He has essentially two careers, the pre-tour winner years when indeed he did compete in world championships, most of the world cup races, the Vuelta even, and the post tour winner years when really he rides a few stage races to prepare for the tour, the Amstel Gold race (this year he did Tour of Flanders to support Hincapie) and then his season is generally over following the tour except for the Olympic year. It's a shame with his talent that he will probably never win LBL or any of the other world cup races or Fleche Wallone (again) or even the Giro (Big Mig even did the double) not because he can't but because he never even tried.
I think it's hard to argue over someone's personality...Walter
Jul 23, 2002 11:49 AM
As LA said himself he's paid to win the TdF. His sponsors are getting prime return on their dollar in that context. As far as the Postal Service or Nike is concerned there IS no other race besides the TdF if you're marketing to the American public. LA can do nothing more, with the possible exception of an Olympic gold, to get the attention of the American people for his sponsors than win the TdF while wearing a USPS jersey with Nike swooshes. LA is nearly unique athlete who, despite his specialization on the TdF, will be remembered as one of cycling all-time greats. Pro cycling however, like any pro sport, is a business and Lance does what his sponsors pay him to do.

If the Giro suddenly became an American fascination......
Yes, I'm well aware of why he does what he does...Wayne
Jul 23, 2002 12:02 PM
and it makes all the economic sense in the world, but from a fan of the sports perspective it sucks.
are you suggesting america is fascinated with TDFpukka
Jul 23, 2002 12:19 PM
my bet is without an american winning the tour there will be next to no interest(this site excepted)and usps and nike will quickly drop sponsorship,nike a few years ago made a big push to get into the cycle clothing game ACG ,go to there web site there is a picture of lance and if you navigate the site you'll find some cycling gear "lance gear"
lance retires bang nike goes off some were else,i believe nike continue to support basically because he is a cancer survivor
are you suggesting america is fascinated with TDFyeah right
Jul 23, 2002 12:34 PM
cycling existed before lance won a tdf, usps cycling existed before lance won a tdf, trek oclv existed before lance won a tdf, nike acg cycling gear existed before lance won a tdf, even american cycling fans existed before lance won a tdf

cycling will outlast lance, even in america
I think it's hard to argue over someone's personality...flying
Jul 23, 2002 4:26 PM
Nah I dont buy that argument & I know it is the most popular.
What the USPS would be bummed to have the TDF acclaim & some
classics or the worlds?
Basically is he saying he can only do one then?
Lance does what his sponsors pay him to do?
Man this is sounding so corporate & maybe that is what I hate.
Maybe the passion of cycling is being replaced by this?
Always been corporateWalter
Jul 23, 2002 6:17 PM
The TdF itself was created to sell newspapers.

That doesn't mean there isn't passion too. You have to be passionate to excel at a sport, money alone won't do it. People will climb Ventoux b/c they're paid too but they compete the way they do b/c they're passionate about their sport and are intensely competitive by nature.

Look at athletes in any sport. You can see the ones motivated by true passion, they'd compete for free. Before pro cycling LA was winning triathlons for what, a trophy and a ribbon?

Unfortunately if you want organized sports that we can spectate you need corporate involvement.
poor public speaker, but give him a break!Shockee
Jul 23, 2002 11:53 PM
I was recently ambushed by a local TV reporter and asked to comment on a complex local political issue. My God. I was swearing at myself when I saw myself on TV flubbing through my reply while knowing what I should have said after the fact. I'm sure this kind of absent mindedness is the case with good ole LA.

I know I would come across as flustered, terse and opinionated if I was ambushed after 7 hours in the saddle by nosy reporters. Lance just isn't a slick commentator .. so what! He is far less arrogant than he was in his youth in these interviews; he has now more than earned the right to some bravado. I admire him now for his cycling achievement and don't expect him to be as articulate or as bright as Ligget and Sherwin - it's still wayy more impressive to be a great rider than a great mouthpiece, IMHO!

I can't think of many European athletes whom display less arrogance than Lance ('cept for good ole laid-back Indurain, of course). It's part of European sport culture.

Be glad he even gives interviews in English after stages. It gives us a little more insight into what is going on inside the heads of the riders.
What might have been interesting . . .LAIrish
Jul 23, 2002 10:25 AM
When ONCE had Beloki and de Galdeano placed 2ne and 3rd (at, I believe, around 2 and 4 minutes back): Send de Galdeano on an early break with half the team, keep Beloki back with the other half. That would have put LA and USPS into the position of having to try to catch the break (and maybe using up their legs, allowing Beloki to take over at the end) or staying back with Beloki (and maybe letting the break succeed).

If this had happened, and you were in Bruyneel's shoes, what would you have done?
What might have been interesting . . .mr_spin
Jul 23, 2002 11:05 AM
The real threat is Beloki, so Armstrong stays with him. But this isn't a realistic scenario, because there is no possible way Galdeano gets away, much less taking half the team with him. If he somehow did manage to get away, it wouldn't be for long. There are too many interested parties on GC other than USPS for that to happen. Rumsas on Lampre is kicking butt and wants second. Leipheimer on Rabobank has been slowly pulling himself back into the top 10, along with Ivan Basso on Fassa Bortolo.

Galdeano doesn't get away on flats or on the last climb, period. But if this were a an early mountain in a mountain stage, I'd throw someone like Ekimov or Hincapie in the break, let him go, and see what happens. If he got more than two minutes, I'd pull him back, but I wouldn't work too hard to catch him until the last climb. Let him hang himself. On the last climb, I'd unleash Armstrong. End of story. History shows that Galdeano has never gained time on Armstrong in the mountains.
What might have been interesting . . .LAIrish
Jul 23, 2002 12:56 PM
Actually, my hypothetical was meant for that first (or was it second) day in the mountains, where Beloki was still within striking distance (2 minutes plus a few seconds) and de Galdeano wasn't that far behind (4 + a little)and the course was up and down. Moreover, it was de Galdeano who had been wearing yellow. Also, at that time, I'm not sure Rumsas was close enough so that Lampre helps pull back a break and Leipheimer was way off the lead.

And the fact that de Galdeano can't beat Lance in the mountains was why I suggested sending him on the break. Jalabert got: What, eleven or thirteen minutes ahead? If de Galdeano had been with JaJa, the Postal Service would have had to have ridden much harder, much earlier.

I still think Lance is too strong. But this tactic might have put the Postal Service into a bit of a dilemna. Then, who knows?